What does Acts 22:21 mean?
ESV: And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
NIV: Then the Lord said to me, 'Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.''
NASB: And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’?'
CSB: "He said to me, 'Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.' "
NLT: But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’'
KJV: And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
NKJV: Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’ ”
Verse Commentary:
Paul is in the court of the temple, at the steps of the Antonia Fortress—the Roman army barracks. Jews from modern-day western Turkey accused him of bringing a Gentile into the temple and tried to kill him (Acts 21:27–40). Paul hadn't brought his Gentile friend into the temple, but he did walk around Jerusalem with him. Paul tries to use his conversion experience to explain why (Acts 22:1–20).

Here, he is talking about his return to Jerusalem after he decided to follow Christ. He was praying at the temple when Jesus told him to leave the city; the Jews there would rather kill him than listen to his message. Paul was confused—surely the Jews would see that if he joined the church after persecuting it, Jesus must be the Messiah (Acts 22:17–20). But Jesus said, no. He needed to leave. His ministry would be to the Gentiles, not the Jews in Jerusalem.

Jesus was right: the Jews tried to kill Paul (Acts 9:29). Back in Jerusalem decades later, they are trying again. The mob has listened so far, but when Paul brings up the Gentiles, they return to their raging and demand the Roman tribune arrest him (Acts 22:22). This is all in God's plan; the Holy Spirit has been telling Paul he will be arrested (Acts 20:22–23). The next three years aren't pleasant, but the arrest does get Paul to Rome.
Verse Context:
Acts 22:17–22 comes after a mob has accused Paul of bringing a Gentile into the temple. He did not, but he has traveled to Jerusalem with them. He's trying to explain how years ago, Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus and not only saved him but selected him. Paul's new role was to bring that same message of forgiveness to the Gentiles, including the man seen with Paul in the city. The crowd rejects Paul's explanation, the Romans arrest him, and he stays under house arrest for five years. Paul's conversion experience is described in Acts 9:1–19 and he repeats his story 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.
Accessed 5/26/2024 7:39:34 AM
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