Acts 22 to 24 Commentary: Paul’s Submission to Authority

Paul focused on the Gospel, not how the Civil Government authority was ran

It’s important to note that Paul never criticized Roman authority. However, he rebuked the high-ranking religious leaders, the Sanhedrin. They would be similar to the Vatican or likened to a church council organization. (Acts 23:1-3)

A son of a Pharisee himself, he criticized them for hypocrisy. His focus was not to change how they ran the abusive “religious government” but to tell them who Jesus is. He didn’t waste time in useless debates but focused on his mission, that had eternal consequences.

He had one mission, and that was to proclaim who Jesus is (Acts 23:6). He knew that repentance and turning to Jesus would bring real transformation.

Acts 23:6
“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”

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Paul submitted to authority but used his Roman citizenship to witness in Rome

Apostle Paul was a citizen of Rome by birth, and under the law, he had certain privileges that he used to supervene his mission. The commander and soldiers became worried about how they treated him, after learning he was a Roman citizen. (Acts 22:29)

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He could have demanded his rights and accused the “lowly mob” of injustice, but he allowed Roman justice to take its normal course. As a result, he was brought to the Sanhedrin and Governor Felix that enabled him to speak about Jesus.

Acts 16:37
“They beat us in public without a trial, although we are Roman citizens, and threw us in jail. And now are they going to smuggle us out secretly? Certainly not! On the contrary, let them come themselves and escort us out! ”

Acts 23:23
Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”

He avoided upsetting the Roman government

He was respectful to the soldiers, commander, and the Governor. He could have asserted his “Roman status.” Instead, he accepted the course of law without complaint. When he wrote to the Philippians, his heart was full of joy and thankfulness.

As a result, the commander protected him from his own people and Paul was able to share the Gospel with Jerusalem and Rome (Acts 23:11,23). Governor Felix gave him privileges, even while in house arrest. (Acts 24:22)

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