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Acts Chapter 22
An Understandable Version of ACTS
Translation by William E. Paul
by Charles Dailey

(Black underlined words match words in the Bible text.)
1) "Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense I want to make to you." Paul's opening statement is strikingly similar to the words that He heard Stephen use many years before. Acts 7:2.
- He addressed the crowd respectfully even though he had been roughed up by them.
2) And when they heard him speaking in the Hebrew language, they listened all the more quietly. So, he continued, Listeners were impressed by his command of their Hebrew (Aramaic) language.
3) "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, in Cilicia, but raised [here] in this city [i.e., Jerusalem]. [I was] instructed by Gamaliel [i.e., a renowned Jewish rabbi of the time] according to the strictest methods of observing the law of our forefathers. [I was very] eager to serve God, just as all of you are here today. Paul advances three credentials they should accept: 1. He was a Jew from Jerusalem 2. He had studied under their finest teacher 3. He, too, had seriously opposed the message of Jesus of Nazareth.
- While foreign born, he was raised locally.
- Gamaliel had died six years before. We heard from him last in Acts 5:34.
- Paul had very, very orthodox training.
- Eager here is: "boiling over."
4) And I persecuted this 'Way' [even to the point of] putting people to death. [I had] both men and women bound [in chains] and locked up in prisons. He could not have opposed Jesus of Nazareth more!
- Way seems to be a designation the group understood.
- Notice that women were included. Think of the entire families that were disrupted.
5) The head priest can also verify all this, and so can the body of [Jewish] elders. They furnished me with letters to our fellow-Jews in Damascus, to which I also traveled to bring people back here to Jerusalem, bound in chains to be punished. The new high priest is Ananias, son of Nebedaeus. He is a newcomer to our story.
- fellow-Jews - He makes a strong identification with the religion of his listeners.
- Paul was even more anxious than his listeners to have God worshiped "properly."
6) "And then it suddenly happened, about noon, as I was traveling and got close to Damascus, that this brilliant light from the sky flashed all around me. The event that changed his life is described.
- That it was noon is new information not included in Luke's narration of chapter 9.
7) I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' He persecuted Christ's body.
- Jesus is closely identified with His Body, the church.
8) I answered, 'Who are you, sir?' And the voice answered me, 'I am Jesus from Nazareth, the One you are persecuting.' The from Nazareth information is new.
9) Those who accompanied me saw the light clearly, but did not hear [i.e., understand] the voice of the one speaking to me. Others were not blinded by the light. They did not understand the words that were spoken.
- This is new information.
10) Then I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?' And the Lord replied to me, 'Get up, go into Damascus and there you will be told everything [I have] appointed for you to do.' Paul begins to submit to Jesus. There are many steps ahead.
- This question showing submission is new information.
- Suspense! Paul had been picked - but what for?
11) And since I could not see [anything] because of the brilliance of the light, I had to be led by the hand of those with me into Damascus. The leader is now being led.
- Our guess is they were on foot, not on animals.
- This must have been very hard on the ego of such an angry man.
12) "[Then] Ananias, a man who was devoted to [observing] the law of Moses and who had a good reputation among all the Jews who lived there, Ananias was not a marginal Jew. He was a keeper of the law of Moses and had a good reputation in the Jewish community in Damascus.
13) came and stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, regain your sight.' And at that very moment I looked at him [fully able to see again]. Paul was a brother in Moses. Cp. Luke 6:42.
14) And he said [to me], 'The God of our forefathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One [i.e., Jesus], and to hear His voice [speaking to you]. Paul had been chosen by God from birth. Galatians 1:15 - Paul had both seen and heard Jesus of Nazareth.
15) For you will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. He is to witness like the 12. Acts 1:8. - all people certainly implies the Gentiles.
16) So now, what are you waiting for? Get up and be immersed [into Christ], and have your sins washed away as you appeal to His name [i.e., to Christ's authority].' The point of removing sin is immersion into Christ. He had encountered Christ and believed what He said, but Paul still needed to take action.
- Most of the information of this verse is new.
- His name = Jesus' authority. Paul has just told his listeners (by quoting Ananias) that their sins could be washed away by obeying Jesus. They were reminded of sins by their Jewish practices. Heb. 10:3.
17) "And it happened that when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the Temple, I fell into a trance [i.e., a semi-conscious vision-like state]. Paul had not abandoned this Temple. He came here to pray after his encounter with Christ.
18) And I saw [and heard] the Lord saying to me, 'Hurry up, get out of Jerusalem quickly, because the people [here] will reject your testimony about me.' Like so many new believers, Paul thought his colleagues would accept the truth as he had.
19) And I replied, 'Lord, they know very well that I am [the one] who imprisoned and beat the believers [who assembled] in every synagogue, Jerusalem had numerous synagogues.
- Christians still attended the synagogue.
20) and when your witness Stephen was killed, I stood there, approving [of it] and [even] guarding the clothing of those who stoned him to death.' Paul remembered Stephen's death and took the blame.
21) Then the Lord said to me, 'Go, for I will send you far away from here to the Gentiles.'" The implication is that Gentiles will accept what the Jews rejected.
22) The people had listened to Paul speaking up to this point [i.e., until he said the word "Gentiles"], then they raised their voices and shouted, "Do away with such a person from the earth; it is not right for him to live." 22.) We must remember that Luke is a Gentile writing primarily to another Gentile, Theophilus. The prejudice against Gentiles is extreme.
- Their sense of right was badly skewed.
23) And while the people shouted, waved around [torn] clothing and threw dust into the air, We can feel the emotion across 19 centuries.
24) the commander ordered Paul to be brought to headquarters and requested that he be interrogated by means of a flogging, in order to learn the reason why people were shouting against him. Paul's right to speak was revoked for his own safety.
- Flogging was terrible; worse than any previous beating.
- The commander assumed the people had a case. He may not have been able to understand Paul's defense in Hebrew.
25) Just as they were tying him up [in preparation] for the flogging, Paul said to the officer nearby, "Is it lawful for you to whip a Roman [citizen] before he has been [legally] condemned?" This was illegal twice over. It is illegal to tie up a Roman citizen before he has been found guilty and it is worse to flog one.
26) When the officer heard this, he [immediately] went and told the commander, saying, "What are you going to do? For this man is a Roman citizen." This would mean the person responsible would be treated the same way.
27) Then the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you [really] a Roman citizen?" Paul said, "Yes." The punishment for a false claim to Roman citizenship was death.
28) The commander answered, "It cost me a large sum of money to obtain this [right of] citizenship." Paul replied, "But I am a Roman citizen by birth." Citizenship was sold by Claudius' wife Messalina as an example of what he is talking about. Claudius Lysias may have been a Greek.
- Paul came from a family that had legal Roman citizenship.
29) Then those who were about to interrogate Paul [with whips] immediately left him, and the commander also became fearful when he realized that he had chained a Roman citizen [illegally]. "We're out of here." They were fearful of what might happen if Paul filed charges against them.
- In chains in preparation for flogging.
- Claudius Lysias continued to hold Paul to preserve the life of this Roman citizen.
30) But the next day the commander released Paul[from the chains] because he wanted to know what specific charges the Jews had against him. So, he ordered the leading priests and the entire [Jewish] Council to assemble, then brought Paul down and placed him in front of them. 30.) Luke generally presents government officials as intelligent and conscientious men that can't figure out Paul's message.
- Claudius Lysias wanted to understand the charges against Paul.
- down from the Roman Tower of Antonia.
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