Friday, December 4, 2015

Acts of the Apostles, Day 5 Readings

Paul's Defense to the King & Paul Arrives in Rome    

Today's first reading tells about Paul's argument before Agrippa, King of Judea.  Agrippa was Jewish, and Paul felt comfortable using religious language to justify his actions to the king.  Partially, Paul proves that the charges against him have no political importance except in the eyes of the Jewish high council in Jerusalem.

Paul's argument goes beyond this, though, as he explains to the king how he became a Christian and why he was so passionate in his teaching.  The appeal of Paul's testimony struck a nerve with the king, who seems to personally believe in Jesus because of Paul, asking him, "Are you so quickly persuading me to be a Christian."  This shows that the Gospel is not only spreading around the world, but it is also spreading into the halls of power and influence.

Read Acts 26:1-32  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading is the conclusion of Acts.  Paul, a Roman citizen, demanded that any trial be conducted by the imperial court in Rome.  This legal strategy, however, allows Paul to actively proclaim the gospel in that capital city -- the center of the known world at that time.  Having survived a shipwreck off the island of Malta, Paul arrives in Rome, where he is welcomed by both the Jewish and fledgling Christian community, and where he preaches for two years -- despite technically being under arrest.  (According to tradition, after this period, Paul would be convicted and executed, also becoming a Christian martyr.)

Read Acts 28:1-31  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Acts 23-28 today.