Acts 24:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 24:18, NIV: "I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance."

Acts 24:18, ESV: "While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia—"

Acts 24:18, KJV: "Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult."

Acts 24:18, NASB: "in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without any crowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from Asia—"

Acts 24:18, NLT: "My accusers saw me in the Temple as I was completing a purification ceremony. There was no crowd around me and no rioting."

Acts 24:18, CSB: "While I was doing this, some Jews from Asia found me ritually purified in the temple, without a crowd and without any uproar."

What does Acts 24:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is on trial before the governor, Felix, in Caesarea Maritima. Representatives of the Sanhedrin are accusing Paul of several things including stirring up riots, leading a cult, and trying to profane the temple (Acts 24:5–6). Paul has pointed out they have no evidence for the claim that he starts riots and that he follows the Jewish Scriptures, just with a slightly different interpretation (Acts 24:11–16). Here, he addressed the third charge.

He had arrived in Jerusalem twelve days earlier with friends from modern-day Turkey and Greece who accompanied the gifts of their churches to the church in Jerusalem. One of these friends was a man named Trophimus from the city of Ephesus in the province of Asia in the southwest corner of modern-day Turkey. Paul accompanied Trophimus and the others to see James, the half-brother of Jesus and the pastor of the church in Jerusalem, to deliver the donations (Acts 20:4; 21:18; Romans 15:25–26).

While there, James and the elders asked Paul if the rumors were true: that he taught Jewish Jesus-followers not to follow the Mosaic law and circumcise their sons. Paul denied the rumors. The elders were relieved and asked Paul to show his devotion to the Mosaic law by helping four men complete a religious vow. Paul agreed (Acts 21:20–26).

A few days later, Paul went to the temple for the completion of the vow. Jews from Asia saw him there and, having seen him with Trophimus earlier, assumed he had brought the Gentile into the temple—a crime against both the Mosaic and Roman laws. They grabbed Paul, dragged him from the temple, and started beating him. Other visitors to the temple joined in the violence without any idea what Paul had done. The Roman army commander had to break up the melee and rescue Paul (Acts 21:27–36).

Despite the Sanhedrin's claims, Paul didn't start the riot and he didn't try to desecrate the temple. Trophimus wasn't there—and neither were the representatives of the Sanhedrin. The men from Asia weren't there, either. In fact, no one in Caesarea witnessed Paul commit a crime (Acts 24:19–20). The charges are baseless, and Paul is innocent.