Acts 21

From Miletus to Tyre

Acts 21:1-6 (May AD 57)

(1) After we had pulled ourselves away from the Ephesus elders, we set sail from Miletus about 50 (80 km) miles south straight to the island of Cos. (2) The next day we sailed from Cos about 60 miles (97 km) to the island of Rhodes and from there about 61 miles (99 km) to the Mediterranean port city of Patara (in modern Gelemis, Turkey).

In Patara, we found a ship sailing to Phoenicia (about 400 miles/644 km), so we went aboard and set sail. (3) After seeing the island of Cyprus, we passed to the south of it and sailed on to Syria. We landed at the city of Tyre of Phoenicia (in modern Lebanon), where our ship unloaded its cargo.

(4) We found disciples in Tyre and stayed with them seven days. Through the Holy Spirit they urged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. (5) When it was time to leave, we continued on our journey. All the disciples—including their wives and children—walked us out of the city to the beach where we knelt on the ground and prayed together. (6) After saying goodbye, we went on board the ship, and they returned home.

From Tyre to Jerusalem

Acts 21:7-17

(7) We sailed from Tyre about 30 miles (48 km) to Ptolemais (in modern Haifa, Israel), where we greeted the believers and stayed with them for a day. (8) Leaving the next day, we sailed about 30 miles (48 km) to the Mediterranean port city of Caesarea and stayed at the home of the evangelist Philip, one of the Seven (see Acts 6:1-7). (9) He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

(10) After we had stayed with Philip for several days, a prophet named Agabus arrived from Judea. (11) He came over to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it, and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Romans.’ ” (12) When we heard this, we all begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. (13) Then Paul said, “Why are you crying and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be imprisoned, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

(14) When Paul refused to change his mind, we finally gave up and said, “Let the Lord’s will be done.” (15) After this, we started walking the 65 miles (105 km) up to Jerusalem. (16) Some of the disciples from Caesarea joined us and took us to the home of Mnason, an early disciple from the island of Cyprus. And we stayed with him. (17) When we arrived in Jerusalem, the believers received us warmly (prior to Pentecost in May 29, AD 57; see Acts 20:16).

Paul Arrested in Jerusalem

Acts 21:18-40 (June AD 57)

(18) The next day Paul went in with us to visit James (Jesus’ younger brother, and primary leader of the Jerusalem church) and all the elders. (19) After Paul had greeted them, he presented a detailed report on what God had done among the non-Jews through his ministry. (20) And when they heard Paul’s report, they praised God.

Then they said to Paul, “Brother, you see how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law of Moses. (21) They have been told that you teach Jews who live among the nations to reject Moses, not to circumcise their children or live according to Jewish customs. (22) Tell us, what should we do? For they will certainly hear that you have come to Jerusalem.

(23) “So Paul, do what we tell you! There are four Jewish men with us who have taken a vow (probably a Nazarite vow; see Numbers 6:2-21). (24) Take them and join in their purification rituals and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in all these reports about you, but that you live in obedience to the law of Moses. (25) But as for the non-Jewish believers, we have written a letter telling them our decision that they should abstain from eating food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

(26) The next day Paul took the four men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when his purification days would end and the offering would be made for each of them. (27) When the seven days of purification were almost complete, some Jews from the Roman province of Asia (probably from Ephesus) saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the crowd and grabbed him, (28) shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This man Paul teaches everyone in the world against the Jewish people, our law, and the temple. And he has even brought non-Jews into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” (29) For they had earlier seen Trophimus from Ephesus (see Acts 20:4), with Paul in Jerusalem and assumed that he had brought him into the temple.

(30) Then the whole city of Jerusalem was stirred up, and the people came running from all directions. Grabbing Paul, they dragged him out of the temple and immediately shut the gates. (31) While they were trying to kill Paul, news reached the commanding military officer of the Roman troops that Jerusalem was in total chaos. (32) He immediately took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd (from the Fortress of Antonia). When the rioters saw the military commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

(33) The military commander went and arrested Paul and gave orders to bind his wrists with two chains. Then he asked Paul who he was and what he had done. (34) Some in the crowd shouted one thing and others shouted something else. Since the commander did not know what was the truth, because the people were yelling wildly, he ordered that Paul be taken into the military barracks. (35) When Paul reached the steps, the mob violence was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. (36) The crowd that followed them kept shouting, “Kill him!“

(37) As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the military barracks, he asked the Roman commander, “Can I say something to you?” The commander said, “Do you speak Greek? (38) Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led 4,000 terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?” (39) Paul said, “No, I am a Jew, from the city of Tarsus in the region of Cilicia. I am a Roman citizen of that very important city. Please let me speak to the people.”

(40) After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When everyone had quieted down, he spoke to them in the Aramaic language (possibly in Hebrew).

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Acts 21

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Acts 21 August 8, 2015


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