Acts of the Apostles contradictions?


This remindes us also of the feast today: the Conversion of Saint Paul.
Let us see the text… contradictions in red???

In Acts 22:6-11

“6 “As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.”

In Acts 9:3-9

“3 Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. 4 And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; 6 but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”** 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.** 8 Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.”

What do you think???:confused:

In the love of God,


The first is Paul’s account, the second Luke’s retelling of what he heard.

If you were to hear your great grandfather tell about a significant family event, the account may be different when your father tells the story…the details may not be exactly aligned, but the meaning or significance of the event is constant.

Hope this helps.


But was not Luke who wrote the Acts???:confused: Therefore you suggest that he heard from Saint Paul the true account, and the he went and wrote what we wanted, or he just was not very careful…:cool:


Many thanks,



This is what the online Haydock’s Commentary has to say:
Chapter 22 “Ver. 9. Heard not the voice. To reconcile this with chap. ix. ver. 7. where it is said that they heard the voice; it may be answered that they heard a noise, and a voice, but heard it not distinctly, nor so as to understand the words. (Witham) — They heard not the voice of him who spoke to the apostle, but they heard the latter speak; (Acts ix. 7.) or perhaps they heard a noise, which they could not understand. They perhaps heard the voice of Paul answering, but not that of Christ complaining.”


The verb used in Acts 22:9 — akouō (ἀκούω) — can be translated both “hear” and “understand” (some of the best translations translate akouō as “understand” in 1 Cor. 14:2, for example). It often takes a noun in the genitive case for a person is being heard, with a noun in the accusative for the thing being heard. More classically, the use of the accusative indicates hearing with understanding. There is indeed a case difference here, with Acts 9:7 using the genitive tēs phōnēs (τῆς φωνῆς), and Acts 22:9 using the accusative tēn phōnēn (τὴν φωνὴν).

Basically, in Acts 22:9, Luke is saying that the others did not understand the sound that they heard. He does this by writing that they “did not [a verb that implies hearing and understanding]”. Whereas in Acts 9:7, he uses a different verb, writing “they did [a verb that only implies hearing, not understanding]”.


Yup. They heard it but did not understand. “Hear” and “Understand” can be synonyms, but not in all occasions.


Therefore we are left about the same or a bit worse. Now not only we have a voice but also a noise, which is not in the Greek original!!!

And what about the light. The ones that saw the light heard nothing and the ones that did not see the light heard the voice, not noise! Any way in either account it is not specify what was obvious: in both cases they heard Saint Paul talking to some one, which for our point is not important to consider.

Our problem in fact is more worrying. In both accounts we are told that Saint Paul was left blind seeing that strong light, but the ones that were with him and also saw the light nothing happen to them because we are told that they were able to lead Saint Paul to Damascus!! And your quote of the commentary does not seem to say anything about it, or yes:confused::confused:

Carry on…:smiley:

In the love of the truth,



NO! we are NEVER left the same, nor worse off as a result of reading, hearing, proclaiming, or pondering Sacred Scripture!:eek:


You are right!!! :thumbsup:
But I meant it in solving our problem, to decide if we have some contradictions or not…:confused:




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To me it seems that this is much clearer and better now. In the first instance they saw a light and did not hear anything specific or distinct. In the second they didn’t see anyone (the light was a light and not another person to them) and they heard a indistinct noise.



Gloria: I think my post, #5, answered your question.


I was just watching an episode of Heart of the Matter in which ex-Mormon Shawn McCraney
was explaining that. The men SAW as light, nothing more, no man, and they heard a voice,
but could not make out what the voice was saying. So on the one hand, the guys had seen
SOMETHING and heard SOMETHING, but failed to make heads or tails of what was being
perceived. I believe that’s how Shawn explained it.

See Episode 123 (Trinity Part II) at .


Sorry James, but yesterday it was to late for me to deal with your intelligent answer. I had to go and do my homework!!! We are in different time hours.

But here I am, I think I can say I do not agree with you, why???

First: I hope you agree that in 22:7 Saint Paul is saying that he heard a voice saying to him. So here is plainly clear that he is hearing the voice who told him something… in verse 22:9 Immediately he wants us to know what happen to the ones with him: he says that they indeed saw the light but did not heard the voice of the one speaking to him. Now, you do not hear a noise speaking, do you??? And neither is fair to say that they ‘did not understand’ the voice that was speaking… Saint Paul, to me, is obviously not wanting to make that point. He heard a voice, he did not understood a voice… and since he is comparing what happen to him to what happen to the ones with him, it is clear to me the meaning he meant.

In Acts 7:25 Luke uses the word to** understand** and to not to understand. He could have used it in our passage if he wanted, but he said ‘heard a voice’.

25 ἐνόμιζεν δὲ **συνιέναι **τοὺς [a]ἀδελφοὺς ὅτι ὁ θεὸς διὰ χειρὸς αὐτοῦ δίδωσιν **σωτηρίαν αὐτοῖς, οἱ δὲ οὐ συνῆκαν.

Why to look for things where they are not??:confused:

Second: You do not understand a sound, and on top in this context. It is when really we make nonsense of what we read for the sake of giving the meaning that we want.

Your explanation do not explain the contradictions, from my point of view.

But I feel it was very interesting an intelligent opposition to my observations of this passages.:thumbsup:
Still may be an expert can put me down with this one. What do you think? Did I opposed you coherently?

In the love of God,


OK Judas, but we have some problems. Never anyone have said that even Saint Paul saw a man, so why even to mention that they did not see a man.:smiley:

I think in post #13 I deal with ‘if they understood or heard’. Have a look to see what do you think.:confused:

In the love of God,



Maybe I goofed, but I was just seeing that “…but seeing no one” bit.
The men with Paul heard something but did not understand, and al-
so they saw no one. Paul heard and understood, so I guess I paral-
leld that sight portion also, might have been a mistake on my part.
Not an expert. :smiley:


2 sub-groups?

One saw the light but didn’t hear anything and the other heard but didn’t see anything. If Luke want to cover both bases, this is one way to do it but perhaps not realising that one can construe an error when none existed.


Don’t worry:D

Paul heard and understood, no were says the text this, even though the Greek word for ‘heard’ could be translate by ‘understood’. But not everywhere and certainly in these passages does not give for it. I said that in 22:7 Saint Paul is saying that he heard a voice saying to him. It is not right to say that he understood a voice saying to him. Is just not right, why we have to invent meanings when the text does not give for them.?:mad:

May be we should use our imagination :newidea: to see what could have happened :cool:

In the love of God,



My thoughts on this was that Luke mentions the episode 2 or 3 times in his document because he is relating the different accounts of testimony he has received. Otherwise why repeat the telling of the same episode to his readers?

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