About Youth Quizzing
The Bible quizzing program launched as a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene during the 1964 General Nazarene Youth People’s Convention. Immediately well-received, the quizzing ministry is a unique and exciting ministry for youth that combines Bible study, mentoring, competition, fellowship, discipleship, and mission. Merging all of these elements into a program attractive to teenagers, quizzing has become a successful, worthwhile, and worldwide ministry. In addition to developing a devotion to God’s Word and lifelong habits of Bible study in youth, quizzing creates and builds up a community of young disciples and servants, steadily adding to a vast pool of leadership and continually strengthening the church and its ministries. More and more teenagers and youth leaders are realizing just what an impact quizzing can have in their lives and in the lives of people around the world!
Week 23: Acts 23:1-5
Scripture references: 1 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 13:18; John 7:51 and 18:22; Leviticus 19:15; Ezekiel 13:10-15; Exodus 22:28
Take A Closer Look
Acts 23 opens with Paul appearing before the chief priests and Sanhedrin. Luke records Paul speaking one sentence on this day before Ananias reacts with the order for someone to strike Paul. We don’t know if Luke shortened Paul’s speech or if all Paul said on this day was that he had “fulfilled [his] duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”
In response to Paul, Ananias “ordered those standing near” to strike Paul. Notice he would not dirty his own hands by hitting Paul but instead commanded another to do it. Ananias’ command was not only insulting, but illegal; Jewish law prohibited one from being struck prior to conviction. And not only had Paul not been convicted, he had not even been formally accused of anything! The historian Josephus records that Ananias was a disgraceful and profane priest, embezzling the tithes that should have paid the common priests and repeatedly making compromises with Rome, an action that made him so hated by the Jews that he was killed by them during fighting with Rome in AD 66.
When he heard Ananias’ command for someone to strike him, Paul lost his temper. Isn’t it nice to realize that he wasn’t perfect? He called Ananias a “whitewashed wall,” much as Jesus had called the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27). Paul was correct in his accusation against him, as Ananias himself broke the very law he was supposed to be upholding while judging Paul. But even if Paul’s words were accurate, Jewish tradition called for respect toward the high priest and those nearby were shocked at Paul’s words. They would have done better to be shocked at Ananias’ actions! Paul showed his respect for the law by apologizing, saying he didn’t realize who had spoken. Why didn’t he? This meeting was called by the Roman commander and Ananias may not have worn his ceremonial robes. Since Paul hadn’t spent much time in Jerusalem for many years, he was not likely to have known Ananias by sight.
What Does This Mean to Me? Is It Worth a Tweet?
Jesus’ teaching is clear; take a look back at Matthew 5:39-48. We have all heard these commands: “turn the other cheek,” “love your enemies,” “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Every one of us fails sometimes but we often let our pride keep us from admitting it and apologizing. We need to react as Paul did, with humility and repentance, even when we know the other person is wrong, too.