ACTS 22 - PAUL’S DEFENSE AT JERUSALEM

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved


As the chapter opens, Paul is standing on the steps of a prominent building, surrounded by Roman soldiers ready to make a speech to an angry mob that had nearly killed him.

Paul's Conversion

A. His language - Acts 22:1-2. The common language of the people was Aramaic or Greek. Only a genuine Jew of the Rabinnic school could speak correct Hebrew. This impressed these Jews so much that they became very quiet.

"Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you." And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said, (Acts 22:1-2)

B. His youth - Acts 22:3

"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today. (Acts 22:3)

C. His obsession - Acts 22:4-5. Before his conversion, Paul's great ambition was to destroy the Christians.

"And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. (Acts 22:4-5)

D. His conviction - Acts 22:6-11

"And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' "And I answered, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.' "And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. "And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.' "But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. (Acts 22:6-11)

E. His baptism - Acts 22:16

'And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.' (Acts 22:16)

Paul’s Cell

A. Confirmation of his call by Ananias - Acts 22:12-15

"And 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, came to me, and standing near said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very time I looked up at him. "And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. (Acts 22:12-15)

B. Confirmation of his call by a vision - Acts 22:17-21

"And it came about when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, and I saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.' "And I said, 'Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in Thee. 'And when the blood of Thy witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the cloaks of those who were slaying him.' "And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'" (Acts 22:17-21)

Paul's Citizenship

A. Resentment of the Jews - Acts 22:22-23

And they listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!" And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, (Acts 22:22-23)

B. Request for respect - Acts 22:24-29. Paul makes an appeal to Roman authority.

the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. And when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?" And when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman." And the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said, "Yes." And the commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen." Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains. (Acts 22:24-29)

C. Release from bonds - Acts 22:30

But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them. (Acts 22:30)

Study Questions

1. Why did Paul tell about his life as an unbeliever? - Acts 22:4-5

"And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. (Acts 22:4-5)

2. List several verses where Paul attempts to identify himself with the Jewish people and their religion.

3. In dealing with people of other religions, is it good to emphasize our similarities as well as our differences?

4. Is there evidence in this chapter that the death of Stephen was still on Paul's mind?

5. Why did the people take off their clothes and throw dust in the air? - Acts 22:23

And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, (Acts 22:23)

6. What does it mean to be "examined by scourging"? - Acts 22:24

the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. (Acts 22:24)

7. Why did the chief captain have particular respect for Paul's Roman citizenship? - Acts 22:28

And the commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen." (Acts 22:28)


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