Acts 28:30

ESV He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him,
NIV For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.
NASB Now Paul stayed two full years in his own rented lodging and welcomed all who came to him,
CSB Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him,
NLT For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him,
KJV And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

What does Acts 28:30 mean?

Luke condenses Paul's two years in Rome into one English sentence, divided in our Bibles as two verses. Paul is under house arrest, waiting for his trial. He had finished his third missionary journey by escorting representatives from the churches around the Aegean Sea who were bringing support for the church in Jerusalem. Some of these representatives were Gentiles (Acts 20:4; Romans 15:25–26). Jews from modern-day Asia Minor falsely accused Paul of bringing one of his Gentile friends into the temple (Acts 21:27–36). The Roman tribune arrested him, the Sanhedrin tried to assassinate him, and the governor kept him under house arrest in Caesarea Maritima for two years (Acts 22—24). When a new governor seemed equally unlikely to release him, Paul claimed his right as a Roman citizen to have his case tried before Caesar. The governor had to send him, even though the Sanhedrin had never provided proof or witnesses that Paul had committed a crime (Acts 25—26).

Paul has wanted to visit Rome for years (Romans 15:23–28), but he probably didn't intend on staying so long. He has already met with the Jewish leaders of the city and convinced a few that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah (Acts 28:17–28). Now, he likely meets with many of the people mentioned in Romans 16, including his old friends Priscilla and Aquila. Paul is chained to Roman guards who apparently listen in and bring his message to the staff at Caesar's house (Philippians 4:22). Paul also writes letters to the churches in Ephesus, Philippi, and Colossae.

Paul has one other special visitor. A slave from Philippi, named Onesimus, visits one day. He has run away and possibly stolen from his master. We don't know why he comes to Paul or if he knows Paul is a friend of his master Philemon. During his visit, he listens to Paul's message about repentance and forgiveness through faith in Jesus. He comes to accept Christ as his Savior, and Paul sends him home with a letter. Philemon has the right to brand Onesimus's forehead for running away, but Paul reminds his friend how much he owes Paul—his very soul. With Onesimus's return, he receives not just his slave but a new brother in Christ. Paul also makes a subtle suggestion that Philemon free Onesimus, saying, "Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say" (Philemon 21).

We don't know why the court system of Rome releases Paul after two years, but mostly likely because his accusers never show up. They have already accused Paul before Roman governors twice, but with no proof and no witnesses they only embarrassed themselves (Acts 24; 25:1–7). If Paul is out of the way and they have no concrete evidence, there's no reason for the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem to travel to Rome.
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