Summary of passage: Saul was persecuting the Lord’s disciples and all others who belonged to the Way, trying to imprison them or kill them. As Saul neared Damascus, a light from haven flashed around him and he heard a voice (Jesus), asking why does he persecute him? Jesus tells Saul to go to the city and he will be told what to do.
The others with him did not see anyone. They lead Saul to Damascus because Saul had been blinded by the light. In Damascus, the Lord called a disciple named Ananias to go to Saul and lay hands on him so that Saul may see again.
Ananias tells the Lord that Saul is a bad man (as if God didn’t know) and he might be arrested if he goes. The Lord explains his purpose for Saul to Ananias, saying Saul is His chosen instrument to carry his name before the Gentiles.
So Ananias complies, healing Saul and filling him with the Holy Spirit. Saul was baptized and regained his strength.
9a) bright, the brilliance of the light had blinded Saul, brighter than the sun blazing around me
b) Paul’s companions did not understand the voice, the voice was in Aramaic
c) Jesus of Nazareth, go into Damascus, told all you have been assigned to do, in Acts 26, Paul says Jesus told him what the other accounts say God told Ananias.
d) Paul’s commanded to go to the Gentiles. In Acts 9, all we learn is he was baptized. In Acts 22, Ananias is telling Paul still his commission. In Acts 26, Paul proclaims he was not disobedient to the vision from heaven
10a) Afterwards, Paul blinded followed Jesus, doing God’s will for his life.
b) I have never seen the glory of Christ so not for sure what things have lost their brilliance. If one is asking to list some things that have lost their brilliance after accepting Christ, that’s a different question. For that question, I would answer lots of things and it’s different for everyone because we are all beaten down by life and the Devil so the fight takes some of our enthusiasm away at times.
Not sure what BSF is after here though.
Not for sure what has lost its appeal in my life either in 4 weeks (a bit premature and borderline presumptuous in my opinion). This would be a better question to ask at the end of the study.
11) Paul was persecuting all the Lord’s disciples or followers of this Way and had wanted to imprison them in Jerusalem and hopefully kill them.
I’m definitely not persecuting anyone, hunting them down, calling for their imprisonment and death. In this sense of comparison, compared to what Paul was doing to Christians, I do know I’m no where near such a thing.
Even if BSF is asking for small persecutions, I would say no. Persecution is a very strong word (I submit a loaded word), meaning to harass in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict (Webster’s definition).
The closest I can come to what BSF is trying to get here is small issues that divide people and cause us not to associate with them due to beliefs. But there’s usually more that plays into such decisions like if their beliefs are harmful to your children or tearing you down personally.
12) Ananias questions the Lord’s call, mainly because he is afraid of dying. But when God explains the importance of His request, Ananias obeys despite the fears he may harbor.
The same goes for us. Despite our fears and our questions, we must follow God’s call on our life.
Conclusions: I didn’t like this lesson at all. I think this is the first time I’ve felt this way. Trying to compare Paul’s life to ours is a bit of stretch in my opinion. First, he lived an extraordinary life and lived in turbulent times; whereas, for most of us, we don’t. We live in relatively peaceful times and most of us lead ordinary lives.
Second, Paul experienced things most of us haven’t like seeing the glory of God and persecuting others to the point of death. I just can’t relate to these topics. I haven’t seen the Glory of God (would like to but probably won’t until I die) and I definitely haven’t come close to persecuting anyone.
While I admire BSF for trying to bring lessons down to our level, here I think they went awry. 10b and 11 need to be more specific in the context.
While I think Question 9 and 12 are good, I was so focused on the others that these messages got lost in their importance.
I’m sure some of you won’t like my take on this lesson or my critique. But this is how I see this from my perspective and I’m being honest with you all.
I’d love to hear your take on these questions. Maybe I’m being too literal or I’m just missing the point altogether.