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Bible Commentaries
Acts 22

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verses 1-3


When they heard him speaking to them in Hebrew. The Aramaic or Chaldee dialect of Hebrew was the standard language which every Jew could speak and understand. Even though their “native language” (see Acts 2:8 and note) might be different, all were taught Hebrew in the synagogue schools. I am a Jew. To disprove their charge that he prejudiced people against the Jews, he shows that he is himself a Jew, brought up in Jerusalem [but evidently not here during Christ’s public ministry, crucifixion and resurrection], educated in the Law by Gamaliel (see Acts 5:34). And was just as dedicated to God. Note how he makes himself one of them! This is his first opportunity to explain to the Jewish leaders the reason why he had become a Christian.

Verses 4-5


I persecuted to the death. He did this because he thought his loyalty to God demanded it! The High Priest and the whole Council. A different man was high priest now, than when Paul had been “deputized,” but he knew the facts, as did the council. Probably most of the crowd also knew these facts.

Verses 6-11


And coming near Damascus. See notes on Acts 9:3-9. The bright light flashed at the time the sun was the brightest, and was much brighter than the sun (Acts 26:13). Saul, Saul. The voice spoke in Hebrew (Acts 26:14). Why do you persecute me? By persecuting the messianic community, he was persecuting Christ himself! But did not hear the voice. From Acts 9:4; Acts 9:7 we infer that those with Paul heard the sound, but could not hear what the voice said. That is, they could not understand it. I was blind because of the bright light. Some think Galatians 4:15 implies that his eyes never fully recovered from this.

Verses 12-16


A man named Ananias. He was a Christian (Acts 9:10), but kept the Law strictly. Brother Saul, see again! See Acts 9:17-18 and notes. The God of our ancestors. Compare Acts 7:32; 1 Peter 1:1-2. He says this to show they both worship the One True God. To see his righteous Servant. Jesus Christ. Paul had to see him, to be an apostle. Paul mentions the fact that he did see Christ, a number of times (1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:8). And have your sins washed away. Paul had both believed and repented, yet he still had his sins to wash away. “Calling on his name” must refer to baptism as it completes the act of “reaching out through faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ and make yourself part of it.” Compare Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; 1 Peter 3:21; and notes. Note also baptism is spoken of as a “washing away.”

Verses 17-21


I went back to Jerusalem. This was three years after he became a Christian (Galatians 1:17-18). He goes on to show that God himself had sent him to the Gentiles. I had a vision. Compare Acts 10:10. Some think this vision might be the one mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:2-3. The people here will not accept your witness about me. They believed Paul to be a traitor to Judaism. They know very well. This answer to God showed his eagerness to work with his own race. He had a strong desire to counteract some of what he had done through ignorance. Because I will send you far away. The God of heaven had himself decreed that Paul go to the Gentiles.

Verses 22-23


Until he said this. As the Jews were crushed by foreign powers and occupation troops, they took comfort in the thought that when the Messiah came, the Gentile would be struck down and the Jew would stand with his foot on their neck. At this time the fires smoldered that would break out in the Jewish wars, terminating in the destruction of Jerusalem itself in 70 A.D. See Matthew 24:0 and notes. When Paul claimed their God had sent him to the Gentiles they explode in frenzied rage!!! They strip off their clothes and wave them in the air, throwing dust up in the air also, as a symbol of their rage!!!

Verses 24-30


And told them to whip him. Whether the Roman commander had understood a word Paul had said to the people (since it was in Hebrew), he could see from their actions that they considered him a dangerous man. It had long been a common practice to torture prisoners to make them tell the truth. The whip had bits of bone or stone tied in the ends of the thongs, and these would tear the flesh where they hit. Compare Matthew 27:26 and note. Paul said to the officer. It was illegal to whip a Roman citizen, or to torture him in any way. The name “Roman” was magic (compare Acts 16:38). Since the penalty was death for falsely claiming to be a Roman citizen, the officer immediately believes what Paul says. Are you a Roman citizen? The commander himself asks this. He says he paid a large sum of money to become a Roman. Paul, however, was born a Roman, which means his father had been a Roman citizen as well (compare note on Acts 6:9). Tarsus was a free city, which gave its citizens status. And the commander was afraid. He had broken the law by tying Paul with chains. So the next day. To find out just what this was all about, the Roman commander orders the whole Council to meet and takes Paul before them. Acts 23:10 implies that Paul faced the Council, not in any way as a prisoner, but as an equal.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 22". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/acts-22.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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