"and Saul, yet breathing out threatening’s and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest”. Acts 9:1. We are told he made “havoc” of the church in Acts 8:3, havoc meaning to destroy or lay waste. Paul shut the saints up in prison, and when receiving authority from chief priest, put them to death. Acts 26:10. Other Scriptures could be quoted concerning Paul’s persecution against the church.
One verse stands out to the extreme of Paul’s persecution against saints. Gal. 1:13, “ for ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it”. The word “beyond” carries with it the idea of “over, beyond the necessary means of something, to stretch over much”. (Vines). “measure “means “a throwing beyond, abundance, exceeding, to throw beyond the usual mark, to surpass”. (Strong’s).
How that “beyond measure”, the highest possible degree, beyond all limits or bounds, exceedingly, Paul persecuted the church. The phrase here, “beyond measure” (Strong’s huperbole, # 5236) is often used in Scriptures to describe something, means to denote anything that is excessive, or than cannot be expressed by ordinary language.
We see in other verses how this is used. Romans 7:13, the phase is used, “that sin by commandment might become exceeding sinful”, beyond measure. II Cor. 1:8, “ for we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure (beyond), above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life”.
“but we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency (a throwing beyond, surpassing) of the power may be of God and not of us”. Vs. 17, “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a more exceeding, (surpassing, beyond measure, that cannot be expressed by ordinary language) and eternal weight in glory”.
Christ makes reference to this in Acts 9:4, in that Paul by persecuting the church as actually persecuting Christ, “ Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me”. Vs. 5, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest”. There was no lawful means by which to persecute Christians at this time. “beyond measure” means Paul persecuted the saints in the most violent way outrageous manner, beyond all others at this time who persecuted Christians.
- CL Bruner