Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A.D. The Bible Continues--Saul Returns (or, Did He?)

For those of you who may be following the highly entertaining 
http://www.nbc.com/ad-the-bible-continues, there was not a lot in the last show that was biblically accurate. There may have been a lot of historical aspects that were true but I cannot attest to that.

What I can attest to is what the Bible says:

Gal 1:15-20
 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me (Saul) so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, 

I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, 

17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; 
but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. 

18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother. 

As you can see, Saul did not go to Jerusalem to meet any of the apostles for at least 3 years after his conversion. When this occurred I do not at this writing definitively know. It could have happened "immediately after he took food and was strengthened" in 9:19a or he could have gone into Arabia after verse 25. All I really know is that sometime after his conversion he went to Arabia and did not go to Jerusalem for at least 3 years afterwards.

If all one read was the book of Acts for your script, this is what you would see and what you saw in the TV show:
Acts 9:19-30

Now for several days he (Saul) was with the disciples who were at Damascus, (at this point, who they were we don't know, because it doesn't say),

20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." 

21 And all those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" 

22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 

23 And when many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, 

24 but their plot became known to Saul. And they were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death;

 25 but his disciples took him by night, and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. (Depicted very well).

26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. (This was at least 3 years after his conversion, mind you). 
I really like how Saul is portrayed in the show, very energetic, very bubbly. After he was caught by the prison guards in Jerusalem (which did not happen) one of the guards said to him when he was behind bars, "You just couldn't keep your mouth shut, could you?" Ha!