Acts 23

Talks for Growing Christians

Paul’s Defense and Transfer to the Roman Headquarters

Acts 23

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Lesson Number 35

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
  2. Believers should look for the way of escape.

Practical Application

  1. Remember the Lord stands by you.


  1. Review the context of Acts 23.
  2. Who were the Sanhedrin?
  3. What was the difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees?
  4. What strategic move did Paul make in this chapter?
  5. What important conversation did Paul’s nephew overhear?
  6. How did Paul use this information as a way of escape?


  1. In the previous chapter, Paul was given an opportunity to witness to the Jewish mob in the Temple courts. After he mentioned God’s grace to the Gentiles, the mob rioted again, and the Roman military intervened. In order to determine why the Jews were so intent on Paul’s death, the commander brought Paul before the Sanhedrin.
  2. These members of the Jewish Council were the governing body of the Jewish people.
  3. These two sects within the Sanhedrin had some differing theologies. The Sadducees did not believe in angels, spirits, or the resurrection of the body as the Pharisees did.
  4. He used his knowledge of the difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees to start an argument between the groups and distract them from persecuting him.
  5. That more than forty men had bound themselves by oath to fast and eat nothing until they had killed the apostle Paul
  6. He sent his nephew to tell the commander about the plot. As a result, the commander arranged to have Paul securely transferred to the Roman military headquarters in Caesarea.


  1. Discuss the Lord’s instructions in Matthew 10 to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” How did we see this modeled by the Apostle Paul? Give an example of an area of your life in which you should be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
  2. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 God promises to provide a way of escape so that we will not have to sin or fail the test of faith. Review the ways of escape God provided for Paul. Have you seen the Lord provide ways for you to escape temptation or testing?


  1. At a critical time in Paul’s life, the Lord appeared, standing by his side. In times of crisis in your life, remember the Lord’s promise to you in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Key Verses

  • “A dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.” Acts 23:7
  • “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” Acts 23:11
  • “This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.” Acts 23:27

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