C1 O 22:1-23:22. Paul and Jews in Jerusalem. Two addresses. P 23:23-35. Journey to Caeserea. Q1 24:1-27. Paul and Felix. Q2 25:1-12. Paul and Festus. Q3 25:13-26:32. Paul and Agrippa. P 27:1-28:16. Journey to Rome. O 28:17-29. Paul and the Jews in Rome. Two addresses.
O R 22:1-21. Paul's defense. S 22:22-30. Events following. R 23:1-15. Paul's defense. S 23:11-22. Events following.
R l 1-5. A zealous Jew. m 6-10. Revelation from the Lord. l 11-16. A chosen vessel. m 17-21. Revelation from the Lord.
1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear you my defense (Gr. apologia) which I make now to you.
2 (And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew tongue, they showed silence the more: and he says,)
3 I am a man which is a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught (Gr. paideuo, to train a child, instruct, chastise) according to the perfect manner (lit. accuracy. Much used by medical writers) of the law pertaining the fathers, and being zealous toward (or on behalf of) God (Gr. Theos. Heb. Elohim), as you all are this day. (This was to conciliate them)
4 And I persecuted this way as far as death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
5 As the high priest also does bear me witness, and the whole presbytery of the elders: from whom also I received letters to the brethren (this means the Jewish rulers in Damascus), and were going to Damascus, to bring them which were there also bound to Jerusalem, in order that they might be punished. (Paul was given credentials and authority to bind Christians and drag them to Jerusalem to be punished.)
6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and drew near to Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone out of the heaven a great light round about me.
7 And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, "Saul, Saul (see 9:4), why do you persecute Me?"
8 And I answered, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said to me, "I am Jesus Nazarene (see 2:22. The Lord Himself uses the despised name), whom you persecute." (Paul was persecuting Christians, and Paul didn't do anything half way. He was Zealous.)
9 And they that were with me beheld indeed the light (it was mere lightning flash. Cp. "glory", v. 11); but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me.
10 And I said, 'What shall I do, LORD?" And the Lord said to me, "Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told you concerning all things which are appointed for you to do.' (There was no need for Paul to guess what Jesus would have him do. The Holy Spirit told Paul directly.)
11 And when I could not see from the glory of that light (Gr. doxa. See John 1:14. Cp. 7:55), being led by the hand by them that were with me (see 9:8), I came into Damascus.
12 And a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, borne witness to all the Jews which dwelt there,
13 Came to me, and stood, and said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And the same hour I looked up upon him. (Paul had been blinded, but now he can see.)
14 And he said, 'The God of our fathers has destined you, that you should know His will, and see that Righteous One (Paul was thus led to avoid using any term that would excite his hearers), and to hear out of His mouth His commands. (Paul thus receives His commission from the Lord Himself. Cp. Gal. 1:12.)
15 For You shall be a witness to Him to all men of the things which you have seen and heard. (Paul was a chosen vessel. He was chosen to witness the gospel to all men, including the Gentiles.)
16 And now why do you tarriest? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of Him.' (i.e. His name, referring to the Righteous One)
17 And it came to pass, that, when I returned to Jerusalem, even while I was praying in the temple (a point to weigh with his hearers), I was in a trance; (See 10:10. Jesus had some more instructions for Paul.)
18 And saw Him, and heard Him saying to me, 'Make haste, and get you with speed out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.' (Paul had been carrying out the church leaders persecution of Christians. A changed Paul was not going to be very popular with the Roman appointed church leaders. But, I want you to see the Lord warns His witnesses, when trouble is near. Patiently wait on God's instructions, and allow Father to lead you.)
19 And I said, 'Lord, they themselves know that was imprisoning and beating synagogue by synagogue them that believed on You:
20 And when the blood of Stephen Your witness was being poured out, I also was standing by, and consenting, and was guarding the garments of them that slew him.'
21 And He said to me, 'Depart: for I will send you far hence to the nations.' (Paul was sorry he persecuted the Christians, but Jesus was still going to utilize him. Stephen was a true witness for Jesus. He was willing to suffer death rather than change his witness. I want you all to be a true witness for Jesus, when you are delivered up before the antichrist.)
S n 22,23. Paul before the people. o 24. Torture ordered. p 25,26. Rights claimed. p 27,28. Rights admitted. o 29. Torture abandoned. n 30. Paul before the Council.
22 And they were listening to him (they followed what he was saying) to this word (the thought of Gentiles on an equality with Jews was intolerable), and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. (To teach the Gentiles that the Messiah of the Jews was a crucified malefactor was an outrageous offense to the orthodox Jew [1 Cor. 1:23].)
23 And as they were crying out, and cast off their outer garments (holding them in their hands and tossing them upward), and were throwing dust into the air,
24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; in order that he might know on account of what cause they were shouting so against him.
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion that stood by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?"
26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain (the chilliarch having given his orders, had gone to his quarters), saying, "What are you about to do? for this man is a Roman."
27 Then the chief captain came, and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" He said, "Yes."
28 And the chief captain answered, "With a great sum obtained I this citizenship." And Paul said, "But I was free even born so."
29 Then straightway they departed from him which were about to examine him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
30 But on the next day, wishing to know the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council come together (= the Sanhedrin), and brought Paul down, and set him before them.