Paul Protects the Reputation of the Gospel
- Acts 16:35 (KJV)
- Acts 16:36 (KJV)
- Acts 16:37 (KJV)
- Acts 16:38 (KJV)
- Acts 16:39 (KJV)
- Acts 16:40 (KJV)
Look at the character of Paul. He did not want the Gospel to be put in disrepute. Paul wanted the magistrates to come and openly confess that they were wrong and that he had done nothing for which to be imprisoned. Actually, Paul had the authority to demand this. Paul was a Roman citizen whom they had beaten and imprisoned without a trial. Of course, the magistrates were unaware that Paul was a Roman citizen. Otherwise, they would never have dared to touch him. A Roman citizen had special rights, including a fair trial. Anyone who beat or punished him
without a trial could be in jeopardy of death. Roman citizens could also appeal to the Emperor within certain limits. The magistrates were very afraid of Paul now and were very apologetic. He was requesting a public apology, and he could have pressed charges. Paul used his Roman citizenship on a number of occasions for protection, even as we might have to use our passports. In Romans 13:1-7, Paul taught the Church to respect government and said that all authorities are “ordained of God.” He calls those who enforce the law the “ministers of God.” Actually, the heathenistic Roman government often protected him from the vicious Bible-quoting Jews.
Privileges of a Roman Citizen:
• It made you equal with the inhabitants of Rome.
• It exempted you from shameful punishments such as scourging or crucifixion (16:37-38, 22:25).
• It entitled you to a fair hearing. People could be put to death for punishing you without a fair
trial. (25:16). Thus, we see the fear of those who disobeyed unwittingly (22:29, 16:37-39).
• It gave a person the right to appeal to Caesar within limits (25:11).
Paul knew his rights as a Roman citizen and he used them.
How Did People Obtain Roman Citizenship?
• Emperors granted citizenship to whole provinces or cities (i. e. Philippi, Antioch of Pisidia).
• It could be granted to individuals for services rendered to the state or to the imperial family.
• It could be purchased for a large sum of money (cf. 22:28) as did the chief captain (or tribune).
• A person received it by birth, being freeborn (i. e. born of a father who was a citizen).
Paul's father was probably a Roman citizen and Paul automatically assumed the same rights.
After leaving the prison, Paul and his company visited the newly founded church. They came to Lydia's house where other believers were gathered together. The apostles exhorted and comforted them and then departed for Thessalonica, passing first through Amphipolis and Apollonia.
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