1. What is something you remember getting in trouble for as a kid that you look back on now and laugh?
2. Read Acts 22:30-Acts 23:11
3. Did the Roman tribune seem to know what was going on?
a. TRIBUNE: Commander of an ancient Roman cohort, a military unit ideally comprising 1,000 men. Some English versions use this term for the Greek word chiliarchos (as does our text in this study – PJ), which is also rendered “commander.” The Greek word for “cohort” is speires, which is sometimes rendered “regiment” (cp. Acts 21:31–33; 22:24–29; 23:10–22; 24:22; 25:23). According to Josephus, the Romans stationed a cohort in Jerusalem at the Antonia Fortress to suppress disturbances in the city (Clendenen, E. R. (2003). Tribune. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (pp. 1624–1625). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.)
b. ANTONIA TOWER: Also note that the Roman soldiers were stationed in the corner of the temple, in the Antonia Tower (or Fortress). This piece of the temple was built by Herod the Great in the first century B.C. and named for his friend, Marc Antony. Yes, that Marc Antony of Cleopatra fame. Paul was most likely held in the Antonia Tower. The High priest’s vestments were held in the Antonia Tower between festivals.
c. On Acts 23:2, with regard to Paul not knowing who the High Priest was, remember that Paul had been gone for many years. There appears to have been seven different High Priests since Paul began persecuting the followers of Christ under Joseph Caiaphas, one of whom, Jonathan, served from AD36-37, was deposed, and then reinstated in AD44, if that tells you anything about the political nature of this “religious” position.
4. How did Paul use knowledge and wisdom to divide this group that was united against him?
5. Read Acts 23:12-22
6. Was the plan to kill Paul fair, just or lawful for the Jewish leaders?
7. How did Paul display wisdom in the way he handled the news he heard from his nephew?
8. Read Acts 23:23-35
a. Note: 40+ men sworn to kill Paul is a big number. The tribune takes it seriously and ensures that such overwhelming force (470!) surrounds Paul that only a fool would attack with 40 men.
9. Was it important that Paul was a Roman Citizen? Did Paul use that to his advantage?
10. Read Acts 24:1-21
11. How would you characterize the tone of Paul’s speech? (boisterous, timid, in-your-face, polite, factual, etc?)
12. Read Acts 24:22-27
13. How long was Paul in prison up to this point?
a. Paul’s behavior during this time calls to mind Jesus’ direction to his disciples: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16. How did Paul fulfill each part of this instruction from Jesus?
14. What kinds of situations in life tempt people to not be innocent as doves?
15. Is there ever a conflict between what is apparently the wisest response vs. what is a response of faith to a given situation?
16. What else strikes you?
17. Close in prayer.