Acts 21:27-39 – February 18, 2007

February 12, 2007 at 1:46 am Leave a comment

A MOB SEEKS TO KILL PAUL (verses 27 -39)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) Verse 27 mentions the Jews of Asia. Were these believing Jews, and if so, why were they angry with Paul?

Discussion) These were believing Jews of Asia that believed in the Old Testament laws and were very zealous for the law. Remember that this was the time just before the festivities of the yearly Petnecost holiday. They were angry with Paul because they supposed (according to verse 29) that he had taken a Gentile inside of the synagogue. This was strongly opposed to since a Jew had to ceremonially go through the seven days of purification in order to enter the synagogue, there is no way that a Gentile was allowed inside of the synagogue of Jerusalem. Also that Paul was teaching heresy against the Old Testament law, they presupposed that this had happened.

Q2) Read verses 28-30 and explain them.

Discussion) That lots of presuppositions and zeal started a mob mentality instead of going to Paul directly and asking what he was doing.

Q3) In verse 31, the riotous mob began beating Paul and was determined to kill him. Why didn’t they kill him?

Discussion) The chief of the the captains stepped in. We want to remember that the plotting, planning and then executing of trying to overthrow the Roman government was a usual occurrence and that any type of riot was not uncommon. If a riot broke out and some one was killed that was a Roman citizen, then the captain whose watch it was on would be severly punished if not executed. This gave incentive to the captains to stop all riots immediately.

Q4) Do you suppose the chief captain was genuinely concerned about Paul’s well being or did he have another agenda?

Discussion) There was about 10% where he was concerned about Paul’s well being, but he had another agenda in that he wanted to make sure that no riots would happen and that everything ran smoothly on his watch.

Q5) Who was the Ethiopian that the commander thought Paul was? {This will require extra research}

Clues) This was the trick question. It was actually an Egyptian that the commander thought Paul was.

Discussion) This did require a lot of research. Josephus wrote a book called the Book of Antiquities and this was in it. This man, an Egyptian, three years prior to the day, was a prophet (though it was never told if he was a prophet of Jehovah God or a false prophet) instigated 40,000 rebels to come up against the Roman Empire in Jerusalem. Of those 40,000, 4,000 of these men were special forces that were to blend in to the city of Jerusalem and kill guards quickly. This Egyptian prophet was going to set foot on the Mount of Olives and show how the walls of Jerusalem would tumble (remember what Jesus said would happen to Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 AD), thus proving he would be able to conquer the Roman rule. Instead 400 of the 4,000 men were instantly killed and others were thrown into prison and later killed. This Egyptian escaped and was never heard from again.

Thus, the chief of captains thought that he had the Egyptian when he had captured Paul. That is why the chief of captains asked if he was the man. This Egyptian was the most wanted person of the Roman Empire and it would have been a big bonus in the career of the chief captain if he captured him. Instead Paul shocked the chief captain when he talked to him in Greek and not in Aremiac.

LIFE APPLICATION: Reread Acts 21:28-30 and then read Titus 3:2 and Ephesians 4:31. What life application is Paul telling us to obey?

Discussion) These verses tie in with what we see happen to Paul. By what happened to Paul at every city that there was a mob ready to kill him we see that he was the benefactor (or on the receiving end) of when someone started to assume, presume, presuppose, lie, and sow discord among others to rile everyone up. This is why Paul in many of his epistles says not to stir up trouble but to go to that person that is sinning and talk about it. He also uses the wisdom that Solomon shared in Proverbs that states that love covers a multitude of sins. That is not to say that we share in the sin or gloss it over, but we are not to go to the other extreme and cause a riotuous mob.


Entry filed under: Time in the Word.

Acts 21:17-26 – February 11, 2007 Acts 21:40-22:11 – February 25, 2007

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