While I do not believe the Bible contains any contradictions, I'm having trouble understanding the 2 scriptures above. Acts 9:4 says Saul heard the voice of Jesus on the road to Damascus. In Acts 9:27, Barnabas tells the disciples that Saul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus. Can you help clarify this?
Acts 9 contains one of the most interesting and important chapters in the Bible. It tells us how the apostle Paul became a Christian on the road to the city of Damascus. The purpose of this article is to discover if there is a contradiction between Acts 9:4 and Acts 9:27.
Did Paul See and Hear Jesus? – Acts 9:4
Acts 9:3-4 tells us that the Saul was traveling on the road to Damascus. When he was near to the city he saw a light from heaven flash around him. Here is Acts 9:3-4.
As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Acts 9:3-4 (NASB)
Most likely the flashes of light that are described in these verses was God’s shekinah glory. That is, Saul saw Jesus’ blazing, glorious light. He saw Christ in His glory. Matthew 17:1-2 also tells us that Christ appeared in radiant light on the Mount of Transfiguration while three apostles (Peter, James and John) were witnesses. John 17:5 also tells us that before Christ came to the earth, He existed in radiant glory.
Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:5 (NASB)
Next we are told that Paul heard Jesus speak. Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? Therefore, Paul saw Christ’s glory and also heard His voice.
Did Paul See and Hear Jesus? – Acts 9:27
Later Acts 9:27 also states that Saul had seen the Lord and talked with Him. Here is the verse.
But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. Acts 9:27 (NASB)
Notice that we are told Barnabas said Paul had seen the Lord on the road, and that Paul had talked with Him. This means Paul saw and heard Jesus, just as he did while on the Damascus road in Acts 9:4. So, there is no contradiction between Acts 9:4 and Acts 9:27.
Did Paul See and Hear Jesus? – Acts 26:12-14
Another significant passage is Acts 26:12-14.
While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’” Acts 26:12-14 (NASB)
Here we discover that Saul saw Jesus in His radiant glory and also heard Jesus speak. This passage agrees with both Acts 9:4 and Acts 9:27.
There is no contradiction between Acts 9:4 and Acts 9:27. Then Acts 26:12-14 confirms that Paul did see and hear Jesus on the road to the city of Damascus.