New Testament
Lesson 38
Thou Hast Testified of Me


Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will encourage us to follow Paul’s example and be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ even in the midst of trials and tribulation.

Scripture references for study:  Acts 21–28
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.

Lesson 38 Handout (PDF format)


Acts 21

At the conclusion of Paul's third mission (about A.D. 58), he returned to Jerusalem for his fifth and last visit.

After reporting on his mission, the Jerusalem brethren, lead by James (the Lord's brother), was presented with a grave problem that was increased by his presence in the city.

In an attempt to placate the Jewish Christians, and hold the church together, Paul agreed to place himself under a vow, go to the temple, and undergo the full ritual cleansing as required by the Law of Moses.

Perhaps the greatest cause of internal conflict in the early church was the issue as to whether Jewish Christians should continue to abide by the Law of Moses or embrace the higher law that Jesus taught.

Paul seized by a Jewish mob.


Acts 22

Paul gave his defense by telling his persecutors the simple, but eloquent story of his early life and conversion (see Acts 21:40-22:20).

The crowd listened to his defense until he reached the story of his return to Jerusalem and the Lord's instruction to "Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles" (v21).

"And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air." (v22-23)

The tribune gave orders that Paul was to be brought into the barracks and examined by being scourged, so that the truth of what the uproar was about could be learned (see v24).


Acts 23

Paul's address before the Sanhedrin.

"And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." (v11)

Forty Sadducees banded together with an oath neither to eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. They conspired to have Paul brought before the Sanhedrin once again (v12-14).


Acts 24

Within five days, Ananias, the High Priest came down to Caesarea to formally present the case before the Roman court.

Paul presented his defense. Felix then postponed a decision and retained Paul in custody until he had conferred with Lysias.

A complaint was lodged by the Jews with Nero. Felix was recalled to stand trial and Porcius Festus succeeded him.


Acts 25

The Jewish authorities made a case against Paul to Festus and asked that Paul be brought to Jerusalem. They were plotting to ambush and kill him on the road.

Festus asked Paul if he would be willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial on the charges brought before him by the Jews. Paul refused to go. Paul was of the opinion that if he went down to Jerusalem he would be killed. He knew that his mission was not complete and thus he refused to go.

Paul then said to Festus, "I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar." (v10-11)

About this time Festus was visited by King Agrippa II (king of the region about the Sea of Galilee), great grandchild of Herod the Great.


Acts 26

Paul presented his case before King Agrippa - telling of his life, of his persecution of the Christians, and of his conversion.

WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT AGRIPPA DID NOT ACCEPT PAUL'S TESTIMONY OF CHRIST?

WHAT KEEPS PEOPLE TODAY FROM ACCEPTING THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST?

After the hearing, there was discussion regarding Paul's case. They agreed that Paul had done nothing for which he deserved death or imprisonment.


Acts 27

It was determined that Paul should sail to Italy. He was placed on board a ship in Caesarea.

The centurion holding custody switched ships in Myra, Lycia.

About two months from their start, they arrived at a place called Fair Havens along the south side of the island of Crete.

A furious storm struck and took the boat off course. The gale continued for several days, threatening the boat and its passengers.

Eventually they came near land and the ship began to break up.

They landed on the island of Melita or Malta.


Acts 28

"And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god." (v3-6)

The father of the governor of the island was ill. Paul blessed him and he was healed. Other sick people on the island also came to Paul and were cured.

Paul spent three months on Malta before continuing his journey to Rome.

Upon his arrival in Rome, he was accorded the privilege, doubtless upon the recommendation of Festus, of living in a private place outside of the military barracks, guarded by a soldier (see Acts 28:11-16).


Lessons From The Life Of Paul

WHAT LESSONS MIGHT WE LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCES OF PAUL?

 WHAT ARE WE WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR THE KINGDOM?

WHAT WILL WE SACRIFICE TO CONTINUE THE BUILDING OF ZION?


Gospel Doctrine Notebook

Record your thoughts on the challenges Paul faced. What can you do to prepare for times of adversity?


Resources Used In This Lesson

Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney.

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).


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Changes last made on:  10 August 2015