Festus Before Agrippa – Acts 19

Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last king...

Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After some days, Festus met with King Agrippa II and his sister, Bernice, who was always by his side (one of his other siblings was Drusilla, who was the wife of Festus’ predecessor, Felix). This Agrippa was educated in the court of the emperor Claudius, and was the son of Herod Agrippa I, who in Acts 12:1-3 had the Apostle James killed and Peter arrested, and who the Lord stuck down dead in Acts 12:21-23. He was also the great-grandson of Herod the Great – who had ordered the killing of all the male children of the region around Bethlehem when Jesus was born. As Festus laid out the case against Paul, he concluded by surmising that the matter was a dispute about their religion, and the death of “a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (verse 19).

The next day, Festus introduced Paul, saying in a nutshell that (interestingly enough) he had found no charge deserving of death for Paul, and therefore he thought it wise to have him appear to Agrippa, so that maybe he (Festus) would have “something to write” before sending him to Caesar.


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul Invokes Roman Citizenship – Acts 19

Coin of Porcius Festus

Coin of Porcius Festus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antonius Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus as the Roman procurator of Judea from about 59 to 62 AD. During his reign, hostility to Roman rule was heating to a fevered pitch, preceding the “Great Revolt” (the Jewish-Roman war of AD 66) that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Wasting no time after Festus assumed his role, verse 2 says that “the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul,” trying to persuade him to send Paul to Jerusalem so they could ambush him.

These “chief priests and principal men” were most likely of the Sanhedrin, and had conspired with more than 40 others to kill Paul in Acts 23:12-15. In verse 9, Festus was ready to send Paul to Jerusalem as a favor to the Jews, when Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar.


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Joash Reigns as King – 2 Chronicles 24

English: Joas was the king of the ancient King...

English: Joas was the king of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, and sole surviving son of Ahaziah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joash began his reign when he was seven years old, and he reigned for 40 years. In the beginning, Joash was a good king and he decided to restore the house of the Lord, which had been ravaged years earlier. He told the priests and the Levites to go out and gather money from the people to do it, but it did not get done.

So Joash called Jehoiada and told him to get the Levites to collect the tax that Moses had levied in Exodus 30:16 for the tabernacle. So they made a chest and set it outside of the gate and the people brought their tax. As it was collected, masons and carpenters were hired, and the house was restored. The house was equipped with all of the utensils that had been taken, and offerings were made regularly while Jehoiada was alive.

Then, after Jehoiada died, the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. The text says that he “listened to them.” But we quickly learn that what that meant was they wanted to return to their idolatry, which brought God’s wrath upon Judah and Jerusalem. Joash tried to persuade them to come back to the house of the Lord, but they would not listen. Then Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah, rose up and condemned them for their wickedness.

The idolaters’ influence over Joash was evidently quite strong; and he had Zechariah killed. As he was dying, he said “May the Lord see and avenge!” And that is indeed what happened. The Lord brought the Syrians up against them, and in their defeat, Joash was assassinated. Verse 27 says that his son, Amaziah, replaced him.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

 

Paul Sails to Syria – Acts 18

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to th...

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to the Corinthians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sosthenes, who was beaten in verse 17, may have succeeded Crispus after he became a Christian. Sosthenes may have become a Christian himself, and could be the same one mentioned by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:1), but we do not know for sure. At Corinth’s eastern port of Cenchrea, Paul had cut his hair at the completion of a vow (likely a Nazirite vow, as in Numbers 6:2). It is speculated, that Paul would have kept some of his observances of ceremonial law, which would not be inappropriate at all. He would not, however, bind such on others.

Paul then set sail for Syria, taking Priscilla and Aquila with him. Stopping to establish the church at Ephesus, he left Priscilla and Aquila there, promising to return “if God wills.” He then set sail to Caesarea, traveled to report to the church in Jerusalem and up to Antioch of Syria, ending his second missionary journey in verse 22. Verse 23 then begins Paul’s third missionary journey, going up though Galatia and Phyrgia, “strengthening all the disciples” at the churches he had begun.

Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus from Alexandria. He was a learned and eloquent man, well-versed in the Old Testament. Luke says that “he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John,” meaning that he taught accurately what he knew, but Aquila and Priscilla filled in for him, teaching him “the way of God more accurately.” It is likely that Aquila baptized him into Christ. Wishing to go into Achaia, he was encouraged by the brothers, and became a powerful speaker of the gospel.


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul Goes to Corinth – Acts 18

Bust of Roman emperor Claudius (reworked from ...

Bust of Roman emperor Claudius (reworked from a bust of emperor Caligula), circa 50 AD. It was found in the so-called Otricoli basilica in Lanuvium, Italy, in 1779, and now stands in the “Sala Rotonda” (Round Hall) in the Museo Pio-Clementino (Vatican Museums). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul left Athens, and went to Corinth, which was 46 miles away. He met with Aquila and Priscilla there, who had come from Italy after the Roman emperor Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Roman (we know this to have been issued in 49 AD). At that time, they made no distinction between Jews and Christians. Aquila and Priscilla were tent makers by trade, like Paul, and he stayed with them. They became faithful friends, and he mentions them again a few times in Scripture (Romans 16:3-5, for example). As always, he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, preaching Jesus as the Christ. But when they opposed him, he went to the home of Titius Justis, about whom we know nothing. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was one of the Corinthians that we know Paul baptized himself (1 Corinthians 1:14).

The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, telling him to keep teaching, and that no harm would come to him there. So he remained for a year and a half (verse 11). The proconsul was the chief judicial officer. In this case, it was Gallio (verses 12-14) that held that position when the Jewish leaders there, in a united assault, had Paul brought before the tribunal. We know from fragments of a letter from Claudius (the Delphi Inscription, found in 1905 by a French expedition) that he began this office in 51 AD. He was a brother of the philosopher, Seneca, who was an advisor to Nero. Born as “Marcus Annaeus Novatus”, he took the full name “Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeus,” after the rich man who adopted him.But before Paul could defend himself, Gallio ruled that this was a religious matter between the Jews and ran them out of the tribunal.


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Joash Becomes King – 2 Chronicles 23

English: Jehoiada was the High priest during t...

English: Jehoiada was the High priest during the reigns of Ahaziah, Athaliah, and Joash. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the seventh year after Athaliah took control, the high priest Jehoiada entered into a covenant with all of the commanders and gathered the Levites and introduced Joash as the rightful king. The covenant may have included a provision for Jehoiada to supervise the young king until he came of age. We do not know.

So the throne was restored to the Davidic line, according to God’s will. and the Levites and all of Judah did as Jehoiada commanded and prepared to crown Joash king. Jehoiada provided the captains with the spears and shields that were in the house of God, which had belonged to King David. And all the men stood watch while the king was crowned, ensuring his safety.

When Athaliah learned what was happening, she went into the house of the Lord and cried treason, tearing her clothes. Jehoiada would not let them execute her there. so they took her out to the entrance of the horse gate of the king’s house and put her to death there.

And Jehoiada made another covenant between himself and the people that they would be the Lord’s people. And they went to the house of Baal and tore it down, breaking all the images. They killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altar. Then they offered burnt offerings to the Lord and the people returned to a time of service to God.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

 

Paul in Athens – Acts 17

English: The Acropolis of Athens as seen from ...

English: The Acropolis of Athens as seen from the Aeropagus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finding himself in this great pagan capital, Paul saw idol after idol.  He “reasoned” in the synagogue of course, but verse 17 says that he did so also in the marketplace every day.  Speaking with men of the two prominent philosophies of the day, Stoicism and Epicurean-ism, attracted great attention, and they brought him to the authorities at the Areopagus – this time with interest and curiosity in this speaker of “foreign divinity,” rather than hostility.  The Areopagus held a body of men with civil. moral, and religious authority over the city. Paul would have addressed them either on the “hill of Ares” (Mars Hill, where a temple to their “god” of war had been built in ancient times), or southwest of the Acropolis in the northwest corner of the Agora.  There, this body held meetings in the Royal Colonnade.

Paul preached to this body in verses 22-30 with one of his most eloquent speeches that we have recorded.  He opens in verses 22-24 with:

“Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…”

The translation of the word “religious” is too generous, but the word used falls a bit short of “superstitious,” as Paul was trying to evangelize, not demean.  He goes on to say that the God, who made the world and everything in it, is not contained in temples made by men – that He made, from one man, every nation of mankind “that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…”  He told these idol worshipers that God should not be thought of as an image of stone or precious metals formed by the imagination of man.    He concludes with what we would expect – an excellent message of the gospel:

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but know he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Some mocked him at the reference to the resurrection, but others wanted to hear more, some being converted (verse 34) including Dionysius, one of the judges of the Areopagus.  That being the case, even Paul’s visit to this pagan city was a success!


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul and Silas in Thessalonica and Berea – Acts 17

Church of Saint Demetrius Patron Saint of Thes...

Church of Saint Demetrius Patron Saint of Thessaloniki. Grave of the Metropolitan of Thessalonica Panteleimon II. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luke has now dropped the use of the first person plural in the text, suggesting that he may have remained in Philippi as Paul and Silas pass through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica. Neither the reference to “three sabbath days” in verse 2, nor the fact that they left the city after only 9 verses of this chapter should be construed as the an indication of the length of their stay in Thessalonica. Indications from 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and Philippians 4:16, for example, are that their ministry there was much longer. The Jewish religious leaders, once again, became jealous and stirred up a mob until they attacked the house of a believer – hoping to lay hands on Paul, no doubt. Not finding them, they dragged the man (Jason) and some other believers before authorities, falsely claiming they were touting Jesus as an earthly king and a threat to Caesar.

In verse 10, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away, but it should be noted that their mission there was successful, as some of the Jews had been converted, and “a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.” This explains the jealousy of the Jewish religious leaders there. They arrived in Berea, and had even more success (verses 10-12), but the Jews in Thessalonica learned of Paul teaching there, and came to stir crowds again. Paul was sent off by sea to Athens, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. After arriving in Athens, Paul sent word back with those who had accompanied him for Silas and Timothy to join him .


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Ahaziah’s Reign in Judea – 2 Chronicles 22

English: Athalia was the queen of Judah during...

English: Athalia was the queen of Judah during the reign of King Jehoram, and later became sole ruler of Judah for six years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the end of chapter 21, we are told of the raid made by the Arabians, who killed all of Jehoram’s sons except for one — Jehoahaz. Now in chapter 22, we find that after Jehoram’s death, his son Ahaziah was made king. They are, of course, names for the same person. He was twenty-two when he became king. His mother, Athaliah, was the granddaughter of Omri, and she encouraged him do evil in the sight of the Lord. So it was ordained by God that when he went to visit Joram, he was captured and brought before Jehu and put to death.

Athaliah killed all of the royal family after her son’s death, but Jehoshabeath, rescued Ahaziah’s son and stole him away from danger. Athaliah made herself ruler. But Jehoshabeath,the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of Jehoiada the priest, because she was a sister of Ahaziah,” kept the child, whose name was Joash, and hid him away from Athaliah for six years, while she reigned as self-proclaimed queen. So in this way, God kept the line of David alive for the future.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

 

The Philippian Jailor- Acts 16

Traditional site of Paul's prison at Philippi

Traditional site of Paul’s prison at Philippi

In verse 10, Luke speaks for the first time in the first person plural – “we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” – from which we can conclude that Luke had been preaching the gospel for a while already, as he includes himself with Paul, Silas and Timothy. So they set sail to Philippi, a leading city in Macedonia. There was no synagogue there, so on the Sabbath they found women gathered for prayer by the river. One was “Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods.” These goods would have been made from an expensive dye made from the murex shell. Note that Luke says that God opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul said, and she was baptized.

After Paul drove the demon from the slave girl in verses 16-18, her owners drug Paul and Silas before the magistrates with false accusations. In verses 20-22, they were beaten with rods and put in jail. Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns while the other prisoners listened until an earthquake shook the prison, opening the doors and freeing the bonds. The jailer, readied to kill himself as he supposed they had escaped. But Paul stopped him, and he and his family were all baptized. The magistrates sent the police the next day, telling the jailer to let them go, but Paul declared his Roman citizenship, and practically demanded an apology – which he ended up getting, as the magistrates were then afraid. They were asked to leave the city, though, so they visited and encouraged Lydia and the brothers before leaving.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.