Acts 22 – Paul and the Roman Tribune

Paul bound with chains

Paul, having been arrested and beaten, had at the close of chapter 22 convinced the Roman tribune to allow him to speak to the mob.  When he spoke in Hebrew, it settled them down and they listened.  He then gave them a history of himself as a Jew, “educated at the feet of Gamaliel” (a Pharisee and renowned teacher, who was also a member of the Sanhedrin council – see Acts 5:34).  He also recounted his own persecution of Christians and the “Way ” (see previous post here for more information on “the Way”); and then told of his encounter with the Lord in Acts 9:3-8, in which he was blinded.   The re-telling of that event here in verses 6-11 is not contradictory at all, despite what some say.  Those who were with Paul on that road could hear what was said, but were not made to understand.

Paul then turns to Ananias restoring his sight and his subsequent baptism in verses 12-16.  But when he told them of his encounter with the Lord, and how He had told Paul that He was sending him to the Gentiles (verses 17-21), the crowd became wild with anger again.  The tribune ordered him to be flogged in order to find out why they were shouting out against him.  But as he was stretched out, Paul told the tribune that he was a Roman citizen by birth (verses 25-28); and the Roman tribune became fearful (Roman law forbade flogging a Roman citizen without a hearing or a formal condemnation).  So in verse 30, the chapter ends with the tribune having Paul brought before the Sanhedrin, since scourging was not an option.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Romans 15 – Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles

Circus Maximus: Rome’s entertainment center.
The Circus Maximus is an ancient arena and mass entertainment center located in Rome, Italy. It was first built about 600 BC. Situated in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine Hills, it met the demands of the Roman people for mass public entertainment on a lavish scale, primarily chariot races, but also wild beast fights and naval battles. Julius Caesar expanded the Circus around 50 BC, after which the track measured approximately 1800 feet in length, and 750 feet in breadth and could accommodate an estimated 150,000 to 350,000 seated spectators.

In the previous chapter, Paul had been addressing the division and dispute among the Jew and Gentile members of the church at Rome concerning 1) the problem related most probably to the Gentiles eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols, which would have been offensive to the Jews (an issue he had to speak to elsewhere as well) and 2) the “esteeming” of one day over another (probably the Gentiles’ objection to the Jews who still observed the feast days from the old Law).  Having already spoken to this, he admonishes them further, as he did the brethren at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 10, that they must think about their brethren and their souls as well as their consciences and help each other bear their own weaknesses.

As for the Old Testament Law, he says in verse 4 that “…whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  This was to say that we have much that is profitable to learn from the old Law.  But while all should be  sensitive to the consciences of others, this does not give those others license for imposing those matters on their brethren, but rather they should all live in harmony, and “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.”   He finishes this section of the chapter in verses 8-13 by reminding them that “Christ became a servant”  for the sake of Jews and Gentiles alike, according to God’s plan.

When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Rome, he had not yet been there, but he had taken the gospel from Jerusalem clear over into Illyricum. He planned to visit and preach in Rome one day and hoped to continue to take the gospel farther west, even to Spain.

Paul then speaks of his ministry to the Gentiles for the gospel of Jesus, and it becomes clear how passionate he was about that important mission.  He speaks of the collection for the poor of the church in Jerusalem – which he is preparing to deliver now; and he is proud of the Gentiles stepping up as they have done to help their Jewish brethren.  It is important to Paul, and it is important to the Gentiles themselves, as well as to their unity with Jewish brethren everywhere, as many will see it as symbolic of the entrance of the Gentiles into the kingdom (verse 17-18).   Of that mission, Paul says in verse 19 that he had traveled preaching the gospel from Jerusalem to the Roman province of Illyricum (later called Dalmatia).   He said he had done all of that as it was written in Isaiah 52:15, which he quotes in verse 21: “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”

Paul finishes this chapter in verses 22-33 by telling the brethren in Rome that he plans to finally come to visit them on his way to Spain after he goes to Jerusalem.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Romans 3 – God’s Righteousness Upheld

Appian Way – most famous of the Roman roads, built (312 B.C.) under Appius Claudius Caecus. It connected Rome with Capua and was later extended to Beneventum (now Benevento), Tarentum (Taranto), and Brundisium (Brindisi). It was the chief highway to Greece and the East. Its total length was more than 350 mi (563 km). The substantial construction of cemented stone blocks has preserved it to the present.

After telling the brethren of the Roman church in chapter 2 that the Gentiles are now true Jews by way of the Spirit, Paul then addresses the question that would naturally come from the Jews.  Was there no advantage or value of being a Jew, or of being circumcised?  Paul says that indeed there was.  The Jews had been the keepers of the “oracles of God” (verse 2) – the Scriptures; and in that capacity at least, they had remained faithful.  God’s word, as He would make certain, had been preserved; and just as importantly, God had remained faithful to His promises to them, despite the unfaithfulness they had shown to Him.

In verses 10-18, Paul says that “it is written…” and follows that with quotations from several passages.  Verses 10-12 are from Psalm 14:1-3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20.  Verses 13-14 are from Psalm 5:9 and Psalm 10:7.  Verses 15-17 are from Isaiah 59:7-8, and verse 18 is from Psalm 36:1.   He is making it clear that the Jews among them are no better off than the Gentiles (verse 9) because all are “under sin.”  The phrase “…no one does good, not even one…” in verse 12 can be understood by the first part of the verse “All have turned aside.”  Nobody is without sin.  And verse 18 finishes with the reason for it all – “there is no fear of God before their eyes.”  That brings to the mind of this blogger the words of the wisest man (Solomon) in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Paul illustrates again the old with the new, and provides a good summary of God’s plan for salvation – the Law and the Prophets bear witness to  “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (verses 21-22) – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (verse 23).  The word “propitiation” in verse 25 means that the sacrifice Jesus made was an offering to appease God’s wrath and turn it to favor.  This was necessary for the forgiveness of sins, and it is what now gives favor to Jews and Gentiles alike, making no distinction between them.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.