Acts 21Expanded Bible (EXB)
Paul Goes to Jerusalem
21 After we ·all said good-bye to [tore ourselves away from] them, we sailed ·straight [a straight course] to the island of Cos [C between Ephesus and Rhodes]. The next day we reached Rhodes [C an island off the southwest Coast of Asia Minor], and from there we went to Patara [C a seaport on the southwest coast of Asia Minor]. 2 There we found a ship ·going [crossing over] to Phoenicia [C a coastal region north of Israel; present-day Lebanon], so we went aboard and sailed away. 3 We sailed near the island of Cyprus [11:19], ·seeing [L leaving] it to the ·north [L left], but we sailed on to Syria. We ·stopped [landed] at Tyre [12:20] because the ship needed to unload its cargo there. 4 We ·found [sought out] some ·followers [disciples] in Tyre and stayed with them for seven days. Through the ·Holy Spirit [L Spirit] they ·warned [or kept warning] Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 5 When ·we finished our visit [L our days there were finished], we left and continued our trip. All ·the followers [L of them], even the women and children, came outside the city with us. After we all knelt on the beach and prayed, 6 we said good-bye and got on the ship, and ·the followers [L they] went back home.
7 We ·continued [or finished] our trip from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais [C a town on the Mediterranean coast about half way between Tyre and Caesarea, also known as Acco], where we greeted the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] and stayed with them for a day. 8 The next day we left Ptolemais and went to the city of Caesarea [10:1]. There we went into the home of Philip the ·preacher [or evangelist], one of the ·seven helpers [L Seven; 6:1–6; 8:4–40], and stayed with him. 9 He had four ·unmarried [L virgin] daughters who ·had the gift of prophesying [L prophesied]. 10 After we had been there for ·some time [L many days], a prophet named Agabus [11:27–28] ·arrived [L came down] from Judea. 11 He came to us and ·borrowed [took] Paul’s belt and used it to tie his own hands and feet. He said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘This is how the Jews in Jerusalem will ·tie up [or bind (in chains)] the man ·who wears this belt [L whose belt this is]. Then they will ·give [deliver; hand over; betray] him to the Gentiles.’”
12 When we all heard this, we and the people there ·begged [encouraged; urged; pleaded with] Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 13 But he ·said [L responded], “Why are you crying and ·making me so sad [L breaking my heart]? I am not only ready to be ·tied up [or bound; imprisoned] in Jerusalem, I am ready to die for the [L name of the] Lord Jesus!”
14 We could not ·persuade him to stay away from Jerusalem [L persuade/convince him]. So we ·stopped begging him [L remained silent] and said, “·We pray that what the Lord wants will [L Let the Lord’s will] be done.”
15 After ·this [L these days], we ·got ready [made preparations; packed our bags] and ·started on our way [L went up] to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the ·followers [disciples] from Caesarea went with us and took us to the home of Mnason, where we would stay. He was from Cyprus and was one of the ·first [or early; or original] ·followers [disciples].
Paul Visits James
17 [L Arriving] In Jerusalem the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] ·were glad to see us [welcomed us warmly]. 18 The next day Paul went with us to visit James, and all the elders [14:23] were there. 19 Paul greeted them and ·told [recounted for] them ·everything [or in detail what; or one by one the things] God had done among the ·other nations [Gentiles] through ·him [L his ministry/service]. 20 When they heard this, they ·praised [gave glory to] God. Then they said to ·Paul [L him], “Brother, you can see that many thousands of ·our people [L the Jews] have become believers [2:41, 47; 4:4]. And they ·think it is very important to obey [L are passionate about; are zealots for] ·the law of Moses [L the Law]. 21 They have ·heard [been informed] about your teaching, that you tell ·our people [L the Jews] who live among the ·nations [Gentiles] to ·leave the law of Moses [L forsake/abandon Moses]. They have heard that you tell them not to circumcise their children and not to ·obey [observe; L walk in] our ·customs [or traditional way of life]. 22 What [L then; therefore] should we do? They will [L surely] ·learn [hear] that you have come. 23 So ·we will tell you what to do [L do what we say]: Four of our men have made a ·promise to God [L vow]. 24 Take these men with you and share in their ·cleansing ceremony [ritual purification]. Pay their expenses so they can shave their heads [C a ritual that indicates the end of a Nazirite’s vows; Num. 6:13–20]. Then ·it will prove to everyone [L everyone will know] that what they have heard about you is not true and that you ·follow [L indeed keep/observe] the law of Moses in your own life. 25 We have already sent a letter [L with our judgment/decision] to the Gentile believers [C the decision of the council of Jerusalem; 15:6–21]. The letter said: ‘Do not eat food that has been offered to idols, or blood, or animals that have been strangled. Do not take part in sexual sin [15:20].’”
26 The next day Paul took the four men and shared in the ·cleansing ceremony [ritual purification] with them. Then he went to the Temple and announced the time when the days of the ·cleansing ceremony [ritual purification] would be finished and an ·offering [sacrifice] would be ·given [offered] for each of the men.
27 When the seven days were almost over [C the period of time for purification; Num. 19:12], some of ·his people [L the Jews] from [C the province of] Asia saw Paul at the Temple. They ·caused all the people to be upset [stirred up/incited the whole crowd] and grabbed Paul. 28 They shouted, “·People of Israel [L Men, Israelites], help us! This is the man who goes everywhere teaching against our people [C Israel], against ·the law of Moses [L the Law], and against this ·Temple [L place]. Now he has brought some Greeks into the Temple and has ·made this holy place unclean [defiled this holy place]!” 29 (They said this because they had seen Trophimus [20:4; 2 Tim. 4:20], ·a man from Ephesus [L the Ephesian], with Paul in ·Jerusalem [L the city]. They ·thought [supposed; assumed] that Paul had brought him into the Temple [C God-fearing Gentiles were only allowed in the outer courtyard, known as the “court of the Gentiles”].)
30 ·All the people in Jerusalem [L The whole city] became ·upset [aroused]. Together they ·ran [or rushed together; came running], took Paul, and dragged him out of the Temple. The Temple doors were closed immediately. 31 While they were trying to kill ·Paul [L him], the ·commander of the Roman army in Jerusalem [L tribune/commander of the regiment; C a tribune (Greek: chiliarch) oversaw about a thousand soldiers] ·learned [received the report] that ·there was trouble in the whole city [L all Jerusalem was in confusion/an uproar]. 32 Immediately he took some ·officers and soldiers [L soldiers and centurions; C centurions oversaw about a hundred soldiers] and ran to the place where the crowd was gathered. When the people saw ·them [L the tribune and the soldiers], they stopped beating Paul. 33 The ·commander [tribune] went to Paul and arrested him. He told his soldiers to ·bind [shackle] Paul with two chains. Then he ·asked [inquired about] who he was and what he had done wrong. 34 Some in the crowd were yelling one thing, and some were yelling another. Because of all this ·confusion and shouting [uproar; noise; tumult], the commander could not learn ·what had happened [the truth/facts]. So he ordered the soldiers to take Paul to the ·army building [barracks; C probably the Roman garrison known as the Antonia fortress, overlooking the temple from the north]. 35 When ·Paul [L he] came to the steps [C leading up to the Antonia fortress], the soldiers had to carry him because ·the people were ready to hurt him [L of the violence of the mob/crowd]. 36 [L For] The whole mob was following them, shouting, “·Kill [or Away with] him!”
37 As ·the soldiers [L they] were about to take Paul into the ·army building [barracks], he spoke to the ·commander [tribune], “May I say something to you?”
·The commander [L He] said, “Do you speak Greek? 38 ·I thought you were [L Are you not…?] the Egyptian who started ·some trouble against the government [a revolt; an insurrection] ·not long ago [or some time ago; C according to the Jewish historian Josephus, the event occurred about three years prior to this] and led four thousand ·killers [terrorists; cut-throats; L of the sicarii; C Josephus identifies sicarii (“dagger-men”) as assassins who mingled with crowds and used daggers to murder Romans and their collaborators] out to the desert.”
39 Paul said, “No, I am a Jew from Tarsus [9:11] in the ·country [province] of Cilicia [6:9]. I am a citizen of that ·important [L not insignificant] city. ·Please [L I beg/urge you], let me speak to the people.”
40 ·The commander [L He] gave permission, so Paul stood on the steps and ·waved [signaled/gestured with] ·his hand to quiet the people [L his hand]. When there was silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language [C probably Aramaic; the biblical writers do not distinguish between these related languages, calling both “Hebrew”].
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.