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1 Men, brethren, and fathers, heare ye my defence which I make now vnto you.

2 (And when they heard that hee spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)

3 I am verely a man which am a Iew, borne in Tarsus a citie in Cilicia, yet brought vp in this citie at the feete of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect maner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous towards God, as ye all are this day.

4 And I persecuted this way vnto the death, binding and deliuering into prisons both men and women,

5 As also the high Priest doth beare me witnesse, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I receiued letters vnto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there, bound vnto Hierusalem, for to be punished.

6 And it came to passe, that as I made my iourney, & was come nigh vnto Damascus about noone, suddenly there shone from heauen a great light round about me.

7 And I fell vnto the ground, and heard a voice saying vnto mee, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said vnto me, I am Iesus of Nazareth whō thou persecutest.

9 And they that were with me saw indeede the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

10 And I saide, What shall I doe, Lord? And the Lord said vnto me, Arise, and goe into Damascus, and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to doe.

11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

12 And one Ananias, a deuout man according to the law, hauing a good report of al the Iewes which dwelt there,

13 Came vnto me, and stood, & said vnto me, Brother Saul, receiue thy sight. And the same houre I looked vp vpon him.

14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, þt thou shouldest know his will, & see that Iust one, and shouldest heare the voice of his mouth.

15 For thou shalt be his witnes vnto al men, of what thou hast seene & heard.

16 And now, why tariest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sinnes, calling on the name of the Lord.

17 And it came to passe, that when I was come againe to Hierusalem, euen while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance,

18 And saw him saying vnto mee, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Hierusalem: for they will not receiue thy testimony concerning me.

19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned, and beat in euery synagogue them that beleeued on thee.

20 And when þe blood of thy martyr Steuen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting vnto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

21 And he said vnto me, Depart: for I will send thee farre hence, vnto the Gentiles.

22 And they gaue him audience vnto this word, and then lift vp their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should liue.

23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, & threw dust into the aire,

24 The chiefe captaine commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that hee should be examined by scourging: that he might know wherfore they cried so against him.

25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said vnto the Centurion that stood by, Is it lawfull for you to scourge a man that is a Romane, and vncondemned?

26 When the Centurion heard that, hee went and told the chiefe captaine, saying, Take heede what thou doest, for this man is a Romane.

27 Then the chiefe captaine came; and said vnto him, Tell me, art thou a Romane? He said, Yea.

28 And the chiefe captaine answered, With a great summe obteined I this freedome. And Paul said, But I was free borne.

29 Then straightway they departed from him which should haue examined him: and the chiefe captaine also was afraid after he knew that he was a Romane, & because he had bound him.

30 On the morrow, because he would haue knowen the certaintie wherefore he was accused of the Iewes, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chiefe Priests and all their Councill to appeare, and brought Paul downe, and set him before them.

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Commentary for Acts 22

Paul's account of his conversion. (1-11) Paul directed to preach to the Gentiles. (12-21) The rage of the Jews Paul pleads that he is a Roman citizen. (22-30)1-11 The apostle addressed the enraged multitude, in the customary style of respect and good-will. Paul relates the history of his early life very particularly; he notices that his conversion was wholly the act of God. Condemned sinners are struck blind by the power of darkness, and it is a lasting blindness, like that of the unbelieving Jews. Convinced sinners are struck blind as Paul was, not by darkness, but by light. They are for a time brought to be at a loss within themselves, but it is in order to their being enlightened. A simple relation of the Lord's dealings with us, in bringing us, from opposing, to profess and promote his gospel, when delivered in a right spirit and manner, will sometimes make more impression that laboured speeches, even though it amounts not to the full proof of the truth, such as was shown in the change wrought in the apostle.

12-21 The apostle goes on to relate how he was confirmed in the change he had made. The Lord having chosen the sinner, that he should know his will, he is humbled, enlightened, and brought to the knowledge of Christ and his blessed gospel. Christ is here called that Just One; for he is Jesus Christ the righteous. Those whom God has chosen to know his will, must look to Jesus, for by him God has made known his good-will to us. The great gospel privilege, sealed to us by baptism, is the pardon of sins. Be baptized, and wash away thy sins; that is, receive the comfort of the pardon of thy sins in and through Jesus Christ, and lay hold on his righteousness for that purpose; and receive power against sin, for the mortifying of thy corruptions. Be baptized, and rest not in the sign, but make sure of the thing signified, the putting away of the filth of sin. The great gospel duty, to which by our baptism we are bound, is, to seek for the pardon of our sins in Christ's name, and in dependence on him and his righteousness. God appoints his labourers their day and their place, and it is fit they should follow his appointment, though it may cross their own will. Providence contrives better for us than we do for ourselves; we must refer ourselves to God's guidance. If Christ send any one, his Spirit shall go along with him, and give him to see the fruit of his labours. But nothing can reconcile man's heart to the gospel, except the special grace of God.

22-30 The Jews listened to Paul's account of his conversion, but the mention of his being sent to the Gentiles, was so contrary to all their national prejudices, that they would hear no more. Their frantic conduct astonished the Roman officer, who supposed that Paul must have committed some great crime. Paul pleaded his privilege as a Roman citizen, by which he was exempted from all trials and punishments which might force him to confess himself guilty. The manner of his speaking plainly shows what holy security and serenity of mind he enjoyed. As Paul was a Jew, in low circumstances, the Roman officer questioned how he obtained so valuable a distinction; but the apostle told him he was free born. Let us value that freedom to which all the children of God are born; which no sum of money, however large, can purchase for those who remain unregenerate. This at once put a stop to his trouble. Thus many are kept from evil practices by the fear of man, who would not be held back from them by the fear of God. The apostle asks, simply, Is it lawful? He knew that the God whom he served would support him under all sufferings for his name's sake. But if it were not lawful, the apostle's religion directed him, if possible, to avoid it. He never shrunk from a cross which his Divine Master laid upon his onward road; and he never stept aside out of that road to take one up.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Acts 22

  • Teri
    Sorry, but i don't think Paul had to "save" all the jews before he could be sent to the gentiles! In fact, the gospel accounts say that Peter was sent to the Jews, and Paul to the gentiles-GBU
  • Joe
    Yes, Peter focused on the Jews and Paul focused on the Gentiles, however, in most maybe all of Paul's journeys he first presented the gospel to the Jews before moving on to the Gentiles. This is exactly what Jesus said --
    Reply Flag
  • Marlo
    I know this is all semantics, but a split occured early on in the Church as a result of the issue of baptism. Prior to Antioch, both Jew and Gentile who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ fellowshipped together. These Jews believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, but they were trying to lay the burden of circumcision upon the Gentiles for salvation. Paul had a very clear understanding of circumcision.
  • Ray321
    Acts 22:10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. Paul now believed that Jesus of Nazareth is God. Paul got saved, that's why Jesus instructed him. Praise the Lord.
  • Bruce
    thumper: And did he ever! He testified who he was,how he persecuted the believers.( Hitler of that day). How he meant The Savior on the road to Damascus. Oh to meet The Savior for a life change! A Great multitude which no man could number,of all nations and kindreds and people and Tongues, stood before The Throne and before the Lamb: Revelation 7:9. Celebration with no---------------------- end
  • Bible thumper
    Paul was a dark skinned Jew from the tribe of Benjamin...
    Acts 21:
    38 Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?
    39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
  • Patricia Zahler for verse 21
    Years of teachin Sunday morning and afternoon and evening had me perplexed by seeming contradictions. At age 37 my spiritual eyes were opened when I put my life into God's Hands. The loudest verse was The Great Commission, Matthew 28 19 and 20. There is a comma after nations, teaching themvti observe all things whatsoever I have COMMANDED you." What were the all things. Then Paul's message became clear. And backed up by the fact the apostles had not left Jerusalem after 15 years because every Jew had to be saved BEFORE they could take the message to the nations. See Acts 28:24-29.

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