Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. (See parallel passages, Acts 9:1-20 and Acts 26:9-20.)

5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.

6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.

7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,

13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.

14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;

18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.

19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:

20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.


MEMORY VERSE: I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. —Acts 26:19b-20


CENTRAL THOUGHT: Saul of Tarsus, later renamed Paul, a strict Pharisee and persecutor of the early church, was specifically called by Jesus, Who appeared to him in a vision, to follow Him and be His minister to the Gentiles.




A Roman citizen, yet a Jewish Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin and son of a Pharisee; a student of the famous Jewish teacher, Gamaliel; a blameless follower of Moses’ law and a zealous militant for what he thought was truth; Saul was heading for yet another mission in his polished career. God, however, had other plans. In a dazzling vision, He arrested this man who with all his heart thought he was doing service to God, and brought him into a personal encounter with the glorified, risen Messiah. Once Paul was persuaded that Jesus was the promised Messiah, he turned all that passion and zeal into doing His will and preaching His gospel.

At first suspicioned by the disciples but aided and befriended by Barnabas, Paul began preaching in the synagogues the very gospel he had first denied. His knowledge of the law and the prophets enabled him to boldly prove the authenticity of Christ. He began to be persecuted by the Jews.

Paul, accompanied by Barnabas, then embarked on his first of three missionary journeys, spreading the gospel from Antioch (Syria) to Seleucia, then the island of Cyprus (where, at Paphos, his name was changed to Paul), then to Pamphylia, Antioch in Pisidia, and Lystra, where he was stoned; to Derbe, then back through Attalia to his starting point.

His second journey took him, this time accompanied by Silas, to Lystra, where they were joined by Timothy, and then to Troas, where they had a vision instructing them to go to Macedonia. From there they went to Philippi where they witnessed Lydia’s conversion, were beaten and imprisoned, miraculously delivered, and exceedingly joyful when their jailer and his whole family were saved and baptized. Leaving the new believers in Philippi they came to

Thessalonica and preached there several weeks, establishing a new congregation of believers while experiencing opposition from the unbelieving Jews. Heading by night to Berea, they met honest seekers of truth and found open hearts to the gospel, but were again opposed by the troublemakers from Thessalonica. From here Paul went to Athens, where he preached at Mars’ Hill before going to Corinth. At Corinth, he met Aquila and his wife Priscilla, and was joined again by Silas and Timothy. Here he stayed and taught a year and a half, being encouraged by Jesus again in a vision. Leaving Corinth, he sailed to Syria, visited the brethren at Ephesus and then returned to Caesarea and Antioch.

Paul began his third and last missionary journey by first going all over the country of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening the disciples. He then returned to Ephesus, where he stayed over two years, making Ephesus a center for spreading the gospel all over Asia. Paul made plans to return to Jerusalem, visiting the saints in Macedonia and Achaia along the way. It is believed that while he stayed in Corinth during the winter he wrote the epistle to the Romans. He was then joined by several brethren who met him in Troas, and from there they visited several places before arriving at Ephesus, where he gave his farewell charge to the brethren. Continuing on his way toward Jerusalem, Paul was warned several times that trouble awaited him there; nevertheless, he went forward, visiting saints at Tyre and Ptolemais, and Philip and his family in Caesarea before coming to Jerusalem.

Although gladly received by the brethren at Jerusalem, Paul indeed met with persecution from the Jewish leaders there, being beaten, bound and made to testify before the council. Again he was comforted by a vision of Jesus. Narrowly escaping a plot to kill him, he was escorted by soldiers to Felix the governor, before whom he testified twice. After being imprisoned there for two years, Paul witnessed before the new governor, Festus, and King Agrippa, who acknowledged that Paul “almost persuaded” him to become a Christian.

At last Paul, still a prisoner, was put on a ship heading for Rome, encountering violent storms and a shipwreck at sea, his courage bolstered again by cheering words in a vision. Miraculously delivered, sheltered by the islanders, and healed of a venomous snakebite, Paul spread the gospel on the island of Melita before setting sail again for Rome. There the brethren welcomed him and he was allowed to live in his own rented house, guarded by a soldier, receiving all who came to visit and continuing to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here he wrote six Epistles, recording some of his last words, “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7).

According to tradition, Paul was imprisoned and beheaded by Emperor Nero about A.D. 67. Of his sufferings there we have no written record, except for a general knowledge of the awful conditions endured by those Christians who were persecuted by Nero.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




1. The Heavenly Vision: Describe the times when Paul encountered Jesus speaking to him in a vision.

2. On Call: Name the devout brother in Damascus who was commissioned to instruct and baptize Saul (Paul).

3. His Calling: Name the four things Paul was chosen to do.

4. His Journeys: How many missionary expeditions did Paul make?




In the brief synopsis of Paul’s life and ministry, there is one connecting thread that is the life-changing beginning, energizing motivation, renewing purpose, and securing anchor of it all—the vision of Jesus Christ.

This is what separated him into the apostleship. It is what gave him the authority over demons and serpents, the energy to travel in all kinds of conditions, the boldness to speak to rulers and kings, the wisdom to appeal to Jews and Gentiles alike, the grace to bear his “thorn.”

This must be our heart-cry today. “Lord, give me a vision”! As Paul recognized, it is more important than pharisaical, outward righteousness. It is more potent than the mightiest of earth’s monarchs. It sustains through persecutions, upheavals, disappointment in brethren, storms, shipwrecks, prison bars, and death.

Oh, that we might see Him! That we might know Him, win Him, fellowship Him! Would we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ? Then seek to have a vision and hear His voice, and then—obey.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




Paul was constantly breaking in on the devil’s territory and enraging Satan. We, like Paul, are commissioned by an accompanying power that far surpasses Satan’s great power. Satan continually tried to stop Paul, but God protected his life until his work was completed. God has and will continue to work many miracles to preserve the Truth and the lives of His commissioned messengers.

Bro. Andrew, the “Bible smuggler,” testified that although the communist authorities knew who he and his helpers were, they could not stop them. Obedience to God’s call, reliance on God’s supernatural power, and a genuine love for the souls of the persecutors overwhelmed all the power and fear that Satan’s men could exert against them.

Christ’s call and approval compelled Paul to push through crushing hardships to persuade men everywhere that Christ was the true God they must turn to. God honored Paul’s obedience with great power and effect. We too, can experience the exhilaration of God’s power in and through us on others as we unreservedly follow Christ’s call to burn ourselves out in his service.

—Bro. Jeremy Booher