Romans 3 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 650)

Romans 3New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

Answers to Objections. [a]What advantage is there then in being a Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much, in every respect. [For] in the first place, they were entrusted with the utterances of God. What if some were unfaithful? Will their infidelity nullify the fidelity of God?Of course not! God must be true, though every human being is a liar,[b]as it is written:

“That you may be justified in your words,
    and conquer when you are judged.”

But if our wickedness provides proof of God’s righteousness, what can we say? Is God unjust, humanly speaking, to inflict his wrath? Of course not! For how else is God to judge the world? But if God’s truth redounds to his glory through my falsehood, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not say—as we are accused and as some claim we say—that we should do evil that good may come of it? Their penalty is what they deserve.

Universal Bondage to Sin.[c] Well, then, are we better off? Not entirely, for we have already brought the charge against Jews and Greeks alike that they are all under the domination of sin, 10 as it is written:

“There is no one just, not one,
11     there is no one who understands,
        there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have gone astray; all alike are worthless;
    there is not one who does good,
        [there is not] even one.
13 Their throats are open graves;
    they deceive with their tongues;
the venom of asps is on their lips;
14     their mouths are full of bitter cursing.
15 Their feet are quick to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery are in their ways,
17 and the way of peace they know not.
18     There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that what the law[d] says is addressed to those under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world stand accountable to God, 20 since no human being will be justified in his sight[e] by observing the law; for through the law comes consciousness of sin.

III. Justification Through Faith in Christ

Justification Apart from the Law.[f] 21 But now[g] the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, though testified to by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; 23 all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as an expiation,[h] through faith, by his blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed, 26 through the forbearance of God—to prove his righteousness in the present time, that he might be righteous and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 What occasion is there then for boasting?[i] It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith.[j] 28 For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.29 Does God belong to Jews alone? Does he not belong to Gentiles, too? Yes, also to Gentiles, 30 for God is one and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Are we then annulling the law by this faith? Of course not! On the contrary, we are supporting the law.[k]

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1–4 In keeping with the popular style of diatribe, Paul responds to the objection that his teaching on the sinfulness of all humanity detracts from the religious prerogatives of Israel. He stresses that Jews have remained the vehicle of God’s revelation despite their sins, though this depends on the fidelity of God.
  2. 3:4 Though every human being is a liar: these words reproduce the Greek text of Ps 116:11. The rest of the verse is from Ps 51:6.
  3. 3:9–20 Well, then, are we better off?: this phrase can also be translated “Are we at a disadvantage?” but the latter version does not substantially change the overall meaning of the passage. Having explained that Israel’s privileged status is guaranteed by God’s fidelity, Paul now demonstrates the infidelity of the Jews by a catena of citations from scripture, possibly derived from an existing collection of testimonia. These texts show that all human beings share the common burden of sin. They are linked together by mention of organs of the body: throat, tongue, lips, mouth, feet, eyes.
  4. 3:19 The law: Paul here uses the term in its broadest sense to mean all of the scriptures; none of the preceding texts is from the Torah or Pentateuch.
  5. 3:20 No human being will be justified in his sight: these words are freely cited from Ps 143:2. In place of the psalmist’s “no living person,” Paul substitutes “no human being” (literally “no flesh,” a Hebraism), and he adds “by observing the law.”
  6. 3:21–31 These verses provide a clear statement of Paul’s “gospel,” i.e., the principle of justification by faith in Christ. God has found a means of rescuing humanity from its desperate plight: Paul’s general term for this divine initiative is the righteousness of God (Rom 3:21). Divine mercy declares the guilty innocent and makes them so. God does this not as a result of the law but apart from it (Rom 3:21), and not because of any merit in human beings but through forgiveness of their sins (Rom 3:24), in virtue of the redemption wrought in Christ Jesus for all who believe (Rom 3:22, 24–25). God has manifested his righteousness in the coming of Jesus Christ, whose saving activity inaugurates a new era in human history.
  7. 3:21 But now: Paul adopts a common phrase used by Greek authors to describe movement from disaster to prosperity. The expressions indicate that Rom 3:21–26 are the consolatory answer to Rom 3:9–20.
  8. 3:25 Expiation: this rendering is preferable to “propitiation,” which suggests hostility on the part of God toward sinners. As Paul will be at pains to point out (Rom 5:8–10), it is humanity that is hostile to God.
  9. 3:27–31 People cannot boast of their own holiness, since it is God’s free gift (Rom 3:27), both to the Jew who practices circumcision out of faith and to the Gentile who accepts faith without the Old Testament religious culture symbolized by circumcision (Rom 3:29–30).
  10. 3:27 Principle of faith: literally, “law of faith.” Paul is fond of wordplay involving the term “law”; cf. Rom 7:21, 23; 8:2. Since “law” in Greek may also connote “custom” or “principle,” his readers and hearers would have sensed no contradiction in the use of the term after the negative statement concerning law in Rom 3:20.
  11. 3:31 We are supporting the law: giving priority to God’s intentions. God is the ultimate source of law, and the essence of law is fairness. On the basis of the Mosaic covenant, God’s justice is in question if those who sinned against the law are permitted to go free (see Rom 3:23–26). In order to rescue all humanity rather than condemn it, God thinks of an alternative: the law or “principle” of faith (Rom 3:27). What can be more fair than to admit everyone into the divine presence on the basis of forgiveness grasped by faith? Indeed, this principle of faith antedates the Mosaic law, as Paul will demonstrate in Rom 4, and does not therefore mark a change in divine policy.
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Romans 2 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 649)

Romans 2New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

God’s Just Judgment. [a]Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.[b] For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true. Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance? By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works:[c] eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek. 10 But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek. 11 [d]There is no partiality with God.

Judgment by the Interior Law.[e] 12 All who sin outside the law will also perish without reference to it, and all who sin under the law will be judged in accordance with it. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts,[f] while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.

Judgment by the Mosaic Law.[g] 17 Now if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of God 18 and know his will and are able to discern what is important since you are instructed from the law, 19 and if you are confident that you are a guide for the blind and a light for those in darkness, 20 that you are a trainer of the foolish and teacher of the simple, because in the law you have the formulation of knowledge and truth— 21 then you who teach another, are you failing to teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast of the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 For, as it is written, “Because of you the name of God is reviled among the Gentiles.”[h]

25 Circumcision, to be sure, has value if you observe the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Again, if an uncircumcised man keeps the precepts of the law, will he not be considered circumcised? 27 Indeed, those who are physically uncircumcised but carry out the law will pass judgment on you, with your written law and circumcision, who break the law. 28 One is not a Jew outwardly. True circumcision is not outward, in the flesh. 29 Rather, one is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit, not the letter; his praise is not from human beings but from God.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:1–3:20 After his general indictment of the Gentile, Paul shows that in spite of special revelation Jews enjoy no advantage in moral status before God (Rom 3:1–8). With the entire human race now declared guilty before God (Rom 3:9–20), Paul will then be able to display the solution for the total problem: salvation through God’s redemptive work that is revealed in Christ Jesus for all who believe (Rom 3:21–31).
  2. 2:1–11 As a first step in his demonstration that Jews enjoy no real moral supremacy over Gentiles, Paul explains that the final judgment will be a review of performance, not of privilege. From this perspective Gentiles stand on an equal footing with Jews, and Jews cannot condemn the sins of Gentiles without condemning themselves.
  3. 2:6 Will repay everyone according to his works: Paul reproduces the Septuagint text of Ps 62:12 and Prv 24:12.
  4. 2:11 No partiality with God: this sentence is not at variance with the statements in Rom 2:9–10. Since Jews are the first to go under indictment, it is only fair that they be given first consideration in the distribution of blessings. Basic, of course, is the understanding that God accepts no bribes (Dt 10:17).
  5. 2:12–16 Jews cannot reasonably demand from Gentiles the standard of conduct inculcated in the Old Testament since God did not address its revelation to them. Rather, God made it possible for Gentiles to know instinctively the difference between right and wrong. But, as Paul explained in Rom 1:18–32, humanity misread the evidence of God’s existence, power, and divinity, and “while claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:22).
  6. 2:15 Paul expands on the thought of Jer 31:33; Wis 17:11.
  7. 2:17–29 Mere possession of laws is no evidence of virtue. By eliminating circumcision as an elitist moral sign, Paul clears away the last obstacle to his presentation of justification through faith without claims based on the receipt of circumcision and its attendant legal obligations.
  8. 2:24 According to Is 52:5 the suffering of Israel prompts her enemies to revile God. Paul uses the passage in support of his point that the present immorality of Israelites is the cause of such defamation.

Romans 1 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 648)

Romans 1 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. Address

Chapter 1

Greeting.[a] Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,[b] called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy scriptures, [c]the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. [d]Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.[e] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving. First, I give thanks[f] to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is heralded throughout the world. God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in proclaiming the gospel of his Son, that I remember you constantly, 10 [g]always asking in my prayers that somehow by God’s will I may at last find my way clear to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may share with you some spiritual gift so that you may be strengthened, 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith, yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[h] that I often planned to come to you, though I was prevented until now, that I might harvest some fruit among you, too, as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 To Greeks[i]and non-Greeks alike, to the wise and the ignorant, I am under obligation; 15 that is why I am eager to preach the gospel also to you in Rome.

II. Humanity Lost Without the Gospel

God’s Power for Salvation.[j] 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek. 17 For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;[k] as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

Punishment of Idolaters. 18 [l]The wrath[m] of God[n] is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.20 Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 While claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

24 Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts[o] for the mutual degradation of their bodies. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.26 Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. 29 They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips 30 and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. 31 They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1–7 In Paul’s letters the greeting or praescriptio follows a standard form, though with variations. It is based upon the common Greco-Roman epistolary practice, but with the addition of Semitic and specifically Christian elements. The three basic components are: name of sender; name of addressee; greeting. In identifying himself, Paul often adds phrases to describe his apostolic mission; this element is more developed in Romans than in any other letter. Elsewhere he associates co-workers with himself in the greeting: Sosthenes (1 Corinthians), Timothy (2 Corinthians; Philippians; Philemon) Silvanus (1 Thessalonians—2 Thessalonians). The standard secular greeting was the infinitive chairein, “greetings.” Paul uses instead the similar-sounding charis, “grace,” together with the Semitic greeting šālôm (Greek eirēnē), “peace.” These gifts, foreshadowed in God’s dealings with Israel (see Nm 6:24–26), have been poured out abundantly in Christ, and Paul wishes them to his readers. In Romans the Pauline praescriptio is expanded and expressed in a formal tone; it emphasizes Paul’s office as apostle to the Gentiles. Rom 1:3–4 stress the gospel or kerygma, Rom 1:2 the fulfillment of God’s promise, and Rom 1:1, 5 Paul’s office. On his call, see Gal 1:15–16; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8–10; Acts 9:1–22; 22:3–16; 26:4–18.
  2. 1:1 Slave of Christ Jesus: Paul applies the term slave to himself in order to express his undivided allegiance to the Lord of the church, the Master of all, including slaves and masters. “No one can serve (i.e., be a slave to) two masters,” said Jesus (Mt 6:24). It is this aspect of the slave-master relationship rather than its degrading implications that Paul emphasizes when he discusses Christian commitment.
  3. 1:3–4 Paul here cites an early confession that proclaims Jesus’ sonship as messianic descendant of David (cf. Mt 22:42; 2 Tm 2:8; Rev 22:16) and as Son of God by the resurrection. As “life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45), Jesus Christ is able to communicate the Spirit to those who believe in him.
  4. 1:5 Paul recalls his apostolic office, implying that the Romans know something of his history. The obedience of faith: as Paul will show at length in chaps. 6–8 and 12–15, faith in God’s justifying action in Jesus Christ relates one to God’s gift of the new life that is made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the activity of the holy Spirit (see especially Rom 8:1–11).
  5. 1:7 Called to be holy: Paul often refers to Christians as “the holy ones” or “the saints.” The Israelite community was called a “holy assembly” because they had been separated for the worship and service of the Lord (see Lv 11:44; 23:1–44). The Christian community regarded its members as sanctified by baptism (Rom 6:22; 15:16; 1 Cor 6:11; Eph 5:26–27). Christians are called to holiness (1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thes 4:7), that is, they are called to make their lives conform to the gift they have already received.
  6. 1:8 In Greco-Roman letters, the greeting was customarily followed by a prayer. The Pauline letters usually include this element (except Galatians and 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy) expressed in Christian thanksgiving formulas and usually stating the principal theme of the letter. In 2 Corinthians the thanksgiving becomes a blessing, and in Ephesians it is preceded by a lengthy blessing. Sometimes the thanksgiving is blended into the body of the letter, especially in 1 Thessalonians. In Romans it is stated briefly.
  7. 1:10–12 Paul lays the groundwork for his more detailed statement in Rom 15:22–24 about his projected visit to Rome.
  8. 1:13 Brothers is idiomatic for all Paul’s “kin in Christ,” all those who believe in the gospel; it includes women as well as men (cf. Rom 4:3).
  9. 1:14 Greeks and non-Greeks: literally, “Greeks and barbarians.” As a result of Alexander’s conquests, Greek became the standard international language of the Mediterranean world. Greeks in Paul’s statement therefore means people who know Greek or who have been influenced by Greek culture. Non-Greeks were people whose cultures remained substantially unaffected by Greek influences. Greeks called such people “barbarians” (cf. Acts 28:2), meaning people whose speech was foreign. Roman citizens would scarcely classify themselves as such, and Nero, who was reigning when Paul wrote this letter, prided himself on his admiration for Greek culture. Under obligation: Paul will expand on the theme of obligation in Rom 13:8; 15:1, 27.
  10. 1:16–17 The principal theme of the letter is salvation through faith. I am not ashamed of the gospel: Paul is not ashamed to proclaim the gospel, despite the criticism that Jews and Gentiles leveled against the proclamation of the crucified savior; cf. 1 Cor 1:23–24. Paul affirms, however, that it is precisely through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus that God’s saving will and power become manifest. Jew first (cf. Rom 2:9–10) means that Jews especially, in view of the example of Abraham (Rom 4), ought to be the leaders in the response of faith.
  11. 1:17 In it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith: the gospel centers in Jesus Christ, in whom God’s saving presence and righteousness in history have been made known. Faith is affirmation of the basic purpose and meaning of the Old Testament as proclamation of divine promise (Rom 1:2; 4:13) and exposure of the inability of humanity to effect its salvation even through covenant law. Faith is the gift of the holy Spirit and denotes acceptance of salvation as God’s righteousness, that is, God’s gift of a renewed relationship in forgiveness and power for a new life. Faith is response to God’s total claim on people and their destiny. The one who is righteous by faith will live: see note on Hb 2:4.
  12. 1:18–3:20 Paul aims to show that all humanity is in a desperate plight and requires God’s special intervention if it is to be saved.
  13. 1:18–32 In this passage Paul uses themes and rhetoric common in Jewish-Hellenistic mission proclamation (cf. Wis 13:1–14:31) to indict especially the non-Jewish world. The close association of idolatry and immorality is basic, but the generalization needs in all fairness to be balanced against the fact that non-Jewish Christian society on many levels displayed moral attitudes and performance whose quality would challenge much of contemporary Christian culture. Romans themselves expressed abhorrence over devotion accorded to animals in Egypt. Paul’s main point is that the wrath of God does not await the end of the world but goes into action at each present moment in humanity’s history when misdirected piety serves as a facade for self-interest.
  14. 1:18 The wrath of God: God’s reaction to human sinfulness, an Old Testament phrase that expresses the irreconcilable opposition between God and evil (see Is 9:11, 16, 18, 20; 10:4; 30:27). It is not contrary to God’s universal love for his creatures, but condemns Israel’s turning aside from the covenant obligations. Hosea depicts Yahweh as suffering intensely at the thought of having to punish Israel (Hos 11:8–9). God’s wrath was to be poured forth especially on the “Day of Yahweh” and thus took on an eschatological connotation (see Zep 1:15).
  15. 1:24 In order to expose the depth of humanity’s rebellion against the Creator, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts. Instead of curbing people’s evil interests, God abandoned them to self-indulgence, thereby removing the facade of apparent conformity to the divine will. Subsequently Paul will show that the Mosaic law produces the same effect; cf. Rom 5:20; 7:13–24. The divine judgment expressed here is related to the theme of hardness of heart described in Rom 9:17–18.

The Letter to the Romans (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 647)

The Letter to the Romans (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 647)

BOOK NAME

Letter to the ROMANS.

DATE

The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans from the Greek city of Corinth in AD 57.

BIBLE CATEGORY

The 6th Book of the New Testament

THE AUTHOR

The writer of this letter was the apostle Paul.

Purpose of Writing:

Paul expresses in this epistle that he had for some time planned to preach the gospel at Rome (1:13-15) and from there go on to Spain (15:22-24).

The Book

Paul looking forward to meet the Christians in Rome. Predominantly Gentile Christians and Jews as a substantial minority of the congregation.

Paul though wrote a letter ahead of him by promoting unity between the Jewish and Gentile Christians.

The primary theme running through Paul’s letter to the Romans is the revelation of God’s righteousness in His plan for salvation. God’s plan of salvation and righteousness for all humankind, Jew and Gentile alike.

Outline (source:biblestudytoolsdotcom)

Introduction (1:1-15)
Theme: Righteousness from God (1:16-17)
The Unrighteousness of All People (1:18;3:20)
Gentiles (1:18-32)
Jews (2:1;3:8)
Summary: All People (3:9-20)
Righteousness Imputed: Justification (3:21;5:21)
Through Christ (3:21-26)
Received by Faith (3:27;4:25)
The principle established (3:27-31)
The principle illustrated (ch. 4)
The Fruits of Righteousness (5:1-11)
Summary: Humanity’s Unrighteousness Contrasted with God’s Gift of Righteousness (5:12-21)
Righteousness Imparted: Sanctification (chs. 6-8)
Freedom from Sin’s Tyranny (ch. 6)
Freedom from the Law’s Condemnation (ch. 7)
Life in the Power of the Holy Spirit (ch. 8)
God’s Righteousness Vindicated: The Justice of His Way with Israel (chs. 9-11)
The Justice of God’s Rejection of Israel (9:1-29)
The Cause of That Rejection (9:30;10:21)
The Rejection Is Neither Complete nor Final (ch. 11)
There is even now a remnant (11:1-10)
The rejection is only temporary (11:11-24)
God’s ultimate purpose is mercy (11:25-36)
Righteousness Practiced (12:1;15:13)
In the Body — the Church (ch. 12)
In the World (ch. 13)
Among Weak and Strong Christians (14:1;15:13)
Conclusion (15:14-33)
Commendation, Greetings and Doxology (ch. 16)

The Book of Acts 28 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 646)

Acts 28New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 28

Winter in Malta. Once we had reached safety we learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us extraordinary hospitality; they lit a fire and welcomed all of us because it had begun to rain and was cold. Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire when a viper, escaping from the heat, fastened on his hand. When the natives saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man must certainly be a murderer; though he escaped the sea, Justice[a] has not let him remain alive.” But he shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no harm. They were expecting him to swell up or suddenly to fall down dead but, after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god. In the vicinity of that place were lands belonging to a man named Publius, the chief of the island. He welcomed us and received us cordially as his guests for three days. It so happened that the father of Publius was sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, after praying, laid his hands on him and healed him. After this had taken place, the rest of the sick on the island came to Paul and were cured. 10 They paid us great honor and when we eventually set sail they brought us the provisions we needed.

Arrival in Rome. 11 Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the Dioscuri[b] as its figurehead. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days, 13 and from there we sailed round the coast and arrived at Rhegium. After a day, a south wind came up and in two days we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and were urged to stay with them for seven days. And thus we came to Rome. 15 The brothers from there heard about us and came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage. 16 When he entered Rome,[c] Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

Testimony to Jews in Rome. 17 [d]Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or our ancestral customs, I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem. 18 After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me, because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.19 But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation. 20 This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel[e] that I wear these chains.” 21 They answered him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, nor has any of the brothers arrived with a damaging report or rumor about you. 22 But we should like to hear you present your views, for we know that this sect is denounced everywhere.”

23 So they arranged a day with him and came to his lodgings in great numbers. From early morning until evening, he expounded his position to them, bearing witness to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he had said, while others did not believe. 25 [f]Without reaching any agreement among themselves they began to leave; then Paul made one final statement. “Well did the holy Spirit speak to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah, saying:

26 ‘Go to this people and say:
You shall indeed hear but not understand.
    You shall indeed look but never see.
27 Gross is the heart of this people;
    they will not hear with their ears;
        they have closed their eyes,
    so they may not see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart and be converted,
    and I heal them.’

28 Let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” [29 ][g]

30 [h]He remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, 31 and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Footnotes:

  1. 28:4 Justice: in Greek mythology, the pursuing goddess of vengeance and justice.
  2. 28:11 Dioscuri: that is, the Twin Brothers, Castor and Pollux, the sons of Zeus and the patrons of the sailors.
  3. 28:16 With Paul’s arrival in Rome, the programmatic spread of the word of the Lord to “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8) is accomplished. In Rome, Paul is placed under house arrest, and under this mild form of custody he is allowed to proclaim the word in the capital of the civilized world of his day.
  4. 28:17–22 Paul’s first act in Rome is to learn from the leaders of the Jewish community whether the Jews of Jerusalem plan to pursue their case against him before the Roman jurisdiction. He is informed that no such plan is afoot, but that the Jews of Rome have heard the Christian teaching denounced. Paul’s offer to explain it to them is readily accepted.
  5. 28:20 The hope of Israel: in the words of Paul (Acts 23:6), Luke has identified this hope as hope in the resurrection of the dead.
  6. 28:25–28 Paul’s final words in Acts reflect a major concern of Luke’s writings: how the salvation promised in the Old Testament, accomplished by Jesus, and offered first to Israel (Acts 13:26), has now been offered to and accepted by the Gentiles. Quoting Is 6:9–10, Paul presents the scriptural support for his indictment of his fellow Jews who refuse to accept the message he proclaims. Their rejection leads to its proclamation among the Gentiles.
  7. 28:29 The Western text has added here a verse that is not found in the best Greek manuscripts: “And when he had said this, the Jews left, seriously arguing among themselves.”
  8. 28:30–31 Although the ending of Acts may seem to be abrupt, Luke has now completed his story with the establishment of Paul and the proclamation of Christianity in Rome. Paul’s confident and unhindered proclamation of the gospel in Rome forms the climax to the story whose outline was provided in Acts 1:8—“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem…and to the ends of the earth.”

The Book of Acts 27 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 645)

Acts 27New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 27

Departure for Rome. [a]When it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they handed Paul and some other prisoners over to a centurion named Julius of the Cohort Augusta.[b] We went on board a ship from Adramyttium bound for ports in the province of Asia and set sail. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us. On the following day we put in at Sidon where Julius was kind enough to allow Paul to visit his friends who took care of him. From there we put out to sea and sailed around the sheltered side of Cyprus because of the headwinds, and crossing the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia we came to Myra in Lycia.

Storm and Shipwreck. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship that was sailing to Italy and put us on board. For many days we made little headway, arriving at Cnidus only with difficulty, and because the wind would not permit us to continue our course we sailed for the sheltered side of Crete off Salmone. We sailed past it with difficulty and reached a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

Much time had now passed and sailing had become hazardous because the time of the fast[c] had already gone by, so Paul warned them,10 “Men, I can see that this voyage will result in severe damage and heavy loss not only to the cargo and the ship, but also to our lives.” 11 The centurion, however, paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 Since the harbor was unfavorably situated for spending the winter, the majority planned to put out to sea from there in the hope of reaching Phoenix, a port in Crete facing west-northwest, there to spend the winter.

13 A south wind blew gently, and thinking they had attained their objective, they weighed anchor and sailed along close to the coast of Crete. 14 Before long an offshore wind of hurricane force called a “Northeaster” struck. 15 Since the ship was caught up in it and could not head into the wind we gave way and let ourselves be driven. 16 We passed along the sheltered side of an island named Cauda and managed only with difficulty to get the dinghy under control. 17 They hoisted it aboard, then used cables to undergird the ship. Because of their fear that they would run aground on the shoal of Syrtis, they lowered the drift anchor and were carried along in this way. 18 We were being pounded by the storm so violently that the next day they jettisoned some cargo, 19 and on the third day with their own hands they threw even the ship’s tackle overboard. 20 Neither the sun nor the stars were visible for many days, and no small storm raged. Finally, all hope of our surviving was taken away.

21 When many would no longer eat, Paul stood among them and said, “Men, you should have taken my advice and not have set sail from Crete and you would have avoided this disastrous loss. 22 I urge you now to keep up your courage; not one of you will be lost, only the ship. 23 For last night an angel of the God to whom [I] belong and whom I serve stood by me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You are destined to stand before Caesar; and behold, for your sake, God has granted safety to all who are sailing with you.’ 25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men; I trust in God that it will turn out as I have been told. 26 We are destined to run aground on some island.”

27 On the fourteenth night, as we were still being driven about on the Adriatic Sea, toward midnight the sailors began to suspect that they were nearing land. 28 They took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on, they again took soundings and found fifteen fathoms. 29 Fearing that we would run aground on a rocky coast, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30 The sailors then tried to abandon ship; they lowered the dinghy to the sea on the pretext of going to lay out anchors from the bow. 31 But Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes of the dinghy and set it adrift.

33 Until the day began to dawn, Paul kept urging all to take some food. He said, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been waiting, going hungry and eating nothing. 34 I urge you, therefore, to take some food; it will help you survive. Not a hair of the head of anyone of you will be lost.” 35 When he said this, he took bread,[d] gave thanks to God in front of them all, broke it, and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged, and took some food themselves. 37 In all, there were two hundred seventy-six of us on the ship. 38 After they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.

39 When day came they did not recognize the land, but made out a bay with a beach. They planned to run the ship ashore on it, if they could. 40 So they cast off the anchors and abandoned them to the sea, and at the same time they unfastened the lines of the rudders, and hoisting the foresail into the wind, they made for the beach. 41 But they struck a sandbar and ran the ship aground. The bow was wedged in and could not be moved, but the stern began to break up under the pounding [of the waves]. 42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners so that none might swim away and escape, 43 but the centurion wanted to save Paul and so kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to the shore, 44 and then the rest, some on planks, others on debris from the ship. In this way, all reached shore safely.

Footnotes:

  1. 27:1–28:16 Here Luke has written a stirring account of adventure on the high seas, incidental to his main purpose of showing how well Paul got along with his captors and how his prophetic influence saved the lives of all on board. The recital also establishes the existence of Christian communities in Puteoli and Rome. This account of the voyage and shipwreck also constitutes the final “we-section” in Acts (see note on Acts 16:10–17).
  2. 27:1 Cohort Augusta: the presence of a Cohort Augusta in Syria during the first century A.D. is attested in inscriptions. Whatever the historical background to this information given by Luke may be, the name Augusta serves to increase the prominence and prestige of the prisoner Paul whose custodians bear so important a Roman name.
  3. 27:9 The time of the fast: the fast kept on the occasion of the Day of Atonement (Lv 16:29–31), which occurred in late September or early October.
  4. 27:35 He took bread…: the words recall the traditional language of the celebration of the Eucharist (see Lk 22:19).

The Book of Acts 26 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 644)

Acts 26New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 26

King Agrippa Hears Paul. Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You may now speak on your own behalf.” So Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense. [a]“I count myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am to defend myself before you today against all the charges made against me by the Jews, especially since you are an expert in all the Jewish customs and controversies. And therefore I beg you to listen patiently. My manner of living from my youth, a life spent from the beginning among my people[b] and in Jerusalem, all [the] Jews know. They have known about me from the start, if they are willing to testify, that I have lived my life as a Pharisee, the strictest party of our religion. But now I am standing trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors. Our twelve tribes hope to attain to that promise as they fervently worship God day and night; and on account of this hope I am accused by Jews, O king. Why is it thought unbelievable among you that God raises the dead? I myself once thought that I had to do many things against the name of Jesus the Nazorean, 10 and I did so in Jerusalem. I imprisoned many of the holy ones with the authorization I received from the chief priests, and when they were to be put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 Many times, in synagogue after synagogue, I punished them in an attempt to force them to blaspheme; I was so enraged against them that I pursued them even to foreign cities.

12 “On one such occasion I was traveling to Damascus with the authorization and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, along the way, O king, I saw a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my traveling companions. 14 We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.’[c] 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 Get up now, and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness of what you have seen [of me] and what you will be shown.[d] 17 I shall deliver you from this people and from the Gentiles to whom I send you, 18 to open their eyes[e] that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been consecrated by faith in me.’

19 “And so, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 20 On the contrary, first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem and throughout the whole country of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached the need to repent and turn to God, and to do works giving evidence of repentance. 21 That is why the Jews seized me [when I was] in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 But I have enjoyed God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here testifying to small and great alike, saying nothing different from what the prophets and Moses foretold,[f]23 that the Messiah must suffer[g] and that, as the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Reactions to Paul’s Speech. 24 While Paul was so speaking in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, “You are mad, Paul; much learning is driving you mad.” 25 But Paul replied, “I am not mad, most excellent Festus; I am speaking words of truth and reason. 26 The king knows about these matters and to him I speak boldly, for I cannot believe that [any] of this has escaped his notice; this was not done in a corner.[h]27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?[i] I know you believe.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You will soon persuade me to play the Christian.” 29 Paul replied, “I would pray to God that sooner or later not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am except for these chains.”

30 Then the king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and the others who sat with them. 31 [j]And after they had withdrawn they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing [at all] that deserves death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Footnotes:

  1. 26:2–23 Paul’s final defense speech in Acts is now made before a king (see Acts 9:15). In the speech Paul presents himself as a zealous Pharisee and Christianity as the logical development of Pharisaic Judaism. The story of his conversion is recounted for the third time in Acts in this speech (see note on Acts 9:1–19).
  2. 26:4 Among my people: that is, among the Jews.
  3. 26:14 In Hebrew: see note on Acts 21:40. It is hard for you to kick against the goad: this proverb is commonly found in Greek literature and in this context signifies the senselessness and ineffectiveness of any opposition to the divine influence in his life.
  4. 26:16 The words of Jesus directed to Paul here reflect the dialogues between Christ and Ananias (Acts 9:15) and between Ananias and Paul (Acts 22:14–15) in the two previous accounts of Paul’s conversion.
  5. 26:18 To open their eyes: though no mention is made of Paul’s blindness in this account (cf. Acts 9:8–9, 12, 18; 22:11–13), the task he is commissioned to perform is the removal of other people’s spiritual blindness.
  6. 26:22 Saying nothing different from what the prophets and Moses foretold: see note on Lk 18:31.
  7. 26:23 That the Messiah must suffer: see note on Lk 24:26.
  8. 26:26 Not done in a corner: for Luke, this Greek proverb expresses his belief that he is presenting a story about Jesus and the church that is already well known. As such, the entire history of Christianity is public knowledge and incontestable. Luke presents his story in this way to provide “certainty” to his readers about the instructions they have received (Lk 1:4).
  9. 26:27–28 If the Christian missionaries proclaim nothing different from what the Old Testament prophets had proclaimed (Acts 26:22–23), then the logical outcome for the believing Jew, according to Luke, is to become a Christian.
  10. 26:31–32 In recording the episode of Paul’s appearance before Agrippa, Luke wishes to show that, when Paul’s case was judged impartially, no grounds for legal action against him were found (see Acts 23:29; 25:25).

The Book of Acts 25 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 643)

Acts 25New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 25

Appeal to Caesar. Three days after his arrival in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem where the chief priests and Jewish leaders presented him their formal charges against Paul.[a] They asked him as a favor to have him sent to Jerusalem, for they were plotting to kill him along the way. Festus replied that Paul was being held in custody in Caesarea and that he himself would be returning there shortly. He said, “Let your authorities come down with me, and if this man has done something improper, let them accuse him.”

After spending no more than eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the following day took his seat on the tribunal and ordered that Paul be brought in. When he appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem surrounded him and brought many serious charges against him, which they were unable to prove. In defending himself Paul said, “I have committed no crime either against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.” [b]Then Festus, wishing to ingratiate himself with the Jews, said to Paul in reply, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there stand trial before me on these charges?” 10 Paul answered, “I am standing before the tribunal of Caesar; this is where I should be tried. I have committed no crime against the Jews, as you very well know. 11 If I have committed a crime or done anything deserving death, I do not seek to escape the death penalty; but if there is no substance to the charges they are bringing against me, then no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” 12 Then Festus, after conferring with his council, replied, “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go.”

Paul Before King Agrippa. 13 When a few days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice[c] arrived in Caesarea on a visit to Festus. 14 Since they spent several days there, Festus referred Paul’s case to the king, saying, “There is a man here left in custody by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation. 16 I answered them that it was not Roman practice to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge. 17 So when [they] came together here, I made no delay; the next day I took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 His accusers stood around him, but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected. 19 Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive. 20 Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy, I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these charges. 21 And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Agrippa said to Festus, “I too should like to hear this man.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”

23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great ceremony and entered the audience hall in the company of cohort commanders and the prominent men of the city and, by command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all you here present with us, look at this man about whom the whole Jewish populace petitioned me here and in Jerusalem, clamoring that he should live no longer. 25 I found, however, that he had done nothing deserving death, and so when he appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write about him to our sovereign; therefore I have brought him before all of you, and particularly before you, King Agrippa, so that I may have something to write as a result of this investigation. 27 For it seems senseless to me to send up a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.”

Footnotes:

  1. 25:2 Even after two years the animosity toward Paul in Jerusalem had not subsided (see Acts 24:27).
  2. 25:9–12 Paul refuses to acknowledge that the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem has any jurisdiction over him now (Acts 25:11). Paul uses his right as a Roman citizen to appeal his case to the jurisdiction of the Emperor (Nero, ca. A.D. 60) (Acts 25:12). This move broke the deadlock between Roman protective custody of Paul and the plan of his enemies to kill him (25:3).
  3. 25:13 King Agrippa and Bernice: brother and sister, children of Herod Agrippa I whose activities against the Jerusalem community are mentioned in Acts 12:1–19. Agrippa II was a petty ruler over small areas in northern Palestine and some villages in Perea. His influence on the Jewish population of Palestine was insignificant.

The Book of Acts 24 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 642)

Acts 24New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 24

Trial Before Felix. Five days later the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an advocate, a certain Tertullus, and they presented formal charges against Paul to the governor. When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Since we have attained much peace through you, and reforms have been accomplished in this nation through your provident care, we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all gratitude. But in order not to detain you further, I ask you to give us a brief hearing with your customary graciousness. We found this man to be a pest; he creates dissension among Jews all over the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazoreans.[a] He even tried to desecrate our temple, but we arrested him. [][b] If you examine him you will be able to learn from him for yourself about everything of which we are accusing him.” The Jews also joined in the attack and asserted that these things were so.

10 [c]Then the governor motioned to him to speak and Paul replied, “I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years and so I am pleased to make my defense before you. 11 As you can verify, not more than twelve days have passed since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor anywhere in the city did they find me arguing with anyone or instigating a riot among the people. 13 Nor can they prove to you the accusations they are now making against me. 14 But this I do admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our ancestors and I believe everything that is in accordance with the law and written in the prophets. 15 I have the same hope in God as they themselves have that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous.16 Because of this, I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and man. 17 After many years, I came to bring alms for my nation and offerings. 18 While I was so engaged, they found me, after my purification, in the temple without a crowd or disturbance. 19 But some Jews from the province of Asia, who should be here before you to make whatever accusation they might have against me— 20 or let these men themselves state what crime they discovered when I stood before the Sanhedrin, 21 unless it was my one outcry as I stood among them, that ‘I am on trial before you today for the resurrection of the dead.’”

22 Then Felix, who was accurately informed about the Way, postponed the trial, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I shall decide your case.” 23 He gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from caring for his needs.

Captivity in Caesarea. 24 [d]Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He had Paul summoned and listened to him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he spoke about righteousness and self-restraint and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “You may go for now; when I find an opportunity I shall summon you again.” 26 At the same time he hoped that a bribe would be offered him by Paul, and so he sent for him very often and conversed with him.

27 Two years passed and Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. Wishing to ingratiate himself with the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison.[e]

Footnotes:

  1. 24:5 Nazoreans: that is, followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
  2. 24:7 The Western text has added here a verse (really Acts 24:6b–8a) that is not found in the best Greek manuscripts. It reads, “and would have judged him according to our own law, but the cohort commander Lysias came and violently took him out of our hands and ordered his accusers to come before you.”
  3. 24:10–21 Whereas the advocate Tertullus referred to Paul’s activities on his missionary journeys, the apostle narrowed the charges down to the riot connected with the incident in the temple (see Acts 21:27–30; 24:17–20). In his defense, Paul stresses the continuity between Christianity and Judaism.
  4. 24:24, 25 The way of Christian discipleship greatly disquiets Felix, who has entered into an adulterous marriage with Drusilla, daughter of Herod Agrippa I. This marriage provides the background for the topics Paul speaks about and about which Felix does not want to hear.
  5. 24:27 Very little is known of Porcius Festus who was a procurator of Judea from A.D. 60 to 62.

The Book of Acts 23 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 641)

Acts 23New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 23

Paul looked intently at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have conducted myself with a perfectly clear conscience before God to this day.” The high priest Ananias[a] ordered his attendants to strike his mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you,[b] you whitewashed wall. Do you indeed sit in judgment upon me according to the law and yet in violation of the law order me to be struck?” The attendants said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” Paul answered, “Brothers, I did not realize he was the high priest. For it is written, ‘You shall not curse a ruler of your people.’”[c]

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees, so he called out before the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; [I] am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the group became divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, while the Pharisees acknowledge all three. A great uproar occurred, and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party stood up and sharply argued, “We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute was so serious that the commander, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered his troops to go down and rescue him from their midst and take him into the compound. 11 [d]The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Transfer to Caesarea. 12 When day came, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who formed this conspiracy. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves by a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 You, together with the Sanhedrin, must now make an official request to the commander to have him bring him down to you, as though you meant to investigate his case more thoroughly. We on our part are prepared to kill him before he arrives.” 16 The son of Paul’s sister, however, heard about the ambush; so he went and entered the compound and reported it to Paul. 17 Paul then called one of the centurions[e] and requested, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to report to him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and explained, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked that I bring this young man to you; he has something to say to you.” 19 The commander took him by the hand, drew him aside, and asked him privately, “What is it you have to report to me?” 20 He replied, “The Jews have conspired to ask you to bring Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow, as though they meant to inquire about him more thoroughly, 21 but do not believe them. More than forty of them are lying in wait for him; they have bound themselves by oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are now ready and only wait for your consent.” 22 As the commander dismissed the young man he directed him, “Tell no one that you gave me this information.”

23 Then he summoned two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready to go to Caesarea by nine o’clock tonight,[f] along with seventy horsemen and two hundred auxiliaries. 24 Provide mounts for Paul to ride and give him safe conduct to Felix the governor.” 25 Then he wrote a letter with this content: 26 [g]“Claudius Lysias to his excellency the governor Felix, greetings.[h] 27 This man, seized by the Jews and about to be murdered by them, I rescued after intervening with my troops when I learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to learn the reason for their accusations against him so I brought him down to their Sanhedrin. 29 I discovered that he was accused in matters of controversial questions of their law and not of any charge deserving death or imprisonment. 30 Since it was brought to my attention that there will be a plot against the man, I am sending him to you at once, and have also notified his accusers to state [their case] against him before you.”

31 So the soldiers, according to their orders, took Paul and escorted him by night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they returned to the compound, leaving the horsemen to complete the journey with him. 33 When they arrived in Caesarea they delivered the letter to the governor and presented Paul to him. 34 When he had read it and asked to what province he belonged, and learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I shall hear your case when your accusers arrive.” Then he ordered that he be held in custody in Herod’s praetorium.

Footnotes:

  1. 23:2 The high priest Ananias: Ananias, son of Nedebaeus, was high priest from A.D. 47 to 59.
  2. 23:3 God will strike you: Josephus reports that Ananias was later assassinated in A.D. 66 at the beginning of the First Revolt.
  3. 23:5 Luke portrays Paul as a model of one who is obedient to the Mosaic law. Paul, because of his reverence for the law (Ex 22:27), withdraws his accusation of hypocrisy, “whitewashed wall” (cf. Mt 23:27), when he is told Ananias is the high priest.
  4. 23:11 The occurrence of the vision of Christ consoling Paul and assuring him that he will be his witness in Rome prepares the reader for the final section of Acts: the journey of Paul and the word he preaches to Rome under the protection of the Romans.
  5. 23:17 Centurions: a centurion was a military officer in charge of one hundred soldiers.
  6. 23:23 By nine o’clock tonight: literally, “by the third hour of the night.” The night hours began at 6 p.m. Two hundred auxiliaries: the meaning of the Greek is not certain. It seems to refer to spearmen from the local police force and not from the cohort of soldiers, which would have numbered only 500–1000 men.
  7. 23:26–30 The letter emphasizes the fact that Paul is a Roman citizen and asserts the lack of evidence that he is guilty of a crime against the empire. The tone of the letter implies that the commander became initially involved in Paul’s case because of his Roman citizenship, but this is not an exact description of what really happened (see Acts 21:31–33; 22:25–29).
  8. 23:26 M. Antonius Felix was procurator of Judea from A.D. 52 to 60. His procuratorship was marked by cruelty toward and oppression of his Jewish subjects.