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