BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


What the Bible says about Paul's Conversion
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Acts 26:12-19

This passage provides us with an example of how misled a sincerely wrong person can be. Paul, despite his zeal, did not know the true God even though he was sincerely religious. He was sincerely deceived. Jesus basically asked him, "Paul, why do you continue to beat your head against the wall by following the path you are on?"

Can we hear in that question His expectation even of the unconverted? There is in the unconverted some minimal level of understanding and repentance that enables them to see that their values are wrong and to change to those coming from a different, far better Source—Him. If He expects that of them, what does He expect of us whose minds have been opened?

Paul's conversion led to many being given the opportunity to change their values more fully. However, the fact remains to this day what king David wrote and that Paul later quoted in Romans 3:11, "There is none who seeks after God." Carnal people are so imbued with their own systems that they will not change unless essentially forced to.

Satan has the world so deceived (Revelation 12:9) that God is veiled from the eyes of their understanding, so Satan is the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4) and the source of its ways of living. He is worshipped and responded to by all of mankind. Unless God moves to change our values (John 6:44), we rarely change for the better. When God does move, He demands repentance of us and then loyalty to Him in our lives from then on.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment

Acts 26:14

Christ seems to be saying, "Saul, why are you beating your head against the wall?" Paul was zealously persecuting God's church, all the while thinking he was part of the true religion, but at that point, he did not even know the true God! God called him dramatically to change the source of his belief system so that he could guide the Gentiles in changing theirs from Satan to God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment (1997)

2 Corinthians 5:16

The apostle Paul is writing about the same thing that happened in Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve sinned, their perspective changed. They were moved away from God and began to look at the events and circumstances of life from a different point of view than they had before.

We know how this works. If we are standing beside someone and looking at an object, say, a tree, both are looking at it from the same perspective and see essentially the same thing. But if we step 20, 30, or 40 feet to one side, the perspective from which we now observe the tree begins to change. Now we see things that may not have been visible when we were side by side with the other person.

That is how it is with God. When we are one with Him, we look at things exactly as He does. When we are not in unity with Him, it is as though we have stepped away from Him, and we begin to see things from a different perspective.

This is the idea Paul refers to here. From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Now that we have been converted, we do not look upon others as Japanese, Chinese, Jewish, Russian—this stereotyping begins to fade into the background in terms of importance. To a converted person, the important thing now is whether the other person is converted or unconverted. All that has changed is our perspective, which has changed because we repented in faith. God gave us His Spirit, and a new point of view has entered our thinking.

Let us consider the phrase, "even though we have known Christ according to the flesh." Paul recounts from his own experience that there was a time when he looked upon Jesus Christ as the great Satan—the enemy of everything that was Judaic. Then he was converted, and his perspective of Christ became, "He is my Savior! He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to humanity!" Same Paul, different mind—his perspective changed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Reconciliation and the Day of Atonement

Galatians 1:1

This epistle was one of Paul's first letters, if not the first. As such, it was early on in his ministry, and one of the first topics in this letter was his credentials. This is seen in his parenthetical statement that he was an apostle appointed by God and Jesus Christ and NOT by men. The other apostles ate, walked, and lived with Christ while He was on the earth, and thus their credibility was established in part by proximity and association with Christ. Paul did not fall into this category, but rather persecuted the true Christians until his dramatic conversion. However, at that time, he was instructed by Christ personally and thus had a legitimate claim to apostleship.

David C. Grabbe

Galatians 1:1-3

The bulk of this chapter is occupied with Paul's defense of his apostolic office. False teachers,the people who had access to the Galatian Christians' ears,were teaching them that what Paul had previously taught them had no authority from God because Paul did not meet the qualifications of being an apostle.

These people could come up with all kinds of things. They might say, "Well, Paul never met Jesus": that he had not been an eyewitness to Jesus' preaching, that he had received no commission from God to be an apostle, and that he had not even been chosen like Matthias. Paul's calling, conversion, and commission were done apart from large numbers of people. Nobody had seen him trailing around after Jesus as they had seen the Twelve. He had not been eyewitness to the miracles that Jesus did. "He had not been taught directly by Jesus," was what they were saying.

Thus, Paul spends the first chapter and more defending his position. Immediately, he states that his authority did not come through men. He confirms that he was an apostle, but his selection was not of men but by Jesus Christ. Right off he states his authority, and that it had come directly from God. By doing this, Paul puts himself in the same class as the Twelve, because even these false teachers were willing to concede that the Twelve's offices did not come through men either. Everybody knew that they were directly chosen by Christ. So Paul asserts, "So was I."

He also speaks of his experience on the Damascus Road as his commission, and then he references the resurrection, further linking his commissioning to the risen and glorified Christ. All of this is contained within the first three verses. He had to establish his authority quickly, and this is how he chose to do it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Twenty-Four)

Ephesians 3:7

Paul would never have become an apostle if God had not done what He did. He made Paul an apostle. God converted Paul, an enemy of the church, and turned him into the hardest worker, probably, that the church has ever seen. He converted him, changed him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 6): Ephesians 4 (C)

1 Timothy 1:16

God overcame Paul and saved him. Certainly there have been sinners far worse than Paul, but the sense of his thought is that nobody is beyond the reach of God's power to convict of sin and affect dramatic changes of behavior.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Six


 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   
Leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2020 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.
Share this on FacebookEmailPrinter version
Close
E-mail This Page