Acts chapter 22

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3I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. 4And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. 6And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. 9And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. 10And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 11And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. 12And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, 13Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. 14And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 15For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. 17And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; 18And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 21And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.

What does Acts chapter 22 mean?

Acts 22 is the first full chapter of Paul's incarceration by the Roman government. He had traveled to Jerusalem to report the progress of his church-planting ministry to the church leaders and apostles. They rejoiced to hear of the new strong church in Ephesus and the continued growth of the churches around the Aegean Sea, but they were more anxious about local news. Legalistic Jewish Christians spread a rumor that Paul taught other Jewish Christians to reject the Mosaic law—specifically, that they should not circumcise their sons. In truth, Paul only taught that the Gentiles did not need to follow the customs of the Mosaic law, by order of the very men reporting these charges (Acts 15). The church elders proposed Paul assist four Jewish Christians in completing their Nazirite vow to prove he still respected the Mosaic law. While doing so, non-Christian Jews from the province around Ephesus saw him in town with a Gentile Christian they knew from home. When they saw Paul in the temple, they wrongly accused him of bringing the Gentile man into the temple and incited the crowd to attack him. The Roman tribune received word of the rampage and rescued Paul by arresting him. Paul, never one to leave an issue undiscussed, begged the tribune to let him speak. The tribune agreed, hopeful Paul's words would explain the crowd's violence (Acts 21:17–40).

Acts 22:1–22 records the text of that speech and the Jews' reaction. Instead of overtly preaching the gospel, Paul gives a defense as to why he traveled with a Gentile from Ephesus. In verses 3–5, he reminds them of his strict education by the Pharisee rabbi Gamaliel and how violently he had, at first, persecuted Christians. In verses 6–16, Paul recounts his conversion, as narrated in Acts 9:1–19. In verses 17–21, he explains that when he returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, the Jews rejected him so strongly they sought to kill him, so God told him to leave Jerusalem and concentrate on reaching the Gentiles, instead. The mention of Gentiles reignites the mob's rage.

In Acts 22:23–30, the last part of the chapter, the Roman tribune realizes neither Paul's speech nor the crowd's renewed anger explain anything. So, he falls back on the traditional Roman way to uncover information: beating people until they talk. The soldiers tie Paul up but before the centurion raises the flagellum, Paul points out that, as a Roman citizen, he cannot be flogged until he has faced a trial. The centurion rushes to the tribune who, in turn, rushes to Paul to validate the information. All the Romans are horrified; not only would it have been a crime to flog Paul, but it was also a crime when they shackled him in the temple courtyard (Acts 21:33). Verse 30 continues the tribune's search for the truth as he schedules a meeting with the Sanhedrin, hoping they can shed light on the situation.

Paul's meeting with the Sanhedrin starts when he professes his innocence, they strike him, and he inadvertently insults the high priest. Realizing he has nothing to gain in this meeting, Paul shrewdly mentions the resurrection of the dead, in which the Pharisees believe, while the Sadducees do not. The two sects promptly come to blows, and the foiled tribune takes Paul back to the Roman barracks. The next day, Paul's nephew uncovers the Sanhedrin's murder plot. The tribune realizes he has not merely lost control over the situation, but he probably never had it. He sends Paul to the governor in Caesarea Maritima and doesn't even show up for the trial (Acts 23).
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