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The Scriptorium

Law-abiding Still

That Paul - always keeping the Law.

Acts (20)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

The video for lesson 20 is the same as for lesson 17. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).

Read and meditate on Acts 22.30-23.5.
Paul finds himself in the strange situation of being under two sorts of law at once – Roman and Jewish. But he is able to cope with the situation, even if his accusers are not.

For reflection
1.  Paul may have been guilty of speaking before being spoken to here, and that may explain the high priest’s action of having him slapped. But that was out of bounds; he could have just motioned for him to wait. What do you suppose the high priest intended to accomplish by this action? Do you ever experience anything “pre-emptive” like this from people who are hostile to the Gospel?

2.  Paul explodes. He can bear the inconsistency and hypocrisy of this situation no longer. The priest intends to judge him by the law of the Jews, yet contrary to that law he has Paul struck? Oh no, I don’t think so. Here’s a basic apologetic tactic: Confront people with their inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and lapses of logic. Can you think of ways this might apply to sharing the Gospel with someone?

3.  But then Paul himself is reminded that his outburst put him in danger of reviling a ruler of the people, so he backed down, citing the Law of God (Ex. 22.28) to show that, contrary to what has been reported of him, he is a man who abides by the Law of God. Paul saw no conflict between Law and grace. In the life of faith these work together to accomplish the holy and righteous and good purposes of God. The Apostle of grace was a man under the Law – not unto salvation, but for the sake of it. What’s the difference?

4.  It’s interesting to note how often Paul mentions the conscience, and specifically, his conscience in Acts and elsewhere. The conscience is the referee of the soul, arbitrating between thoughts and affections according to the Law and Word of God. What Paul is saying is that his conscience is telling him that he is in the right, having continuously submitted his life to the scrutiny of God and His Word. We should all strive to be in such a place. What does it mean to live in good conscience before God and people?

5.  Do you take time, in your walk with the Lord, for the Spirit to search and adjust your conscience? What can we do to help make sure we are as confident about our conscience as Paul was about his?

Paul’s trial got off on the wrong foot, and he had to dance a bit to keep from getting stomped. But we’ll see he is adept at dealing with troubling situations. The Spirit worked within him in just the right ways. How might you expect the Spirit to help you in a situation where you have the opportunity to speak a word about the Lord?

Closing Prayer
For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.

Psalm 5.4-8

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book,
The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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