Acts 22

Acts chapter 22

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Paul Testimony

Acts 22:1-16

Acts 22:17-24 Paul in Jerusalem
Acts 22:25-30 Scourge
ACTS 22:1-2  1 "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” 2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said:

Who are "they" (Acts 22:2) and who is "he" (Acts 22:2)?
Paul has just begun to speak to a large crowd of Jews in Jerusalem who tried to kill him until the Roman commander intervened. Paul is atop the stairs leading up to the Antonia Fortress where the Roman garrison is stationed and protected by Roman soldiers (see Paul's Nazarite Vow).

Why did the crowd of Jews keep "all the more silent" (Acts 22:2)?
Because "he spoke to them in the Hebrew language" (Acts 22:2).

Why would that silence them?
They weren't expecting Paul to be a Jew since the accusation that brought them together was that he was "against the people" - i.e., Jews: "... Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place" (Acts 21:28).

ACTS 22:3  3 "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.

Where was Paul born and raised?
He was born in "Tarsus" (Acts 22:3), a city on the Mediterranean coast in the Roman province of "Cilicia" (Acts 22:3) in what is southeastern Turkey today, but "brought up in" (Acts 22:3) Jerusalem. Tarsus was the intellectual capital of Cilicia and one of the renowned educational centers in the Roman Empire, surpassed by only Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt.

Who is "Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3)?
Gamaliel was the pre-eminent educator of his generation (see Gamaliel).

What did it mean to be "brought up ... at the feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3)?
It meant that Paul was a chosen pupil of Gamaliel and "taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law" (Acts 22:3).

Why did Paul bring up his educational pedigree?
To have them pay attention to what he was about to say

Why does Paul say that he was "zealous toward God as you all are today" (Acts 22:3)?
He understands that their attempt to kill him is driven by their desire to serve God. He understands this well because he once did the same to Christians for the same reason, going as far as Damascus to persecute them (see below).

ACTS 22:4-5  4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

With whom could they verify Paul's claims?
The high priest and the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, who vouched for Paul in writing: "as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters ... " (Acts 22:5).

ACTS 22:6-16  6 “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. 10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus. 12 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

Is the above true?
Please see for yourself: Acts 9.

What is Paul describing above?
How he met Jesus. He is giving his personal testimony.

Isn't personal testimony something personal?
It is, but not confidential.

With whom should personal testimony be shared?
Everyone: "Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15). Telling people who Jesus is and how we met Him is the privilege, duty and joy of every Christian.

How did you meet Jesus?
 

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