What does Acts 22:25 mean?
ESV: But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?”
NIV: As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, 'Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?'
NASB: But when they stretched him out with straps, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, 'Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?'
CSB: As they stretched him out for the lash, Paul said to the centurion standing by, "Is it legal for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen and is uncondemned? "
NLT: When they tied Paul down to lash him, Paul said to the officer standing there, 'Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been tried?'
KJV: And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
NKJV: And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”
Verse Commentary:
If the tribune had asked Paul why the mob outside the temple wanted him dead, it is reasonable to assume that Paul would have explained. He likely would have said that he believes Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and died and rose again to offer forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God for the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews, Paul would likely have said, don't like the idea of sharing their position of God's chosen people with others from around the world. So, when they realized that Paul associated freely with Gentiles, they responded with violence.

The tribune didn't ask. Instead, he allowed Paul to address his accusers (Acts 21:27–40), but after Paul's speech (Acts 22:1–21) he still didn't apprehend what was happening. This is understandable. The tribune's assignment is probably only for a year. He mostly likely speaks Greek and the dialect of his home region, but not Aramaic—which Paul uses to give his defense before the Jews. But it is the tribune's job to uncover why the people under his supervision are threatening to riot, so he will use the Roman way of extracting information: torture.

The centurion is a commander of about 100 soldiers. He is a career military officer who, nevertheless, must take the orders of the tribune who is serving in the army for career-broadening before a lifetime of politics. But the centurion is experienced, and when Paul mentions that he's a Roman citizen, the officer knows they're in trouble. A Roman citizen may not be bound, which Paul currently is, and may not be scourged without being condemned by a public hearing. The centurion brings the matter to the tribune who investigates—but does not release—their hapless prisoner.

The English Standard Version says, "they stretched him out for the whips" and has a footnote with the alternate, "when they had tied him up with leather strips." The New American Standard Bible says, "they stretched him out with straps." The New King James reads, "they bound him with thongs." It is true that the soldiers mean to flog Paul, but the verse seems to be describing the manner in which Paul is stretched out, not the whips that will be coming his way.
Verse Context:
Acts 22:23–30 describes how the Roman army tribune continues to seek understanding. A mob of Jews on the temple mount want Paul dead (Acts 21:27–40). The officer let Paul speak, hoping to uncover the cause, but Paul only managed to agitate the crowd more (Acts 22:1–22). Now, the tribune tries the traditional Roman way of uncovering the truth: flogging. Unfortunately, he missed the part where Paul is a Roman citizen. Even the chains on Paul's wrists are illegal. The next morning, the tribune will try one last tactic: the Sanhedrin. It doesn't end well (Acts 23:1–10).
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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