Acts 21

This is part of a Daily Devotional Orwell Bible Church prepares each week. You can get a copy from our Downloads and Literature page.

Luke records how Paul traveled to Jerusalem, spending time with disciples along the route of his journey. On two occasions (21:4, 11) Paul was informed “through the Spirit” that in Jerusalem he would be beaten, bound, and taken into custody of the Gentiles. This was not news to Paul; he knew from his conversion that he would suffer (9:16), experienced such in his journeys (chapters 13-19), and he knew from the Spirit what would happen to him in Jerusalem (20:22-23). Paul also said by the Spirit that he needed to go to Jerusalem and from there to Rome (19:21). In this chapter, then, we read how Christians interpreted the same truth and urged avoiding Jerusalem, whereas Paul knew that such truth was given to prepare him for what would happen.

The prophetesses (vv. 8-9) were not women who publicly prophesied or taught in church gatherings (1 Cor 14:34-35; 1 Tim 2:11-14).

Upon arriving in Jerusalem Paul gave a report to the Jerusalem church leaders who rejoiced in what the Lord had done (17-20a). Paul’s participating in the Jewish purification ceremony (vv. 24, 26) was not contrary to what the Jerusalem church decided back in chapter 15! Rather, they did not want to be a stumbling block to others (Rom 14:13) nor be an offense to Jews (1 Cor 10:32-33). Paul did not participate in unbiblical, idolatrous practices! Unfortunately, the slander of certain Jews caused an uproar (vv. 27-36).  

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Christians show love to one another through hospitality. In the first century they didn’t have safe, comfortable hotels like we do now! It can be easy then to not think about being hospitable, but we must!
  2. What Christians think should be done is not necessarily what the Lord wills to be done. Be careful with your assessments and applications, and always submit such to “the will of the Lord be done,” (v. 16).
  3. Christians obey Christ. Paul knew God’s will and sought to do it. Even when he knew the specifics of what was going to happen, he obeyed! You never have to disobey one of God’s commands in order to keep another; never.