From: Jim West (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Apr 25 1998 - 11:48:39 EDT
At 12:25 AM 4/26/98 +1000, you wrote:
>A new Christian is perplexed by apparent contradictions in the accounts of
>the conversion of Saul.
>In Acts 9:7 we read
>hOI DE ANDRES hOI SUNADEUONTES AUTOi EISTHKEISAN ENEOI, AKOUONTES MEN THS
>FWNHS MHDENA DE QEWROUNTES
>but in Acts 22: 9 we read
>hOI DE SUN EMOI ONTES TO MEN FWS EQEASANTO THN DE FWNHN OUK HKOUSAN TOU
>and in Acts 26:14
>PANTWN TE KATAPESONTWN hHMWN EIS THN GHN HKOUSA FWNHN LEGOUSAN ...
>F. F. Bruce points out that we have Luke saying that Saul fell to the ground
>in 9:4, and in 9:7 the companions stood speechless, but Paul says in 26:14
>that they had all fallen to the ground. And in 9:7, Luke says the companions
>heard the voice or sound, but in 22: 9 Paul tells his hearers that the
>companions saw the light but didn't hear the voice.
Bruce is right in this summary, as the accounts are clearly "different" if
>Moulton and A.T. Robertson argued that the genitive in Luke's account refers
>to a sound, but that the accusative in Paul's accounts refers to
>intelligible speech. Is this reasonable?
No. This move is made as a theological one and not a grammatical or
linguistic one. I.e., to rescue the narratives from the contradictions that
exist, these guys have suggested that they really say the same thing. This
is the prime example of theology overtaking linguistics and setting aside
the clear meaning of the text in the service of a theological perspective.
>The NASB translates THN DE FWNHN OUK HKOUSAN in Acts 22: 9 as "but did not
>understand the voice."
>F.F. Bruce suggests that the sound Paul's companions heard [according to
>Luke] may have been Paul's own voice.
This is possible.
>What think ye?
Well, you asked! :) I think the accounts are contradictory- as the simple,
straightforward reading suggests. Must this contradiction be resolved? I
don't think so. What can we say to "new christians" who run across such
things? We can tell them that God is greater than the Bible and that the
Bible is not God.
>I couldn't help remarking to my friend who told me of this newbie's distress
>that there are plenty more such difficulties to be found in the Bible!
Jim West, ThD
Quartz Hill School of Theology
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