ABC:Acts 22

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Verse 9

Infidels.org calls as a contradiction, "Did those with Saul/Paul at his conversion hear a voice?"[1]

Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

Acts 22:9 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.

Although some bizarre attempts have been made to suggest the Greek words translated voice and heard/hearing (phone and akouo[2] respectively) should be translated differently in each passage, I find them unpersuasive since both are used in both passages in the same way.[3] You can see the transliterated Interlinear for the passages using PowerBible CD (or online with Biblos.com[4]), which is as follows:

Acts 9:7 And <de> the men <aner> which <ho> journeyed <sunodeuo> with him <autos> stood <histemi> speechless, <enneos> hearing <akouo> <men> a voice, <phone> but <de> seeing <theoreo> no man. <medeis>

Acts 22:9 And <de> they that were <on> with <sun> me <emoi> saw <theaomai> indeed <men> the light, <phos> and <kai> were <ginomai> afraid; <emphobos> but <de> they heard <akouo> not <ou> the voice <phone> of him that spake <laleo> to me. <moi>

In my opinion, the only real probable explanation to avoid a contradiction involves the voices in 9:7 not including "the voice of him that spake to me". 22:9 after all says "heard not the voice of him that spake to me" whereas 9:7 says only "hearing indeed voices" (the Greek word men should have been translated verily or indeed by the KJV in 9:7 just as it was in 22:9).

Ultimately it's open for debate whether the voices they heard were their own or of angels, and whether they included the "voice of him that spake to [Paul]." If committed to giving the Bible the benefit of the doubt (which I am), then one will certainly be reluctant to assume the voices the men heard included the one specific to Paul when not overtly stated otherwise. Therefore this does not have to be a contradiction.

Sources

  1. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
  2. Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Akouo". "The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon". Retrieved from http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/akouo.html.
  3. Did the men with Paul hear the voice or not? Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. Retrieved from http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/luke-john-acts/did-men-paul-hear-voice-or-not.
    I’m troubled with the contradiction between Acts 9:7 and 22:9 where it is unclear whether the men with Paul at his conversion heard the voice he did. Bible.org. Retrieved from http://bible.org/question/i%E2%80%99m-troubled-contradiction-between-acts-97-and-229-where-it-unclear-whether-men-paul-his-co.
    Please explain the apparent contradiction between Acts 9:7 and 22:9, concerning Paul's conversion. The Restored Church of God. Retrieved from http://rcg.org/questions/p178.a.html.
  4. Acts 9:7 Greek Texts and Analysis. Bible Suite by Biblos. Retrieved from http://biblos.com/acts/9-7.htm.
    Acts 22:9 Greek Texts and Analysis. Bible Suite by Biblos. Retrieved from http://biblos.com/acts/22-9.htm.