Author Topic: Did They Hear A Voice?  (Read 1739 times)

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Online Justin Kissel

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Did They Hear A Voice?
« on: December 18, 2008, 08:32:55 PM »
From two accounts of the conversion experience of Paul:

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

"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." - Acts 22:9

So did they hear a voice, or not?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 08:33:19 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2008, 08:56:29 PM »
When I was a practicing Muslim and Islamic apologist, this was one of the verses I used to "prove" that the Bible contradicts itself.  I hadn't thought about this until just now when I saw it and I'm really looking forward to hearing some thoughts on it.  Thanks for bringing this up A-man. :)
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Offline SolEX01

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2008, 09:07:20 PM »
Hint, think back to the Transfiguration except that the men who accompanied Paul neither saw any figure nor heard any intelligible voice.  Only Paul knew that Christ spoke directly to him.  The others were needed to transport the blinded Paul to the "street called straight."

Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 09:19:54 PM »
Quote
Hint, think back to the Transfiguration except that the men who accompanied Paul neither saw any figure nor heard any intelligible voice.  Only Paul knew that Christ spoke directly to him.  The others were needed to transport the blinded Paul to the "street called straight."

I don't quite understand your hint, SolEX01. And according to Acts 9:7 they did hear a voice...?
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Online ialmisry

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 09:38:23 PM »
From two accounts of the conversion experience of Paul:

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

"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." - Acts 22:9

So did they hear a voice, or not?

Acts 9:7 says that they "heard" the voice.

Acts 22:9 says that they did not "understand" the voice.
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Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 09:44:11 PM »
Where does Acts 22:9 say that? I don't see that in the text...

"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." - Acts 22:9

Nothing about understanding or not understanding, just about hearing.
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Online ialmisry

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 09:57:47 PM »
Where does Acts 22:9 say that? I don't see that in the text...

"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." - Acts 22:9

Nothing about understanding or not understanding, just about hearing.

οἱ δὲ σὺν ἐμοὶ ὄντες τὸ μὲν φῶς ἐθεάσαντο τὴν δὲ φωνὴν οὐκ ἤκουσαν τοῦ λαλοῦντός μοι.

It is so translated in the EOB, "understand."
http://www.orthodox-church.info/eob/download/nt8x10.pdf
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 09:59:03 PM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 10:01:10 PM »
Well, not knowing Greek, I'll have to take your word for it.

EDIT--And now that I look, I see that other translations like the NIV also use the word understand.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 10:05:18 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline Cephas

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2008, 11:08:44 PM »
+ Irini nem ehmot,

One explanation I've heard is that the men who were with Paul heard Paul speaking to someone, but they did not hear Christ speaking to Paul, and so were confused.  So the voice they heard was that of Paul's and not Christ's.
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Offline SolEX01

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2008, 11:42:51 PM »
Quote
Hint, think back to the Transfiguration except that the men who accompanied Paul neither saw any figure nor heard any intelligible voice.  Only Paul knew that Christ spoke directly to him.  The others were needed to transport the blinded Paul to the "street called straight."

I don't quite understand your hint, SolEX01. And according to Acts 9:7 they did hear a voice...?

I'm sorry if I confused you and I'm sorry if my explanation failed to help you.

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Offline Theophilos78

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2008, 05:31:34 AM »
From two accounts of the conversion experience of Paul:

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

"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." - Acts 22:9

So did they hear a voice, or not?

Those men journeying with Paul heard A voice, but not THE voice of the One who spoke TO Paul. In Acts 22 Paul relates the story of his conversion before Agrippa in the most detailed form and lays emphasis on the fact Jesus' speech was made known to him alone as the other men were kept out of the personal revelation. Thus, the men heard something similar to a voice, but did not know what it was or who it came from.
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Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2008, 09:00:27 PM »
Quote
I'm sorry if I confused you and I'm sorry if my explanation failed to help you.

I admit that it was my fault. When I look now at what you typed, it makes sense to me. I had my mind set in a certain pattern and was having a problem breaking from it.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 09:01:29 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline SolEX01

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2008, 09:50:33 PM »
I admit that it was my fault. When I look now at what you typed, it makes sense to me. I had my mind set in a certain pattern and was having a problem breaking from it.

Nothing is wrong with routine.  Patterns are harder to break.   :)

Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2009, 09:43:40 PM »
Ok, time to revisit this topic. I'm reading the book Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan Barker, and he devotes an entire chapter to this seeming discrepancy. He deals with two arguments that attempt to demonstrate the two verses in question do not contradict, and one of the arguments that he covers is that Acts 22:9 is supposed to use the word "understand". Here's some of what he has to say on pages 243-246):

Quote
The word acoustic comes from the Greek word akouo, meaning "to hear"... Both Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 use that word. Akouo does not mean "understand". New Testament Greek possesses other words for "understand."  The main one is suniemi, which is "to understand in the sense of putting things together"...

The Greek in Acts 22:9 is: ten de phonen ouk ekousan. ("The voice they did not hear." Ekousan is aorist [past tense] of akouo, 3rd person plural). The KJV and the new Revised Standard Version (NRSV) say that the men did not "hear" the voice, but the NIV and Living Bible (LB, a paraphrase, not a translation), both produced by evangelicals, say that the men did not "understand" the voice, removing the appearance of a contradiction...

There is nothing in Acts 22:9--nothing grammatical, contextual, or explicit--to indicated that akouo should be translated anything other than "hear"...

If Luke had wanted Acts 22:9 to mean "not understand," he should have said so, either explicitly (with suniemi or some other verb for understand) or contextually. If he had wanted to contrast the two meanings, why didn't he follow the New Testament practice of pairing akouo and suniemi?

Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 09:45:21 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline GammaRay

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2009, 07:01:32 AM »
Indeed, that's strange. Still, the rest event is presented completely accurately the second time (both passages in context).
Funny. People concetrate on whether the men heard the voice or not and do not see that at least Paul did hear it. Seems far more important to me. Anyway, I'm gonna contribute my two cents, although I don't see this as a "major contradiction that debunks the Bible" or something.


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

Acts 22:9
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.

Did the men hear a voice? Some random sound that close to a voice?
Did Paul hear the? A voice that was clearly speaking to him?
That might be the difference. If they could hear the voice clearly, wouldn't they also fall on their knees and confess?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2009, 07:01:47 AM by GammaRay »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2009, 07:34:45 AM »
We can hear a voice but not make out what it is saying.
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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2009, 12:33:58 PM »
St. John Chrysostom seems to indicate the the voice the men heard was that of Paul, i.e. they heard Paul's voice, but saw no one he was conversing with.  Therefore in the second part, where Paul says "they didn't hear THE voice," this voice was Christ, not Paul as in the previous part.

Sources:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vi.xix.html
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vi.xlvii.html
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Did They Hear A Voice?
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2009, 01:46:40 PM »
Ok, time to revisit this topic. I'm reading the book Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan Barker, and he devotes an entire chapter to this seeming discrepancy. He deals with two arguments that attempt to demonstrate the two verses in question do not contradict, and one of the arguments that he covers is that Acts 22:9 is supposed to use the word "understand". Here's some of what he has to say on pages 243-246):

Quote
The word acoustic comes from the Greek word akouo, meaning "to hear"... Both Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 use that word. Akouo does not mean "understand". New Testament Greek possesses other words for "understand."  The main one is suniemi, which is "to understand in the sense of putting things together"...

The Greek in Acts 22:9 is: ten de phonen ouk ekousan. ("The voice they did not hear." Ekousan is aorist [past tense] of akouo, 3rd person plural). The KJV and the new Revised Standard Version (NRSV) say that the men did not "hear" the voice, but the NIV and Living Bible (LB, a paraphrase, not a translation), both produced by evangelicals, say that the men did not "understand" the voice, removing the appearance of a contradiction...

There is nothing in Acts 22:9--nothing grammatical, contextual, or explicit--to indicated that akouo should be translated anything other than "hear"...

If Luke had wanted Acts 22:9 to mean "not understand," he should have said so, either explicitly (with suniemi or some other verb for understand) or contextually. If he had wanted to contrast the two meanings, why didn't he follow the New Testament practice of pairing akouo and suniemi?

Any thoughts?

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