The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus

Acts 26.1


‘The conversion of Saul of Tarsus was one of the most important events in the history of the Christian church. The contrast between what he was before and what he became afterwards is absolutely amazing. In his own words here in Acts 26, he says that he used to punish Christians and compel them to blaspheme, persecuted them even unto foreign cities, and was on his way to Damascus for one of those times when he would round up Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem to have them either imprisoned or put to death. And yet in verses 22 and 23, a little later in his testimony, he says that he began to preach that Christ should suffer and be the first that should rise from the dead and show light unto the people and unto the Gentiles.

And so from being one who hated Christ and hated Christians, he was changed into a man who loved Christ and became a leader of the Christians. From a persecutor to a preacher, as it is in Galatians chapter 1, verses 23 and 24. They heard that he ‘which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed, and they glorified God in me.’

The change could not have been more dramatic or far reaching. If Professor [Richard] Dawkins were converted and became a minister of the gospel, that would only begin to approach the significance of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. We’re not surprised therefore to find that three times in the New Testament the conversion account is given us. Acts 9, the actual event, then chapters 22 and 26 of Acts in Paul’s own words. And with each successive account, the size of the account grows and gets larger. And this one in chapter 26 is the fullest of all. Now you might think that Saul’s conversion was unique to himself.’