But Saul, who is also called Paul (Saulos de, ho kai Paulos). By this remarkably brief phrase Luke presents this epoch in the life of Saul Paul. The “also” (kai) does not mean that the name Paul was given now for the first time, rather than he had always had it. As a Jew and a Roman citizen, he undoubtedly had both names all the time (cf. John Mark, Symeon Niger, Barsabbas Justus). Jerome held that the name of Sergius Paulus was adopted by Saul because of his conversion at this time, but this is a wholly unlikely explanation, “an element of vulgarity impossible to St. Paul “ (Farrar). Augustine thought that the meaning of the Latin paulus (little) would incline Saul to adopt, “but as a proper name the word rather suggested the glories of the Aemilian family, and even to us recalls the name of another Paulus, who was ‘lavish of his noble life’” (Page). Among the Jews the name Saul was naturally used up to this point, but from now on Luke employs Paul save when there is a reference to his previous life (Act 22:7; Act 26:14). His real career is work among the Gentiles and Paul is the name used by them. There is a striking similarity in sound between the Hebrew Saul and the Roman Paul. Paul was proud of his tribe of Benjamin and so of King Saul (Phi 3:5).
Filled with the Holy Spirit (plēstheis pneumatos hagiou). First aorist (ingressive) passive participle of pimplēmi with the genitive case. A special influx of power to meet this emergency. Here was a cultured heathen, typical of the best in Roman life, who called forth all the powers of Paul plus the special help of the Holy Spirit to expose the wickedness of Elymas Barjesus. If one wonders why the Holy Spirit filled Paul for this emergency rather than Barnabas, when Barnabas was named first in Act 13:2, he can recall the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in his choice of agents (1Co 12:4-11) and also the special call of Paul by Christ (Act 9:15; Act 26:17.).
Fastened his eyes (atenisas). As already in Luk 4:20; Luk 22:56; Act 3:4, Act 3:12; Act 6:15; Act 10:4.