I was on my way to Damascus (Acts 26:12)

“I was traveling

To Damascus

With the authority

And commission

Of the chief priests.”

Ἐν οἷς πορευόμενος εἰς τὴν Δαμασκὸν μετ’ ἐξουσίας καὶ ἐπιτροπῆς τῆς τῶν ἀρχιερέων,

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that he was traveling (Ἐν οἷς πορευόμενος) to Damascus (εἰς τὴν Δαμασκὸν) with the authority (μετ’ ἐξουσίας) and the commission (καὶ ἐπιτροπῆς) of the chief priests (τῆς τῶν ἀρχιερέων).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word ἐπιτροπῆς, that means authority, power to decide, or commissioned.  In Acts, chapter 9:2-3, a narrator’s description said that Saul requested or asked (ᾐτήσατο παρ’) the high priest for letters (αὐτοῦ ἐπιστολὰς) to the synagogues (πρὸς τὰς συναγωγάς) at Damascus (εἰς Δαμασκὸν).  Thus, if he found anyone (ὅπως ἐάν τινας εὕρῃ) who belonged to the Way (τῆς Ὁδοῦ ὄντας), both men (ἄνδρας τε) and women (καὶ γυναῖκας), he would bring them (ἀγάγῃ) bound (δεδεμένους) back to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ).  Paul had a specific request to bring some of these Jewish heretics who belonged to the Jesus Way back to Jerusalem where they would stand trial at the Jewish Sanhedrin.  He wanted letters from the high priest in Jerusalem to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any of these heretics, he could bring them back to Jerusalem for a Sanhedrin hearing, since he knew that nothing could be done without the permission of the high priest in Jerusalem.  In Acts, chapter 22:3-5, Saul personally explained this further.  Paul said that the high priest (ὡς καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς) and the whole council of elders (καὶ πᾶν τὸ πρεσβυτέριον) can testify about him (μαρτυρεῖ μοι).  He had received letters (καὶ ἐπιστολὰς δεξάμενος) from this Jerusalem council and the high priest (παρ’ ὧν) for the brothers (πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς) in Damascus (εἰς Δαμασκὸν).  Paul was on his way (ἐπορευόμην) to Damascus to bind (δεδεμένους) those followers of the Way who were there (καὶ τοὺς ἐκεῖσε ὄντας).  Then he was going to bring them back (ἄξων) to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) for punishment (ἵνα τιμωρηθῶσιν).  This was what Paul said there, but he did not use the term Way (Ὁδοῦ) here.  Paul had the backing of the Jerusalem high priest in his attempt to put down this new Christian Way of doing Jewish things.  The Jewish people of the Qumran community also used this term “the Way” to describe this newly forming Christian community.  This term the “Way” had its roots in Isaiah, chapter 40:3.  Paul had the full backing of the Jerusalem high priest in his attempt to put down this new Christian Way of doing Jewish things.  Here Paul simply said that he had the permission and authority of the chief priests in Jerusalem.  Do you get permissions to be involved in religious activities?

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