Acts 9:1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,
Do you have bad breath? I am not talking about the stinky kind, but bad breath nevertheless. You see we can only breathe out what we breathe in. The question we have to ask ourselves is this, ‘what atmosphere am I inhaling every day?’ If I put myself in an atmosphere where I am breathing in immorality, that’s what my breath will consist of. Whether it is uncouth profanity or just something not so overtly sinful like politics or athletics. Whatever atmosphere we live in and inhale is what is going to come out of us. If you inhale bad stuff, bad stuff is what is coming out. In the same way, breathing in God and His word fills us with life. Paul was breathing hatred against the church. This is how Stanley Horton describes it.
“‘Breathing out’ here is literally ‘breathing in’. In the greek it indicates it had become characteristic and continuous. In other words, Saul created an atmosphere around him of threats and murder so that he was constantly breathing it in. As oxygen enables an athlete to keep going, so this atmosphere kept Saul going. He put many in prison and voted to put them to death.”
Robertson’s Word Pictures paints the picture of Saul and his fierce anger against Christ and His people.
“Breathing threatening and slaughter… means that threatening and slaughter had come to be the very breath that Saul breathed, like a warhorse who sniffed the smell of battle. He breathed on the remaining disciples the murder that he had already breathed in from the death of the others. He exhaled what he inhaled. The taste of blood in the death of Stephen was pleasing to young Saul and now he reveled in the slaughter of the saints both men and women. In 26:11 Luke quotes Paul as saying that he was “exceedingly mad against them.”
Thankfully Paul had an encounter with God and the atmosphere of His life was radically and permanently changed. He was touched powerfully by the Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit atmosphere became the new environment for Saul to live in. He was now breathing in life and breathing out life. Much of the New Testament is the result of this fresh breath of life. Take a few moments and think about the atmosphere you are living in. Take steps to change it, get rid of that bad breath.