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6 But when Paul perceived that 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; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. 8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. 9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” 10 Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.

 

Paul diverted his speech by raising a debate between Sadducees and Pharisees in verses 6-11. Sadducees were the theological liberals of his day, and the Pharisees were the extreme conservatives. Ananias was a Sadducee.

23:6

But when Paul perceived that 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;

For the third time in Paul’s speech, he used the term “brethren,” indicating his identity with the Jewish people.

When Paul perceived that some in the audience were Sadducees and other Pharisees, he identified himself with the Pharisees.

concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”

Paul understood that the reason for his guilt or innocence rested on the doctrine of resurrection. The resurrection of Christ was proof that he was the Messiah. The ultimate charge against him was whether Jesus rose from the dead and not Jewish custom or laws.

Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, but the Pharisees did. Paul’s affirmation of the resurrection pitted the two groups against each other. The Sadducees were the ruling class and were in the majority. Paul’s message centered on the resurrection, especially the resurrection of Christ.

23:7

And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.

When Paul affirmed the resurrection, the assembly was immediately divided between the two systems of theology.

23:8

For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.

Luke injects an explanation of the theological differences between the Sadducees and Pharisees. The Sadducees said there was no resurrection, angels, or spirit, but the Pharisees believed both. The Sadducees did accept the inspiration of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible).

23:9

Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”

Having heard Paul affirm the resurrection, the Pharisees took the side listening to his argument. They assumed the possibility that an angel or spirit gave him a revelation. They identified with Paul’s heritage as a Pharisee.

23:10

Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.

The assembly became bedlam. Fearing that violence might break out among the assembly and injure Paul, the Roman commander commanded his soldiers to take him “by force” and bring him to the barracks.

PRINCIPLE:

God puts adversity in the life of the believer in His overall plan.

APPLICATION:

The book of First Peter argues that God puts adversity in the believer’s life to test him for approval (1 Pe 1:7). God is trying every believer regarding their personal integrity. A life without trial is a life unproven, as we shall see in the next verse.

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