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How did Paul see that the crippled man had faith to make him well? What does this mean?

Acts 14:8-10 ESV Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.

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    We don't allow questions that are 'searching for a text', so I made a slight edit to focus this question on the specific text being asked about. – Dan Jul 24 '14 at 19:18
  • What kind of answer are you looking for exactly? – david brainerd Jul 24 '14 at 23:49
  • @davidbrainerd The objectively perfectly inarguably correct one. :). Understanding the greek might be a good start to find out what he means. – LCIII Jul 24 '14 at 23:57
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Ah, the ESV's breaking up of the runon sentence I think makes it harder to catch the meaning. Because they disconnected "He listened to Paul speaking" from "And Paul, looking intently at him" with a period, I completely missed that all this happened while Paul was speaking. Until I went to Unbound Bible to look at the Greek, and I also read the ASV.

This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, (verse 9, ASV)

ουτος ηκουσεν του παυλου λαλουντος ος ατενισας αυτω και ιδων οτι πιστιν εχει του σωθηναι (verse 9, Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Majority Text, 2000 edition)

The actual grammar in the Greek is just like the ASV has it. Unlike the ESV's "He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking" it is a runon, with Paul's name occuring only once, and with the word ος (who) separating two clauses.

The word "seen" is just ιδων, which is common for actual sight as well as perception. I don't see anything special to take note of as far as Greek terms involved. But the runon sentence aspect of this makes it more dynamic than when its broken up into mini-sentences. It kind of evokes the idea of Paul preaching away, while this guy is in the audience nodding his head or in some way making it obvious that he believes what Paul is preaching, and Paul seeing this perceives that he has faith.

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  • Perhaps the best answer that can be given is in the context of Paul's preaching, he saw the man was "receptive"(had faith to believe). +1 – Tau Jul 26 '14 at 4:10
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The Greek indicates that Paul looked at him intently, kind of scrutinised him in particular, rather than just observing him along with the rest. He then took knowledge, was made aware, that the man had faith. I get the picture that the man was indicating that he was wrapt by what Paul was saying, fully and uncritically engaged, demonstrating the child like and unquestioning belief that Jesus stated we need to receive the kingdom. If you speak before an audience you can see those who are paying attention and who are receiving what you are saying.

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    Welcome to BH. You need to substantiate what you are saying about the Greek language. Perhaps link to Biblehub so we can check your reasoning. Otherwise it is just an unsupported opinion. – Nigel J Sep 29 '20 at 21:27

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