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Acts - Chapter 28

Bible Study Notes

Acts 28:1-6 The island they shipwrecked on was called Malta. It was rainy and cold. The natives showed kindness to the men, welcoming them and building them a fire to get warm. When Paul threw sticks onto the fire, a viper jumped out and bit him. The natives were superstitious and assumed that Paul was bad, even a murder, for he was getting his Justice from the gods who would not allow him to live. However, no harm came to Paul (God’s protection). The natives waited for Paul to swell up and die, and when it did not happen, they assumed that Paul himself was a god.

Acts 28:7-10 Publius was the chief man of the island. He showed the men great hospitality for the next three days. Paul visited Publius’ father who lay sick with fever and dysentery. With prayer and laying of his hands, Paul cured Publius’ father. When the news spread, the rest of the diseased people came to Paul to be cured. When it was time to sail away from the island, the natives honored them greatly by giving them many provisions for their journey.

Acts 28:11-16 After three months on the island, they boarded another ship from Alexandria and set sail. They landed and stayed at Syracuse for three days. They left and arrived at Rhegium. Two days later, they sailed and came to Puteoli where they met brothers in the faith, staying with them for seven days. At last, they came to Rome. Brothers in the faith came from all over to greet Paul when they heard he had arrived. Paul thanked God and was encouraged. Paul was allowed to stay by himself with one soldier assigned to guard him at all times.

Notes: The brothers at Puteoli are evidence that Christianity had not only reached Rome by this time (c. a.d. 60) but was widely dispersed in Italy.

Notes: Paul’s party was met by Roman Christians at two points along the way to Rome—the Forum (or “marketplace”) of Appius, some 40 miles from Rome, and 12 miles farther on at Three Taverns. Paul had written his epistle to the Roman church three years earlier, and, though he had not personally visited Rome, his greetings at the end of Romans show that he already had many acquaintances in the church there.

Acts 28:17-22 After three days, Paul called together the local leaders of the Jews and defended himself against the phony charges that were brought against him from the Jews in Jerusalem, explaining that he had no choice but to appeal to Caesar. Paul was surprised to find that the Jews in Rome had not even heard about Paul’s case. Instead, they were interested in hearing what Paul had to say about the Way.

Acts 28:23-29 When they appointed a day to hear Paul, a great number of Jews arrived at his lodging. Paul tried persuading the Jews from morning until evening testifying to the kingdom of God, trying to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Some believed, and some did not. At last, they departed after Paul said that the Holy Spirit was right in saying through Isaiah the prophet that the Jews were dull in seeing and understanding, and because of this, God could not heal them. Paul said for this reason the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, for they will listen.

Notes: The content of Paul’s message was the kingdom of God and Jesus The kingdom represents the fulfillment of God’s saving promises to his people, for the OT texts pointing to Jesus.

Acts 28:30-31 Paul lived in Rome for two years welcoming all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Notes: The book of Acts ends with Paul still under house arrest awaiting to go to trial before Caesar which eventually happens, but not recorded in the scriptures. Information as to what happened beyond that time comes from extrabiblical sources and from hints in the last few of Paul’s letters. First Clement 5.7 (written a.d. 95, perhaps the earliest known orthodox Christian writing after the NT) speaks of Paul preaching in “the limits of the west,” which probably indicates his fulfilling his desire to preach in Spain (see Rom. 15:24). That would point to his release from the first Roman imprisonment. The church historian Eusebius, writing in a.d. 325, cites the tradition that Paul was freed from confinement and carried on a further ministry until he was arrested and placed in a second Roman imprisonment, at which time he was martyred (Ecclesiastical History 2.22). In God’s sovereignty, Paul’s time in prison was not wasted, for it was during his Roman imprisonment that he wrote the letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. The time after Paul’s release from his first imprisonment (mid-60s) would be when he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus. He probably wrote his last letter, 2 Timothy, during his second imprisonment, as he awaited execution (cf. 2 Tim. 4:6–8).

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