What does Acts 23:28 mean?
ESV: And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council.
NIV: I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin.
NASB: And wanting to ascertain the basis for the charges they were bringing against him, I brought him down to their Council;
CSB: Wanting to know the charge they were accusing him of, I brought him down before their Sanhedrin.
NLT: Then I took him to their high council to try to learn the basis of the accusations against him.
KJV: And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:
NKJV: And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council.
Verse Commentary:
When Lysias the tribune recounts the events surrounding Paul's arrest to Felix the governor, he leaves out a few things. Lysias arrested Paul because a mob was trying to kill him in the court outside the temple (Acts 21:30–33). Lysias wanted to know why, but he didn't start with the Sanhedrin. First, he asked the mob, most of whom didn't know (Acts 21:33–34). Then he let Paul address the crowd which riled the mob up even more (Acts 22:1–23). Finally, he resorted to the traditional way of extracting information: flogging. Paul was already tied up when he got the attention of a centurion, warning him he was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:24–29). Lysias could have been charged with binding Paul's hands; if he'd had him flogged it would have been much worse.

Only then did Lysias think to ask the Jewish religious leaders in the Sanhedrin (Acts 22:30). It didn't go well. Paul, perhaps accidentally, insulted the high priest. Then, probably intentionally, he set the Pharisees and Sadducees against each other. Again, Lysias had to rescue Paul from a melee (Acts 23:1–10).

Although Paul's initial accusers were Jews from modern-day Turkey (Acts 21:27–28), the Sanhedrin would like Paul out of the way, as well. So, when forty men approached them with an assassination plot, they agreed. Unfortunately for them, Paul's nephew overheard and told the tribune, and the tribune sent Paul to Caesarea (Acts 23:12–22). The Sanhedrin will try one more time, before Felix. Felix will agree with Lysias that Paul may be a pain but he hasn't broken Roman law (Acts 23:29; 24:22). Religious leaders opposed to Christianity would have to make do with Felix's decision to keep Paul under house arrest (Acts 24:27).
Verse Context:
Acts 23:23–35 records Paul escaping a death plot in Jerusalem. He then travels to the governor in Caesarea Maritima. Jews and their leaders attacked Paul and conspired for his death, and the Roman tribune can't determine why (Acts 21:27–34). The governor agrees to hold a trial not yet knowing Paul's accusers don't have a case and the tribune will never arrive to give his side of the story. He holds Paul without charges for two years until the new governor sends Paul to Caesar in Rome.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 23 continues the tribune's attempt to discover why a mob of Jews suddenly turned violent and attacked Paul (Acts 21:27–33). He takes Paul to the Sanhedrin to see if they understand what his crime is. Paul barely begins his story when he is slapped for impudence. He disrespects the high priest and starts a fight between the Pharisees and Sadducees. The next day, a group of forty Jews invite the Sanhedrin to help them murder Paul. Paul's nephew reports the plot to the tribune who gives up and sends Paul to the governor. The governor awaits Paul's accusers for trial.
Chapter Context:
Jews from near Ephesus accused Paul of bringing a Gentile into the temple and incited a crowd to attack him. The tribune saved Paul but couldn't uncover the reason for the violence; most of the mob didn't know, and Paul was a Roman citizen, so the tribune couldn't beat the truth out of him (Acts 21—22). When the Sanhedrin would rather murder Paul than talk to him, the tribune sends Paul to the governor. The governor holds Paul without charges for so long he invokes his right to a trial before Caesar. The governor agrees, and Paul finally gets to Rome (Acts 24—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 5/26/2024 8:18:28 AM
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