What does Acts 22:12 mean?
ESV: “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
NIV: A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.
NASB: Now a certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
CSB: Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, who had a good reputation with all the Jews living there,
NLT: A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus.
KJV: And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
NKJV: “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,
Verse Commentary:
Paul is defending himself against accusations that he brought a Gentile into the temple. It's possible that Ananias, who was instrumental in bringing Paul to faith in Christ, might have been a Gentile. This detail might have been one reason Paul chooses to relate this story.

After Stephen's murder, which Paul approved of at the time (Acts 7:54–60; 22:20), Paul received permission from the Sanhedrin to bring Jewish Christians outside of Judea to trial in Jerusalem, likely for execution (Acts 9:1–2; 26:10). Outside of Damascus, Paul instead encountered Jesus, who told him to Damascus and wait. Paul did so, fasting for three days before Ananias arrived (Acts 9:3–9).

While Paul fasted, Jesus spoke with Ananias, telling him what to do. Ananias understandably balked saying, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much even he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name" (Acts 9:13–14). Jesus told Ananias that not only had He chosen Paul to serve Him and bring His message to the Gentiles, but Paul would also suffer for it. Ananias obeyed and led Paul to Christ (Acts 9:15–19; 22:13–16).

In Acts 9:10, Ananias is described as "a disciple." That means someone who faithfully follows and obeys Christ. Here, he is described as "a devout man." "Devout" is from the Greek root word eulabēs which means pious and dutiful. This term, along with faithfulness to the Mosaic law and reputation among the Jews indicates Ananias was a Gentile. When Peter gave his first sermon on the day of Pentecost, the crowd contained both Jews and proselytes. In general, "proselytes" are Gentiles who have fully converted to Judaism. The "devout," like Cornelius (Acts 10:1–2), follow God without full conversion. It's possible Jesus chose Ananias because as a Gentile who had not fully converted to Judaism, he was outside of Paul's jurisdiction.

The book of Acts mentions several men named Ananias. This is not the man who lied about his donation and fell dead (Acts 5:1–6). Nor is he the high priest who served from AD 48 to 58 (Acts 23:2; 24:1). And he is not Aeneas, the paralyzed man in Lydda whom Peter healed (Acts 9:32–35). In fact, he is not mentioned outside of Paul's conversion story.
Verse Context:
Acts 22:6–16 continues Paul's defense against accusations that he both breaks the Mosaic law and associates with Gentiles. He has described his early life training to be a Pharisee and persecuting the church (Acts 22:3–5). Now, he explains how he came to follow Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. His accusers show polite interest in his story until he arrives at the point in the narrative where Jesus tells him to give Gentiles the way of salvation. Paul's conversion experience is also recorded in Acts 9:1–19 and reiterated in Acts 26:12–18.
Chapter Summary:
In Acts 22, a young Roman military officer realizes he cannot control Jews who do not wish to be controlled. He has just rescued Paul from a crowd that largely doesn't know why they want to kill Paul. In hopes of gathering information, the tribune allows Paul to speak to the crowd. The crowd listens only briefly, then explodes again. The tribune tries flogging but is foiled by Paul's Roman citizenship. Finally, the tribune schedules a meeting with the Sanhedrin. It does not go well (Acts 23:1–10).
Chapter Context:
Paul came to Jerusalem to tell the church of his ministry's success with Gentiles. The leaders are more worried about a rumor that Paul no longer respects the Jewish law. Paul agrees to perform a very Jewish ritual, but in the process is falsely accused of bringing a Gentile into the temple. A mob assaults him, and the Roman tribune arrests him (Acts 21:17–36). The tribune tries to uncover the truth by letting Paul speak to the crowd, then almost flogging him (Acts 21:37—22). Next, he will bring Paul to the Sanhedrin, to no avail (Acts 23:1–10).
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.
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