Question: In the first edition of Decision Making, you did not
discuss Acts 22:14-15 in which Ananias told Paul that he would know
God's will for him. Doesn't that indicate that God had an individual will for Paul? And if God
intended for Paul to know His will, shouldn't we expect the same for all believers?
Answer: OK, this was an infrequently asked question. But this passage has been brought up by enough
readers to warrant a reply, and it does refer directly to "knowing God's will."
Here is what the passage says:
And he [Ananias] said [to me, Paul], 'The God of our fathers
has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His
mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.' This passage
is one of three that describes Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1-19; 22:1-21;
26:9-23). What is the content of "His will" in these verses? A believing response to the
gospel is the first step of obedience to the moral will of God for unbelievers like Paul. The
immediate result of this Damascus road revelation was Paul's salvation and baptism
It is probable that "His will" also encompasses God's revelation of Paul's apostleship and
ministry to the Gentiles declared at the same time. In later writings, Paul refers back to his
apostolic appointment as being "according to the commandment of God" (1 Timothy 1:1) and "by the
will of God" (2 Timothy 1:1). The statements in Acts 9:15 and 22:15 that Paul is "a chosen
instrument of Mine [Christ's]" and "a witness for Him" likely refers to Paul's apostolic
commissioning, since the apostles were the chosen and inspired eye-witnesses of the resurrection
"God's will" for Paul, then, consisted of faith in the gospel followed by direct revelation of
his appointment as an apostle to the Gentiles. While the former is part of God's moral will for
all men (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9), the latter is unique to Paul.
These two facets are sufficient to explain "His will" in this text without reading the theology of
an individual will into the passage.
So my answer to the question is no. The fact that God's moral will for Paul included details
that were revealed to the apostle by divine revelation does not imply that God has an individual
will for all believers revealed to their hearts by impressions of the Holy Spirit.