Acts 22

1 Men, brethren and fathers, hear ye the account which I now give unto you.
2 (And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew tongue, they kept the more silence.)
3 And he saith: I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the truth of the law of the fathers, zealous for the law, as also all you are this day:
4 Who persecuted this way unto death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,
5 As the high priest doth bear me witness and all the ancients. From whom also receiving letters to the brethren, I went to Damascus, that I might bring them bound from thence to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 And it came to pass, as I was going and drawing nigh to Damascus, at mid-day, that suddenly from heaven there shone round about me a great light:
7 And falling on the ground, I heard a voice saying to me: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
8 And I answered: Who art thou, Lord? And he said to me: I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light: but they heard not the voice of him that spoke with me.
10 And I said: What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me: Arise and go to Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things that thou must do.
11 And whereas I did not see for the brightness of that light, being led by the hand by my companions, I came to Damascus,
12 And one Ananias, a man according to the law, having testimony of all the Jews who dwelt there,
13 Coming to me and standing by me, said to me: Brother Saul, look up. And I, the same hour, looked upon him.
14 But he said: The God of our fathers hath preordained thee that thou shouldst know his will and see the Just One and shouldst hear the voice from his mouth.
15 For thou shalt be his witness to all men of those things which thou hast seen and heard.
16 And now why tarriest thou? Rise up and be baptized and wash away thy sins, invoking his name.
17 And it came to pass, when I was come again to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance,
18 And saw him saying unto me: Make haste and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: because they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
19 And I said: Lord, they know that I cast into prison and beat in every synagogue them that believed in thee.
20 And when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I stood by and consented: and kept the garments of them that killed him.
21 And he said to me: Go, for unto the Gentiles afar off will I send thee.
22 And they heard him until this word and then lifted up their voice, saying: Away with such an one from the earth. For it is not fit that he should live.
23 And as they cried out and threw off their garments and cast dust into the air,
24 The tribune commanded him to be brought into the castle, and that he should be scourged and tortured: to know for what cause they did so cry out against him.
25 And when they had bound him with thongs, Paul saith to the centurion that stood by him: Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman and uncondemned?
26 Which the centurion hearing, went to the tribune and told him, saying: What art thou about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.
27 And the tribune coming, said to him: Tell me. Art thou a Roman? But he said: Yea.
28 And the tribune answered: I obtained the being free of this city with a great sum. And Paul said: But I was born so.
29 Immediately therefore they departed from him that were about to torture him. The tribune also was afraid after he understood that he was a Roman citizen and because he had bound him.
30 But on the next day, meaning to know more diligently for what cause he was accused by the Jews, he loosed him and commanded the priests to come together and all the council: and, bringing forth Paul, he set him before them.

Acts 22 Commentary

Chapter 22

Paul's account of his conversion. (1-11) Paul directed to preach to the Gentiles. (12-21) The rage of the Jews Paul pleads that he is a Roman citizen. (22-30)

Verses 1-11 The apostle addressed the enraged multitude, in the customary style of respect and good-will. Paul relates the history of his early life very particularly; he notices that his conversion was wholly the act of God. Condemned sinners are struck blind by the power of darkness, and it is a lasting blindness, like that of the unbelieving Jews. Convinced sinners are struck blind as Paul was, not by darkness, but by light. They are for a time brought to be at a loss within themselves, but it is in order to their being enlightened. A simple relation of the Lord's dealings with us, in bringing us, from opposing, to profess and promote his gospel, when delivered in a right spirit and manner, will sometimes make more impression that laboured speeches, even though it amounts not to the full proof of the truth, such as was shown in the change wrought in the apostle.

Verses 12-21 The apostle goes on to relate how he was confirmed in the change he had made. The Lord having chosen the sinner, that he should know his will, he is humbled, enlightened, and brought to the knowledge of Christ and his blessed gospel. Christ is here called that Just One; for he is Jesus Christ the righteous. Those whom God has chosen to know his will, must look to Jesus, for by him God has made known his good-will to us. The great gospel privilege, sealed to us by baptism, is the pardon of sins. Be baptized, and wash away thy sins; that is, receive the comfort of the pardon of thy sins in and through Jesus Christ, and lay hold on his righteousness for that purpose; and receive power against sin, for the mortifying of thy corruptions. Be baptized, and rest not in the sign, but make sure of the thing signified, the putting away of the filth of sin. The great gospel duty, to which by our baptism we are bound, is, to seek for the pardon of our sins in Christ's name, and in dependence on him and his righteousness. God appoints his labourers their day and their place, and it is fit they should follow his appointment, though it may cross their own will. Providence contrives better for us than we do for ourselves; we must refer ourselves to God's guidance. If Christ send any one, his Spirit shall go along with him, and give him to see the fruit of his labours. But nothing can reconcile man's heart to the gospel, except the special grace of God.

Verses 22-30 The Jews listened to Paul's account of his conversion, but the mention of his being sent to the Gentiles, was so contrary to all their national prejudices, that they would hear no more. Their frantic conduct astonished the Roman officer, who supposed that Paul must have committed some great crime. Paul pleaded his privilege as a Roman citizen, by which he was exempted from all trials and punishments which might force him to confess himself guilty. The manner of his speaking plainly shows what holy security and serenity of mind he enjoyed. As Paul was a Jew, in low circumstances, the Roman officer questioned how he obtained so valuable a distinction; but the apostle told him he was free born. Let us value that freedom to which all the children of God are born; which no sum of money, however large, can purchase for those who remain unregenerate. This at once put a stop to his trouble. Thus many are kept from evil practices by the fear of man, who would not be held back from them by the fear of God. The apostle asks, simply, Is it lawful? He knew that the God whom he served would support him under all sufferings for his name's sake. But if it were not lawful, the apostle's religion directed him, if possible, to avoid it. He never shrunk from a cross which his Divine Master laid upon his onward road; and he never stept aside out of that road to take one up.

Acts 22 Commentaries