Acts 22: Common Ground without Compromise

This entry is part 99 of 101 in the series 365 Key Chapters of the Bible

Part of the beauty of the gospel is that Jesus Christ extends salvation to all people.

It was from misunderstanding this truth that the Jews incited a mob against Paul in Acts 21; they thought he was trying to bring an unclean Gentile into the holy temple. Not only that, but they believed him to be a false messiah who taught against the law of Moses.

Paul, however, respected the Jews’ laws and customs. He continued to obey their traditions after his conversion to Christianity in order to convince them that the gospel had come to all nations through the blood of Jesus (see Ephesians 2:11–22). He wanted them to avoid their extreme nationalism and recognize the grace of God to all people.

But the Jews did not want to listen.

Common Ground

Acts 22 records Paul’s response to the mob. He quieted them by finding common ground: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today” (Acts 22:3 NASB).

He united himself to the Jews through his background, but he did not shy away from his testimony, speaking of his extraordinary conversion to show the transforming power of Jesus.

Unfortunately, the Jews did not listen to Paul; they did not want to believe that Jesus was the Messiah because He did not fit their expectations. Ironically, through their rejection the gospel spread to more people, and Paul’s ministry was able to extend even to the Romans as he went there to be put on trial.

We would do well to learn from Paul’s approach to the Jews. He found common ground without compromising his convictions, enabling him to reach numerous people with the gospel. Some people will still reject the truth of the gospel, but speaking calmly out of common ground is a good witness for those watching the interactions.

Watch part 99 of the 365 Key Chapters of the Bible series, based on Ken’s Handbook to Scripture

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