Acts 23:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 23:11, NIV: "The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, 'Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.'"

Acts 23:11, ESV: "The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”"

Acts 23:11, KJV: "And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome."

Acts 23:11, NASB: "But on the following night, the Lord stood near him and said, 'Be courageous! For as you have testified to the truth about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome also.'"

Acts 23:11, NLT: "That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, 'Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.'"

Acts 23:11, CSB: "The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, "Have courage! For as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so it is necessary for you to testify in Rome.""

What does Acts 23:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

When Jesus visited Ananias in Damascus—an entirely different person from the priest mentioned in this passage—and told him about Paul, He said, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). Paul didn't spend a lot of time in Jerusalem after that; he visited (Acts 9:26–30; 15; Galatians 2:1–10), but the Jewish leaders considered his conversion heresy and wanted to kill him (Acts 22:17–21).

To this point, Paul has testified to Jews and Gentiles. Whenever he enters a new city, he begins by preaching in the Jewish synagogue (Acts 9:20; 13:14; 14:1; 17:1, 10; 18:4; 19:8). Often, the synagogues will include several Gentiles who want to worship the Jewish God. Typically, as in Corinth, some of the Jews and most of the Gentiles will believe him, and when the synagogue leaders push Paul out, they will all leave and start a new church (Acts 18:4–7).

Paul testified about Jesus in Jerusalem the day prior to this vision. He was attacked by a mob, some of whom thought he brought a Gentile into the temple but most of whom just wanted a melee. The Roman tribune arrested him but didn't know what was going on. He allowed Paul to address the crowd in the temple courtyard (Acts 21:27–40). Paul used that opportunity to explain how he had persecuted Jesus-followers all the way to Damascus in Syria. Before he reached the city, Jesus of Nazareth appeared to him in a great light. Paul became a Jesus-follower that day (Acts 9:1–19; 22:3–16).

In two years, Paul will fulfill the rest of Jesus' promise, standing before Herod Agrippa II and telling the story of his conversion (Acts 26).

Paul has wanted to go to Rome for a long time. It is the heart of the Empire, and he knows the Jews, Gentiles, and leaders there all need Jesus. Now, Jesus tells him he's on his way. It won't be direct, however. Paul will escape an assassination attempt and be held under house arrest in Caesarea Maritima for two years. Then he will go on a dangerous sea voyage that will include a fierce storm (Acts 27:13–38), a shipwreck (Acts 27:39–44), and a viper (Acts 28:3–6). Eventually, however, Paul will reach Rome (Acts 28:16).