Oct. 7. Ephesians Urged to Remain United

Eph. 4:1-16

Jesus prayed just before His captors took Him in the Garden of Gethsemane that His disciples would be united as one. Since Jews and Gentiles had been united in the church, Paul issued the same plea for the Ephesians to maintain that unity. As Christians, they were to forget the bitterness and traditions that had divided them in the past and press forward with lowliness, gentleness and patience in love as children of God. He stressed that there is one body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism and God.

The one body is Christ’s church. He promised to build only one church. Today, when one through faith obeys that same gospel, he becomes a member of that same body. Groups of people, regardless of the name that they are wearing who are teaching anything contrary to that which is found in the Scriptures are dividers or denominators. Denominations, as the word implies divide the body of Christ and have no place in God’s plan.

There is but one Spirit to give life and guidance to that body. As with the physical body, the Spiritual body cannot survive if it is divided. Christians are fed by the word of God that was inspired by that same Holy Spirit.

Eternal life is the one hope or desire expected by children of God as an eternal reward in heaven for a faithful life in Christ. This hope gives Christians strength in the face of persecutions.

The one Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of the virgin, Mary. He lived among men and died a cruel and shameful death on the cross for all mankind. After being buried in a borrowed tomb, He was resurrected from the dead, ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God. Paul informed the Gentiles that this same Lord is Lord of the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Faith that is regulated by and conformed to the word of God is the only one faith that will lead to salvation. This faith comes only by hearing God as one studies the Scriptures.

Paul wrote of one baptism. Careful study will inform one that this baptism is the burial of a penitent sinner in water after he has died to his sins. These sins are washed away (forgiven) by the blood of Christ in baptism. He is then raised out of the watery grave as Christ was raised from the tomb. As Christ lives a new spiritual life with God, a newly risen Christian also lives a new spiritual life.

Even though people believed in and worshipped many different false gods, Paul stressed the fact that there is only one true God and Father. This one God, our creator demands total allegiance and total unity among His people.

Paul explained that it was through God’s grace that Jesus descended to earth and led captivity captive (bound and overcame death) when He was resurrected from the grave. As He was resurrected, man will also rise from the dead. Christ ascended back into heaven. In like manner His faithful children will ascend at the judgment.

In order to prepare man for that glorious resurrection, various men were given special responsibilities as gifts. They, through divine guidance from the Holy Spirit provided the instructions and teaching necessary to establish and guide the early church. Since these men have all passed from the earth, man receives instructions and teaching today through studying the Scriptures that the inspired writers left. By following those instructions, the body, the church with Christ as its head grows and matures into a strong spiritual body.

#chronological-bible-study

Oct. 6. Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians

Eph. 3:14-21

After discussing his apostleship, Paul addressed a prayer for the Ephesians to have strength to maintain Christ in their hearts in face of harsh trials as well as during good times. Christ well-rooted in the heart causes one to seek only those things that provide a suitable dwelling place for the Lord.

Paul prayed that the Ephesians would know the dimensions of the love of Christ. The width of His love is wide enough to fill the needs of all men of all nations. His love is long enough for Him to die on the cross that all men might live. Christ’s love goes deep enough to lift the most wicked of mankind out of the mire of sin. His love desires that all would be His disciples and live with Him eternally in heaven.

As he ended his petition, Paul recognized the infinite power of God and glorified His name for eternity.

#chronological-bible-study

Oct. 5. Paul Digresses and Explains His Apostleship

Eph. 3:1-13

In view of the gospel being available to the Gentiles, Paul became an apostle to them. It was because of his preaching to the Gentiles that events involving the Jews in Jerusalem caused him to be in a Roman prison when he wrote the Ephesian letter.

Paul digressed from his main thought and described himself and his apostleship. He reminded the Ephesians that he had received the gospel by revelation and not from ordinary men. His commission was to preach that gospel to the Gentiles.

As Paul wrote of his apostleship, he described the mystery of Christ as it related to the Gentiles. He explained that this mystery was their acceptance into the fellowship of Christ as equals with the Jews. Even though it had been prophesied in the Old Testament, it was not revealed until Peter had received it from God prior to the conversion of Cornelius and his household.

Paul looked upon himself as least of all the saints because of his history of persecuting the church. Nevertheless, he accepted the commission to preach to the Gentiles and asked for their support during his tribulations as their apostle.

#chronological-bible-study

Oct. 4. Jews and Gentiles United in Church through Christ’s Blood

Eph. 2:1-22

The Ephesian Gentiles to whom Paul was writing had previously been dead—separated from God in their sins, as the Jews had been before they received the blessing of salvation through the death of Christ. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, the Ephesians were resurrected by God’s love and mercy to a new life free from sin.

Paul pointed out that salvation is through the grace of God and not by any works of the Law of Moses or works of merit that man can do. However, there are certain conditions or appointed works which must be met prior to qualifying to receive God’s grace. Man must possess an obedient faith in Christ as the Son of God—not merely a mental assent that he believes. God appointed these good works from the beginning.

One may receive a coupon in the mail for a free loaf of bread. No works had been done to earn that coupon. The recipient must have the faith to redeem (obedient faith) that coupon before the free loaf of bread becomes a reality.

Paul reminded the Ephesians that previously, they as Gentiles had been cut off from God and as aliens, they had no hope of salvation. The Law of Moses had placed a barrier of enmity between Jews and Gentiles, but they had been brought together in the church with the Jews by the blood of Christ. This barrier of enmity had been removed as the Jewish law was abolished on the cross and Jews and Gentiles had become at peace with each other and with God. All peoples and nations had become one in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit brings all to God the Father by revealing the same word of salvation (the Bible) to all.

Paul described the church as the household of God with the Gentiles not being excluded, but being equal partakers with the Jews in God’s family. They were all children sharing in the love of the Father.

The church was also referred to as a building or temple of God built upon the teachings of the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the chief cornerstone. As God once dwelt in the temple under Jewish law, He now dwells in His new temple, the church (Christians).

#chronological-bible-study

Oct. 3. Church’s Place in God’s Eternal Plan

Eph. 1:3-23

According to Paul, all spiritual blessings are in Christ. That would indicate that there are no spiritual blessings outside of Christ. Therefore, if one is to enjoy these blessings, it is necessary to be in Christ—in His body—in His church.

There are many honest and sincere people who believe that God has predestined or chosen beforehand certain individuals to either be saved or lost through no action of their own. Paul’s use of the term predestined in this letter is not referring to individuals, but to a class of people. This particular class is made up of those who by faithful obedience have chosen to fulfill the qualifications to become members of that class. By careful study, one learns that this elite class consists of faithful Christians—the church of Christ. God foreordained and predestined from the beginning that Christians would be saved by Christ and that non-Christians would be lost.

Paul pointed out to the Ephesians that the Jews had been first to receive redemption—forgiveness of sins through purchase by the blood of Christ. After the Gentiles had heard and obeyed that same gospel, their salvation was also sealed and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit of promise. Jews and Gentiles are now one in the church.

The Ephesian church had a special place in Paul’s heart and he was encouraged by the news that he had heard from them. He expressed this as he related his constant remembrance of them in his prayers. He desired for them to remain faithful as they continued to learn and obey the will of God. It is important for Christians to continue to seek more knowledge as they grow in their spiritual life.

Paul wanted the Ephesians to be fully aware of the power of God as He had raised Christ from the dead. It was also important for them to understand the position of Christ with His church. He is now seated at the right hand of God with all authority over all things in heaven and on earth. Christ is “Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” If He has all authority, man has no authority to change His commands.

#chronological-bible-study

Oct. 2. Paul Writes Letter to the Church at Ephesus

Eph. 1:1, 2

Ephesus was the capital city of the Roman province of Asia located on the Asiatic coast east and across the Mediterranean Sea from Athens, Greece. Paul had spent more than two years there during his third missionary journey. He had to leave because of intense opposition from the followers of the goddess Diana. The Ephesian elders had met with Paul at Miletus as he was ending his third journey.

It is thought that Paul wrote letters to the churches at Ephesus and Colossae and to his friend Philemon about A.D. 62 soon after his imprisonment in Rome. They were delivered by Tychicus and Onesimus as Onesimus, the run-away slave returned to his master, Philemon.

The letter to the Ephesians, who were Gentiles did not have a specific theme, but was probably intended as a general letter to be read to the churches in various locations. As in the letter to the Romans, this letter contains much basic information about the plan and purpose of the church. It points out the oneness of Christ and salvation by grace through faith. He also places special emphasis upon earthly relationships as they relate to the church.

As he began his letter, Paul identified himself as an apostle and its writer. Even if he had intended it to be circulated among several churches, he addressed it to the saints at Ephesus. All Christians are saints.

#chronological-bible-study

Oct. 1. Luke’s Account of the Gospel

Luke did not disclose much information about himself. Paul referred to him as, “the beloved physician.” He was the only Gentile writer of the New Testament and he wrote in the Greek language primarily for Gentile readers. Scholars conclude that he was born and reared in Antioch of Syria. The use of the pronouns “we” and “us” in the book of Acts indicates that he spent much time as a traveling companion of Paul.

The writer doesn’t identify himself as the author of the gospel that bears Luke’s name nor does he identify himself as the writer of Acts. As one reads Acts and Paul’s epistles, it becomes evident from the various references to Luke that he indeed wrote Acts. Evidence in the preface to Acts indicates that the same writer was responsible for the Gospel According to Luke.

As with the accounts of Matthew and Mark, the location and date of writing the Gospel According to Luke are unsure, but the time was probably during the early A. D. 60s.

Luke, being a physician was more highly educated than the other gospel writers. This became evident as he referred to various names and events of contemporary history.

The account of the gospel by Luke contains more details about the genealogy, birth and early childhood of Jesus than the other gospels. He related more stories of Jesus’ concern for the outcasts of society than the other writers.

In his gospel, Luke recorded the time prior to the birth of Jesus until His ministry; the Galilean Ministry; last journeys to Jerusalem and the events relating to His death, burial, resurrection and ascension into heaven.

#chronological-bible-study

Sep. 30. The Gospel According to Mark

John Mark was the youngest writer of the New Testament. It is thought that he referred to himself as the young man who wrapped himself in a linen cloth and followed Jesus after the apostles had forsaken Him during His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Someone had grabbed him and he ran away naked as they held the cloth that he had left behind.

The mother of Mark was Mary. The apostles spent much time in her home. When an angel released Peter from prison, he went to her house where many were praying. Since he was not an apostle, but a preacher, Mark no doubt learned much of his information about the life of Jesus from those contacts with the apostles.

When Barnabas and Saul (Paul) departed on their first missionary journey from Antioch, Mark accompanied them as far as Perga in Pamphylia, but for some unknown reason, he returned to Jerusalem. Some years later, he was the center of contention between Paul and Barnabas that caused their division as they prepared for their second missionary journey. Paul and Mark reconciled later and he asked Timothy to bring Mark with him when he came to him in prison.

Mark’s story of the gospel is shorter than the other three accounts. Even though he recorded many of the teachings of Jesus, he told more about His actions than about His teaching. Like Matthew’s story of Jesus, the time and location of the writing of Mark’s account are also unknown, but is thought to be about A. D. 60.

The primary purpose of Mark’s writing is thought to be for the benefit of Gentile readers. He explained some of the Jewish customs, such as not eating with defiled or unwashed hands. References to Jewish law, the genealogy of Jesus and His birth and childhood were omitted. Jesus was presented in a way that the Gentiles could understand that He is the Christ, the Son of God and that He came to earth, lived and died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Man’s responsibility to obey the conditions set forth for salvation was explained by each of the four gospel writers.

#chronological-bible-study

Sep. 29. Matthew Writes His Account of the Gospel

Matthew was a publican (tax collector) for the Roman or Herodian government. The Jews hated publicans because they were associated with Jewish oppression by the Romans and most of them were highly dishonest. They charged more taxes than were due and kept the excess for themselves.

In choosing His apostles, Jesus selected men from a cross-section of that day’s society. This led to criticism by the Pharisees because if Jesus was the Messiah as He had claimed to be, they objected to His association with “tax collectors and sinners.” Jesus answered that He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

The gospel according to Matthew is commonly referred to as Matthew. Its exact time of writing is unknown. Several scholars think that it was probably written from an unknown location about the time that Paul was imprisoned in Rome around AD 60.

Matthew’s writing was directed toward the Jewish population as he introduced Jesus as the Messiah, the King of the Jews and recorded the events of His life, death, burial and resurrection.

Since Matthew was one of Christ’s apostles and had worked very closely with Him for about two years, he was an eyewitness to most of the events mentioned in this writing. He quoted extensively from the Old Testament and showed the Jews how the Law of Moses and the prophecies of the coming Messiah related to Jesus, the Christ, their King. He presented the life of Jesus as it related to the Jews.

Even in the beginning of his account, Matthew traced the genealogy of Jesus directly to Abraham, the fleshly father of the Jewish nation, spiritual father of the faithful and the one to whom God had PROMISED to bless all the nations through his Seed. He showed that the fleshly descent of Jesus came through David and that He was the Christ of prophecy.

The events recorded by Matthew were grouped according to topics instead of by strict chronological order.

#chronological-bible-study

Sep. 28. Arrival at Rome; Paul Under House Arrest

Acts 28:11-31

Three months after Paul’s shipwreck and their arrival at Malta, the weather settled enough for ships to sail again. That was probably about the first of February. Another ship from Alexandria had wintered there and everyone from the wrecked ship boarded this vessel and resumed their journey to Rome.

The ship sailed about eighty miles and landed at Syracuse on the island of Sicily and stayed there three days. After battling the wind again, the ship reached Rhegium. From there it sailed to its port of destination, Puteoli on the mainland of Italy and the principal port for Alexandrian and Italian trade.

Paul met with some of the Christians at Puteoli and they asked that he stay seven days. That period of time would allow them to worship together on the next Lord’s Day.

Since Puteoli was the end of the line for the ship, the centurion with his soldiers and prisoners probably walked the remaining distance from there to Rome. As they reached Appii Forum and Three Inns, they met other Christians from Rome who had been informed of Paul’s journey by those of Puteoli. That was very encouraging to him and he thanked God for their presence.

When they reached Rome the centurion turned the prisoners over to the captain of the guard. Paul’s conduct on the voyage from Caesarea earned him favors that other prisoners could not enjoy. He was permitted to live in his own rented house—but always chained to a guard.

Paul had finally reached Rome about two and one-half years after writing the letter to them telling of his intentions. He was with some of his friends from earlier years and had begun to make new friends.

After only three days, Paul called a meeting of the chief Jews of Rome and explained his case to them. They stated that they had neither received letters (charges) nor had heard anything evil about him. However, they said that they wanted to hear what he thought because, “Concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”

When the set time arrived, many of the Jews met at Paul’s house and he preached Christ. He started with the Law of Moses, related the prophecies of Christ’s coming and preached the complete gospel of Christ. The Jews were divided after hearing Paul’s teaching. Some believed, but probably most closed their ears and eyes and refused to accept his explanation of the gospel.

As was Paul’s custom, he had preached to the Jews first and after their refusal to believe, he quoted from Isaiah and told them that he would turn to the Gentiles. When the meeting ended, the Jews left and had a great dispute among themselves.

Paul lived the next two years as a prisoner in his own rented house. He had the freedom to write and to receive, “All who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

As we complete the book of Acts, we also end the study of most of Paul’s travels. He spent most of the remainder of his life in confinement, teaching and writing to various churches and individuals. The works of the other New Testament writers and other letters of Paul follow in chronological order.

#chronological-bible-study

Sep. 27. Paul Ministers to Malta Natives

Acts 28:1-10

After the crew and passengers reached the land, they learned that they had reached Malta. It was a small island about sixty-five or seventy miles south of Sicily.

The natives of Malta were very kind to the shipwrecked strangers. They immediately welcomed them with a fire to warm and dry themselves.

As Paul gathered wood to put on the fire, a very poisonous snake bit him on the hand. The Maltans suspected that he was a murderer who had escaped the sea, but was now getting his justice from the snakebite. When he did not swell up and die immediately, but was unharmed, they then concluded that he was a god.

Many times, adversity provides an opportunity for doing good deeds. The father of Publius, the chief resident or ruler of the island was very sick. When Paul learned of his illness, he went in and prayed and laid his hands on him and healed him. The rest of the sick people on the island came to him and he healed them. As he healed those natives, he was presented with opportunities to teach them about Christ. There is no doubt that many people believed and obeyed the gospel. They also honored Paul’s companions and supplied them with many necessities.

#chronological-bible-study

Sep. 26. Voyage to Rome Begins; Storm at Sea

Acts 27:1-44

When the time came for Paul to leave for Rome, he and other prisoners were put under the control of Julius, a centurion and they boarded a ship sailing as far as Myra of Lycia. Luke and Aristarchus also accompanied Paul.

The ship made various stops along the way to load and unload cargo. Sidon was the first stop and Julius allowed Paul freedom to visit his friends there and to receive needed care. They stayed near the coast as they sailed from Sidon to Myra because the wind was a problem.

Paul’s company changed ships at Myra and boarded a large vessel carrying grain from Alexandria, Egypt to Italy. After many days of difficult sailing due to the wind, the ship finally reached Fair Havens, a harbor on the southern coast of Crete.

The season for smooth sailing was coming to a close, but the ship’s crew did not want to spend the winter at Fair Havens because the harbor was not suitable. Paul either by inspiration or by his own experience warned against going back out to sea because of the perilous conditions that would meet them.

Phoenix, a harbor about forty miles west of Fair Havens was more suitable and the owner of the ship and his officers ignored Paul’s advice and moved out. Soon after leaving, the winds became so tempestuous, that the ship was blown off course away from Crete and out into the sea.

The storm was so severe that the ship went many days without the benefit of the sun nor stars for navigation. During this time, they had relieved the ship of much of its weight and everyone thought that they would surely be destroyed.

In answer to Paul’s prayers, an angel appeared to him and informed him that he must be brought before Caesar. All who were with him would be saved from the storm, but the ship would run aground on a certain island. Even though a prisoner, his faith encouraged the men.

After sensing that they were nearing land, the sailors attempted to secure the ship by dropping anchors. They also schemed to take the lifeboat and leave the ship. Paul alertly informed the centurion of their actions and warned that they would be lost if they did not stay with the ship. The soldiers cut the lifeboat away from the ship and the escape attempt ended.

Because it had been fourteen days since they had eaten, Paul encouraged everyone to eat in order to regain their strength to endure the shipwreck that was to occur soon. After he had given thanks to God for the food, he began to eat and the others began to eat also.

When the two hundred seventy-six persons on the ship had eaten enough, they threw the wheat into the sea and lightened the ship further by removing everything that was unnecessary for its operation.

As daylight came after a sleepless night, those on the ship saw an unidentified land with a bay and beach. They released the anchors into the sea and determined to get as near the land as possible before running the ship aground. The ship soon reached a point where two seas met and there it broke apart.

Paul, the prisoner, was now in charge of the evacuation from the shipwreck. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent their escape, but the centurion wanting to save Paul prevented this action. Those who could swim went first and were followed by the rest on boards and parts of the ship. They all escaped safely to land.

#chronological-bible-study

Sep. 25. Pleading with King Agrippa

Acts 25:13-26:32

Some days later, King Agrippa II and his sister Bernice made a courtesy call to Festus in Caesarea. After many more days, Festus informed Agrippa about Paul and asked for assistance in presenting his case to Nero.

Agrippa became interested in Paul and asked to hear him. A meeting was arranged. Paul’s meetings with the governors and Agrippa fulfilled the statement that Christ had made to Ananias during Saul’s (Paul’s) conversion many years earlier when He had said that he would “bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel.” Paul was standing before rulers and kings.

The meeting between King Agrippa, Governor Festus and the prisoner, Paul was one of great contrasts. Agrippa knew much about the Jewish religion and probably had a desire to learn more about Christianity from Paul.

Festus was not a religious man and only tolerated the religions about him. He wanted to release Paul, but since the Jews were so important to him, he did not want to offend them by releasing him.

Agrippa, Bernice, Festus, commanders and prominent men of the city entered the auditorium with great pageantry and were seated. Paul, the prisoner, was brought in and stood before the king.

Festus had the same problem that faced Lysias and Felix. He hoped that their meeting would produce a formal charge that could be sent to Rome. “For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him.”

Since Paul had not been understood by Lysias, Felix or Festus, he was happy to be permitted to speak to Agrippa, who had a greater understanding of the Jews and their customs.

Paul began by stating his background in the Jewish religion and how the Jews knew of his zeal in persecuting Christians. There was a great contrast between Saul, the persecutor and the man speaking to the king. He explained that he was a Pharisee and was being accused because of his belief in the resurrection of the dead—a main belief of the Pharisees and the hope of the twelve tribes of Israel.

As he continued his speech before Agrippa, Paul related the events that occurred as he was going to Damascus to bind Christians and take them back to Jerusalem. He told of seeing the bright light that blinded him and related his conversation with Christ, who had given him the commission to preach the gospel. One can easily reason that Paul would not have endured the persecutions that he had faced if the story of his conversion had been untrue.

Paul stated that he obeyed the heavenly vision and began preaching in Damascus, Jerusalem, throughout Judea and then to the Gentiles. He explained that for those reasons, the Jews had seized him in the temple and that the protection from God had allowed him to survive his persecutions and to stand before Agrippa that day.

In continuing his remarks, Paul said that he had preached only what the prophets and Moses had said would come—“that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

Festus had heard enough. He interrupted Paul and said that he was beside himself and that much learning was driving him out of his mind. Paul’s reply was courteous and to the point. He contended that he was speaking words of truth and reason and that the king knew what he was saying was true.

Paul then turned his attention to Agrippa. He asked the king if he believed the prophets and answered his own question in the affirmative.

Agrippa was at the point of either rejecting the prophets or agreeing with Paul. He said, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

Paul replied, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” He was bound with the chains of a prisoner, but the chains of ignorance, arrogance, indifference and sin bound those who heard him.

The meeting ended. Agrippa and the others stood up and after conferring among themselves concluded that Paul had done nothing wrong. Since he had appealed to Caesar, he must be sent to Rome.

#chronological-bible-study

Sep. 24. Paul Meets Governor Festus; Appeals to Caesar

Acts 25:1-12

Three days after arriving in Caesarea, Festus traveled to Jerusalem. While there, the Jewish leaders informed him that they wanted Paul brought to Jerusalem for trial. They had formed another plot to kill him in an ambush along the way.

Festus denied their request and stated that those in authority should accompany him to Caesarea and present their case to him there. After more than ten days he returned to Caesarea and ordered Paul to be brought into the judgment seat.

The Jews made many grievous charges against Paul that they could not prove. He made the same defense as he had made before Felix stating, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”

In a good-will gesture toward the Jews, Festus asked Paul if he would be willing to go up to Jerusalem to be judged. Since he had not received justice in Caesarea, there was no hope of justice in Jerusalem either. Paul knew his rights as a Roman citizen and appealed to Caesar. This request was approved.

#chronological-bible-study

Bible Studies for Sep. 22 & 23

Sep. 22. Jewish Plot Against Paul Acts 23:12-35

While Paul was being held in protective custody by the Romans, a group of more than forty Jews bound themselves together by an oath that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed him. They went to the chief priests and elders and suggested that they send for Paul to be brought before them under the pretense of further questioning. Their plan was to ambush the soldiers and kill him as they were bringing him to the council.

Paul’s Roman citizenship allowed him more privileges than just a Jew would have received. His nephew had heard of the scheme and had reported it to him in the barracks. A centurion was then called to escort the young man to the commander, “for he has something to tell him.”

Upon hearing the scheme of the Jews, the commander gave orders to two centurions. They were to prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to take Paul safely during the third hour of the night to Caesarea. There he would stand before Felix, the governor.

The commander, Claudius Lysias wrote the following letter to Felix: “This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him.”

Paul and the letter were presented to Felix the next day. When he had read the letter, the governor asked him where he was from. After learning that he was from Cilicia, he ordered him to be kept in Herod’s headquarters until his accusers had come.

Sep. 23. Paul Appears Before Governor Felix Acts 24:1-27

Five days after Paul had been brought to Caesarea, he appeared before Felix as Ananias, the elders and Tertullus, an orator (lawyer) made their case against him.

Tertullus began his testimony against Paul by being highly complementary of Felix to gain immediate favor in the governor’s eyes. He then listed three things of which Paul was accused. First, he had caused dissention among all of the Jews in the world. Second, he was the ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Third, he had tried to profane the temple.

The prosecution further stated that the commander Lysias had removed Paul by great violence from the Jews and ordered them to appear before Felix. Tertullus further suggested that if he questioned Lysias about the matter, he would get the same information.

When Paul was given permission to speak, he reasoned that in the short time that he had been in Jerusalem, he could not have caused the uproar that Tertullus had described. He did state, however “that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.”

As for profaning the temple, Paul stated that after many years he had brought alms and offerings to his nation. This was the contribution that he had collected from the Gentiles in Macedonia and Achaia. He said that the Jews from Asia who had seen him in the temple should have come to state their charges against him. Their only possibility of a case was his statement concerning the resurrection of the dead, of which the majority of the Jews believed.

Felix was convinced that Paul’s problem was with the Jews and that he was innocent of any crime against Rome. If he had been truly concerned for justice, he would have released Paul for lack of evidence. Since he was a corrupt politician and wanted to please the Jews, he continued to hold Paul until he could question the commander, Lysias. Even though he was at liberty to visit his friends, Paul was chained to a soldier to prevent his escape.

After a period of time, Felix along with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess called for Paul to explain things concerning the faith in Christ. Felix was familiar with Christianity and Drusilla was closely related to the kings who had persecuted Christians.

Paul explained the evils of the sins that Felix and Drusilla had committed and the consequences that they faced in the judgment if they did not turn from their wickedness. Even a tyrant can be touched by the gospel for Felix was terrified by Paul’s teaching, but Satan prodded Felix to say, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” As far as we know, he never again had a “convenient time.” Today is the day of salvation!

Felix, hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe for his freedom called him many times, but the bribe did not come. After two years, Nero removed him as governor and named Porcius Festus as his successor. Even then, in order to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison.

#chronological-bible-study