Bible Answer

Is there a contradiction in Paul’s testimony in Acts?

Could you connect these Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 together? It seems they are contradicting each other.

In the two passages you mentioned (plus a third passage from Acts), Paul gives his testimony:

Acts 9:5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,
Acts 9:6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”
Acts 9:7 The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
Acts 9:8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.
Acts 22:6 “But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,
Acts 22:7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’
Acts 22:8 “And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’
Acts 22:9 “And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.

Acts 26:12 "While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests,
Acts 26:13 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.
Acts 26:14 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 26:15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. …


First, notice that Paul’s three accounts differ in small details. These differences are the normal variations that we would expect anytime someone related a story multiple times. If you tell a story about your childhood to three different people, most likely your three versions would differ at least slightly from one another. 

In the case of what Paul’s companions saw and heard, Paul’s first two retellings relate the scene slightly differently though not contradictory. In Acts 9 Paul says the men heard the voice but saw “no one,” meaning they never witnessed the source of the voice. Instead, they saw only a bright light. In the second account in Acts 22 Paul repeats that the men saw the light, and he adds that they didn’t understand the voice they heard. 

So these two passages are entirely consistent and complimentary. The men saw a light, as Paul said in both passages. They also heard a voice, which Paul also said in both passages, but they never saw the Person speaking and they could not understand the voice. Paul alone saw Christ and understood Christ’s words.