Thursday, June 29, 2006

Setting the Stage (Acts 22)

For me, studying the scriptures inductively is priceless. So, I thought I would share a little on how I go about approaching a particular passage for study. This is a little trip through my mind of how I start studying scripture. My purpose for sharing this is to maybe encourage you in your examination of God’s Word. It can sometimes be a very time consuming task, but very much worth it! I’m very unskilled and by no means have I mastered God’s Word, but I am learning so much about it by just reading it, re-reading it, and taking notes of what I read.

Take Acts 22 for instance, it starts off with Paul rearing up to defend himself. My first question if I were to only have read wActs 22 ould be, “Why is he defending himself?” To get a full grasp on his setting, audience, and reason for defending himself you must read Acts 21. This chapter sets the stage for Paul’s speech in Acts 22. In Acts 21 Paul is working his way back to Jerusalem, but if you look further back in the book of Acts (chap. 19) you will see it is here where Paul decides to go to Jerusalem.

Acts 19:21 reads,
“Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem.”

So, from Acts 19 we learn: Paul has purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. Now, swinging back to Acts 21, where Paul finally arrives in Jerusalem, we learn about why he (Paul) is getting ready to defend himself.

In Acts 21 Paul visits the temple and is thought to have taken a Gentile (Trophimus) into it (21:26-29). Now, Luke makes it pretty clear Paul didn’t take a Gentile into the temple (v.29), but the crowd of Jews, who already have their minds made up about Paul (v.21, 28) and what they plan on doing to him seize him with hopes of killing him (v.31). After Paul is seized, the Romans break onto the scene and break up the beating (v.32). Then Paul appeals to the commander (v.37) telling him whom he is, where he is from, and he then asks if he can address the people (v.39). Now we finally have everything in place and we’re ready to look at Acts 22.

Hope this sheds some light on how I approach God’s Word. I also hope you are encouraged to really dig into God’s Word and learn for yourself what it means to discover His Truth!

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