Acts 23-26

These chapters cover the trials and imprisonments of Paul before setting sail for Rome to appeal to Caesar. Rather than focusing on the trial scenes, this episode of the podcast for the most part focuses on several statements of theological importance nestled amid the narrative, such as the what the Sadducees denied about angels, whether it is proper to say that Christianity was viewed as a heresy in the first century (i.e., whether our typical understanding of that word applies correctly), and whether Jesus was a secretly a member of a religious sect that the New Testament writers don’t want you to know about.

paper referenced in the show:
Nazōraios – TDNT

Transcript 58 Acts 23-26

Acts 22

In an earlier episode (#50), we asked whether Paul’s stoning at Lystra in Acts 14 was the backdrop for the heavenly visionary experience he described in 2 Corinthians 12. Did Paul in fact have an NDE? We concluded that the chronology Paul alluded to in 2 Corinthians 12 didn’t align with the Lystra event and therefore dismissed that possibility. In this episode, we consider a more fruitful trajectory. In Acts 22:17 Paul alludes to a trance vision he had shortly after his conversion experience – an experience distinct from his encounter on the road to Damascus but in which he nevertheless saw Jesus again. This correlation works chronologically. If we presume a relationship between Acts 22:17-21 and 2 Corinthians 12, but passages take on new significance – especially when we consider similar ascension experiences into the heavenly places found in Jewish literature prior to, and contemporary with, the apostolic era.

Here are the papers referenced in the show:
HEAVEN, Heavenlies, Paradise-DPL
Heavenly Ascent in Jewish and Pagan Traditions-DNTB
Mysticism-DNTB

Transcript 57 Acts 22

Acts 20-21 describes Paul’s last missionary trip before returning to Jerusalem where he was saved by Roman soldiers from rioting Jews who spotted him in the temple. His deliverance would ultimately result in an appeal to Caesar and subsequent journey to Rome. These two chapters include the story of Eutychus, an incident of surprising importance for (again) establishing Paul’s apostolic and prophetic credentials. Lastly, Acts 20-21 provide insight into Paul’s understanding of how his life was a living fulfillment of the reclaiming of the nations set aside by Yahweh at Babel (Deut. 32:8-9).

Transcript 56 Acts 20-21