David Nicholls Ian Harper IH> With reference to Acts 9:1-8 and Galatians1:16 I take

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David Nicholls Ian Harper IH> With reference to Acts 9:1-8 and Galatians1:16 I take it that IH> Saul is Paul? Why the change of name? What is the part that I am IH> looking for in Galatians 1:16 Do you think That when is says IH> "reveal his son to me" is reading a lot into the statement that IH> he was converted, or am I missing something here? He is called Saul from the first mention in Acts 7:58 and the last usage in Acts 13;9, and then in this verse, he suddenly becomes Paul from thereon, and without any explanation. It is suggested that it is because he begins travelling west at this point, towards Rome, that he uses the name Paul, the Roman/Latin version (meaning Little) of Saul which is Hebrew meaning "asked". The text in Gal 1:16 is a ref. to a direct revelation/conversion although it is interesting to note that here he says it was done so he could preach to the Gentiles, but in Acts, whilst he is converted in Acts 9:-1-19, he in fact preaches to the Jews and not the Gentiles in 9:20, 9:22, 13:1,5, 13:14-50, 14:1, 17:1-3, 17:10-11, 18:5, 19:6-8; in sum, Acts hardly agrees with what Paul says in Galatians. Another divergence is that in the apostolic conference in Acts 15 it is agreed that to prevent any more upsets betwee Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians (Acts 15:1-2) that the latter followed the rules laid down in the letter of Acts 15:20,29. The meeting in Gal 2:9 is apparently Paul's account of this conference; however it is AFTER this, that Peter (Cephas) begins separating from Gentiles (ie. in Gal 2:11-13) as if the Acts 15 conference and the letter issued about unity had never happened. IH>There are differences in the two books. Which do you think is the IH>right book? The thing that bothers me is that the followers of IH>Jesus must have been frightened of Paul ("Saul"). Why did IH>they take it so well that he had changed his ways. Acts is a writing to assure the Romans they had nothing to fear from Christianity, and to attack the Jews; it also attempts to show the early church as one united party, which clearly it wasn't. As Paul literally appears to be the founder of Christianity, Acts therefore seeks to downgrade Paul, eg. in Gal 1:16-17, Paul argues forcefully he was independent of the Jerusalem apostles, but in Acts he is their virtual messenger-boy, eg. Acts 15;2. See here in Acts Paul was "apppointed" to go down to Jerusalem", but in Gal 2:1-2 he says he went there by a revelation from God, ie. in his own writings he is toatlly independent and working under the direct hand of God, but in Acts, he is told what to do by the Jerusalem apostles. In Acts, the early church is one big happy family, but Paul's own writings reveal something different, eg. Gal 2:11. If there has to be a choice, I'd always choose Galatians. The point about why the Christians accepted him arises from Acts which should be regarded as near-fiction; while Paul does admit to persecuting the church in his own writings, the psychotic picture drawn of him in Acts is missing in his own letters; this is Acts' attempt to downgrade Paul and upgrade Peter to have a nicely-balanced church with two leaders, one missionising the Jews (Peter), and one missionising the Gentiles (Paul) - in Acts, each of them raises a dead person, each heals someone, each have a supernatural vision about the Gentiles, and each give a lengthy speech. Acts attempts to put them on equal standing. Commentators admit the Gestapo-type behaviour drawn of Paul in Acts wouldn't even be possible under Roman rule. Eg. in Acts 9:1-2 Paul goes up to Damascus with letters from the Jerusalem high priest to arrest Christians in Damascus; one commentator says of this, "recognition of that right (ie. to extradite criminals in another country) by the authorities in Damascus in Paul's day seems unlikely...". Anyway, according to 2 Cor 11:32, the Damascus authorities were doing this themselves ! Cheers David


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