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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Acts 23

Verses 1-11

Before the Sanhedrin (22:30-23:11)

Still wanting to find out the story behind this remarkable man, Lysias called the Jewish Sanhedrin to examine him (30). Paul soon saw, however, that the Sanhedrin was already set against him and he was not likely to get justice there (23:1-5).
Paul therefore changed his tactics. The one who had spoken to the Roman commander in Greek, addressed the mob in Aramaic, announced himself as God’s apostle to the Gentiles and claimed to be a Roman citizen, now called himself a Jewish Pharisee! He was being condemned because of his orthodox Pharisaic belief in the resurrection (6).
The immediate result of Paul’s declaration was that the Sanhedrin split in two, Pharisees against Sadducees. Some Pharisees thought Paul was not such a bad person after all (much the same as another Pharisee had said of Peter and John in a similar Sanhedrin dispute more than twenty years earlier; see 5:33-39). In the uproar that followed, the Roman soldiers again saved Paul from possible death (7-10). The Lord was still with Paul and eventually would bring him to Rome (11).

Verses 12-35

Sent to Caesarea (23:12-35)

The Jews were not finished yet. They decided to ask Lysias to send Paul to the Sanhedrin for a fresh trial the next day, so they could attack and kill him on the way (12-15). Unfortunately for the Jews, the plan was discovered and reported to Lysias (16-22).
Knowing that the Jews would carry out their plan if at all possible, Lysias thought it better to remove Paul from Jerusalem altogether. He decided to send Paul to the provincial capital, Caesarea, where he would come under the direct control of the provincial governor (23-24). In sending a letter to the governor, Lysias carefully rearranged the story to make sure that no blame could be placed on him (25-30). As Paul left Jerusalem for the last time, he had still not seen the fulfilment of his lifelong wish of unity between Jerusalem and the Gentile churches. But he did not give up his fight against Jewish misunderstandings (31-35).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Acts 23". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.