Acts 21:1 And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: 21:2 And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. 21:3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.
This does not mean that the Spirit forbade Paul to go up to Jerusalem, if that were so Paul would have never gone up to the city; rather Paul is warned to be prepared for the persecution to come at Jerusalem
21:4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
After seven days at Tyre the whole group of the Tyre disciples bade farewell to Paul as he left for Jerusalem; thinking that they would never see him again.
21:5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. 21:6 And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again. 21:7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.
Philip was first made a deacon and then became an evangelist [One Sent] after the outbreak of persecution at the death of Stephen, when he “was sent” to the Ethiopian eunuch and then sent to preach in Samaria.
Philip’s daughters prophesied; although unmentioned it is probable that they also warned Paul about the trial facing him at Jerusalem. This Philip is not to be confused with Philip the apostle and one of the twelve.
21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven [original deacons]; and abode with him. 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. 21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
Then Agabus the prophet also warned Paul
21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
The writer of Acts, Luke and those at Caesarea, begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem, but he knew by the Spirit that he must go up so that he could be bound over to the Romans and be taken to Rome.
21:12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Paul rebukes them and is ready to do God’s will right to the death
21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
The brethren then said “May God’s will be done.”
21:14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. 21:15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem. 21:16 There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.
Paul is warmly received by the disciples of Christ at Jerusalem
21:17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
Paul, Luke and their companions meet with James
21:18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
They declared to James and the company all the things that God had done with the Gentiles on their journey.
21:19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
James then tells Paul and his companions the false rumors about him being heard by the Jewish brethren. Here we come to the circumcision issue. Paul taught that those converted Gentiles, already circumcised in heart; need not be circumcised in the flesh. However he did not teach against the circumcision of male children on the eighth day.
21:21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
James asks Paul to sponsor the four Nazarites at the Temple to demonstrate that he Paul does indeed preach the same thing as the other apostles.
21:22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 21:24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing [such as failing to circumcise their children. Only that they need not circumcise adults already circumcised in heart], save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
Paul then sponsored the offerings for the four Nazarites.
21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
On the seventh day of purification the unconverted Jews raised a bedlam against Paul; falsely accusing him of teaching against the law.
21:27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, 21:28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought [uncircumcised] Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
The “chief of police” responds to the uproar with his soldiers
21:29 (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) 21:30 And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.
21:31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 21:32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.
Paul is arrested until the matter can be understood
21:33 Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. 21:34 And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. 21:35 And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. 21:36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.
Paul identifies himself as a Jew and not the rebel he was mistaken for
21:37 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek? 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?
21:39 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.
21:40 And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,
Paul speaks to the mob: This is a rehearsal of the zeal of Saul against the true way; and of his calling and conversion by Jesus Christ.
Acts 22:1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
Paul reveals that he had been taught to be a rabbi by Gamaliel in Jerusalem. Jesus himself may have studied with Saul/Paul under the wise teacher Gamaliel, and Jesus and Saul may have known each other well.
22:2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city [Jerusalem] at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
22:4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
22:5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
Saul had persecuted Jesus considering him an apostate for going beyond the letter of the law to teach the spirit and intent of the law; until he was struck down on the road to Damascus.
22:6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 22:7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 22:8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutes. 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
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. 22:11 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.
22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, 22:13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 22:15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
On his first journey to Jerusalem God warns Paul to depart from that city and go to the Gentiles.
22:17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; 22:18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 22:19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 22:20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 22:21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
The mob listened until Paul said he was told by God to abandon Jerusalem and was sent to preach Christ to the Gentiles; then the mob was infuriated and the authorities set out to examine Paul by scourging.
22:22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 22:23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, 22:24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.
Paul stands on his Roman citizenship to escape the scourging.
22:25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? 22:26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
Paul declares himself a free born Roman citizen
22:27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. 22:28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.
Paul was the released from being scourged and held overnight for investigation.
22:29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
22:30 On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them.