Acts 28:30-31 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke gives us a very brief overview of the next two years, but leaves out all the details we want to know. What happens to Paul and his case before the Romans? The traditional answer is that he went to trial and was acquitted, or because to Jews from Jerusalem came to accuse him, he was set free. It is clear from the Pastoral Epistles that Paul was not free at the time of his death, that he was in chains in a tradition prison, and that all had left him. He was far from the description of his ministry found here in Acts 28. It is likely that Paul was released after the two years, and that he ministered around Rome, possible into Spain, and then was arrested in Rome in the early 60’s where he was executed by Nero.
Why doesn’t Luke finish Paul life? It is possible that he wanted to but died, either of natural causes or from the same persecution that killed Paul. If the idea that the book was a legal brief for Paul’s defense in Rome, then the purpose was fulfilled, and Luke may not have seen the need to write a third part to his history. 1 Clement 5:7 states that Paul went to the “furthest point in the West,” the Straits of Gibraltar. In addition, the Muratorian Fragment, dated about A.D. 180-200, states that Luke omitted the Passion of Peter and Paul’s “departure from the city and his journey to Spain.”
James Dunn, on the other hand, suggests that the trial went badly for Paul and he was executed; Luke simply ended his story on a high note rather than with the execution of Paul (Dunn, Beginning From Jerusalem, 1053). This view must consider the pastoral epistles as well-meaning forgeries of the Pauline school rather than genuine letters from Paul.
The last words of the book in the Greek are “boldly and without hindrance.” This is a good theme to leave the book of Acts, that Paul preached the gospel boldly and without hindrance. Boldly is…”freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; openly, frankly, i.e without concealment; without ambiguity or circumlocution; without the use of figures and comparisons; free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance; the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity
Without hindrance indicates that there were no groups that stood in his way, as Paul had to deal with earlier in the book. Whether Jews or pagans, there was always someone hindering his preaching. But in Rome Paul is free to proclaim Jesus to both Jew and Roman without persecution or hindrance.
The content of this bold preaching continues to be the kingdom of God and teaching about Jesus. It might be a surprise to us that Paul would continue to preach the Kingdom of God, but this is exactly how Luke began his book, the preaching of the kingdom of God would start in Jerusalem and go out to the entire world. By the end of his book, the gospel is proclaimed with complete freedom in Rome.
11 thoughts on “Acts 28:30-31 – Boldly and Without Hindrance”
I’ve always wondered why Luke ends the book in such a matter-of-fact what. No real descriptions, except a couple of mere adjectives. It was mentioned in class that perhaps Luke ran out of scroll to write on. This makes sense, but it seems that Luke, as an experienced writer would know how to “pace” his writing. Maybe the book of Acts was written for a different reason than just a biography of Paul…
As the prologue says, the book is an account of the gospel to the ends of the earth, and Rome would have been the end all and be all of the earth at that time. (News flash, it’s not talking about America.) Paul’s arrival in Rome and “success” there despite the affliction and chance of death would have gotten the point across that the gospel is more powerful than adversity.
I see these lines as the same idea as movies that, after the story is completed enough to prove a point, tie up the loose ends with a few lines of commentary. After the resolution, the author or “director” adds some wrap-up.
The book of Acts isn’t about Paul, but rather about the power of the Holy Spirit and the tenacity of the gospel.
I believe that the end to this book is perfect. With Paul preaching the word boldly is how he was doing it in the whole book. He knew that he was going to be persecuted but he went out and did what he thought was right and what he was told and led to do. With Paul finishing in Rome and preaching freely it is a great accomplishment for the story of Christ. The amount that Paul did and how he finished couldn’t have happened any better.
For some reason when I thought about Paul’s preaching, I would limit him to preaching only the kingdom and the life,death and ressuraction of the Messiah, Jesus Christ,for sins(in a very general sense) I did not consider that he would teach deeperabout the incarnation, Jesus’ teachings, and miracles and persecution, death and ressurecition and ascension…basically everything that can be known about Jesus. Considering he had two years, there was a lot that could be covered…
“Luke simply ended his story on a high note rather than with the execution of Paul.” I have a hard time believing this. After all of the times that Paul talked about his readiness to die for Christ, and even his statement “to die is gain,” I believe that Luke would have seen it as dishonoring to Paul to not mention his martyring after all that Paul had preached about dying for Christ and finishing the race, etc…unless (as mentioned above) Luke died as well. Not that it matters, but I don’t really like the ending of Acts, it just hangs there. If it’s the second of a two part book, then why doesn’t Luke end it like the first one. Jesus died, rose, ascended, and we have closure, it just feels to me like Acts doesn’t end naturally…
I too am a fan of having some resolution, but we also don’t get to know what happens to Peter or really anyone else mentioned in the Book of Acts. Characters come and go and we really don’t find out how they end there lives. So why should Paul be any different. Plus Paul was not going to ascend into to heaven like Jesus so why end the book on a sad note of him being executed or something like that. I think the book comes to a decent end with him not being bothered and proclaiming the word to numerous people in the worlds Largest and most pagan city.
I really like where Joe and Kyle were going with their post. Both brought up very good points. I like in the post where it talks about the possibility of Luke running out of scroll, it is funny to think about that. I can picture it now, Luke is writing his little soul away and all of sudden shoot no more scroll, he thinks to himself, oh well ill just finish it and thats good. I feel like obviously, God had a reason for Luke ending it the way he did. We all know as Bible College students that the word of God is perfect so if he wanted more to be put in there he would have added more scroll, simple as that. 🙂
The point where Luke ran out of scroll is irrelivant. God is in control with everything that Luke writes, and the fact that he could have run out of scroll is not a logical explanation for the ending. I think that in everything that God teaches us, the ending is perfect. Even though Luke leaves us hanging at the end of Acts, it only makes us want to follow him more, or seek what more he has to say. In other words, it keeps us thristy for Gods love and wisdom.
As Joe stated, I totally agree that the book of Acts written for more than just biography of Paul, but more of an example of how we should share our faith.
It seems to me that this end to the book of Acts has little closure to offer the reader. I wonder if perhaps the first readers of this historical narration would have felt the same way; as if the writings left them unsatisfied. Or maybe they wouldn’t have felt this way because they knew the rest of the story. To me, it seems as though this may be the most plausible explanation IF Paul was in fact killed at this point. But then wouldn’t the writings seem a little lacking unless one assumed those moments were too graphic. Whether Paul continued his mission or died, I feel like Luke would have finished the “ending.” Luke seems very good at telling stories so that every word, sentence, paragraph, or segment has significance to it in more than one way. Does that writer really end a story like this on purpose? Or does that ending have meaning in it the way it is? Or did Luke die; leaving us with an awkward ending? I’m just not sure what to make of it.
“Without hindrance indicates that there were no groups that stood in his way…” As I mentioned in the other article, this indicates to me that Paul was well known and the God was doing a miracle. Even in a country where we have freedom of religion and speech one would have hard time speaking without hindrance. We have too many different theological approaches and objections that someone will speak out against you no matter what. That is why I believe that what Joe said is the reason for the book of Acts. “The book of Acts isn’t about Paul, but rather about the power of the Holy Spirit and the tenacity of the gospel.” That being the case ending the book on the note of “Boldly and without hindrance” is a perfect ending.
I think that the reason Luke stays silent about Paul’s death is because Acts was not simply about Paul’s life and ministry. I have been looking at Understanding the Book of Acts and agree with Charles Baker when he states that “the purpose of the Book of Acts is to show the how and the why of Israel’s fall: why the nation of Israel to whom the promise and the offer of the Messianic Kingdom was made, did not enter into that Kingdom” You mention that the book of Acts begins with the offer of the kingdom and ends with the preaching of the kingdom. But you skipped Acts 28:26-27, where Paul quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 which talks about the pronouncement of blindness upon Israel and the turning over of the salvation ministry to the Gentiles. Luke is ending the transition from the Jewish kingdom message to the new dispensation of grace.