Acts of the Apostles – 23

The Inspired History




  1. Paul Addresses the Jewish Council (1-10).
    1. Paul tries to address the Jewish council (1-5).
    2. Paul turns the Jews against one another (6-10).
  2. A Plot Is Discovered to Kill Paul (11-24).
    1. The Lord has plans for Paul at Rome (11).
    2. The Jews conspire to kill Paul (12-15).
    3. Paul’s nephew informs the chief captain (16-22).
    4. The chief captain prepares safe passage (23-24).
  3. Paul Is Delivered Safely to Caesarea (25-35).
    1. The chief captain writes a letter to Felix (25-30).
    2. Paul is delivered safely to Felix’s protection (31-35).

The Sense and Meaning

  1. Paul attempts to address the Jewish chief priests and their council for the second time (Acts 23:1-5).
    1. He earnestly desired to defend himself and the gospel to men who tried to kill him.
    2. He claims what every saint should seek – a consistently good conscience before God.
      1. Conscience. 4. The internal acknowledgement or recognition of the moral quality of one’s motives and actions; the sense of right and wrong as regards things for which one is responsible; the faculty or principle which pronounces upon the moral quality of one’s actions or motives, approving the right and condemning the wrong.
      2. Con (with) + science (knowledge) = knowing with and in ourselves about our actions (Proverbs 20:27; Acts 26:9; I Corinthians 2:11).
      3. Our conscience is an internal apparatus from God to direct our conduct (Pr 14:10; Rom 2:15; Acts 1:32; John 8:9; Heb 13:18; I Tim 1:12-14; I Kgs 15:4).
      4. We have a pure conscience by obeying it rather than rejecting or silencing it.
      5. Age and experience create more sensitive consciences (John 8:9; Heb 5:14).
      6. Truth alters consciences (Rom 13:5; 14:23; I Cor 8:1-13; 10:25-27; Jas 4:17).
      7. Ignorance can leave you conscience-less, so Rom 14 and I Cor 8,10; yet sins of ignorance are still sins (Psalm 19:12; Luke 12:48; Luke 4:1-35).
      8. Fervent saints want more knowledge (Acts 10:33; Phil 1:9-11; Col 1:9-17).
      9. Sin sears the conscience and justifies sin (I Tim 4:2; Eph 4:17-19; Heb 3:13).
      10. We need to exercise ourselves in godliness to always have a conscience void of any offence toward either God or man (Acts 24:16; Luke 2:52; I Timothy 1:5).
      11. We must pray for conscience revelation (Ps 139:23-24; 26:2; 16:7; Lam 3:40).
      12. There is an extensive outline available on this subject entitled “Conscience.”
    3. Proving their evil intentions, the high priest calls for Paul to be hit on the mouth.
    4. Paul addresses the man as his peer and truthfully, not knowing he was the high priest.
    5. Paul corrects himself by quoting their law, yet they care nothing for him (Ex 22:28).
  2. Paul, sensing the futility of appealing to any reason, turns the Jews against each other (Acts 23:6-10).
    1. He had already earnestly beheld his audience and knew the Jews very well (Acts 22:3).
    2. Perceiving an audience of enemy factions, he delivered himself by their own heresies.
      1. The Sadducees denied angels, man’s spirit, and a resurrection (Matt 22:23-33).
      2. The Pharisees strongly believed all three as the most conservative sect (Acts 26:5).
      3. He identified himself as a Pharisee from a Pharisee father, which bought them.
      4. He claimed that his controversy with the Jews was the hope of the resurrection.
      5. It was the indirect truth (Acts 13:14-46), though they did not deserve it (Ex 20:16).
      6. He split the multitude: the Pharisees for him and the Saduccees against him.
    3. The chief captain had to rescue Paul again, lest these Jews had pulled him apart.
  3. The Lord came to Paul and comforted him about bearing witness to Christ in Rome (Acts 23:11).
    1. Remember the words of 21:14 . . . the will of the Lord be done.
    2. We do not bring the will of God by our words, but we rather submit to God’s will.
    3. Consider Proverbs 16:9,33; 19:21; 21:30; Deuteronomy 29:29; and James 4:15
    4. Paul purposed in the spirit to visit Rome (Acts 19:21), and the Lord’s will was for it.
  4. These rabid Jews crave Paul’s blood so desperately they conspire together to kill him (Acts 23:12-15).
    1. Jesus foretold these Jews living were demon possessed (Mat 12:43-45; I The 2:14-16).
    2. Over forty of these Jews vowed to neither eat nor drink until they killed Paul.
    3. They easily get the chief priests and elders to participate in their lying scheme.
  5. Paul’s nephew, the son of his sister, hears about this conspiracy and reports it to Paul (Acts 23:16-22).
    1. Don’t ask me anything about Paul’s family, for we are told nothing more than here.
    2. Please remember the words of 21:14 . . . the will of the Lord be done.
    3. Consider the timing and the reception by the chief captain of this bizarre message.
  6. The chief captain prepares safe passage for Paul to be delivered to the governor (Acts 23:23-24).
    1. Consider the providence of God in delivering Paul with such an escort . . . like Esther.
    2. We add two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen, 470!
    3. The third hour of the night would be 9:00 P.M. and following i.e. Acts 2:15.
  7. Claudius Lysias, the chief captain in Jerusalem, writes to Governor Felix in Caesarea (Acts 23:25-30).
    1. He embellishes the account just a little to save face and promote his career (Acts 22:24-29).
    2. Consider how the Lord moved the heart of this chief captain to state Paul’s innocence.
    3. Though he lied to serve himself, he told the truth in regard to Paul (Prov 21:1).
  8. Paul is delivered safely to Caesarea, where he will have opportunities to testify (Acts 23:31-35).