Paul’s Determination To Go To Jerusalem

Once while St. Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden, he was asked, “What would you do if you were suddenly to learn that you were to die at sunset today?” He replied, “I would finish hoeing my garden.” (Source Un known, Lou Nicholes - Missionary/Author) … More


Notice verse 22 where it says that Paul was going to Jerusalem “bound in the spirit” (small “s”). This may indicate that this was not a Holy Spirit compulsion, but he was doing it by his own self-will. Some Bible scholars, such as Donald Grey Barnhouse and John Phillips, have made it quite clear that they do not think it was God’s will for him to go to Jerusalem. Phillips says; “the Lord told him expressly that his ministry was elsewhere far hence unto the Gentiles” (22:17-21). Barnhouse says; “Paul was making up his own mind to go to Jerusalem when I firmly believe, God wanted him to move on to Rome and perhaps to Spain, since he was the apostle to the Gentiles.”

Some have said that Jerusalem was Paul’s lodestone mountain. Ancient mariners were afraid to get their boats very far from land because aids to navigation were few. Some of these old time adventures or sailors were told to beware of “fabled lodestone mountain.” They had been told that it had a magnet that would draw their vessels to shipwreck on the rocky shore. God had told Paul quite clearly that his testimony would not be received in Jerusalem, and that his ministry was to be to the Gentiles (22:17-21). Yet Jerusalem seemed to draw him like a magnet. It seems that he was determined to go to Jerusalem, when God wanted him to move on to Rome. He had even convinced himself that his “binding in the spirit” was of God.How many times have you heard someone with a strong desire of their own to do something say; “The Lord is leading me,” and then the whole plan falls through or backfires? Was the Lord wrong? Certainly not! It was not the Lord’s leading at all, but they convinced themselves because of some whim or determination they had.


I need to be very careful about having such a determination to do something my way that I miss God’s way. He guides through His Word, and never in a way that is contrary to His Word. I need to share examples of how this works. Example: Someone who says the Lord is leading them to marry an unsaved person. I can be sure that God never leads anyone in a way that is contrary to His Word.

Acts 20:22-24 (English Standard Version)

And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »