Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 23:25-35; 24:1-15
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 23:25-29
vs25-29: The commander, Claudius Lysias, wrote a letter which the soldiers were to present to the governor when they arrived in Caesarea. He needed to explain why so many soldiers were required to guard one man, and he also wanted to carefully reinterpret the order of events surrounding Paul’s arrest, so that the fact that he had placed a Roman citizen in chains and nearly scourged him without a trial would be hidden. His letter leaves the impression that he had rescued Paul after he learned that he was a Roman citizen, and then arranged a meeting between Paul and the Sanhedrin to try to determine the charges being made against him. He said he had concluded that the root of the problem was a debate over Jewish theology, and that Paul had done nothing to justify being executed or imprisoned.

Monday: Acts 23:30-32
vs30-32: He ended his letter by saying, “And when it was revealed to me that there was a plot against the man, I immediately sent him to you, ordering his accusers to speak to him in front of you.” In other words, as a Roman citizen, Paul had a right to hear for himself what his accusers were saying about him, and then to be allowed to defend himself against those charges. v31: Following their commander’s orders, the soldiers put Paul on a horse and traveled by night to Antipatris, a town about 35 miles from Jerusalem. The next day the foot soldiers were permitted to return to Jerusalem because the final 27 miles to Caesarea was through open country and out of danger (F.F. Bruce, Acts, Eerdmans, 1974, p.461).

Tuesday: Acts 23:33-35
vs33-35: When they arrived they handed the commander’s letter to the governor and presented Paul. After reading the letter Felix asked which province Paul came from, because his jurisdiction extended only to certain providences. When he learned that Paul’s home was in the Roman province of Cilicia he knew he had the authority to decide the case, so he spoke to Paul and said, “I will hear what you have to say after your accusers arrive.” Then, since Paul was a Roman citizen and had not been convicted of any crime, he ordered him to be held in the same building where he himself was living, one that had originally been Herod’s palace. The ruins of this beautiful building can still be seen today. It is located on a rock ledge right next to the sea. Judging from the language Luke uses we cannot be certain that Paul was placed in a jail cell while he was there. He may simply have been confined to the area of the soldiers’ quarters.

Wednesday: Acts 23:35-24:2
v35: Paul was ultimately kept in custody for two years, and during that time the governor allowed friends to visit him and care for him. In fact, Felix himself would frequently summon Paul to converse with him (Ac 24:23-27). Since Philip the evangelist and his family lived in the city (Ac 20:8-9), and since years earlier a powerful outpouring of the Spirit had taken place in the home of a Roman centurion named Cornelius (Ac 10-11), it’s likely the church had continued to grow, so Paul must have stayed very busy during that time. chp24 vs1-2: Five days later, Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some members of the Sanhedrin and a Roman lawyer named Tertullus. The governor summoned Paul and when he arrived Tertullus began to present charges. He opened his statement by flattering the judge.

Thursday: Acts 24:3-8
vs3-8: He told Felix, “Through you we have obtained much peace, and through your forethought reforms have come to this nation. Most excellent (strongest) Felix, with thankfulness we gladly welcome the reforms you brought to every area in the life in this nation. But so that I will not interrupt (cut in to) your busy schedule any further, I beg you to be merciful and listen to us briefly. We have found this man to be like a contagious disease. He’s been starting riots among the Jews throughout the entire inhabited earth. He is a leader of the sect called the Nazarenes, and he tried to violate the holy restrictions of the Temple (by bringing a Gentile into its courts) (Ac 21:28-29). That’s why we seized him. We wanted to judge him according to our own law, but Lysias, the commander, with much violence, took him out of our hands and led him away. And Lysias can fully confirm these charges we’re making against Paul because he also examined him” (paraphrase).

Friday: Acts 24:9-13
vs9-13: Then the religious leaders themselves spoke up saying that all these charges were true. At that point the governor nodded his head toward Paul, indicating that it was now his turn to speak. Paul addressed his response directly to Felix. He said, “Since I know you’ve been a judge to this nation for many years, I feel confident that I can defend myself concerning these matters.” And his defense was quite simple. He told Felix he had arrived in Jerusalem only 12 days ago and during that time he hadn’t gathered a crowd or even dialogued with anybody, whether he had been in the Temple or a synagogue, or any place else in the city. He told Felix he knew the governor could investigate to see whether or not what he was saying was true, and he encouraged him to do so. He said his accusers, however, would not be able to prove the charges they were making against him.

Saturday: Acts 24:14-15
vs14-15: But at this point in his presentation he admitted that there was something he needed to confess to the governor, which was that he did, indeed, worship the God of Israel’s fathers according to “the way,” an early term commonly used to refer to Christians (Ac 9:2, 19:9, 23, 22:4, 24:14,22). Then he explained, “…which they call a ‘sect,’” meaning, in this case, a group which had separated itself from mainstream Judaism and taught false doctrine. To make it clear to Felix that this was absolutely a false charge, he declared, “I believe all the things that have been written in the Law and the Prophets, having a hope in God which these men themselves expect to receive, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.” For Paul to say this about these elders means there must have been some Pharisees among them because Sadducees didn’t believe that (Ac 23:8). 

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