What does Acts 23:29 mean?
ESV: I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment.
NIV: I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment.
NASB: and I found that he was being accused regarding questions in their Law, but was not charged with anything deserving death or imprisonment.
CSB: I found out that the accusations were concerning questions of their law, and that there was no charge that merited death or imprisonment.
NLT: I soon discovered the charge was something regarding their religious law — certainly nothing worthy of imprisonment or death.
KJV: Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.
NKJV: I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has been in Jerusalem for about a week. He's spent much of the previous three years in Ephesus, in southwest modern-day Turkey, an area the Bible refers to as "Asia." Lysias is a young Roman military officer charged with keeping the peace in Jerusalem. His barracks in the Antonia Fortress are along the northern wall of the temple mount. When men from the Asian province started beating Paul just outside the temple, Lysias was able to dispatch his troops before the crowd could kill Paul (Acts 21:30–33).

Lysias spent the next three days trying to figure out why Paul enraged the crowd so much. He has good reason to be confused:

We don't know which of these charges Lysias is referring to, but his words echo those of Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia. When Jews brought Paul before him, saying, "This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law," Gallio replied, "…since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves" (Acts 18:12–15).

As far as the Romans were concerned, Christianity fell under the protective umbrella of Judaism and did so until around AD 150. Romans saw Jews as strange atheists because they had no images of their God. Lysias is probably thinking of either the Gentile in the temple or the argument about the resurrection. It was against Roman law to defile a religious structure, but Romans wouldn't necessarily consider allowing a non-Jew into the temple as a breach of that law. Romans, like Greeks, didn't believe in the resurrection of the dead. But like the philosophers in the Areopagus, the Romans would consider the belief further evidence of the Jews' unsophistication, not something punishable (Acts 17:30–32). Neither charge would warrant death or imprisonment.
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.
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