There are three accounts of Saul’s (who later was named Paul) conversion as he journeyed to Damascus. These accounts were NOT written by Paul but by the inspired writer of book of Acts, which most ascribe to Luke, the writer of the gospel bearing his name (compare Luke 1:3 with Acts 1:1). In Acts chapter 9 Luke gives the account of Saul’s conversion, and in chapters 22 and 26 Luke gives the account of Paul giving his conversion story, first to his Jewish brethren and then to King Agrippa. So, if one has an argument concerning “possible discrepancies” between these accounts, it would not be with Paul alone but also with Luke who was inspired to write all three accounts. Before we look at the “supposed contradictions” it must be said that if there was an “actual contradiction” in the Bible it would mean the whole Bible cannot be trusted. In other words, it would not just cause one to “challenge the books that Paul wrote,” but it would cast a cloud of doubt and mistrust on “every book of the Bible.” Yet this is impossible, for God Himself has said, “All Scripture is given by INSPIRATION OF GOD” (2nd Timothy 3:16) and that “holy men of God spoke as they were MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT” (2nd Peter 1:21). This means that the whole Bible is “God-breathed.” God gave men revelations and then He led (moved) them to write down the exact words to reveal to us His divine revelations. The “holy men of God” that were used were simply His instruments to communicate His Word to mankind. God “dictated the very words they should write” and “they wrote them down” (see 1st Corinthians 2:9-13). We read in Scripture three times that “God cannot lie” (see Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18 and Titus 1:2) so it is impossible for the Bible to contain any discrepancies or contradictions. This is why Jesus said (while praying to His Father in heaven), “Your word is truth.”

The main “so-called discrepancy” that is cited in the accounts of Saul’s conversion is found in Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9. In Acts 9:7 we read, “And the men who journeyed with him stood by speechless, HEARING A VOICE but seeing no one.” In Acts 22:9 we read, “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they DID NOT HEAR THE VOICE of Him who spoke to me.” I must admit that this does sound, on the surface, like a direct contradiction, but knowing that contradictions in Scripture are impossible one must wait on God and ask Him, “Lord, how do we reconcile these two statements?” There is actually a very clear explanation that clearly reveals that THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION! In Acts 9:7 they “heard a voice” but they did not understand it or recognize that it was the Lord of glory that was speaking to Saul. That’s what is meant by the words in Acts 22:9, “they did not hear THE VOICE OF HIM (the Lord of glory) who spoke to me.” In other words, the voice was “unintelligible” to them. The fact is we have another example of this in Scripture where God speaks from heaven and men heard the voice but couldn’t understand that it was God’s voice or if it was even a voice at all. I’m referring to John 12:27-28, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name. Then A VOICE CAME FROM HEAVEN, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Therefore, the people who stood by and HEARD IT said that that IT HAD THUNDERED. Others said, ‘AN ANGEL SPOKE to Him.’” So, the people clearly HEARD THE FATHER’S VOICE (just as those who were with Saul heard the voice of Jesus), yet they did NOT UNDERSTAND IT. Some thought it was THUNDER; others thought it was AN ANGEL. In both cases (here and at the time of Saul’s conversion) we see that the people HEARD A VOICE, but they DID NOT UNDERSTAND IT OR WHO WAS SPEAKING.  (463.5)  (DO)