Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

Paul's Imprisonment and Appeal to Rome

Acts 21-26

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Paul's Journey to Rome and Shipwreck (Acts 27-28)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth." Acts 13:47

Opening Prayer

Travel Plans (Acts 19:21-22)
    What plans did Paul make after spending a couple of years in Ephesus during his third journey?
      Acts 19:21-22 = Time to move on, sights on Jerusalem & Rome, but visit Greece first
    Besides checking up on things, what did Paul intend to do by passing through Greece?
      1 Corinthians 16:1-4 = Take a collection for the poor in Jerusalem (written in Ephesus)
    What were Paul's plans after taking the offerings to Jerusalem church?
      Romans 15:23-28 = Visit Rome & Spain - (Wrote book of Romans in Corinth)
    Did Paul sense any danger in his plans to go to Jerusalem?
      Romans 15:31-32 = He knew he needed protection from non-Christians in Jerusalem

    How were Paul's plans to go to Jerusalem in time for the Passover changed?
      Acts 20:3b = Jews planned to throw him overboard or the like, walked back thru Mac.
    What target date did Paul set for arriving in Jerusalem after he missed Passover?
      Acts 20:16 = Pentecost, 50 days later - even sailed past Ephesus to avoid delay
    Did Paul believe the dangers in Jerusalem were gone since he missed Passover?
      Acts 20:22-23 = No, he knew dangers were waiting whenever he showed up
    Why would Paul go to Jerusalem if prison and hardship was facing him?
      Acts 20:24 = He must finish the race and complete the task given to him

Sad Farewells (Acts 20:36-21:16)
    How did the Ephesians respond to Paul's determination to go to Jerusalem despite the danger?
      Acts 20:36-38 = They prayed & were very sad that they wouldn't see him again
    Was the concern for Paul's safety because of their friendship?
      Acts 21:4-6 = No, even Christians at Tyre he knew only a week begged him not to go
    How did God test Paul's obedience to His call to go to Jerusalem even further?
      Acts 21:10-11 = Sent Agabus to prophesy that Paul would be bound in Jerusalem
    Had Paul heard of the accuracy of Agabus' prophesies?
      Acts 11:27-30 = Agabus had prophesied famine during Paul's early days in Antioch

    How did the Christians in Caesarea respond to this vivid prophesy?
      Acts 21:12 = They pleaded with Paul not to go, others can take gifts
    Did all of this change Paul's mind?
      Acts 21:13-16 = No, needed to follow the Spirit's lead and do the Lord's will, went to J

I Became Like a Jew to Win the Jews (Acts 21:17-26)
    Besides giving the contributions from the churches, what did Paul do in Jerusalem?
      Acts 21:17-19 = Reported the successes of taking the Gospel to the Gentiles
    How did the Jerusalem Christians, who focused on Jews, respond to this report?
      Acts 21:20-22 = They praised God, BUT had concern of animosity from Christian Jews
    How did they feel they could disprove these rumors that Paul turned Jews from their traditions?
      Acts 21:23-24 = Wealthier Jews sometimes paid sacrifice costs for Nazarite vows
    How did Paul go further than just paying for their purification expenses?
      Acts 21:26 = He participated in them, lived in temple 7 days to avoid defilement
    Why did Paul do this when he knew the rumors were false?
      1 Corinthians 9:19-23 = He happily met people where they were for the sake of Gospel

Away With Him! (Acts 21:27-40)
    Did Paul's efforts accomplish their desired goal?
      Acts 21:27-29 = No, Jews from Ephesus recognized and identified him to others
    Temple had 13 stone signs with:
      Let no Gentile enter within the balustrade and enclosure surrounding the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be personally responsible for his consequent death.
    What did other Jews think about a Jew bringing a forbidden Gentile into the temple?
      Acts 21:30 = Everyone wanted to have him stoned

    What happened when the mob noise was heard in the Tower Antonia (at NW corner of temple)?
      Acts 21:31-36 = Roman commander saved Paul from mob, arrested him for protection
    Was the commander able to understand anything about the situation through the commotion?
      Acts 21:37-38 = Thought Paul was Dagger-bearer leader who tried to destroy Jer in 54
    Besides speaking fluent Greek, how did Paul inform the commander who he was?
      Acts 21:39-40 = Said he was a Jew from a large city, Spoke in Aramaic to crowd

Here Is My Defense (Acts 22)
    Was Paul able to quiet the frenzied mob enough to talk to them? = Steps from temple courts to Castle
      Acts 22:1-2 = Yes, they listened when he spoke Aramaic
    Besides speaking their language, how did Paul try to become like a Jew to win the Jews?
      Acts 22:3-4, 12-15 = Jew, trained by Gamaliel, very zealous, sent by respected Jew
    How did he transition further into his Christian faith?
      Acts 22:17-18, 21 = While praying in temple as a good Jew, God sent him to Gentiles

    Was the crowd satisfied with Paul's explanation of why he spent time with Gentiles?
      Acts 22:22 = It was further proof that he likely brought a Gentile into the temple
    Did this help the commander understand why the mob was so upset? = Didn't know Aramaic
      Acts 22:23-24 = No, he decided to find out from Paul with the normal means of torture
    How did Paul keep himself from being flogged?
      Acts 22:25, 29 = Revealed he was Roman citizen, couldn't be punished without a trial
    What did the commander decide to do to get to the bottom of this near-riot?
      Acts 22:30 = Bring the two sides together and have them make charges

Before the Sanhedrin (Acts 23:1-11)
    How did Paul's stand before the Sanhedrin take an immediate bad turn? .
      Acts 23:1-5 = Paul insulted high priest then apologized, high priest was wrong
    Knowing that the Jews would not accept his testimony, what defense did Paul take?
      Acts 23:6 = He claimed he was on trial for his belief in the resurrection of the dead
    Did this statement have any effect? = Majority of Sanhedrin was Saduccees
      Acts 23:7-10 = Yes, he successfully turned the Sanhedrin on itself & away from him
    With things getting hotter and hotter, how was Paul assured he was doing the right thing?
      Acts 23:11 = Vision told him he would be going to Rome

Paul's Nephew Saves the Day (Acts 23:12-35)
    Having blown their chance to nail Paul before the commander, what did the Jews decide to do?
      Acts 23:12-15 = Assassinate Paul
    How did this plan fall apart?
      Acts 23:16-18a, 22 = Paul's nephew learned of plot & told the commander
    What did the commander decide to do? = Army easier to protect Paul than stop possible riot
      Acts 23:23-24 = Send Paul to the governor in Caesarea via a huge army for protection

    How would Governor Felix know what to do with Paul?
      Acts 23:25-30 = Claudius sent a letter explaining situation, had no problem with Paul
    Did the army have any trouble taking Paul to Caesarea? = A to C was open, safe from ambush
      Acts 23:31-32 = No, 470 went 35 mi all night to Antipatris, 70 went other 25 mi to C
    Did Felix have Paul held in the federal prison? = Pontius Pilate had lived in Herod's Palace
      Acts 23:35 = No, had him put under guard in Herod's palace for protection
    Felix - Raised as a slave, Got position since brother Pallas was close to Nero, cruel & oppressive
      Tacitus (Roman historian): Felix exercised the power of a king in the spirit of a slave

Trial Before Felix (Acts 24)
    How were the Jewish leaders more prepared this time?
      Acts 24:1 = They hired a high-powered lawyer & built a legal case around Roman laws
    What three charges did the Jews bring against Paul?
      Acts 24:5-9 = Trouble & riot maker, ringleader of Nazarene sect, desecrated the temple

    How did Paul address the charge of being a troublemaker and stirring up riots?
      Acts 24:11-13 = In Jer. only a few days, never even argued in temple or anywhere
    How did Paul address the charge of being a ringleader of the Nazarene sect?
      Acts 24:14-16 = He accepted it and said he had the same hope in the same God
    How did Paul address the charge of trying to desecrate the temple? = accusers need specifics
      Acts 24:17-21 = Posed no threat to the temple, was even ceremonially clean

    With no basis to punish Paul, but in trouble with the Jews for other reasons, what did Felix do?
      Acts 24:22-23, 27 = Kept Paul guarded for 2 yrs, Likely when Luke researched Gospel
    Did Felix forget entirely about Paul during this time?
      Acts 24:24-26 = No, he talked with him frequently, hoping for a bribe

Trial Before Festus (Acts 25:1-12)
    How long did it take the new governor to learn about Paul's case?
      Acts 25:1-2 = Right away, Diplomatically spent first days in Jerusalem
    What did the Jewish leaders as Festus to do?
      Acts 25:3-5 = Bring Paul to Jerusalem for trial, Festus told them to come to Caesarea
    How did the prosecution and defense arguments go during this trial?
      Acts 25:7-8 = Prosecution couldn't prove anything, defense pointed this out

    Faced with upsetting his new constituency with an inevitable acquittal, what did Festus do?
      Acts 25:9 = Tried to have a trial in Jerusalem as the Jews had originally requested
    What did Paul think of this idea? = I'm already standing trial! Why should I go to Jerusalem?
      Acts 25:10-12 = Frustrated at lack of just decisions, he appealed to Caesar
    Note: Emperor Nero was too young to rule, so his tutor, Seneca, led in his place
      Seneca was a positive & just leader, Paul would have stood trial before Seneca
      Seneca's brother was Gallio, Achaia proconsul who sided with Paul (Acts 18:12-17)

Festus Consults King Agrippa (Acts 25:13-26:32)
    Who came to visit the new governor just a few weeks after Festus took office?
      Acts 25:13 = Herod Agrippa II (4th generation from Herod the Great) & sister Bernice
    Why was Paul brought to trial before King Agrippa?
      Acts 25:24-27 = Needed help finding a charge with which to send Paul to Caesar
    How did King Agrippa reply after Paul told his story?
      Acts 26:28-29 = Asked if Paul was defending himself or trying to make him a Christian
    What did King Agrippa think about everything he had heard?
      Acts 26:30-32 = Paul was innocent, could have been freed if he hadn't appealed to C

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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