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Bible Commentaries
Acts 22

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

1 " Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now. "

1. Paul is addressing his fellow Jews - not brethren in Christ.

2. The Greek word for "defense" is apologia and is the root for our word, apology.

3. Today this word means to seek pardon. It is a statement of contrition or remorse.

4. Thayer says this word means "a reasoned statement or argument."

Verse 2

2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said:

1. He spoke in Hebrew. Hebrew was, by this time, an almost dead language. It was only used by Jewish leaders and scholars in the Law of Moses.

2. They saw Paul as:

1. Educated in the Jewish religion. Paul was not just a Jew, but a scholar of the Law.

2. On their side. He was speaking their language. The Romans around him had no idea what Paul was saying.

3. Now, they were ready to be quiet and listen to this man.

Verse 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.

1. Paul identifies himself.

1. A Jew. Paul is a full-blooded Jew with both parents being Jewish.

2. Born in Tarsus.

3. Studied at the feet of Gamaliel.

4. Raised in the strict interpretation of the Law. Paul is not a liberal, but conservative.

5. Zealous toward God. Paul wants to do the will of God.

2. Paul identifies himself with those listening to him.

Verse 4

4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,

1. Paul gained fame as a persecutor of the church.

2. Many were well aware of his early history, reputation and actions.

3. Paul caused death to some, arrest and imprisonment to others.

Verse 5

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.

1. Even the high priest can be called as a witness. Paul used letters from the high priest to give him power to arrest, bind and bring to Jerusalem those who claim to be Christians.

2. Paul adds that the the council of elders also approved his actions.

3. He was heading toward Damascus with this authority.

Verse 6

6 " Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me.

1. Paul now begins to talk about his conversion. What caused Paul to change?

2. It was about noon.

3. There was a great (bright) light from heaven.

Verse 7

7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? '

1. Paul hears a voice asking why this persecution?

2. The voice is taking this persecution in a personal way. "You are persecuting me."

Verse 8

8 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord? ' And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting. '

1. Lord is here used as a term of respect. We might have said, "Sir, who are you?"

2. The voice now identifies himself. "I am Jesus of Nazareth."

3. "I am the one you are persecuting."

Verse 9

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.

1. Here we come to, what some believe to be a contradiction.

1. Act_9:7 says the others heard a voice but saw no man.

2. Act_22:9 says they did NOT hear the voice of Him who spoke to Paul.

2. The answer to this is found in the third account of Paul's conversion. Act_26:14 says that Jesus spoke to him "in the Hebrew tongue."

3. The men who were with Paul were Jews, but not schooled and skilled in Hebrew. They did not see any man. They heard a voice (sound), but they did not hear any words they understood. They heard (sound), but they did not hear (understand) the message.

Verse 10

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. '

1. Paul again addresses Jesus as "Lord" with knowledge of who he is. I am not sure that Paul is calling him Lord in the sense of submission, but it is still out of respect.

2. "What shall I do?"

1. Many would say, "Nothing. Jesus did it all. There is nothing for you to do."

2. Others would say, "We are saved by grace, not by works."

3. Jesus did not teach this. There IS something Paul must do.

1. He must go into Damascus and wait.

2. Someone will bring him the message of what must be done.

4. There is more. Not only would Paul be told what to do for his salvation. He would also be told what the plan of God was for him.

Verse 11

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.

1. Paul was blinded by the light. Not just temporarily. He remained blind for three days.

2. Paul had to be led by the hand to find his way to Damascus.

Verse 12

12 " Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,

1. Ananias is:

1. A Jew, raised and taught according to the law.

2. A devout man.

3. One with a good reputation among the Jews in Damascus.

Verse 13

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.

1. Ananias came to Saul (the Hebrew name of Paul) and offered him his sight.

2. Paul was now able to see again.

Verse 14

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.

1. God has chosen Paul for a special purpose.

2. Paul will:

1. Know His will.

2. See the Just One (Jesus).

3. Hear his voice.

Verse 15

15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.

1. God has a plan for Paul.

2. He is to be a living testimony to the Jesus he was persecuting.

3. He is to go to "all men" meaning Gentiles as well as Jews.

Verse 16

16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. '

1. Why wait? Once one knows what they must do to obey God, there is no reason for delay.

2. Do not procrastinate. There is danger in delay.

3. Paul is instructed to arise and be baptized.

4. In doing so he will do two things:

1. In being baptized, he will wash away his sins. Not by the power of the water, but be the blood of Jesus Christ.

2. In being baptized, he will be calling (trusting, relying) on the name of the Lord.

5. Rom_10:13 says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Paul was told to be baptized. In being baptized he was calling on the name of the Lord, thus, in baptism, Paul would be saved.

Verse 17

17 " Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance

1. Paul returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple.

2. Paul was in a trance - literally a "throwing of the mind" - His mind was focused on one thing when someone interrupted his thoughts.

Verse 18

18 and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me. '

1. Paul now realizes there is someone else near him.

2. This person (Jesus) tells him to leave Jerusalem as quickly as possible.

3. The Jews will not take kindly to hearing of Paul's change of heart.

Verse 19

19 So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You.

1. The Jews know of Paul, at least by reputation. They know about how he imprisoned those who believed in Jesus.

2. Paul even entered synagogues to arrest them.

Verse 20

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. '

1. Paul now reminds Jesus of his involvement in the death of Stephen.

2. When Stephen died, Paul was:

1. Standing by.

2. Consenting to his death - agreeing that he should die.

3. Guarding the clothes of those who were actually throwing the stones.

Verse 21

21 Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles. '"

1. Jesus now give a clearer message about His plan for Paul.

2. Paul was to be sent. An apostle is "one sent".

3. Paul was to be sent far from Jerusalem. He would travel great distances.

4. He was to focus his work among the Gentiles.

Verse 22

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! "

1. Breaking point - is the point at which we stop listening. Here Paul reaches the breaking point for these Jews.

2. Paul is to preach to Gentiles! This becomes more than they can stand.

Verse 23

23 Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air,

1. They stopped listening at this point.

2. They tore their clothes - a sign of grief, distress, or anger.

3. They threw dust into the air. Albert Barnes says this was " expressive of them abhorrence and indignation."

Verse 24

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.

1. The speech is now over. They are not going to listen any more.

2. The Roman commander now steps in and orders Paul taken inside the barracks.

3. Paul had his chance with the Jews. Now the Romans want to examine him.

Verse 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? "

1. The soldiers bound him, preparing to beat him.

2. Paul now appeals to his legal rights as a Roman citizen.

3. Romans could take a Jew and beat him - without a trial or hearing. In fact there was not even the necessity for a charge to be made.

4. However, Roman citizens had the right to be charged, accused, tried and only beaten if they were found guilty of the charges.

Verse 26

26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, " Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman. "

1. The centurion now informs his commander that Paul is a Roman citizen and must be treated as such.

2. Be careful what you do. This man is a Roman.

Verse 27

27 Then the commander came and said to him, " Tell me, are you a Roman? " He said, " Yes. "

1. The commander wants to confirm what he has been told.

2. Paul affirms that he is a Roman citizen.

Verse 28

28 The commander answered, " With a large sum I obtained this citizenship. " And Paul said, " But I was born a citizen. "

1. Many became Romans by paying a great fee. This Roman commander was a Roman citizen, at great cost.

2. Paul says, "I was born a citizen." No cost. Tarsus was a Roman city. All born there were automatically Roman citizens.

Verse 29

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.

1. They had already overstepped their authority, by binding him. No beating. Just binding him was in violation of the law.

2. They were now afraid of Paul.

1. He speaks Hebrew to the Jews.

2. He speaks Greek to the Romans.

3. He is a free born Roman citizen.

4. He could have them arrested for this violation of his rights.

Verse 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.

1. The next day Paul asks for a hearing.

2. What is the charge?

3. Paul is now brought in before the chief priests and the council to hear the charges.

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Acts 22". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/acts-22.html. 2021.
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