Study Guide

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 21

Chapter 21

Paul In Caesarea

  • Paul gets on a ship and starts the journey toward Jerusalem. Bon voyage!
  • The group stops in a bunch of ports and are well-received by various Christians before arriving in Caesarea.
  • Upon arrival, Paul meets with Philip (who was one of the seven that was appointed by the apostles in Chapter 6).
  • At Philip's house, a local prophet named Agabus tells Paul that he will be imprisoned and turned over to the Gentiles.
  • All Paul's friends hear this and beg Paul not to go to Jerusalem.
  • No way, Paul tells them. He's ready to die if that's what God needs him to do to spread the word.
    Well, in that case, go ahead, they tell him.

Paul In Jerusalem

  • When Paul sets foot in Jerusalem, everyone is pretty psyched to see him.
  • The day after he arrives, Paul heads over to visit with James and the church elders.
  • He gives them a full account of all the awesome things he's done for the Gentiles in the name of Jesus. Everyone is thrilled.
  • Not so fast. They group tells Paul that they have lots of faithful Jewish-Christians right here in Jerusalem. Jewish-Christians who really like their Jewish roots.
  • Word has reached them that Paul's been telling his Jewish converts that they don't have to worry about the laws of Moses anymore. He says they shouldn't circumcise their children or obey Jewish customs. What the heck, Paul?
  • These folks are gonna find out that Paul's in town and, the elders warn him, once they do all heck is gonna break lose.
  • James and the elders give Paul some advice: he should go with four other men who are about to undergo a Jewish ritual to purify themselves. Not only should Paul join them, but he should pay their expenses.
  • Paul agrees. What other choice does he have?

Paul Makes People Angry

  • When the ritual is almost over (it takes seven days to complete), the non-Jewish-Christians in town see him in the temple and freak out.
  • They grab Paul and tell everyone that he's been teaching "everyone everywhere" that Jewish law stinks. They also (wrongly) assume that he has—horror of horrors—taken a Gentile into the temple. It's a pretty big no-no.
  • The Jewish naysayers are all attacking Paul when a group of soldiers comes along and stops them from beating him up. They also arrest Paul, but hey, it's better than a beating by an angry mob.
  • The soldiers are trying to figure out what Paul did, but the whole crowd is in chaos. The men lead Paul away while the mob is still trying to get at him.
  • Before putting him in prison, Paul asks the soldiers if he can address the people. They tell him to have at it and then (we're guessing) sit back to watch Paul get torn apart.

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