Acts 21 Expanded 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”].