Scripture: Acts 23

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READ and STUDY the WORD

Paul Standing Before The Sanhedrin (Council)

Acts 23:1-11 (KJV) And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.  And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.  But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.  And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.  For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.  And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.  10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.  11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Questions and Answers:

1. What did Paul say to the council (Acts 23:1)? Paul said he had lived in all good conscience before God.

2. What did high priest Ananias command be done (Acts 23:2)? The high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by Paul to smite him on the mouth.

3. What did Paul say to the high priest (Acts 23:3)? Paul said, “God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?”

4. What did those standing by say to Paul (Acts 23:4)? Those standing by questioned Paul insulting the high priest.

5. What had Paul not known (Acts 23:5a)? Paul didn’t know he was speaking to the high priest.

6. When Paul realized there were both Sadducees and Pharisees in the crowd, what did he say (Acts 23:6)? When Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

7. Why did there arise a division (Acts 23:7-8)? There arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.  For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

8. What did the scribes say (Acts 23:9)? There arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and said they found no evil in Paul; but if a spirit or an angel had spoken to him, they shouldn’t fight against God.

9. What did the chief captain command (Acts 23:10)? When there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing Paul would be harmed, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. 

10. Who encouraged Paul (Acts 23:11)? The night following the Lord stood by Paul, and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.”

The Plot To Kill Paul

Acts 23:12-22 (KJV) 12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.  13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.  14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.  15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.  16 And when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.  17 Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.  18 So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.  19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?  20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.  21 But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.  22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.

Questions:

1. Who conspired to kill Paul (Acts 23:12-13)? More than 40 Jews band together and conspired to kill Paul.

2. Who did the Jews tell of their plan (Acts 23:14-15)? This group of Jews told their plan to the chief priests and elders.  They had bound themselves under a great curse.  They would eat nothing until they had slain Paul. They conspired with the council to have Paul brought down as if to enquire more information from Paul. And the Jews would then be ready to kill Paul.

3. Who heard the plan and what did he do (Acts 23:16)? Paul’s nephew heard the Jews’ plans and told Paul.

4. What did Paul do (Acts 23:17)? Paul asked one of the centurions to take his nephew to see the chief captain.

5. What did the chief captain do and say after talking to Paul’s nephew (Acts 23:22)? The chief captain allow the young man to depart and told him to not tell anyone else what he (Paul’s nephew) had told him (the chief captain).

Paul Is Transferred To Caesarea

Acts 23:23-35 (KJV) 23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;  24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.  25 And he wrote a letter after this manner: 26 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.  27 This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.  28 And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council: 29 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.  30 And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.  31 Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.  32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle: 33 Who, when they came to Caesarea and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.  34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia; 35 I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall.

Questions:

1. What did the chief captain do (Acts 23:23-32)? The chief captain called two centurions and ordered them to make ready 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen to take Paul to Caesarea to see Felix, the governor.  The chief captain sent a letter with them explaining the situation.

2. When Paul was brought before Felix, what did Felix do and say (Acts 23:33-35)? Felix read the letter sent by the chief captain.  And then Felix asked Paul what province he was from.  When he understood that he was of Cilicia, Felix said he would hear his case when Paul’s accusers arrived.  Then Felix ordered that Paul be kept under guard. 

HEAR the WORD

Acts 23:1-5 (KJV) And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.  And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. 

MEDITATE on the WORD

Ponder the above verses.  My Bible notes: Paul’s outburst (verse 3) came as a result of the illegal command that Ananias had given.  Ananias had violated Jewish law by assuming that Paul was guilty without a trial and ordering his punishment.  Paul (see verse 5a) didn’t recognize Ananias as the high priest, probably because Ananias’ command broke the law he was pledged to represent.  My thoughts: In America we should honor the same law – A person is innocent until proved guilty in a court of law.  But the second part of verse 5 is what speaks to me, “Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.”  It made me realize that we citizens of America should never speak evil of our president either. Whether we agree with them or not.  We can be disappointed in them but bad mouthing them should be something no citizen, particularly a Christian one, does.  

MEMORIZE the WORD

Paul says in Acts 23:5b, “for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.”

LOVE and LIVE the WORD

If we love God we need to listen and live what we discover to be God’s Word.

TEACH and SHARE the WORD

And we need to share with others what we learn.

PRAY the WORD

Lord, I pray we will be careful what we say about those in authority, especially our president (Acts 23:5).  Lord, I pray we too will put our hope in the resurrection of the dead  (Acts 23:6).  Lord, I pray we too will testify about You everywhere You send us (Acts 23:11).  When we know someone is in harm’s way, I pray we will report what we know to them (Acts 23:16).  I pray those in harm’s way will seek help from anyone that could help them (Acts 23:19-22).  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.

ENCOURAGEMENT

“May you and I help those we find in harm’s way.” <>< Dona