At what point did Paul become a child of God, born of God? John said that God gave the authority to be the children of God born of God to those who received Christ (John 1:12,13; 1st John 3:1).

At what point did Paul become regenerate? Was it at his first encounter with the Lord on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:5,6)? Was it when he was baptized? Did it happen at a different time?

Ananias called Paul a brother before Paul was baptized (Acts 9:17, 22:13). What is the meaning of this word, "brother?" Does it infer that Paul had met the qualifications to be called a child of God, born of God, that is written in John 1, or was Ananias using the word "brother" differently, perhaps in the Old Testament sense?

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    (1) Passages about Paul's conversion are partial descriptions of an event from various perspectives, not explanations of the doctrine of salvation. In other words, if you want to understand salvation, that would require study of passages regarding salvation - this study would not be specific to Paul. As a result of the wording you used, you will get all sorts of answers depending on a person's doctrine of salvation. (2) I feel that your second question (regarding the meaning of "brother") should be separate, and would fit better on Hermeneutics.SE. Therefore, I am voting to close. – Jas 3.1 May 15 '12 at 17:17
  • @Jas3.1 - Where on earth in my question did I ask about salvation? Please, re-read my question, can you find the word "salvation" in there? My question is about regeneration, and specifically about the regeneration of Paul. Salvation is too big of a topic and I agree it would take a whole different study. – brilliant May 16 '12 at 0:44
  • I'm confused... you refer to the event as receiving Christ, being born of God, becoming a child of God, becoming a brother in Christ... how is this different than salvation? Either way, if I chose the wrong word, my point is the same. Substitute "salvation" for "regeneration" in my comment if you like. In general, passages describing the experiences of a person (like Paul) are not statements of doctrine, but are limited descriptions, included in narratives for specific purposes (in context.) – Jas 3.1 May 16 '12 at 4:02
  • "Substitute "salvation" for "regeneration" in my comment if you like" - Perhaps, I am being too technical here, but since there many people out there who believe that the saved nations in Rev. 21:24 will not be regenerated, i.e. will not be the children of God, likewise there are many who believe that those in 2 Peter 2:20-21 are the regenerated ones who will finally lose their salvation, I insist on drawing a difference between these two terms. The one that I am concerned with is the second one, that is "regeneration". – brilliant May 16 '12 at 5:25
  • Ah, ok. So by those definitions I should have used the word "regeneration" instead of "salvation". (I've always heard conversion referred to as "salvation", so that was new to me.) – Jas 3.1 May 16 '12 at 5:54

Your question really has two parts -

  1. How is one born again - through baptism or simply through receiving Christ in your heart.
  2. Was Ananias referring to Paul as a brother in Christ or using the Old Testament usage of the word brother.

Question number 1 has already been discussed many times on this forum. I will answer question 2.

It is likely that Ananias was referring to Paul as a "brother" in the same way that Stephen referred to the Jews as "brothers" and "fathers" (Acts 7:2). There is no way to know for sure.

  • "Question number 1 has already been discussed many times on this forum" - I've just looked through that list and have discovered that none of those threads is in fact discussing my question. The two closest to my question are "Biblical basis for baptism as a prerequisite for salvation" and "What does it mean “born of water” in John 3:5?", but they both – brilliant May 15 '12 at 13:50
  • inevitably fall into discussing the meaning of baptism in the light of salvation, while my question is about regeneration. Ironically, the epistle, in which John spoke of being a regenerated child of God, i.e. being born of God, probably the most - the 1st John (3:1,9,10, 4:7,9, 5:1,2,4,11,12,13,18) - doesn't mention baptism at all! – brilliant May 15 '12 at 13:50
  • @brilliant The other links are pertinent to the first question and discuss it. One answer to the "born of water" question even gives a link to the topic of Baptismal Regeneration. I'm not suggesting that you should believe this link, but I'm not sure what else you want regarding the first point. The other questions are quite on topic. – San Jacinto May 15 '12 at 14:40
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    @Eric that's worth another question in and of itself, and I suggest that you ask it. Short version: for the Reformed, predestination is unto regeneration. Faith in Christ is expressed out of this regeneration and the regenerate person would want no other way (irresistible grace), so yes the regenerate will accept Christ, and salvation is through faith, but regeneration is through God's grace apart from Faith (regeneration enables faith). In this view, salvation and regeneration are two different things, but they occur concurrently. The ordering is merely logical, not chronological. – San Jacinto May 16 '12 at 15:08
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    @SanJacinto, done: christianity.stackexchange.com/q/7693/971 – Eric May 16 '12 at 15:19

Ananias already had news from God that Paul would become a brother of Christ. Paul probably became a "brother in Christ" during his conversion on the way to Damascus.

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