Acts Chapter 23 & 24 - Accusations & Indecisions

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Oh dear! We left our last look at Acts in the middle of a chapter in the middle of an event!

What happened about the Murder Plot in Acts Chapter 23?

verses 16 - 22

Sometimes a little bit of help from our friends (or family) is a good thing.

Paul's nephew finds out about the plot against Paul and goes to the prison to tell Paul who then gets a centurion to take his nephew to the commander.  The commander listens to him and acts on the information he now has.

I think the following section shows that the commander trusted Paul by this stage and was worried because he now knew Paul was a Roman citizen and so did not want any harm to come to Paul while he was in his charge.

verses 23 - 35

23 And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 

One prisoner, yet the commander was taking this threat so seriously that he was going to involve the use of 470 soldiers.  This must have meant he considered Paul an important prisoner.

So Paul was hurried off to be sent to the governor Felix in Caesarea in the middle of the night.

Felix was sent a letter from the commander briefly explaining who this prisoner was and who were his accusers.

Nice for the commander to be able to get Paul away safely so that he was not responsible for his safety any longer and to avoid any incident in the area he was responsible for.  Prevention is always better than having to sort things out after they have got out of hand.  When people are angry it is best to diffuse a situation rather than fuel it but also better to actually deal properly with a situation so that things do not be left unresolved for a long period of time and anger fester on and on.

So had Paul escaped from the accusations the Jews were trying to bring against him?

No.  Clearly verse 35 tells us that Felix after reading the letter told Paul

“I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.

But he did escape from being killed.

Straight away in the next chapter (chapter 24) we see from verse 1 that Annanias the High Priest, some elders and a man called Tertullus came 5 days later and spoke against Paul.

verses 2 - 9    give us the side of the Jews

Tertullus was the spokesperson and started (as many accusers do) with some sweet talking and complimenting the governor  -  trying to show a nice character so that the next thing he says might be accepted better.
Then he attacks the character of Paul and continues to attack the actions of the commander who is not there to defend himself.
The Jews of course just agreed with what he said.

verses 10 - 21    give us the side of Paul

Paul then has the opportunity to defend himself and knows that Felix has been in his position for some years and will be able to check on the information and find that Paul was only 12 days in Jerusalem and was not found to be inciting the people or acting badly in the Temple as had been claimed by Tertullus.

This then leads him to explaining some of what he believes in and that the Jews are angry with him because of his beliefs.

verses 22 - 23     give us the indecision by Felix

Felix doesn't seem to want to come down on one side or the other so says he will wait to hear from the commander and decides Paul should be under guard but not in prison.

Does this mean he thinks Paul is innocent of the charges but does not want to anger the Jews?
Or does he think is guilty but does not want to punish him?
Or can he just not make up his mind?
Certainly not the quality of a good leader.

verses 24 - 27     give us the real reason for this attitude by Felix

Felix it now appears seemed to want two things

  • to talk more to Paul about what he believed
  • to get a bribe from Paul
Throughout the next two years he keeps Paul in the same position never making a decision on his guilt or innocence with regard to the accusations.  He talks with Paul but never accepts his beliefs and never receives any bribes before being replaced by a new governor.  

People have always wanted what would benefit them and have had little regard for others.

The handing over of the position to a new person would probably have been a time to make that decision in Paul's favour as Felix would then be away from the area and have no headaches from the Jews and the new governor would not have to take the responsibility either.

Does this mean that Felix never becomes a believer in the future?

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
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Acts Chapter 23 - A Murder Plot

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Coming near the end of this great book of Acts now with chapter 23.

Where did we leave Paul at the end of chapter 22  Paul's Defense?

Well Paul was in Jerusalem defending himself with his life story and had just surprised the Roman Commander by explaining that he himself was a Roman citizen and the next day

verses 30 of  chapter 22

30 The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.

Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin which was

an assembly of twenty-three to seventy-one men appointed in every city 
This court dealt with only religious matters.

So let's see Chapter 23

verses 1 - 10

Straight away the High Priest is not happy with Paul because he says he has in verse 1

... lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

He is ordered to be struck on the face.

Paul's stands up for himself claiming that the High Priest has actually broken the law in ordering this action on him.

However Paul had not realised that it was the High Priest he was talking to so has to apologize for speaking badly of a ruler of the people.

But then knowing that there are Pharisees and Sadducees present he says

 “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”

The Pharisees believe in the resurrection but the Sadducees do not so that caused an uproar between the two sides and the commander feared Paul might be hurt so has to get him out of there.

I wonder did Paul do this deliberately? 
He was a very learned person so did know all the religious laws but was also a clever person so could well have known that the commander would have to keep him safe while in his custody and his statement would annoy the Sadducees and cause dissension among the two groups leaving the threat of danger to him.
But of course he ended up being held prisoner.
Was this better or worse?

verses 11 - 15

 We are not told by Luke of how Paul is feeling but the Lord obviously knows as He knows everything about us because we are told in verse 11 that the Lord came to Paul and spoke to him

“Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

This was obviously to tell Paul that God had a plan for him and he would go on from Jerusalem to Rome and have to witness for God there as well.

God knows what we need to hear and when we need to hear it.

Paul needed to know that He was in God's plan and there still was more to do in this plan because others had a plan as well but this one was driven by hatred as we see in verse 12

12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

There were over 40 people and their plan was to ambush Paul telling the chief priests and elders to have him brought down for them to question him the next day and they would kill him on the way there.

These men were plotting murder and wanted the chief priests and elders (the religious leaders) to help them do so.

Why do we find it hard to believe that Satan will use people who are religious but not true Christians to promote hatred towards others within our churches today?
And why do we be surprised when many leaders fall into sin?

We should never underestimate the hatred that Satan can stir up from the evil he will whisper into the minds of any of us if we are not careful to always obey God's Word and to live as God has ordained we should.

We should never underestimate the hatred that Satan can stir up from the evil he will whisper into minds

This brings a verse back into my mind today; a verse I remember learning as a teenager and often think about

Psalm 37 v 23

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
and he delights in his way.

but of course we know we are not perfect and so does God so we must not forget verse 24 too

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, 
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

How can we be like the good man spoken of in Psalm 37 above?

How can we be like the good man spoken of in Psalm 37

Well I think we can see how from another verse I learned as a teenager

Micah 6 v 8

He hath shown thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Obedience and humility are key to walking in God's way.

I learnt this one as a song which is one of the best ways to learn scripture.

So back to Paul - will he survive this plan to kill him?

Well we have had a hint to the answer to that already in the chapter and we'll talk about that in the next blog post.

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Acts Chapter 21 & 22 - Paul's Defense

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We ended our last post on Acts with the uplifting fact that when Paul arrived in Jerusalem Acts chapter 21 The Journey to Jerusalem and met with the Apostle James there and with others they all glorified God.

We were happy enough with that then but now let's consider verses 19 - 20 to see why they did this.

19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law;

Paul gave them details of the work of God in the lives of many Gentiles who had heard the Gospel through him.
The Apostles were very happy to hear about this first hand even though they may have heard some parts of the full story before.

Now Paul did not only take the Gospel message to the Gentiles but also to the Jews and not all of them had rejected his message.  These Jews would have experienced his teaching in other matters too and known what his behaviour was like when in their areas.

But there were also other Jews in and around Jerusalem who had been hearing more talk about Paul and his views on circumcision with regards to the Gentile converts and they felt that Paul was not as intent on keeping the law as a good Jew should be.

Continuing on in verses 21 - 25  we see that the Apostles do not want any misunderstandings or ill feeling about Paul so they ask him in verse 24 to go to the Temple and make it obvious that he is observing the Jewish law.

that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.

You see when rumours start going round and people hear certain things it is very hard for them to unhear those things.  The best thing is for them to talk to the people involved or be able to witness definite acts to find out exactly what they say or what they have done.

verses 26 - 36

But even though Paul is seen by many to be upholding Jewish Law there are others who have heard the rumours and do not know the full facts but are ready to jump in there and speak out against Paul in fact so much so that instead of talking to him and clearing up misunderstandings they end up inciting the people which leads to others taking action without full knowledge as well.  In fact verse 30 tells us that the whole city was affected by there talk.

30 And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.

What did they propose to do to Paul, well verse 31 tells us they wanted to kill him.

Imagine because some people say something it can have such an effect as to lead to planning a death.

Paul was not killed but he was in the process of being beaten when he was rescued by the commander of the garrison who took him away bound because he could not find out there for himself who Paul was and what he had done.  It is clear in verses 33 - 36 that the people again were not willing to be quiet and let Paul be heard by the commander.

33 Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another.
So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. 35 When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, “Away with him!”

What was going to happen?
Was the commander going to find out what had happened or was he even really interested in the truth?

verses 37 - 40

It becomes clear here that the commander did not know who Paul was or what nationality he was, even thinking he might be an Egyptian who had been causing trouble previously.

But when Paul was able to speak to him and explain he was a Jewish citizen the commander allowed him to speak to the people.

This commander did not know what he was allowing because we all know from the the previous experiences in this book of Acts that none of the Apostles would not take advantage of relating the Gospel when they have a crowd to hear them.

And that is exactly what happens in

Acts Chapter 22 verses 1 - 21

Paul's defense is his life story.

Paul speaks to the crowd in Hebrew and relates the story of his conversion because he knows just what Stephen knew in Acts Chapter 7 that The Gospel is the Answer.

He shares some of his history to the people including his heritage as a Jew, his meeting with Jesus on the Road to Damascus in chapter 9 and of his meeting with Ananias also in chapter 9 

verses 22 - 30

Then when he mentions about being sent by God to witness to the Gentiles the crowd again turn against him in anger. 

What will help him in this situation?

First Paul had used the fact that he was a Jew to gain the attention of the commander to be allowed to speak to the people in Jerusalem but now he uses the fact that he is also a Roman Citizen so that the commander will know that he needs to keep Paul safe especially when Paul is a Roman citizen from birth and not one who has bought the privilege as the commander had.

So will Paul have to speak to the Roman authorities next?

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
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Christmas Cards - Coffee & Conversation

What do you think about Christmas Cards?



Well I love Christmas Cards, but I hate having to find them because every year it seems that there are fewer to pick from.

You are probably amazed because you know that so many shops will stock them and of course so many places online too.

However there just is not a good choice anymore.

I am not a great shopper - I am better online than physically traipsing through the stores but even online I do not enjoy looking for Christmas Cards.

You see I am very particular about the Christmas Cards I send.

I want my cards to express the true meaning of Christmas and spread the Gospel.

I want the cards I send to be a blessing to people and not bore them so they have to look attractive as well as have a true Christmas message.

This is the card I am sending this year.

I do not want ones which say

  • Happy Holidays
  • Season's Greetings
  • Merry Xmas
  • Really long soppy rhymes

I also do not want ones which show pictures of

  • Cottages in the snow
  • Wild Landscapes
  • People Skating
  • Untrue Nativity Scenes

But it all really comes down to the fact that I believe

the phrases and verses we write on Christmas Cards 
are more important 
than the cards themselves.

At one stage I thought I should just make my own cards like I did some birthday and anniversary cards but there are just so many Christmas cards to be ready for the one time that I knew I could not keep that up, so I didn't even start  -  it would have ended up a chore for me.

So what do I like?

Ones that turn our attention in some way towards the true reason for Christmas.

Click  HERE  and  HERE  to see a few of my favourite Christmas Cards from the last few years


Advent Calendar - Review Through the Eyes of a Child

I received a free advent calendar but was not asked to do anything in return

Do you buy an Advent Calendar each year?   

I don't.

In fact I don't think I've ever bought one either for myself or for our children when they were growing up.

Am I a terrible mum?

But this year I actually considered it.

Well we have a little grandson now and I like chocolate and so does he so I did think about maybe getting one for him but as at other times I thought about it and then didn't do anything about it.

Then one day in the post I received a free Advent calendar full of chocolate.

It was a complimentary calendar for me because I have in the past bought the Easter Eggs for the children in the Sunday School at our Church from this company  Meaningful Chocolate. 

I even asked them for a free egg to do a review of it on my blog a couple of years ago and my husband and son scoffed it on me leaving only one small piece for me and you can see the proof of it at The Real Easter Egg - You've Got to Try One!

Well this time our grandson Matthew was with us for a sleep over on the 1st and 2nd of December so he had the privilege of looking for the numbers 1 and 2 on those two days and claiming the chocolates within.

So How do you open an Advent calendar with a 2 year old?

Well you don't! 

He grabs it, shouts Chocolate and tears it open.

He pulled hard on the tab for the first day and it tore on over across the next two sections which were not even the ones numbered 2 and 3.

Then he tried to tear up and down as well while we laughed and laughed and explained that he was only to open one section and have one chocolate each time.

Still wondering however how he knew that it was going to be chocolate inside.

Matthew is very fond of chocolate even though he doesn't get a lot of it.

No really, I am a very good grandmother, granny, nanny whatever he wants to call me and I do not give him a lot of chocolate.

Along with the Calendar full of chocolate there is a booklet telling the Christmas Story over the 24 days up to Christmas.

Now although Matthew is only 2 he loves books and pictures and having stories read to him or the latest now is stories told to him about ourselves.

He took some time (after eating his ONE PIECE of chocolate) to sit on the floor and look at some of the pages of the booklet.

And that was good considering his cars, buses, taxis and trains are very important to him and they sat stationary for a while until he turned the booklet over and said chocolate again.

We did not give in but explained he could have a piece the next day before he went back home.

Each page of the booklet has a picture and some text for one of the 24 days up to Christmas and you can see some of them below.

There are several Advent Challenges which are puzzles & activities for the children to work at.

Matthew clearly enjoyed the chocolate.

We will have to see what it is like when we open some days now when he will not be with us.

I liked the look of the booklet and was glad it was not just something to read but was also interactive for the kids.

Not the right time to buy one?
Then why not pin this for later.


Acts Chapter 21 - The Journey to Jerusalem

Sometimes we just have to stop somewhere and this happened to Paul and his companions at the start of chapter 21 even though as we saw in chapter 20  Paul's Goal  he was set to get to Jerusalem quickly.

They had to stop at Tyre because the ship they were sailing on had to stop there.

When we had sighted Cyprus, we passed it on the left, sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo. 

Similar to other times they found people to fellowship with and through prophetic ministry Paul was advised not to go to Jerusalem.

And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem. 

Did this change Paul's mind?

No, at the end of those 7 days in Tyre they headed off once more by ship.

Some time later verse 8 tells us they had arrived at Caesarea

 and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 

The Philip here is one of the Wise & Respected Men we talked about in Acts Chapter 6.  This differenciates the Philip here from Philip who was one of the twelve disciples with Jesus and later referred to as the Apostles.

This is also the Philip from Acts Chapter 8 Good Out of Evil who met the Ethiopian and explained about Jesus from the Old Testament, going on to baptize him in water right where they were.

Then there is something new that we are told about Philip is in verse 9

Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. 

What do we learn from this short statement?

1.  He had 4 daughters.
2.  The 4 daughters mentioned were not married so still at home under his influence.
3.  These 4 daughters were used by the Holy Spirit in prophecy.

What do we not learn from this short statement?

1.  The number of sons he had.
2.  The number of daughters he had who were married.
3.  The number of daughters he had who were not used in prophecy.
4.  That these 4 daughters were recognised as prophets in the church.

We must always be careful not to read something into scripture that is not there.

I mentioned previously in A Godly Couple  Chapter 18  how some people like to say the wife was the leader of the this couple and also headed up one of the churches but it never actually says this in the Bible and here again there are people who say that because of this little verse about Philip's 4 daughters we have proof that women were recognised as prophets in the early church.

However we do have proof that Agabus who now arrives to Philip's home is a prophet in the church because verse 10  specifically states it.

There is something more important that happened while they were with Philip as we read in verses 10 & 11

10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

Would this change Paul's mind from Jerusalem?

No even though everyone there tried to talk him out of going his reply was clear in verse 13

13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

What a change in the determination of this man who we first met in chapters 7 & 8  when he wanted to persecute the believers and now when he is ready and willingly to be persecuted himself for being a believer.

The change in the determined mind of Paul.

So they got ready and went off to Jerusalem.

17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord.

Yes Paul has made it to Jerusalem.



What God is Doing: Old Testament Object Lessons for Kids - Book Review

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I was very excited when I saw that this book was being written.

Then I was even more excited when I was given the opportunity to review a free copy from the author Anne Marie Gosnell

Anne Marie blogs at Future Flying Saucers  and I had dropped in to her blog on and off during the last few years so I was somewhat familiar with her work.

I'm often happy to see new materials for Children's Work but also I'm often disappointed because they are very costly and because they are just so apparently appealing to look at but when you get down to reading and reading and reading everything that is written for each lesson they are not as appealing at all.

As a Kids Church leader for more than 40 years I have always been on the lookout for new materials that are kid friendly and teacher friendly as it does make a difference if both sides involved are really hooked by the products for the best reasons.

For me as a teacher, mother and grandmother those reasons have always been good solid Bible teaching in a way that is easy for me to work with and to encourage others to work with.  I need to know that it is not difficult to get materials to follow someone's lesson plan or to remember just how to make these materials fit in with the Bible Truth I'm teaching.

For the children the products we use need to be entertaining without distracting from the lesson and relevant so that it is the Bible message they go out remembering rather than just the visuals or fun time they have had.

Teachers for Sunday School and Kid's Church etc. are usually people who want to teach the Bible Truths but do not have days and days to read and prepare for each lesson they teach.

We need good, brief, to the point, easy to follow lessons that we know we will actually feel competent about doing with our children.
We do not want to find that the materials we are expected to use will involve us spending hours in shops trying to find.

This book is definitely in the former category and not the latter.

Here we have a product that is easy to follow, not complicated to put into practice and will certainly entertain but throughout it the Word of God is obviously at the centre and there will be no doubt that the children are pointed towards what God is doing in the Old Testament and therefore also to what Jesus has done for us all.

Looking for more info?
Then head on over to  What God is Doing: Old Testament Object Lessons for Kids

Oh and did I forget to mention there are beautiful posters to accompany 
each of the
25 Object Lessons.  

I can envisage this book being used to form the main part of a Children's Church lesson, or a Sunday School lesson or as the Bible Truth for Messy Church or a Kid's Craft Day.


I can also envisage using this book with my grandchildren in the years to come.

Interested in purchasing?

Then head on over to

I received a free copy of this ebook, however this review has been written not because I was obliged to do so but because  I know I will use this book with my grandchildren as well as with children from church.
Also if buying on Amazon I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.


Acts Chapter 20 (contd.) - Paul's Goal

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In the last post in this series we were in the middle of chapter 20  A Short Eventful Visit  in a place called Troas but their stay there was only for 7 days so they were now travelling once again.

verses 13 - 16

They all moved on together by boat and obviously Paul's destination was to be Jerusalem.

16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.

So the question is - does he make it there in time for Pentecost?

verses 17 - 38

Although Paul wanted to sail past Ephesus we now see in verse 17 that he had stopped in his journey in Miletus and wanted to speak with the elders from the Ephesians church.

They came to meet with him and while he was talking with them we have a very significant statement in verses 22 - 23

22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 

Paul was certain that The Spirit of God was urging him towards Jerusalem, even though this was not a place he would want to go to or that anyone else would want him to go to because there had been ministry through the Holy Spirit indicating the hard time that would await him there.

Why was he still eager to go to Jerusalem?

The answer is in the next verse

24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

The answer consists of a few things:

  • Nothing he already knows is swaying him away from Jerusalem.
  • His physical life is not important.
  • He wants to finish his earthly life and meet His Saviour with Joy.
  • His life should be a testimony to the Grace of God.

He had a goal set before him to finish his race well.

Do we have a goal to finish this race of life well?

He also wanted to forge on regardless of what lay ahead and of the things he would be leaving behind as verse 25 tells us there would be many people he would not see again on this earth.

25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.

But from his words in verses 26 - 31 it was clear that he knew he had done what God had wanted him to do.

He had led, taught and prepared the people well for the future so that no matter what trials, tribulations came to the church they would be able to stand against them because they could remember Paul's teaching.

 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[c]which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

Paul felt at this stage that no-one could hold him accountable for others not knowing the Gospel of Jesus because he had taught everything God had given him to teach.

This is a sobering thought to apply to ourselves

This is a sobering thought to apply to ourselves.

Have we always used the opportunities we have been given 
to share the Gospel?

Have we always used the knowledge we have of God's Word 
to help others from being led astray?

Have we been good witnesses of Jesus 
so that we have no regrets when we have no time left?

Having then gone on to pray for these elders, they say their goodbyes and Paul departs by ship again.

However we need to continue in the following chapters of Acts to see if Paul gets to Jerusalem in time for Pentecost.

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
Then Try these commentaries

Or this Bible Study

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