21:20zealous for the law. Thousands of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem strictly observed the Mosaic law. While many of these no doubt resented the fact that Gentile Christians were not required to observe the ceremonial law of Moses (v. 25; 15:1–31), the charge here was that Paul was encouraging Jews to forsake the law as well (v. 21). Such a charge may have been prompted by reports that Paul himself did not follow the Jewish ceremonial law when in Gentile company. Though Paul had no objection to Jews following their ancestral customs, he opposed any attempt to make such observance in some way necessary for salvation (Rom. 14:1–8; Gal. 5:2–6). Always careful to avoid giving unnecessary offense, Paul’s flexibility in such matters shows that the interests of the gospel were always foremost in his mind (1 Cor. 9:19–23).
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