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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Acts 22

 

 

Introduction

Paul's Conversion And Work
- Acts Twenty-Two -

The conversion of Saul is told in Acts 9:1-19, Acts 26:9-18 and here in Acts 22:1-16. He gave us many details about what happened on his trip to Damascus to persecute Christians. We should study carefully what the Bible says about conversion and not be swayed by our preconceived ideas. Saul was wrong religiously, but he was sincerely trying to serve God. He followed his conscience, which sadly had been taught wrong. He was religious but religiously wrong, sincere but sincerely mistaken.

God sent Ananias to tell Saul what he must do to be saved. God does not tell people directly how to be saved. Those that have already become Christians deliver his message to others. When Ananias came to Saul he asked, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16) Saul was a believer in Christ that had repented of his sins and now he needed to be baptized into Christ.

After Saul"s conversion he became an apostle to the Gentiles. The Jews listened to Paul until he said the word "Gentile." "And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live." (Acts 22:22) National prejudice is a sad and destructive thing. The anger of the people caused the chief captain to assume Paul had done some terrible crime. He threatened to beat Paul until he found out that Paul was a freeborn Roman citizen. The captain did not seem to respect God but he did respect the law of the land. Paul was willing to suffer and to die for Christ but if his Roman freedoms could prevent his suffering he would thankful use that citizenship.


Verses 1-5

Paul"s birth, education and prejudices - Acts 22:1-5 : The term "men, brethren and fathers" was a term used often among the Jews in Paul"s" day. He was happy to answer the charges of speaking against the Jews, the Law of Moses, and the Temple. He knew his teaching was in harmony with the will of God. When Paul spoke in the Hebrew tongue the people became even more silent. The captain and the Roman soldiers might not have understood Hebrew so well.

Paul explained that he was a Jew by birth. He was educated in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel. He had been taught strict observance of the Mosaic Law. It was a well know fact that he was zealous toward God and the Law. Paul had been a zealous persecutor of Christianity. He committed Christians to prison and consented to their death. He said the Jewish Sanhedrin and the High Priest could bear witness to the fact that he had gained permission to go to Damascus in order to bind and imprison Christians.


Verses 6-16

Paul"s conversion to Christianity - Acts 22:6-16 : As Paul drew near to Damascus there was a bright light from heaven that flashed around him. This light caused him to fall to the ground. He heard a voice asking, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" He inquired as to who it was that he was persecuting. He learned that he was persecuting Jesus of Nazareth. Those traveling with Paul saw the light but did not hear the voice in such a way as to understand.

Paul quickly inquired as to what he must do to be saved. He had journeyed toward Damascus to persecute Christians that he found there. Now, however, he entered into the city to learn how to become a Christian and what he must do for Jesus. He would learn that he was to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He would both work and suffer for the cause he had persecuted.

Ananias was a good and godly man that God sent to tell Paul how to become a Christian. He first used a miracle to restore Paul"s sight. Ananias told Paul that God had chosen him and to see Jesus and to hear His voice. He would then become a witness as to what he had seen and heard. Paul was baptized to wash away his sins. "Calling on the name of the Lord," an expression that means obedience to the Lord"s will. There is not doubt that one must be baptized in order to be saved.


Verses 17-21

Paul"s apostleship among Gentiles - Acts 22:17-21 : After his conversion Paul returned to Jerusalem and to the Temple to pray. In a vision he was told to leave Jerusalem because the people would not listen to what he had to say about God. He was told to get out of Jerusalem quickly because God had work for him to do elsewhere.

The people would not listen to Paul just as he would not listen to Stephen and other preachers of the gospel. Many times Paul had gone into the assemblies and arrested Christians. He even guarded the clothes of the men who murdered Stephen. The Lord told Paul to leave Jerusalem and that he would send him to the Gentiles. The desire of God was that Paul become an apostle to the Gentiles. He preached the gospel among them with great success. Many churches were established among the Gentiles.


Verses 22-30

Paul"s Roman citizenship helped him - Acts 22:22-30 : The crowd listened to Paul until he said the word "Gentile." Then they said, "Get rid of this man! He doesn"t deserve to live." Like madmen these people threw off their cloths and threw dust into the air. The captain decided to take Paul to the castle and scourge him to find out why the crowd was so angry with him. While the soldiers were tying Paul up to be scourged he asked them if it was legal to beat a Roman citizen without a trial?

The officer immediately told the captain that Paul was a Roman citizen. The captain had bought his Roman citizenship with much money. Paul was a freeborn Roman citizen. Those that were about to beat Paul stopped immediately when they realized that they had put a Roman in chains uncondemned. The chief captain was concerned that he would be called to give an account for even allowing Paul to be bound. It is again obvious that this man did not respect God but he did respect the laws of the land. All Christians must have respect for the laws of the land and obey them unless they conflict with the will of God. (Romans 13:1-14)

The next day the commander wanted to know the real reason why the Jewish leaders had brought charges against Paul. He ordered the chief priests and the whole council to meet about this matter. Paul was brought in to make his defense before them. Later we will see that his defense centered in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The council was much divide over the questions of the resurrection.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 22:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/acts-22.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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