Acts 23:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 23:27, NIV: "This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen."

Acts 23:27, ESV: "This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen."

Acts 23:27, KJV: "This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman."

Acts 23:27, NASB: "When this man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, after learning that he was a Roman."

Acts 23:27, NLT: "'This man was seized by some Jews, and they were about to kill him when I arrived with the troops. When I learned that he was a Roman citizen, I removed him to safety."

Acts 23:27, CSB: "When this man had been seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, I arrived with my troops and rescued him because I learned that he is a Roman citizen."

What does Acts 23:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The tribune Claudius Lysias, stationed in Jerusalem, is writing to Governor Felix to explain why he sent seventy horsemen to escort a single Jew to the governor's quarters in Caesarea Maritima.

Less than a week prior, Paul entered the temple to perform a Jewish ceremony at the behest of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 21:20–27). Jews from the province of Asia in southwest modern-day Turkey saw him and assumed he had brought a Gentile they knew. They grabbed Paul, dragged him from the temple to the courtyard, and incited a mob to beat him. Lysias heard of the disturbance and ordered the soldiers to pull Paul away and bind him (Acts 21:27–33). When Lysias couldn't figure out why the mob attacked Paul, he ordered Paul be flogged—a traditional Roman way of getting information. As the centurion was about to strike, Paul cried out that he was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:23–25).

So, Lysias' chain of events is off, but there's a reason. It was illegal for Lysias to tie Paul up, let alone scourge him, without conviction through a fair trial (Acts 22:29). Lysias treated Paul well once he found out Paul's citizenship status, but he didn't want to get in trouble for breaking the law.

Lysias will continue his self-preservation. In a few days, Paul's accusers from the Sanhedrin will arrive and try to convince Felix that Paul is a rioter who broke Roman law by profaning a religious structure (Acts 24:2–9). Felix doesn't believe them and says he will wait to make his decision when Lysias arrives. But Lysias never comes. Felix decides he'd profit more if Paul remained under house arrest in Caesarea than if he freed Paul and irritated the Jewish leaders. Plus, maybe Paul might offer compensation for his freedom (Acts 24:22, 26–27).