Acts 9:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

New Living Translation
As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him.

English Standard Version
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him.

Berean Study Bible
As Saul drew near to Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

Berean Literal Bible
Now in proceeding, it came to pass as he draws near to Damascus, suddenly also a light from heaven flashed around him.

New American Standard Bible
As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;

King James Bible
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.

International Standard Version
As Saul traveled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.

NET Bible
As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

New Heart English Bible
As he traveled, it happened that he got close to Damascus, and suddenly a light from the sky shone around him.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And as he was going, he began to approach Darmsuq; suddenly there was light from the Heavens shining upon him,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.

New American Standard 1977
And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;

Jubilee Bible 2000
And as he proceeded, he came near Damascus; and suddenly there shone round about him a light from heaven;

King James 2000 Bible
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

American King James Version
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

American Standard Version
And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven:

Douay-Rheims Bible
And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew nigh to Damascus; and suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him.

Darby Bible Translation
But as he was journeying, it came to pass that he drew near to Damascus; and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven,

English Revised Version
And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven:

Webster's Bible Translation
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined around him a light from heaven:

Weymouth New Testament
But on the journey, as he was getting near Damascus, suddenly there flashed round him a light from Heaven;

World English Bible
As he traveled, it happened that he got close to Damascus, and suddenly a light from the sky shone around him.

Young's Literal Translation
And in the going, he came nigh to Damascus, and suddenly there shone round about him a light from the heaven,
Study Bible
The Road to Damascus
2to ask for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women belonging to the Way, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As Saul drew near to Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”…
Cross References
Acts 9:27
Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and described how Saul had seen the Lord, who spoke to him on the road to Damascus, and how Saul had spoken boldly in that city in the name of Jesus.

Acts 22:6
About noon as I was approaching Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.

Acts 26:12
In this pursuit, I was on my way to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.

1 Corinthians 9:1
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you yourselves not my workmanship in the Lord?

1 Corinthians 15:8
And last of all He appeared to me also, as to one of untimely birth.
Treasury of Scripture

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

as.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting …

Acts 22:6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come near …

Acts 26:12,13 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from …

1 Corinthians 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

a light.

Psalm 104:2 Who cover yourself with light as with a garment: who stretch out …

1 Timothy 6:16 Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can …

Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine …

Revelation 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither …

(3) And as he journeyed.--The route by which the persecutor and his companions travelled was probably that taken by the Roman road, which extended from Jerusalem to Neapolis (Sychar, or Shechem), thence to Scythopolis, and so by the shores of the Sea of Galilee and Csarea Philippi, and thence under the slopes of Hermon, to Damascus. On this supposition Saul would traverse the chief scenes of our Lord's ministry, and be stirred to madness by the progress which the new sect had made in the cities of Samaria. It is, however, possible that he may have taken the road by the Jordan valley by which Galilean pilgrims sometimes travelled in order to avoid Samaria; but the former was beyond all question the most direct and best frequented road.

He came near Damascus.--The city has the interest of being one of the oldest in the world. It appears in the history of Abraham (Genesis 14:15; Genesis 15:2), and was, traditionally, the scene of the murder of Abel. David placed his garrisons there (2Samuel 8:6; 1Chronicles 18:6), and, under Rezon, it resisted the power of Solomon (1Kings 11:24). Its fair streams, Abana and Pharpar, were, in the eyes of the Syrian leper, better than all the waters of Israel (2Kings 5:12). It was the centre of the Syrian kingdom in its alliances and wars with those of Israel and Judah (2Kings 14:28; 2Kings 16:9-10; Amos 1:3; Amos 1:5). Its trade with Tyre in wares, and wine of Helbon, and white wool is noted by Ezekiel (Acts 27:16; Acts 27:18). It had been taken by Parmenion for Alexander the Great, and again by Pompeius. It was the birth-place of Nicolaos of Damascus, the historian and rhetorician who is conspicuous as the counsellor of Herod the Great (Jos. Ant. xii. 3, 2; xvi. 2, 2). At a later period it was the residence of the Ommiyad caliphs, and the centre of the world of Islam. The beauty of its site, the river which the Greeks knew as Chrysorrhoas, the "Golden Stream," its abounding fertility, the gardens of roses, made it, as Lamartine has said, a "predestined capital." Such was the scene which met the bodily eye of the fanatic persecutor. The historian does not care to dwell on its description, and hastens to that which met his inward gaze. Assuming the journey to have been continuous, the approach to Damascus would come on the seventh or eighth day after leaving Jerusalem.

There shined round about him a light from heaven.--As in Acts 26:13, "above the brightness of the sun." Three accounts of the event that thus turned the current of the life of Saul of Tarsus meet us in the Acts. (1) This, which gives the writer's report of what he could hardly have heard from any lips but St. Paul's; (2) St. Paul's narrative before the Sanhedrin (Acts 22:6-11); (3) that which he gives before Agrippa (Acts 26:13-18). They present, as will be seen, considerable variations, such as were natural in the records of a manifestation which was partial to some, and complete to one only. Those that were with him heard a voice but did not distinguish words (Acts 22:9). They saw, as stated here (Acts 9:7), the light, but did not perceive the form of Him who spoke. The phenomena, in this respect, stand parallel to those of the voice from heaven, in which some heard the words, ascribing them to an angel, while others, hearing only the sound, said it thundered (see Note on John 12:29). It is not possible in such a history to draw a hard and fast line between the objective and the subjective. The man himself cannot say whether he is in the body or out of the body (2Corinthians 12:2-3). It is enough for him that he sees what others do not see, and hears what they do not hear, while they too hear and see enough to prove both to themselves and to him that something has occurred beyond the range of ordinary phenomena. Nothing in the narrative suggests the thought of a sudden thunderstorm, which has seemed to some writers a probable explanation of the facts. In that case, the gathering gloom, the dark rolling clouds, would have prepared the traveller for the lightning-flash. If this hypothesis be at all entertained--and as it does not necessarily exclude the supernatural element, and presents analogies to the divine manifestations on Sinai (Exodus 19:16) and Horeb (1Kings 19:11-12), it may be entertained legitimately--we must think of the storm, if we take such a view, as coming with an almost instantaneous quickness, the first flash and crash striking all with terror, while the full revelation of the Christ was made to the consciousness and conscience of the future Apostle.

Verse 3. - It came to pass that he drew nigh unto for he came near, A.V.; shone for shined, A.V.; out of for from, A.V. and T.R. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus,.... Some say it was a mile from Damascus: though, no mention is made of his obtaining letters from the high priest, only of his desiring them; yet there is no doubt but they were granted him; the design of the historian, under a divine direction, being to give an account of the temper and disposition of Saul; and he having got them, set out on his journey in high spirits, and proceeded on with the same wicked intentions, till he came near the city; where he designed to open and show his commission, and execute his wrathful purposes; but he is not suffered to go into the city with such a Spirit:

and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven; which exceeded the light and brightness of the sun, for it was at midday, Acts 26:13 and so the Ethiopic version here inserts this clause, "and it was noon time"; which circumstance shows that the light was very extraordinary; and it was an emblem of that inward and spiritual light which was now quickly communicated to him, light being the first thing in the new, as in the old creation; and of that Gospel light he was hereafter to spread in the world. 3. he came near Damascus—so Ac 22:6. Tradition points to a bridge near the city as the spot referred to. Events which are the turning points in one's history so imprint themselves upon the memory that circumstances the most trifling in themselves acquire by connection with them something of their importance, and are recalled with inexpressible interest.

suddenly—At what time of day, it is not said; for artless simplicity reigns here. But he himself emphatically states, in one of his narratives, that it was "about noon" (Ac 22:6), and in the other, "at midday" (Ac 26:13), when there could be no deception.

there shined round about him a light from heaven—"a great light (he himself says) above the brightness of the sun," then shining in its full strength.9:1-9 So ill informed was Saul, that he thought he ought to do all he could against the name of Christ, and that he did God service thereby; he seemed to breathe in this as in his element. Let us not despair of renewing grace for the conversion of the greatest sinners, nor let such despair of the pardoning mercy of God for the greatest sin. It is a signal token of Divine favour, if God, by the inward working of his grace, or the outward events of his providence, stops us from prosecuting or executing sinful purposes. Saul saw that Just One, ch. 22:14; 26:13. How near to us is the unseen world! It is but for God to draw aside the veil, and objects are presented to the view, compared with which, whatever is most admired on earth is mean and contemptible. Saul submitted without reserve, desirous to know what the Lord Jesus would have him to do. Christ's discoveries of himself to poor souls are humbling; they lay them very low, in mean thoughts of themselves. For three days Saul took no food, and it pleased God to leave him for that time without relief. His sins were now set in order before him; he was in the dark concerning his own spiritual state, and wounded in spirit for sin. When a sinner is brought to a proper sense of his own state and conduct, he will cast himself wholly on the mercy of the Saviour, asking what he would have him to do. God will direct the humbled sinner, and though he does not often bring transgressors to joy and peace in believing, without sorrows and distress of conscience, under which the soul is deeply engaged as to eternal things, yet happy are those who sow in tears, for they shall reap in joy.
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