The Charges Against Paul

by Doy Moyer

Paul was charged with four things in Acts 24:4-7

  1. Being a pest (a plague).
  2. Stirring up riots.
  3. Being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
  4. Trying to profane the temple.

Paul’s answer to 1 and 2 was that he had not stirred up any crowds in the synagogue or temple and they had no proof of the charges against him. His answer to 4 was that he was in the temple doing what the temple was made for. He did nothing to profane it.

Yet he basically pleads guilty to the third charge, with correction: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:14-15).

Of course, their charges were based on faulty assumptions and bad faith, but Paul still agrees that there was truth involved. He was not leading a sect but was rather teaching the way in truth according to what the Law and Prophets had said. This meant that he had hope in God because of the resurrection.

Christians will be falsely charged at times (cf. I Peter 2:12). Yet we can latch on to the truth, correct misunderstandings, and use various occasions as teaching opportunities.

If that means people will think we are pests, then be the best pest you can be.

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