Memory Verse: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” Matthew 10:28.
Daily Bible Readings: Acts 21:15-36; Acts 21:37-22:21; Acts 22:22-23:11; Acts 23:12-35; Acts 24; Numbers 6
Scripture Reading: Acts 21:15-26
Paul becomes a prisoner in this lesson and remains a prisoner of the Romans throughout the rest of the Book of Acts. As a prisoner of the Romans, Paul is given several opportunities to defend himself before the leaders. We also are called upon to defend our faith. We must be prepared to give a defense of our faith at all times. Are you ready and able to defend your faith?
As we go through this lesson, notice the wisdom that Paul uses to put himself in a position to share his faith. He uses his Greek language skills, his knowledge of the Jewish language (most likely Aramaic), and his Roman citizenship to his advantage. He was saved from being beaten to death by the Jews by the quick response of the Roman soldiers.
In his speech to the crowd, he appeals to them as a fellow Jew. He uses the respected name of Gamaliel. He refers to his persecution of the early Christians. In his reference to Ananias, Paul speaks of him as devout and well thought of by the Jews in Damascus. His crowd was quiet until he reports that Jesus had sent him to preach to the Gentiles. This idea was not tolerated by the Jews.
When we jump ahead to Paul’s defense before the Jewish Council, we see him using his knowledge of the disagreement between the Sadducee and Pharisee sects within Judaism to his benefit. He causes dissension when he reported to the group that he was a Pharisee and that it was because of his belief in the resurrection of the dead that he was on trial.
Later, we see that the son of Paul’s sister hears of a Jewish plot to kill Paul while he is in route to another meeting with the council. In each of these situations, we see God’s hand with Paul, helping him survive each encounter so that he would be able to testify of the Lord in Rome (Acts 23:11).
Acts 21:15-22:29. Paul Is Arrested and Speaks to the Crowd
- What was James’ advice to Paul and why? Acts 21:20-24.
- What was the meaning of going through this purification? Acts 21:26-27; 24:17-18; Numbers 6:2-12.
- What were the charges Paul was accused of by the Asian Jews who grabbed him? Acts 21:27-28.
- Why did Paul ask the chief captain for permission to speak to the crowd? Acts 21:39-40; 23:11. Would this have been your natural response?
Acts 22:30-23:22. Paul Before the Jewish Council
- Why did Paul say it was contrary to the law for the Jewish Council to strike him? Acts 23:3; Deuteronomy 25:1-2; John 7:51.
- Can you explain Paul’s respect for the high priest in Acts 23:4-5? Exodus 22:28; 2 Samuel 19:21; Ecclesiastes 10:20; Jude 1:8.
Acts 23:23-24:27. Paul Before Felix
- Why do you think the Jewish elders use Tertullus to speak for them about Paul? Acts 24:1-3.
- Does Tertullus give an accurate representation to Felix of Paul’s crimes? Acts 24:4-6.
- How did Paul’s speech to Felix refute the charges against him? Acts 24:10-21. Did Paul stand up for his belief in Jesus as Lord?
- Do you think Felix was feeling convicted about the need for salvation in Paul’s conversation with him that Luke describes in Acts 24:24-27?
Question for thought:
Paul, in his speech to the Jewish council and before Felix, said that his conscience before God was clear (Acts 23:1 and 24:16). By the council’s response, they obviously did not agree with his statement. Do you have a clear conscience before God? 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Hosea 6:6; Acts 5:29; 26:19; 2 Corinthians 10:5.