Paul speaks to the angry mob, sharing his testimony of how he came to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul tells a centurion that he is a Roman citizen. [UPDATED]
the defense which I now make to you. Paul shares his own story of how he came to faith in Christ.
In our day, people call that a “testimony.” Sharing your testimony is a way of witnessing to people.
In the following verses, we will see three aspects to Paul’s testimony:
- What his life was like prior to faith in Jesus Christ
- How he came to faith in Jesus Christ
- What his life has been like after coming to faith in Jesus Christ
VERSE 2. When they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they were even more quiet. He said,
the Hebrew language. The Greek word is Ἑβραΐδι (“Hebraidi”). It means the Hebrew language. However, some translations say “Aramaic.”
These are Jewish people. When Paul speaks in Hebrew, they take notice.
VERSE 3. “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict tradition of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as you all are today.
brought up in this city. The verb for “brought up” is from anatrephô, which can also mean “educate.”
at the feet of Gamaliel. Paul had been a disciple of the beloved Gamaliel.
Acts 5:34. But one stood up in the council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, honored by all the people, and commanded to put the apostles out for a little while.
VERSE 4. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
1 Corinthians 15:9. For I am the least of the apostles, who is not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the assembly of God.
VERSE 5. As also the high priest and all the council of the elders testify, from whom also I received letters to the brothers, and traveled to Damascus to bring them also who were there to Jerusalem in bonds to be punished.
VERSE 6. As I made my journey, and came close to Damascus, about noon, suddenly a great light shone around me from the sky.
VERSE 7. I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
VERSE 8. I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute.’
VERSE 9. “Those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they didn’t understand the voice of him who spoke to me.
VERSE 10. I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Arise, and go into Damascus. There you will be told about all things which are appointed for you to do.’
In Damascus, Paul’s future ministry was revealed to him.
Acts 9:6. But rise up and enter into the city, then you will be told what you must do.
VERSE 11. When I couldn’t see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.
VERSE 12. One Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews who lived in Damascus,
Paul has great respect for this Jewish man.
In our day, Christians should learn from Paul. They should have great respect for Jewish people. They are our revered elders in the faith.
VERSE 13. came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ In that very hour I looked up at him.
VERSE 14. He said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth.
to see the Righteous One. This qualifies Paul to be an apostle:
1 Corinthians 9:1. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? Aren’t you my work in the Lord?
1 Corinthians 15:8. and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.
1 Corinthians 22:14. He said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth.
to all men. Paul would indeed be a witness to all people, both Jewish and Gentile, commoner and ruler.
VERSE 16. Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
wash away your sins. When did Paul come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? When was he “saved?” Here are the two main answers:
- On the road to Damascus. This is when the gospel message was presented to Paul directly by the Lord Jesus Christ.
- At his baptism. This is when Paul’s sins were washed away. And when he received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 9:17. Ananias departed and entered into the house. Laying his hands on him, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
VERSE 17. “When I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance,
VERSE 18. and saw him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not receive testimony concerning me from you.’
VERSE 19. I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those who believed in you.
Paul’s life has radically changed. He imagines that will make a favorable impression on people.
VERSE 20. When the blood of Stephen, your witness, was shed, I also was standing by, consenting to his death, and guarding the cloaks of those who killed him.’
VERSE 21. “He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you out far from here to the Gentiles.’”
VERSE 22. They listened to him until he said that; then they lifted up their voice and said, “Rid the earth of this fellow, for he isn’t fit to live!”
Rid the earth of this fellow. The angry mob is about to kill Paul.
VERSE 23. As they cried out, threw off their cloaks, and threw dust into the air,
VERSE 24. the commanding officer commanded him to be brought into the barracks, ordering him to be examined by scourging, that he might know for what crime they shouted against him like that.
examined by scourging. Sadly, they resort to human torture.
VERSE 25. When they had tied him up with thongs, Paul asked the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and not found guilty?”
Paul asked the centurion. Paul speaks in defense of himself. We should not submit ourselves to abusive treatment.
VERSE 26. When the centurion heard it, he went to the commanding officer and told him, “Watch what you are about to do, for this man is a Roman!”
VERSE 27. The commanding officer came and asked him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.”
VERSE 28. The commanding officer answered, “I bought my citizenship for a great price.” Paul said, “But I was born a Roman.”
VERSE 29. Immediately those who were about to examine him departed from him, and the commanding officer also was afraid when he realized that he was a Roman, because he had bound him.
VERSE 30. But on the next day, desiring to know the truth about why he was accused by the Jews, he freed him from the bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to come together, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.