Select Page
Read Introduction to Acts

 

1 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” 2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said: 3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished. 

 

Acts 22:1-21 presents Paul’s speech to the Jews who caused chaos at the Temple and beat him. Now arrested by Rome, the apostle stood on the steps of the Fortress Antonio in Jerusalem. He offered his case in three phases: 

-his situation before his conversion (22:1-5) 

-his conversion (22:6-16) 

-his commission from God (22:17-21) 

The purpose of Paul’s address to the Jews who persecuted him was to establish his loyalty to their customs. He was a Jew born in Gentile territory. The major thrust of his argument to the Jews was that his experiences were divinely ordered. If God had done this, then why were the Jews opposing him?  

22:1 

“Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” 

Paul respectfully addressed his hearers as “brethren and fathers” to hear his defense of their charges. The first five verses were his autobiographical defense.  

22:2 

And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew [Aramaic] language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said: 

When the audience heard Paul speak in Hebrew (Aramaic), there was dead silence in the crowd.  

22:3 

“I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. 

This verse begins the content of Paul’s speech. He informed them that he was a practicing Jew trained under Gamaliel in the laws of his Jewish ancestors. Saul of Tarsus moved to Jerusalem as a young man, where he trained under the famous rabbi Gamaliel. He became very zealous toward God.  

22:4 

I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 

The apostle showed how he had great zeal in persecuting “the Way” (Christianity) and even murdered and put others in prison, whether men or women (Ga 1:13). Paul mentioned the Way here and in Acts 24:14,22; 25:3.  

22:5 

as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished. 

The high priest and council of elders witnessed what Paul had to say about the situation in which he went to Damascus to imprison Christians there. He advanced in Judaism beyond others of his contemporary rabbis (Ga 1:14). 

PRINCIPLE: 

Supernatural influence can cause radical change.  

APPLICATION: 

Paul differed from his listeners by a supernatural change in his life. God’s divine power intervened in his religionist bias and changed him into a person who fellowshiped with God. Divine experience transformed his life.  

Share