“And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.”
King James Version (KJV)
22:28 But I was free born - Not barely as being born at Tarsus; for this was not Roman colony. But probably either his father, or some of his ancestors, had been made free of Rome, for some military service. We learn hence, that we are under no obligation as Christians to give up our civil privileges (which we are to receive and prize as the gift of God) to every insolent invader. In a thousand circumstances, gratitude to God, and duty to men, will oblige us to insist upon them; and engage us to strive to transmit them improved, rather than impaired to posterity.
Ac 22:28 With a great sum I obtained this freedom. The officer states that he had bought citizenship himself. He was not of Roman birth, an alien, but by a heavy bribe had obtained Roman rights. This was not uncommon in the corrupt period of Roman government that had come. But I was [free] born. His father before had been a Roman citizen. Whether he inherited it also, or had in some way secured the right, is unknown. If any wonder how a Jew could be a Roman, let them look around and see Jews, Germans, Irish, etc., who are American citizens.