Archive for March, 2007

Acts 24:1-13 – April 1, 2007

PAUL FACES FELIX THE GOVERNOR – PART 1 (verses 1-13)

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) Why did the high priest need an orator before Felix?

Discussion) The high priest did not need an orator, but he purposely used one that knew Roman law extensively and probably had tried proceedings before Felix.

Q2) Explain what Tertullus is trying to say in verses 2 and 3, knowing how Felix was.

Discussion) Tertullus was buttering up or kissing up to Felix. He knew that Felix loved bribes therefore he was trying to butter Felix up so that Felix would side with the Pharisees.

Q3) In verses 5 and 6, what three things do the Jews and Tertullus accuse Paul of?

Discussion) The three things are that Paul was a creator of dissension, a ringleader of a sect of Nazerites and that he profaned the temple. The first two, the way that they are worded, were punishable under Roman law but the last one there was no Roman law against.

Q4) In verse 7, whom did Tertullus and the Jews try to make look bad?

Discussion) The commander Lysias. Notice how neither Tertullus nor the Jews mentioned that the Pharisees and Sadducees fought with each other and that Lysias took Paul away from him by force. They left the part out where they were in the wrong. Not only were lies being spread by these people against Paul but also half-truths were being spread.

Q5) Why didn’t Felix let Paul answer for himself in verse 10?

Clues) This was the trick question. Felix let Paul answer for himself.

Discussion) Paul was to answer for himself. Notice how he sticks up for himself but does not respond in kind to the accusations. Paul just states that he did not do anything wrong and says that no one can prove anything that they accused him of.

Q6) How many days had it been since Paul first worshiped in Jerusalem?

Discussion) It had been 12 days according to verse 11.

LIFE APPLICATION: If we are accused or attacked as Christians, why do you suppose this happens? What should we do?

Discussion) It was talked about that we are not to respond in kind back to them. We are to respond in love and above the circumstance. As a foretaste of future lessons, we discussed that if Paul had demanded his rights as a Roman citizen, he would not have been used to bring Felix into a crossroads in his life, which we will discuss in the next lesson.

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March 25, 2007 at 10:52 pm Leave a comment

Acts 23:23-35 – March 25, 2007

A MURDER PLOT IS UNCOVERED – PART 2 (verses 23-35)

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) Why do you think there were so many soldiers around Paul in verses 23 and 24?

Discussion)    The chief commander wanted to foil as many plot attempts on Paul’s life as possible.  Remember that the chief commander was responsible for the life of Paul until Paul was delivered to the governor of that province.

We also talked about the fact that there were 470 soldiers, horsemen, and spearmen that went to Antipartris to escort Paul.  That was way more than enough but the chief captain wanted security for Paul.  Remember that verse 24 states that Paul was given mounts (horses) to ride upon.  Even though this city was only 25 miles away, Paul had the attention of a majority of the Roman army during these hours, which I am very sure that he used it to tell them of Jesus Christ and what His death on the cross meant.

Q2) Felix was the Governor of Caesarea as we read in verse 24. What do we know about him and what is his responsibility?

Discussion)    This was one of those questions that you had to do some research.  We see that Felix ruled with impunity by trying to collect bribes, being heavy-handed, a procrastinator, and given to reveling in cruelty and lust.  It has been said of Felix that he exercised the powers of a king with the outlook of a slave.  We need to remember what Felix was like for chapter 24.

Q3) Why did Felix write a letter to Nero about Paul?

Clues)    This was the trick question.  Claudius Lysias wrote the letter to Felix about Paul.

Discussion)    There are two modes of thinking here about why.  The first mode of thinking was that Claudius was responsible for the Jerusalem area and was not permitted to travel so therefore he could not go with his soldiers.  The second mode of thinking was that he had made such a big mistake in what he did with Paul that he dare not present himself to Felix in case Paul accused him in front of his superior.

Whatever mode of thinking one thing that we can be sure of is that in order for Claudius to write this letter he had to have some type of formal education in the Roman educational system. 

Q4) Why was Paul taken by night to the city of Antipatris?

Discussion)    To thwart any plots against him to kill him.  One thing we talked about here is that the next day we can be assured that those who were plotting to kill Paul were extremely upset that they did not get to carry out their plan.  We need to remember this for chapter 24.

Q5) What did the officers give to Felix when they handed over Paul? Why?

Discussion)    This was not to be taken as a trick question though some did.  The letter and Paul were delivered over to Felix.  Notice the order, first the letter then Paul.  Felix wanted to know what he was dealing with before he would let the accused speak.  Similar to our court system today that judges look at the case files before the different parties are allowed to speak.  We also talked about verse 34 in which Felix wanted to know what province Paul was from.  Each governor could only rule on people from their province, so this was always the first question to be asked.  If the person was not form their province, they would be sent to the governor or king that ruled in that province; remember in the “trial” of Jesus that Pilate ordered Jesus to be taken to Herod since Jesus was from Nazareth and that was the province that Herod ruled.

Q6) Why did Felix the Governor have Paul put in Herod’s Judgment Hall instead of trying him immediately?

Discussion)    He was waiting for the accusers to get to Antipatris in order to hear from both Paul and his accusers at the same time and not at different dates.  Similar fashion in which we have the justice system set up in America.

LIFE APPLICATION: As we study Paul’s life, do you agree that his trust was in the chief commander and his soldiers for his safety? Should we in the United States trust in our weapons and military forces, our friends, our governors, or our President for our defense? Why?

Discussion)    Paul’s trust was in Jesus and Jesus alone.  No matter what happens our trust is not to be in man or the government’s of man but in Jesus Christ alone.

March 18, 2007 at 9:27 pm Leave a comment

Acts 23:12-22 – March 18, 2007

A MURDER PLOT IS UNCOVERED – PART 1 (verses 12-22)

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) Why would the Jews make the type of oath in verse 12?

Discussion) This is an oath made out of pure hatred. These were not specifically any of the Sanhedrin but they were ordinary Jews who were zealous for the law and hated Paul for sharing about Jesus Christ to the people at Jerusalem. This was a very serious vow since they would not eat nor drink until Paul was dead.

Q2) In verses 14 and 15, why did this group of 7 men go to the Sanhedrin (chief priests and elders) and tell them of their plans?

Clues) This was the trick question. There were 40 men who went to the Sanhedrin.

Discussion) These 40 men wanted not only a blessing from the Sanhedrin, but also to have the Sanhedrin help them out. They knew that the Sanhedrin knew all about the inner workings of the Roman court system and how the layout was. Consequently they wanted inside help from the Sanhedrin.

As a rabbit trail, we remember when Jesus said that the Pharisees regularly fasted several times a week, but they did it for show. Imagine how this must have made the different parts of the Sanhedrin felt that 40 men were going to outdo them in fasting.

Q3) We see the Jews plans for Paul, but God had other plans for him – his death was not yet to be – whom did the Holy Spirit use to foil this attempt at Paul’s life?

Discussion) The Holy Spirit used Paul’s nephew to foil this attempt. We have no way of knowing how old the nephew was or how he had heard about the murder attempt. What we do know is that he was faithful to his uncle and showed a great concern and love by letting his uncle know what was going to happen.  No where else in Acts do we see any mention of any relatives of Paul.

Q4) Why do you suppose the chief captain took him by the hand in verse 19?

Discussion) The chief captain on down knew that they had messed up with Paul, so each one of them showed particular consideration to Paul. We might say in today’s language that they were covering themselves so that they would not have to answer with their lives. I would rather say that the favor of God was being shown to Paul and his family through the Roman soldiers. What Satan meant for evil, God was turning it for good.

The reason that the captain took the nephew by the hand is that the captain was showing empathy towards the nephew and then also showing him that he was giving the nephew his undivided attention. I am sure that the nephew had emotions of fear and awe running through him talking to a high level office so this simple gesture was one of comfort and undivided attention.

Q5) In verse 22, why do you suppose the chief captain allowed the young boy to leave and didn’t throw him in jail with Paul?

Discussion) The nephew was a messenger. The chief captain could have easily thrown him into prison, but he also realized that this nephew must be a born Roman citizen like Paul was. Remember that when the captain heard about this plot that Jew were planning to do and that they were going to use this captain as a pawn, there must have arose an anger to the point of hatred inside of the captain.

LIFE APPLICATION: What fruit of the Spirit is Paul displaying here? (The fruit of the Spirit is explained in Galatians 5:22)

Discussion) We can see that almost all of the fruit of the Spirit is being displayed by Paul here. One thing that we discussed is that if Paul demanded that his rights be met and that he should not be treated this way, the captain more than likely would never have heard from Paul’s nephew and this murder plot would have never been foiled. We need to remember to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit so that the Lord will have room to operate. If we don’t then there are times that we are binding the hands of the Lord so that He is not able to operate His plan.

March 12, 2007 at 1:41 am Leave a comment

Acts 22:30-23:11 – March 11, 2007

PAUL IS BROUGHT BEFORE THE JEWISH LEADERS (verses 22:30-23:11)

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) In Acts 22:30 why did the Roman commander want to know what Paul was accused of instead of leaving him in jail?

The commander wanted to know because he was responsible for Paul and what happened to him.  Since Paul was a Roman citizen, whatever bad happened to Paul, the commander would have to answer for it.
Q2) In verse 2, why did the high priest become so enraged with Paul that he ordered him to be struck on the mouth?

Discussion)    The high priest thought that Paul was lying so he had Paul hit across the mouth.  Notice that Jesus was also hit across the mouth during his trial.  Though we did not research it, there is something that is there about both Jesus and Paul being hit unjustly across the mouth.
Q3) In verse 5, Paul stood firm in reviling the high priest, why?

Clues)    This was the trick question.  Paul apologized for what he said when he found out that it was the high priest.

Discussion)    Paul could have kept on this road since he did not have to answer to the high priest any longer.  Since the high priest was still an authority figure in the Jewish culture, Paul backed off and quoted an Old Testament Scripture in Exodus 22:28.  Paul knew, just like David knew not to go up against King Saul, not to go up against authority figures.  He had previously written about this.
Q4) What Paul did in verse 6 – was this led by the Holy Spirit or a clever ploy by Paul?

Discussion)    This was not a clever ploy.  He knew about the difference between Pharisees and Sadducees, but this was something that he did by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  What Paul said was an inference to Jesus Christ, but the Pharisees and Sadducees took it about life after death and they started to fight with each other.
Q5) Why did the commander have guards take Paul by force into the barracks in verse 10?

Discussion)    We want to paint a vivid picture here.  The commander not knowing the Hebrew language had Paul face his accusers.  Paul said something then the high priest had someone hit Paul in the mouth.  Paul retorts back angrily then someone says something to him.  Paul apologetically says something back then he yells something out loud.  One third of the accusers starts to fight with another third of the accusers.  They fight to the point that there was a great dissension.  During this time the last third of the accusers start to say that Paul is innocent.  Since the commander is responsible for Paul, he has the soldiers by force take Paul away from his accusers.  This means that the accusers were beat on until they let go of Paul.
Q6) Read verse 13 then read Matthew 28:20. What special thing did the Lord do for Paul and will do for us?

Discussion)    Paul is confronted by three different mobs in four days.  Even though Paul is walking in the Spirit, his human side starts to work on him.  The Lord knows this so He encourages Paul and then promises that Paul will not die in Jerusalem but must testify of Him in Rome.
LIFE APPLICATION: Read Acts 23:5 then read Romans 13:1-7. What is Paul telling us and showing us about a Christian’s attitude towards those in authority?

Discussion)    No matter what type of authority you have over you, (unless the authority is asking you to do something that is contrary to the Bible), you must honor that authority.  Paul wrote about this in Romans and displays it here in Acts.  He shows that even though you may not be in subjection to that authority, that all authority comes from God.  There is not one authority figure that is in authority that is not surprising to God. 

March 4, 2007 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment


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