Author: Ron Graham

Book of Acts

Acts 23:1-35
—Verse by verse

This page is a verse by verse study of Acts 23:1-35. These verses describe how the Sanhedrin persecuted Paul in Jerusalem, and the Roman commander Lysias rescued him.

The Sanhedrin persecutes Paul in Jerusalem

1 Paul Starts Badly in Trial Before Sanhedrin

Verses 1-5

¶ "Paul looked in earnest at the Sanhedrin and said, “Brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” The high priest Ananias interrupted and commanded those who stood near Paul to smite him on the mouth. Paul said to Ananias, “God shall smite you, you whitewashed wall. Do you sit to judge me by the law, and yet command that I be struck contrary to the law?” Those who stood by said, “Do you revile God's high priest?” Paul replied, “Brethren, I was not aware that he was the high priest, otherwise I would have done as the scripture says, 'You shalt not speak evil of the ruler of your people.' ”" (Acts 23:1-5).

2 Paul Sets Sanhedrin Factions Against Each Other

Verses 6-9

¶ "When Paul observed that some in the council were Sadducees, and the others were Pharisees, he cried out, “Brethren! I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. The real point on which I am being examined is the the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” When Paul said this, a great argument arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The assembly was divided, because the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess belief in these. There was a lot of shouting. The scribes who belong to the Pharisee’s party stood up and argued agressively. They said, “We find no fault in this man; if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”" (Acts 23:6-9).

3 Roman Commander Rescues Paul from Sanhedrin

Verses 10-11

¶ "As the dissension worsened, the commander became very concerned that Paul might be torn in pieces by the mob. He commanded the soldiers to go down and to remove Paul from them by force, and to bring him into the barracks. When night came, the Lord stood by Paul, and said, “Be of good courage, Paul, for just as you have solemnly testified about me in Jerusalem, so must you testify also at Rome.”" (Acts 23:10-11).

3 Jewish Conspirators Fail in Plot to Kill Paul

Verses 12-15

¶ "Next day, some of the Jews conspired together. They bound themselves under an oath vowing that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. More than forty persons were involved in this plot. They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. Now you and the Sanhedrin ask the commander to bring him down to you tomorrow. Make it sound as though you want to make a more complete examination of his case. We are ready to ambush him on his way, and kill him.” " (Acts 23:12-15).

Verses 16-21

¶ "The son of Paul’s sister heard of their lying in wait. He went and entered into the barracks and told Paul. Then Paul called over one of the centurions, and said, “Take this young man to your commander, for the lad has some information for him.” So the centurion led the lad to the commander, and said, “Paul the prisoner called me over, and requested me to bring this young man to you. He has information to tell you.” So the commander took the lad by the hand, and led him aside. The commander quietly asked the lad, “What information have you to tell me?” The lad said, “The Jews have conspired to request you to bring down Paul tomorrow into the Sanhedrin. They will pretend that they want examine him more thoroughly. Don't grant their request, because more than forty men lie in wait to ambush Paul. They have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him. They are ready right now, just waiting for an undertaking from you.”" (Acts 23:16-21).

Verses 22-25

¶ "So the commander then let the young man depart, but charged him, “You must not tell anyone that you have told me these things.” The commander then called two centurions. He said to them, “Make ready two hundred soldiers to proceed to Caesarea, with 70 mounted on horses, also 200 men armed with spears. Go at the third hour of the night. Also provide them with mounts to set Paul on. Escort him safely to Felix the governor.” And he wrote a letter after this manner: " (Acts 23:22-25).

Verses 26-30

¶ "Claudius Lysias to the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings. This man was arrested by the Jews, and they would have killed him, had I not come with an army and rescued him. I had learned that he was a Roman. To ascertain their charge against him, I brought him before their Sanhedrin. I found him to be accused merely of questions concerning their law, and nothing worthy of death or of bonds. And when I was told how the Jews laid wait for the man to ambush and kill him, I sent him immediately to you, and ordered his accusers to state before you what they had against him. Farewell. " (Acts 23:26-30).

4 Paul Escorted Safely to Caesarea

Verses 31-35

¶ "The soldiers, following their orders, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris. Next day, they left the horsemen to go ahead with him, and they returned to the barracks. When the horsemen came to Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor, and presented Paul before him. The governor read the letter, and then inquired what province Paul was from. When the governor understood that Paul was from Cilicia, he said, “I will grant you a hearing as soon as your accusers arrive. The governor commanded that Paul be kept meanwhile at Herod’s residence" (Acts 23:31-35).