What does Acts 21:17 mean?
ESV: When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly.
NIV: When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly.
NASB: After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us gladly.
CSB: When we reached Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters welcomed us warmly.
NLT: When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly.
KJV: And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
NKJV: And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
Verse Commentary:
Paul must have very mixed feelings. He is glad to be back in Jerusalem. His companions can finally deliver the donations they have collected from their home churches to the apostles who first spread the message of Jesus (Acts 20:4; Romans 15:26). Paul can give the Jerusalem elders an account of the healthy churches in Ephesus, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth. Despite various troubles—especially in Corinth—they faithfully follow Christ.

It's unclear who "the brothers" are. They might be Mnason's household (Acts 21:16) or an assortment of Jesus-followers in Jerusalem. Paul will not meet with James and the church elders until the next day, but this gathering may include some of the apostles. Either way, it's a warm welcome after several years apart.

Paul enjoys it while he can. He will soon learn that despite his sacrifices and faithfulness, he is the victim of a rumor. Some claim he has forsaken and rejected entirely the Mosaic law, and encouraged other Jews to, as well. As he goes about proving his respect for Mosaic law, another group of people wrongly accuse him. This time, the claim is that he brought a Gentile into the temple. Mischief ensues, and the Romans place Paul under house arrest for five years.

This day, however, he enjoys the provision of good friends that God provides. As he later writes the Philippians while under house arrest in Rome, "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content" (Philippians 4:11).
Verse Context:
Acts 21:17–26 is an account of Paul reporting to the "upper management" of the early church. He has spent the last several years along the coastline of the Aegean Sea, establishing the church in Ephesus and building up the congregations in Troas, Macedonia, and Corinth. Now he returns to Jerusalem to give an account of his ministry. James and the elders of the Jerusalem church also have news: a rumor is going around claiming Paul teaches that Jews who worship with Gentiles should entirely forsake the Mosaic law. Ironically, when he cooperates with the elders' recommendation to prove his respect for Old Testament truth, Paul is again falsely accused and arrested.
Chapter Summary:
In Acts 21, Paul returns to Judea from his third missionary journey and promptly gets arrested. He begins by visiting Philip in Caesarea Maritima. Church elders in Jerusalem ask Paul to help men fulfill a Nazirite vow, to dispel rumors he has apostatized his Jewishness. While doing so, Ephesian Jews accuse Paul of bringing one of his Gentile Ephesian companions into the temple. The Roman military tribune keeps the enraged crowd from tearing Paul limb from limb by arresting him.
Chapter Context:
Acts 21 fulfills the fears of many of Paul's friends. Throughout the last part of his third missionary journey the Holy Spirit has been telling him he will be arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 20:23–25). When Paul reacts to dire personal prophecy, the Jesus-followers in Caesarea Maritima try to stop him from going on (Acts 21:8–14). Through a complicated trail of rumors, lies, and wrong assumptions, things go according to the Holy Spirit's foreknowledge and Roman soldiers arrest Paul. He will face the next 5 years in custody in Caesarea and Rome, but he will spread Jesus' story the entire time (Acts 22—28).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 6/16/2024 1:45:30 AM
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