Acts 22

ACTS 22:1-2  1 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” 2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said:

Who are "they" (Acts 22:2) and who is "he" (Acts 22:2)?

Why did the crowd of Jews keep "all the more silent" (Acts 22:2)?

Why would that silence them?

Did speaking in Aramaic…

show respect/call for respect

make him more generally understandable

align him to Jesus

get attention

surprise people (cf Greek in 21:37)

How do you think Paul was feeling?

ACTS 22:3  3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. 4 “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

How did this show him to be a respectable JEWISH man? A free  man, well educated, informed, trained, a Pharisee, an eminent teacher?

Why did Paul bring up his educational pedigree?

He was born in "Tarsus" (Acts 22:3), a city on the Mediterranean coast in the Roman province of "Cilicia" (Acts 22:3) in what is southeastern Turkey today, but "brought up in" (Acts 22:3) Jerusalem. Tarsus was the intellectual capital of Cilicia and the third most renowned educational centres in the Roman Empire, surpassed by only Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt.

Who is "Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3)?
See Acts 5:34

Gamaliel was the pre-eminent Jewish rabbi of his generation.

What did it mean to be "brought up ... at the feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3)?
It meant that Paul was a chosen pupil of Gamaliel and "taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law" (Acts 22:3).

Why does Paul say that he was "zealous toward God as you all are today" (Acts 22:3)?
Is being zealous a good thing?  See Romans 10:1-4

ACTS 22:4-5  4 “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

With whom could they verify Paul's statements?

Did he fulfil his commission?

See Acts 9:1-2

See Acts 21:6

ACTS 22:6  6 “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. 7 “And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. 10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus. 12 Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

Did this really happen? (See Acts 9)

Who was Paul talking to?  Wasn’t Jesus dead at this time?

See Hebrews 12:25

This is Paul’s unique testimony.  What’s yours and does it relate to Paul’s in any way?

With whom should personal testimony be shared? Can we share ours as publicly as Paul did here? See 1 Peter 3:15). 

Was Ananias a Jew or a Christian? See Acts 9:10

Where did Paul go after his conversion? See Galatians 1:13-24

Who taught Paul about the Gospel? Did he learn it from the other leaders? See Galatians 1:11-20

Did Paul and Peter always agree? 

When did Paul first visit Jerusalem? How was he received there? How did he leave? See Acts 9:19-30

ACTS 22:17  17 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance 18 “and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’

In his trance in the temple of Jerusalem, did Paul only HEAR the Lord?

What was he told?

How did the unbelievers who heard Paul's testimony about Jesus react?

How do unbelievers typically react today when we share with them our testimony about Jesus?

Why? See 1 Corinthians 1:18.

ACTS 22:19-24  19 “So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. 20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’  21 “Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the gentiles.’ ” 22 And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” 23 Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him.

Did Paul finish his address?

Is it true that Paul had consented to the murder of Stephen? Why? See Acts 7:54-60.

Why do you think Paul included this in his address?

How would calling Stephen a MARTYR go down with the Jews?

What was the word that triggered the people’s response?

What did the Jews have against "the gentiles" (Acts 22:21)?

Isn’t this a serious example of racism?

How did they express their displeasure? How serious was their demands (V22)

Are there parallels to this behaviour in our society.

Did Paul follow Christ’s commission? See Romans 15:20

Why was Paul taken into the barracks?

ACTS 22:25  25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”

What is “scourge” and what wasn’t it lawful for a Roman to suffer?
μαστιζειν (mastizein), the original Greek word translated "scourge" above has the same root as εμαστιγωσεν (emastigosen), the original Greek word used in John 19:1 to state that Jesus was "scourged" by the Romans before His crucifixion, and refers to whipping, lashing or even punishing in general. But φραγελλωσας (phragellosas), the original Greek word translated "having scourged" in Matthew 27:26 and Mark 15:15, specifies the whipping that Jesus received from the Romans as having been with the Roman flagellum.

What did being scourged with the Roman flagellum involve?
The victim to be scourged was stripped and made to stretch his arms around a pillar, boulder or another large object, typically at a forward-leaning angle. His hands were then "bound ... with thongs" (Acts 22:25) tightly on the other side of the pillar or boulder so that his arms were distended and his back stretched taut. He was then whipped with the Roman flagellum, which is a whip with two or three long leather strips attached to a short wooden handle. Knotted in along the leather strips were pieces of metal and bone that dug into and then tore out flesh during the whipping, which shredded the victim's back from the neck to the buttocks. It wasn't uncommon for the victims of the Roman scourge to die from the ensuing blood loss and/or shock.

Why did the Roman commander want to scourge Paul?
Paul's words had thrown the Jewish mob into a frenzy and to calls for his death, but since "he spoke to them in the Hebrew language" (Acts 21:40), the Roman commander didn't "know why they shouted so against him" (Acts 22:24) and wanted to find out by interrogating Paul under torture.

Was that legal?
The Roman law allowed slaves and visitors from outside the Roman Empire to be scourged, but not free persons from the Empire and certainly not Roman citizens. This is why, moment away from being scourged, "as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” (Acts 22:25)

How did the centurion react?

ACTS 22:26-29  26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman." 27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.” 28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” 29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

How did a person become a "Roman" (Acts 22:27) citizen?
Roman citizenship was originally reserved for the free residents of the city of Rome. As the Roman Empire grew, citizenship was granted to others who served the Empire in exceptional ways. During the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD), Roman citizenship could even be bought.

Why did the Roman commander volunteer to Paul, "With a large sum I obtained this citizenship" (Acts 22:28)?
Having been beaten up and almost killed by a mob, Paul most likely didn't look the part of a respected citizen of Rome. The Roman commander may have guessed that Paul must have bought his citizenship somehow on the cheap and may have been trying to put him in his place.

Why did those who were about to examine Paul "immediately" (Acts 22:29) withdraw from him?
Being "born a citizen" (Acts 22:28) of Rome was more prestigious than buying into it and also meant that Paul had at least parents and probably other family members and relatives who were (potentially powerful) Roman citizens.

Why was the Roman commander "afraid" (Acts 22:29)?
He was the one who had "ordered" (Acts 22:24, see Paul in Jerusalem and Roman Scourge) Paul to be "bound ... with thongs" (Acts 22:29), which was also illegal to do to a Roman citizen who hadn't been condemned.

How mistaken was the commander about Paul? See Acts 21:37-38

This had happened previously; see Acts 26:35-39.  Are the “rights” Christians have as citizens being disrespected in our society?

ACTS 22:30  30 The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.

Where was Paul taken "the next day" (Acts 22:30)?
A Roman citizen could be held by chains. Paul was "released" (Acts 22:30) from his chains and taken from the Roman "barracks" (Acts 22:24) at Antonia Fortress "down" (Acts 22:30) to the temple area just south of it.

Whom did the Roman commander order to gather?

Why? See Acts 22:30

Was this a typical move by Roman commanders?  Why? Acts 18:12-17

1401 Modified: 31-08-2022
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