The last words of the book of Acts 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.
To speak “boldly” (παρρησία) is to have freedom to speak, perhaps even fearless speech. “Boldness” is a characteristic of apostolic preaching in the first part of Acts. The Sanhedrin saw that Peter and John spoke boldly (4:13), and the Jerusalem church prayed that God would continue tot give them boldness (4:29); when they were filled with the Holy Spirit they did in fact speak with boldness (4:31).
But the word also has the nuance of confidence, knowing that you are speaking the truth; that you know the right answer, etc. In Acts 2:29 Peter makes an argument based on Scripture that Jesus is the Messiah, he says this “with confidence.” This is the confidence which I began with – knowing that something is certainly true gives you a confidence and boldness which a “guess” does not. Paul can speak from his house arrest with confidence because he knows the gospel he proclaims is the truth.
“Without hindrance” (ἀκωλύτως) indicates that there were no groups that stood in his way, as Paul had to deal with earlier in the book. Sometimes this rare word is used in legal contexts (P.Oxy 502, Ant. 12.104, 16.41, for example). The word might be used to describe some legal constraint, you cannot do want you want to because of a legal ruling (think of a restraining order in contemporary culture).
If we read the whole book of Acts, we might see quite a bit of “restraining” going on, things hinder the progress of the Gospel from the very beginning of Paul’s ministry.
- Jews in Asia Minor actively work against him on the first missionary journey, attack him publicly and stone him at Lystra, leaving him for dead!
- While Rome does not actively hinder Paul’s mission, he was in Roman custody several times in the book: at Philippi, nearly so at Thessalonica, he was arrested in Corinth, and was likely under arrest at some point in Ephesus, he cause a riot there as well. When he finally returned to Jerusalem he was taken into protective custody by Rome, but held for two years in Caesarea before being shipped to Rome, where he is under house arrest (at his own expense) for two years.
- We might also add a kind of spiritual hindrance to this list as well. For example, Paul was forced to leave Thessalonica and was unable to return to the city, although he wanted to. In 1 Thess 3:18 he says that “Satan blocked our way,” literally “Satan tore up the road” so that Paul could not return and finish his work in the city. What happens in Corinth and Ephesus can also be taken as spiritual warfare, Satan was actively hindering Paul’s mission.
The book ends by telling us that there is nothing restraining the gospel, Paul is not hindered in the least by his imprisonment, and there is nothing Rome (or Jerusalem) can do to stop the gospel from going out to the ends of the earth.
7 thoughts on “Acts 28:30 – Boldly and Without Hindrance (Part 1)”
I believe that Paul’s boldness proclaiming the gospel can serve as an encouragement to the modern day believer. This is because though Paul was captured, imprisoned, and persecuted he still had the boldness, as the post says to, “Preach the gospel boldly and without hinderance.” Paul’s attitude and passion for proclaiming the gospel were so encouraging because throughout the book of Acts he stood true to his beliefs of ministering to both the Jews and the Gentiles, regardless of how countercultural his beliefs were. His perseverance and determination paid off in the long run because as Acts 28:31 says, he proclaimed the message “Boldly and without hinderance.” This shows that his boldness and perseverance paid off because “Without hinderance indicated that there were no groups that stood in his way.” So even though there may have been some “legal constraint” regarding the message of Christ, Paul in Rome did not have to deal with the same hinderance that he was confronted with throughout the book of Acts. I believe that Paul’s perseverant and fervent determination to proclaim the gospel to all people including the Gentiles should truly be modeled by the modern day Christian. This is because in the face of great cultural oppression Paul stood firmly in his beliefs never tainting the message of Christ regardless of the audience. I think as modern day Christians we should be encouraged by Paul’s ministry because similar to Paul we are confronted with cultural rejection of Christ, as our culture constantly attempts to taint the message of Christ. But the fact of the matter is, we need to stand firm in our beliefs and the standard Jesus laid out for us, constantly protecting the gospel against those who try to manipulate it into their own personal opinion. Paul stands as an encouraging example that this is indeed possible because in the face of great Jewish opposition he proclaimed the gospel not only to the Jews but also the Gentiles with boldness and eventually without hinderance (Acts 28:28-31).
I would like to note another hindrance, the battle against the flesh. Right before Luke closes the book, Paul quotes Isaiah saying, “For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closes” (Acts 28:27). The gospel is not believed by all, the Jews did not except Jesus as the messiah and in Acts 28:24, some are still in disbelief. At the end of the quote we do see a spark of hope, “turn, and I would heal them” (Acts 28:27). God has the power to heal any relationship.
As Christians, like the apostles, it is our job to “proclaim the kingdom of God and teach about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness”. “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). It is our goal as Christians to “Go,” spread the good news, to be a light on top of a hill! Mark 16:15 goes on to tell us that some will not believe, which will happen. Sometimes this can feel like a hindrance, and we grow weary. We cannot become attached to the outcome.
Because it is not our job to change their heart, that is God’s job. He will “heal them” not us. (Acts 28:27).
I find it amazing of how perfectly Paul’s life exemplified these last words in Acts, “Boldly and without hindrance.” Throughout his entire life Paul was bold and let nothing get in his way. He did it before he saw the truth on his way to Damascus and he did it even more after. Paul quickly saw that his new mission to tell others about Jesus Christ was not going to be essay! He face opposition from the get go and was even stoned with the intent of his death. Even though he knew that he would be opposed and oppressed in every way he continued on with the same boldness! He did not let the fear of rejection, physical pain, or death, hinder his message. He also calls each and every one of us to do the same, to take up the cross and finish the race! Paul calls each one of us like he did to Timothy to, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2) We all need to be ready at every moment with that same boldness to share the gospel and not let anything hinder us! So that when our time is up we can say exactly what Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Acts 28:31 accurately describes Paul’s lifestyle. Wherever he went, he shared the gospel “with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:31). He did this in Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Athens, Ephesus, and other cities he visited. He continues to do that in Rome even while he is under house arrest. When he preached in the other cities, the people arrested him, beat him, and threw him in jail. Out of all the places he had been preaching, Rome was the place where he was able to speak the gospel boldly and no one could do anything to him because he was already arrested and in custody of the Romans. Paul is not stopped in the least bit from sharing the gospel. “Paul can speak from his house arrest with confidence because he knows the gospel he proclaims is the truth” (“Boldly and Without Hindrance” post). God provided for him to stay there and preach the gospel of truth for two years (Acts 28:30).
Without a doubt the whole theme of the book of Acts is boldly and without hindrance. It starts off that way and should end with that same theme. From Saul’s conversion, to his missionary journeys, to the works of Peter and the apostles, it is all revolved around boldly and without hindrance. They had confidence that they were speaking truth and what they knew to be true and were able to be fearless with the way that they spoke. The end of the book of Acts continues with that same theme and is something that we can continue to apply to our lives today, to speak and live boldly and without hindrance. There should be nothing and no one that can stand in our way to preach the Gospel and to proclaim Christ to anyone and everyone. Whether it be the government, peers, or even enemies, nothing should stop us and Paul’s life is a great example of not letting anything stop you or restraining you from going on and pushing forward.
“Paul can speak from his house arrest with confidence because he knows the gospel he proclaims is the truth.” This is obviously the key theme in Acts, as Paul is seen multiple times preaching with such confidence that even before what was considered the greatest religious leaders in Jewish society, the Sadducees and Pharisees, Paul did not waver in his proclamation of the Gospel (Acts 22:30-23:11). However, a key subtitle in Acts very well should be “Paul, the Roman Citizen.” In various spots throughout the book, Paul’s citizenship saves him in certain situations, such as before the unruly mob in Jerusalem (21:27-36), and also plays into Paul’s advantage after he and Barnabas are arrested (16:37-39). Paul’s citizenship even saved him from a physical beating at the hands of Romans in Jerusalem (22:22-29)!
What might also be noted is that Paul’s Roman citizenship also played into his ability to, “boldly and without hindrance preach the kingdom of God (28:31a). In the Anchor Bible Dictionary, it says, “Those of the accused who refused to abjure their religion were summarily executed if they were not citizens, but citizens were remanded for trial in Rome (p. 803-4).” Paul never retreated from his faith because he had absolutely certain of the Gospel’s truth. However, Paul could also preach without hindrance in Rome because, legally, Paul could not be censored unless he was tried. In this way, Paul most likely was allowed to continue to preach the Gospel in Rome until his trial. This tiny detail in Paul’s life plays a huge factor in the last verse of Acts, as well as the entire book.
“Boldy and without hindrance.” This phrase can very well be Paul’s post-conversion life theme. I cannot imagine preaching the Gospel without fear. I have always been afraid of offending people; Paul clearly offended many, but he stood true to what he knew to be right. Paul was the first in his field, therefore, for him to speak boldly and with confidence was possible because he knew it was truth. I often wonder about Paul’s nights, weeks, months in prison or house arrest. I can only imagine that no matter the suffering, he slept well because he believed in what he preached. Not many people can withstand that much persecution for a cause unless they are absolutely grounded in it. It seems that if I first ground my faith and am absolutely sure of what I speak, I will be much more likely to proclaim the Gospel boldly and without hindrance.