“Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.”
And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
by: Dorothy Noel.
Here Paul spoke to a crowd attempting to kill him. The first thing he did in defense of himself was relate to them. This was a crowd of Jews, so he spoke in their language and of shared life experiences. He identified with the people and spoke at their level. He started speaking about the time before his conversion experience since that was where these Jews were right then. He did not blame the crowd for misunderstanding him, or become angry for their treatment. Instead, he said, “Yeah, I get it. I used to be just like you.” As we teach and preach the gospel, how can we relate to where our listeners are right at that moment?