15-6 Paul before Judges and Officials


In addition to its accounts of Paul’s missionary efforts, the book of Acts intriguingly chronicles Paul’s appearance before many officials and judges. Often he welcomed the opportunity to explain his actions and, more frequently than not, answer charges brought by angry local Jewish leaders whose congregants Paul had converted to Christianity. On occasion the presiding official was Roman, but usually these judges were city magistrates who would have shared a Greek background with their fellow townsmen, or they were local citizens from a town of Asia Minor with a hellenized population. The typical outcome of such hearings and inquests was dismissal of the charges or a tacit agreement that Paul move on in order to assure local order. Chart 15-6 presents detailed information about each judicial appearance of Paul as recounted in Acts. Paul’s repeated victories in court show that he was well trained in the law and reassured early Christians that their cause was just and defensible.


D. W. J. Gill and Conrad Gempf, The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting: Greco-Roman Setting (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994).
Brian Rapske, The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting: Paul in Roman Custody (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994).
John W.Mauck, Paul on Trial: The Book of Acts as a Defense of Christianity (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 85-86, featuring charts on legal charges against Paul, arguments and possible exhibits in defense of Paul, countercharges against accusers of Christians, speeches and trials in Acts.