When God needed to turn Saul’s life around, he used a supernatural light, an unseen voice, and temporary blindness to get Saul’s attention (Acts 9:3-9).
Some time later, Saul (Paul), under the power of the Holy Spirit, did the same thing to a guy named Elymas. Elymas was supernaturally blinded for a time so God could get his attention (Acts 13:9-11).
These two accounts have amazing similarities.
Before both of these occurred, Jesus healed a blind man. When questioned about it, the man said, “I once was blind, but now I see.”
What he said literally about Jesus healing him, we can say figuratively about Jesus saving us.
In reading the book of Acts in the Bible we learn about a badly misguided dude named Saul who turns his life around and later goes by the name of Paul. When did this name change take place?
If you say his name changed when he stopped killing Jesus’ followers to become one himself, I’d agree with you — and we’d be wrong.
Saul started following Jesus in Acts chapter 9, but continues to go by Saul until Acts chapter 13. What happened there?
It’s subtle, but Acts 13:9 says, “Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit…” I can’t say for sure, but this seems to be the first indication of God’s spirit filling Saul. Sure, he was a follower of Jesus before that and he was doing things for God before that, but when the Holy Spirit filled him, it’s as if God gave him a new name, Paul.
The change is abrupt. In Acts 7:58 through Acts 9:13 he is Saul. The Holy Spirit shows up in Acts 9:13 and for the rest of the book of Acts (and the rest of the Bible) he goes by Paul.
And that’s when his ministry took off.