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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Acts Chapter 21 

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Luke
Date Penned: (63-70 AD)
Overview: Paul's Ministry (c 13-28)
Theme: Paul on Trial (c 21-28)
Message: Paul Ministers Powerfully in Ephesus (v 1-40)

Acts 21 Commentary

(21:1-14) Paul's Journey to Jerusalem - Upon making his way to Tyre, Paul was urged by the believers not to go to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the apostle pressed on. At Caesarea further prophecies were given, warning Paul of certain imprisonment if he journeyed to Jerusalem. Unmoved, Paul adamantly determined to complete his mission. God’s sovereignty was at work. This becomes more apparent upon viewing how this Jerusalem visit ultimately paved the way for Paul’s trip to Rome!

(21:15-25) Paul Arrives at Jerusalem - At long last, Paul reached his destination—Jerusalem. He was warmly welcomed by the believers there. Aware, however, of the strong Jewish animosity toward Paul, James and the elders encouraged the apostle to participate in a public Jewish ceremony of purification at the Temple. Such an act, they felt, would quell the false rumors circulating about Paul—that he was actively undermining the Mosaic law.

(21:26-36) Paul is Arrested - Paul’s attempt to placate his enemies was an utter failure. A group of Jews from Asia spotted him in the Temple and incited a crowd to seize him. Dead set in their determination to reject the message of salvation in Christ, these opponents of Paul refused to look objectively at the facts. Instead, they whipped the mob into a frenzy by making a series of false and highly inflammatory accusations against the apostle. Only the quick action of a detachment of Roman soldiers saved Paul from being beaten to death.

(21:37-40) Paul’s defense before the Jewish mob in the Temple courts is a textbook example of how to communicate to a hostile audience. He disarmed the Roman commander by speaking to him in Greek. Then he established common ground with the Jews gathered below him by speaking to them in their own language. Presenting his credentials as a devout Jew trained under the highly respected rabbi Gamaliel, Paul then described his unlikely encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus Road. The crowd listened attentively until Paul mentioned “Gentiles.” At that word, the mob erupted in anger. Although Paul knew his statement would cause controversy, he refused to dilute the truth.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Jesus is Your Reputation

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Acts Chapter 21. In our text today we see Paul continues to Jerusalem to be arrested in the temple after Jewish leaders discredited him with slanderous words. In making application we see that when we serve the Lord we may have others that would speak against us bringing false accusations to hinder our Ministry. In response we should continue in our service to the Lord and allow Jesus to be our reputation. He is our shield, He will defend us, others will see the truth, and the Lord will be glorified. How about you? Do you have others discrediting you? Let us learn from our text today and the example of Paul to see that others may speak out against us, and in response we need not defend ourselves, but rather, pray of our enemies and allow Jesus to be our reputation while we continue to serve our Lord.  


Acts 21

Acts 21

 1And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara:

 2And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth.

 3Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.

 4And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

 5And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.

 6And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

 7And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.

 8And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

 9And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

 10And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

 11And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

 12And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

 13Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

 14And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

 15And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.

 16There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

 17And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

 18And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

 19And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.

 20And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

 21And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

 22What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.

 23Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;

 24Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

 25As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

 26Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

 27And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

 28Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

 29(For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)

 30And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.

 31And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.

 32Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.

 33Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.

 34And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle.

 35And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.

 36For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.

 37And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?

 38Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?

 39But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.

 40And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,