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Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 51: Paul on Trial

This entry is part 51 of 52 in the series

"Bible Narratives Devotional"

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Week 51: Paul on Trial

Weekly memory verse:

Revelation 20:12 – “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.”

Weekly hymn:

“Joy to the World” (free download)

Weekly catechism:

What will happen to believers after Christ comes again?
Believers will live with Christ forever in a new heaven and a new earth.

Day 251: Paul Heads Toward Jerusalem

Reading: Acts 20–21:16


Acts 20, Verse 3. Three months. Paul likely spent most of this time in Corinth.

Verse 5. Us. The first person plural indicates that Luke joined Paul in Philippi.

Verse 7. First day of the week. This is evidence that Christians had begun to meet regularly on Sunday, rather than Saturday, since this was the day on which Christ rose from the dead. They had to meet early in the morning and late at night since it was a work day.

Verse 28. Flock . . . overseers. This passage is one of the clearest evidences that the one church office of elder (v. 17) were also called “pastors” and “overseers.”


Compelled by the Holy Spirit, Paul heads toward Jerusalem to deliver the offering collected from churches, which would be his last visit there. On the way, Paul is able to visit many of the churches he helped to plant, further encouraging them and instructing them in the faith.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Why did Paul want to go to Jerusalem?
  2. Why did the Jews hate Paul?
  3. On what basis did Paul tell the Ephesian elders that he was innocent of the blood of all (v. 26)?

Day 252: Paul Is Arrested in Jerusalem

Reading: Acts 21:17–22:29


Acts 21, Verse 18. James. This is the half-brother of Jesus and head of the Jerusalem church.

Verse 38. Egyptian. Several years earlier, an Egyptian false prophet had led a revolt against Rome. His army was defeated, but he escaped. Lysias assumed Paul was this same man who had returned to finish his revolt.

Chapter 22, Verse 25. Roman citizen. Roman citizens were exempt from torture.


During Paul’s final visit to Jerusalem, he was able to report to James and the other Jerusalem elders how God had worked to bring Gentiles to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This same good news for Christians, however, made the Jews angry, leading to Paul’s eventual arrest. This arrest gave Paul key opportunities to clearly proclaim what God had done.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Why was it important for Paul to report to James and the Jerusalem elders about what God did among the Gentiles?
  2. Why did the Jews arrest Paul?
  3. How did Paul respond to the charges against him?

Day 253: Paul Before the Jewish Council

Reading: Acts 22:30–23:35, Proverbs 31


Acts 23, Verse 2. Ananias. This is not the Annas of the gospel accounts; rather, Ananias was one of the most corrupt high priests who sided with Rome over the Jews and was later assassinated during the revolt of ad 66.

Verse 26. Felix. The governor of Judea from ad 52 to 59.

Verse 31. Antipatris. A Roman military post about 30 miles from Jerusalem.


Paul spoke strongly against the false claims and corrupt leadership of the Jewish Council, yet he remained respectful to the authorities God had put in place. He emphasized that what he had been doing for Christ was a fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures, not contrary to them.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Why did Paul back down his rhetoric once he realized he was speaking to the high priest?
  2. In what ways did Paul insist that his missionary activity was a fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures?
  3. How would the Lord’s visit to Paul have encouraged him?

Day 254: Paul on Trial

Reading: Acts 24:1–26:32


Acts 24, Verse 24. Drusilla. Felix’s third wife was the youngest daughter of Agrippa I, not yet 20 years old at this time.

Chapter 25, Verse 13. King Agrippa. Herod Agrippa II was son of the Herod who put Peter in prison and killed James, brother of John (12:1). His great uncle was the Herod of the gospels, and his great grandfather was kind when Jesus was born.


Paul continued to stand firm in his conviction that his conscience was clean, even in his trial before the political leaders of Judah. Paul was not surprised, however, that the Jews rejected him and his message since God had told him it would be so.

Questions for Reflection

  1. What defense did Paul give in response to the charges against him?
  2. Why did Paul preach about the resurrection of Christ, even though he knew his audience would not believe?
  3. Did any of the political leaders find Paul guilty of the charges against him?

Day 255: Paul Sails for Rome

Reading: Acts 27:1–44, Ps 146


Acts 27, Verse 9. The Fast. This was the Day of Atonement.

Verse 17. Syrtis. Sandbars just off the coast of Africa, where many ships were run aground.

Verse 27. Adriatic Sea. This is not the present Adriatic but rather the central Mediterranean Sea.


God further confirmed Paul and his mission, even during his journey toward Rome. God providentially protected Paul, and Paul’s personal character and leadership engendered respect even among the unbelieving people.

Questions for Reflection

  1. In what ways did God protect Paul on his journey to Rome?
  2. How did Paul take leadership, even as a prisoner among unbelievers?
  3. How did the events of this journey further confirm Paul and his mission?


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About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.