Paul on Trial

by John W. Mauck

Paul the apostle faced numerous challenges as he traveled the Roman world proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually he was arrested and sent to Rome to appeal his case before Caesar. John W. Mauck contends that the New Testament books of Luke and Acts were legal documents that would demonstrate to Caesar and other Roman officials that Paul was not a danger to the peace of Rome. Rather, he was a sincere Jew who was practicing his faith within a sect of the Jews, which he had a right to do under Roman law.

Using his experience as a veteran lawyer, Mauck points out example after example of preaching within the framework of Judaism. Roman subjects were required to worship the emperor as a god, but the Jews were exempt from that rule. As a Jew, Paul had a right to proclaim Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Furthermore, the author cites several examples to show that Paul was not a threat to the peace and security of Roman. Even though Paul caused disturbances in almost every area he visited, it was his enemies who violated Roman law.

As a Roman citizen Paul was forced to use Roman law to prevent his illegal imprisonment and sentence of death. Paul eventually appealed to the supreme law of the empire, a hearing before Caesar.

Was Luke a lawyer? Were the books of Luke and Acts legal documents meant to show that Paul was not in violation of Roman law? Were the books written specifically to influence Paul's case before Caesar? The reader will have to decide for himself if the author's claims are valid. This reviewer will make these observations, however: The author has a high regard for the integrity of Scripture. He has carefully researched his subject. And technical material has been written so that the non-legal mind can grasp the legal implications.