Acts 9:22
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
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(22) But Saul increased the more in strength.—The tense implies a continuous growth in power, obviously in the spiritual power which enabled the Apostle to carry on his work. A comparison of dates suggests the connection of this growth with the special vision of 2Corinthians 12:8, when in answer to his prayer that the infirmity which he describes as “a thorn in his flesh, the minister of Satan to buffet him,” he received the comforting assurance from the Lord whom he served—“My strength is made perfect in weakness.” It is not without interest that in after years St. Paul once and again uses the same verb of himself—“I can do all things in Christ that strengthened me” (Philippians 4:13). It was Christ who “enabled him,” or, made him strong, for his ministry (1Timothy 1:12); who “strengthened him” in the closing trials of his life (2Timothy 4:17). By some commentators the words are connected with the journey to Arabia as following on his first appearance as a preacher in the synagogues; but see Note on the previous verse.

9:10-22 A good work was begun in Saul, when he was brought to Christ's feet with those words, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And never did Christ leave any who were brought to that. Behold, the proud Pharisee, the unmerciful oppressor, the daring blasphemer, prayeth! And thus it is even now, and with the proud infidel, or the abandoned sinner. What happy tidings are these to all who understand the nature and power of prayer, of such prayer as the humbled sinner presents for the blessings of free salvation! Now he began to pray after another manner than he had done; before, he said his prayers, now, he prayed them. Regenerating grace sets people on praying; you may as well find a living man without breath, as a living Christian without prayer. Yet even eminent disciples, like Ananias, sometimes stagger at the commands of the Lord. But it is the Lord's glory to surpass our scanty expectations, and show that those are vessels of his mercy whom we are apt to consider as objects of his vengeance. The teaching of the Holy Spirit takes away the scales of ignorance and pride from the understanding; then the sinner becomes a new creature, and endeavours to recommend the anointed Saviour, the Son of God, to his former companions.Increased the more in strength - His conviction of the truth of the Christian religion became stronger every day, and hence his moral strength or boldness increased.

And confounded - See Acts 2:6. The word here means "confuted." It means also occasionally "to produce a tumult or excitement," Acts 19:32; Acts 21:31. Perhaps the idea of producing such a tumor is intended to be conveyed here. Paul confuted the Jews, and by so doing he was the occasion of their tumultuous proceedings, or he so enraged them as to lead to great agitation and excitement - a very common effect of close and conclusive argumentation.

Proving that this - This Jesus.

Is very Christ - Greek: that this is the Christ. The word "very" means here simply in the Greek: ὁ Χριστός ho Christos. It means that Paul showed by strong and satisfactory arguments that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah. The arguments which he would use may be easily conceived, but the evangelist has not seen fit to record them.

20-22. preached Christ … that he is the Son of God—rather, "preached Jesus," according to all the most ancient manuscripts and versions of the New Testament (so Ac 9:21, "all that call on this name," that is, Jesus; and Ac 9:22, "proving that this Jesus is very Christ"). Increased the more in strength; true grace thrives by exercise and opposition: the word here used many take to be a metaphor from builders, who, in erecting their fabrics, fit one piece or part to another, and then bring them and join them together; thus St. Paul did, in bringing forth or quoting the promises in the Old Testament, and showing their exactly being fulfilled in the New Testament, or in the gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ; and he spake with such an evidence and demonstration of the Spirit, that he did, as it were, constrain men to be of his opinion.

Proving that this is very Christ; which was the sum of the gospel.

But Saul increased the more in strength,.... Not of body, but of mind; his gifts and graces, and spiritual light and knowledge increased; his abilities were greater; his fortitude of mind, boldness, and freedom of speech, every day increased: he got more, and new, and fresh arguments, by which he himself was confirmed, and he confirmed others in the truths of Christ. Some copies read, "he was more strengthened in the word"; either in the word of God, having a clearer understanding, and being more confirmed in the truth of it; or in speech, being more ready and powerful in speaking it.

And confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus; confuted them, and put them to silence, so that they had nothing to say for themselves, or against the truth:

proving that this is very Christ; by joining and knitting passages of Scripture in the Old Testament together, by producing and citing express testimonies from thence, and by comparing the prophecies and the characters of the Messiah in them, with Jesus of Nazareth, he proved to a demonstration that he must be the Messiah.

{3} But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, {k} proving that this is very Christ.

(3) Paul does not do battle only with his own authority, but also with the testimonies of the Prophets.

(k) By conferring places of the Scripture together, as skilful craftsman do when they make something, they used to gather all parts together, to make them agree fitly one with another.

Acts 9:22-23. But Saul, in presence of such judgments, became strong in his new work all the more (Nägelsb. on the Iliad, p. 227, ed. 3).

συνέχυνε] made perplexed, put out of countenance, ἐπεστόμιζεν, οὐκ εἴα τι εἰπεῖν, Chrysostom. Comp. on Acts 2:6. The form χύνω instead of χέω belongs to late Greek. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 726.

συμβιβάζ.] proving. Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:16; Schleusner, Thes. s.v.; Jamblich. 60.

ἐπληροῦντο, as in Acts 7:23. ἱκαναί, as in Acts 9:43; Acts 18:18; Acts 27:7, of a considerable time (Plat. Legg. p. 736 C), especially common with Luke.

Acts 9:22. ἐνεδυναμοῦτο: only used here by St. Luke, and elsewhere only by St. Paul (five or six times), and always of religious and spiritual strength; used also three times in the LXX; twice with reference to the power of the Spirit, Jdg 6:34, 1 Chronicles 12:18; in Psalm 51:7, perhaps the simple verb δυναμόω.—συνέχυνε: “confounded,” so A. and R.V., or rather, “continued to confound,” imperfect active, cf. Acts 2:6, “were confounded.” passive, see also Acts 19:32, Acts 21:31 (critical notes above): from συνχύννω (συνχύνω), nowhere used except in Acts, as above (see Moulton and Geden). συνχύννω: not found in classical Greek nor in LXX, a later form of συγχέω, συνχέω T. W. H. (cf. ἐκχύννομαι from ἐκχέω, three times in Acts, also two or three times in Luke’s Gospel; in Matthew twice, in Mark once, also Romans 5:5, Judges 1:11; not found in LXX, but see Theod., 2 Samuel 14:14); in Acts, Acts 21:27. συνέχεον from συνχέω (but see in loco), Moulton and Geden. According to the best MS., Tisch., W.H[229], read the double v, but elsewhere we have only one v, Winer-Schmiedel, p. 132, Blass, Gram., p. 41.—συμβιβάζων: only used by St. Luke and St. Paul, cf. Acts 16:10, Acts 19:33, see especially for this last passage, Grimm-Thayer, sub v., cf. 1 Corinthians 2:16. In the LXX the word is used in the sense of teaching, instructing, Exodus 4:12; Exodus 4:15; Exodus 18:16, Isaiah 40:13, etc., this usage is purely Biblical (in Attic Greek rather προσβ. in this sense): lit[230], (1) to bring together; (2) then like συμβάλλω, to put together, to compare, to examine closely; (3) so to deduce, to prove; thus here the word may well imply that Saul compared Messianic passages of the O.T. with the events of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and hence deduced the proof that He was the Christ, cf. παρατιθέμενος in Acts 17:3. So Theophylact explains διδάσκων καὶ ἑρμηνεύων out of the Scriptures which the Jews themselves knew.

[229] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[230] literal, literally.

22. But Saul increased the more in strength] i.e. he became more and more energetic in his labours and the Holy Ghost gave him more power. His fitness for the labour on which he was entering was very great. He possessed all the Jewish learning of a zealous pupil of Gamaliel, and now that he had seen Jesus in the glory of the Godhead, he could use his stores of learning for the support of the new teaching in such wise as to commend it to those Jews who were looking for the consolation of Israel. But these would naturally be the smallest portion of his hearers. The rest of the Jews were confounded. They heard their Scripture applied by a trained mind, and shewn to be applicable to the life of Jesus. They could not at this time make an attack on Saul, for they were paralysed by what they heard, and it was only when some time had elapsed that they resolved to continue in their rejection of Jesus, and then, at a later time, their persecution of Saul began.

proving that this is very [the] Christ] The word here rendered “proving” is used again in Acts 16:10, and translated “assuredly gathering.” The idea conveyed by it is that of putting things side by side, and so making a comparison and forming a conclusion. Thus Saul, well equipped with a knowledge of the ancient Scriptures, set before his hearers a description of the Messiah as he is there portrayed, and relating the life history of Jesus, shewed them that in Him the Scriptures of the prophets had been fulfilled.

Acts 9:22. Συνέχυνε, he confounded) So that they contradicted themselves. The antithesis on the part of Saul is συμβιβάζων, confirming or proving assuredly. And yet he does not now fight against the Jews with those arms with which both himself had fought against believers, and with which he is now assailed by the Jews.

Verse 22. - The Christ for very Christ, A.V. The repetition of the phrase ὅτι οῦτός ἐστιν (vers. 20 and 22) is remarkable. As already observed, it presupposes the mention of Jesus, of whom it is thus predicated that he is both "the Son of God" and "the Christ" (comp. Acts 2:32, 36; Acts 4:11, etc.). Observe the incidental proof of the general expectation of the Jews that Christ should come in this description of the apostolic preaching as directed to the one point that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ. Acts 9:22Confounded

See on Acts 2:6.

Proving (συμβιβάζων)

The verb means to bring or put together: hence to compare and examine, as evidence, and so to prove. Used in the literal and physical sense in Ephesians 4:16. In Colossians 2:2, of being knit together in love. In 1 Corinthians 2:16, of instructing, building up, by putting together. In this sense the word occurs in the Septuagint. See Leviticus 10:11; Judges 13:8.

The Christ

Note the article. Not a proper name, but an appellative. See on Acts 9:20.

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