DOES ACTS 26:22 DISPROVE THE APOSTLE PAUL’S SPECIAL DOCTRINE?
by Shawn Brasseaux
“Shawn, in your ‘Acts 9/28 Hybrid’ study you did back in (I believe) 2015, there was a verse that didn’t make the study. It’s a verse that many are using in regards to this silly doctrine. It’s Acts 26:22: ‘Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:’ People are getting tripped up on Paul saying ‘saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.’ Paul defines what that is in verse 23: ‘That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.’ How do we reconcile this, when we know from Scripture that Paul said so much more? Those who hold to a ‘two sendings’ theology are saying that Paul never preached ‘mystery’ doctrine in Acts and use Acts 26:22 as one of their ‘pet’ verses.”
Hi, my brother! Thanks for bringing that to my attention. We will get right to addressing this most important matter. I am sure many are wondering how to handle this verse as well.
For those unfamiliar with “Acts 9/28 Hybrid Theology,” just be aware that it is a group of professing “Pauline dispensational Bible students” who attack and water down Paul’s special ministry in much the same way denominationalists do. They constantly mix Peter and Paul, the nation Israel with the Body of Christ. It is a very intricate and extremely confusing system that is certainly not—notice NOT!—of the God of the Bible. The system is nothing but the idle speculations of men parading as “grace teaching.” It is not pure grace teaching, and you will see that demonstrated shortly. By the way, as the brother mentioned in the opening question, a few years ago, we released a series of related Bible study videos (five) on YouTube and two online companion booklets. Please see the link at the end of this article to learn more about this “Acts 9/28 Hybrid Theology” system.
We would do well to begin in Romans 1:1-5: “ Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;  And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:  By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”
Beyond any shadow of a doubt, there is only one Person in the universe named Jesus Christ. Of course, that God-Man had already been preached prior to the Apostle Paul’s conversion and ministry. To prove this, we can easily consult the Four Gospels, Matthew through John, as well as Acts chapters 1-8 (Saul/Paul was saved in chapter 9). Just as the God of the Bible was known to man prior to Paul, so the Son of God was known to man prior to Paul. As we will see later, this is the key to interpreting the verse in question.
Paul received directly from the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ a special set of doctrine that the Bible calls “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). Paul’s preaching of Jesus Christ is not a mere supplement, or an extension, of the 12 Apostles’ ministries. Pauline doctrine is designed to present the same Person Jesus Christ from a brand-new perspective. It was not another Person named Jesus Christ but rather the same Jesus Christ serving in a different capacity, bearing a new title, glorified in a new way. That is why we read about Paul saying “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25). There is a secret aspect to Jesus Christ, and it is in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, alone that we see that secret brought to light (cf. Colossians 1:25-29; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Timothy 2:4-7; Titus 1:1-3).
The Lord Jesus dying was no secret in the “Old Testament.” You can read of Messiah being “cut off,” killed, in Daniel 9:26. Psalm 22:16 mentions them “piercing [His] hands and [His] feet.” Isaiah 53:8 says, “he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” We can see Messiah dying in type as well—Abraham offering his son Isaac, the blood sacrifices of the Mosaic economy, Jonah expiring in the whale’s belly, and so on. Hence, 1 Corinthians 15:3 says, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” Jesus’ death (or suffering) was predicted by the Old Testament prophets: “ Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11).
As for the resurrection of Christ, it too was predicted in the Old Testament. “Christ… rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4). Psalm 16:10-11 is one of the easiest examples to realize that the Old Testament prophets wrote of the resurrection centuries before it happened (cf. Acts 2:24-32): “ For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Jonah being resurrected after three days and three nights is another Old Testament hint of Messiah’s resurrection (Matthew 12:39-40). Abraham receiving Isaac to life was yet another picture of Christ being raised from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19; cf. Genesis chapter 22).
Now, we return to your question about Paul’s “Acts” ministry. The unbelieving Jews in the Book of Acts traveled around and discredited Paul, portraying him as some evil religious leader, a fraud and a blasphemer (Acts 9:23-25; Acts 13:44-46; Acts 14:19; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:6; et cetera). However, (now we bring in Acts 26:22—your question), the Apostle defended himself by saying that he was actually preaching about the Person (Messiah) that their own Law and prophets foretold and exalted. They held Moses in such high regard, they valued the prophets, and Paul appealed to these works or texts they had accepted as genuine. For example, in Thessalonica, he used the Old Testament Scriptures (probably the timeline of Daniel 9:24-27) to prove to the local Jews that Jesus was Christ (Acts 17:1-3). Paul frequently quoted the Old Testament throughout his lengthy sermon in Acts chapter 13—see especially verses 27-41). As an aside, Jesus Christ Himself showed in the Old Testament Scriptures where He was predicted (Luke 24:44-46).
Reading Acts 26:22-23 again: “ Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:  That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”
Friend, to your question about Acts 26:22, “How do we reconcile this, when we know from Scripture that Paul said so much more?” Indeed, the Apostle Paul taught a lot more than what Moses and the prophets wrote. Chiefly, he preached salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, apart from the Law of Moses. In Acts 13:38-39, Paul says: “ Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Certainly, that message was not in the Law and the prophets. So, why did Paul declare that he was “saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come?”
What Paul was affirming in stating “saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come” (Acts 26:22-23) was that he was not preaching something 100 percent foreign to Scripture or the Jewish people. Jesus was Israel’s Messiah, He had suffered, He had died, and He had risen again—all in fulfillment of “Old Testament” prophecy. Paul had not invented any of that. He was not a liar or charlatan. Israel simply did not believe what their own prophets wrote!
“None other things” is specifically tripping people up, so it is necessary to address it now. The confusion is unnecessary. Let me give you a very simple illustration. Suppose someone shared some information with me, and I passed it on to you. I told you, “I am only telling you what they told me.” Does that mean that I told you literally everything they told me? Of course not. I did not quote them word-for-word, and I may have left out some details (for various reasons). My point in declaring to you “I am only telling you what they told me” is my way of proving my statements. I did not invent anything; I merely repeated the basic information so you would learn it. Now take this and apply it to Paul’s situation.
The Old Testament provided some proof of what Paul was preaching. Again, the death of Christ was prophesied. His resurrection was predicted. However, what did these events mean with respect to the Gentiles apart from Israel and her prophetic program? What were Calvary’s significance concerning the Church the Body of Christ and the heavenly places? We must come to the Apostle Paul to learn those truths. The bare minimum of Paul’s preaching—the cross of Christ—was found in the Old Testament. However, that is not all that Paul preached. If you want to think of it as him taking those basic facts and expanding upon them, think of it like that. Go back to Romans 1:1-5 (our opening passage). God had more to say about His Son than what was revealed in the Old Testament, and that is why Paul was saved and commissioned (back to Romans 1:1-5, remember).
As to the ridiculous idea that Paul did not preach mystery truth until after the Book of Acts, we are compelled to share the following. It is quite clear that Paul preached mystery truth throughout the Book of Acts, long before its closure in chapter 28. This can be easily demonstrated from the Scriptures (apart from the idle speculations of “Acts 9/28 Hybrid Theology”). Notice what we discover in Paul’s “Acts” epistles of Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and 1 & 2 Thessalonians:
- We read about the “mystery” of Israel’s blindness mentioned in Romans 11:26. Romans was written around chapter 20 of Acts. Israel’s blindness during the Dispensation of Grace was certainly known and preached during Acts. This was certainly not found in the Old Testament—it is part of the special revelation Jesus Christ gave to Paul. This was written during the Acts period.
- There is the “mystery” of the Rapture, the gathering together of the Church the Body of Christ to Jesus Christ in heaven, spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:51. First Corinthians was written around Acts chapters 19-20. Romans and 1 Corinthians were written before Paul arrived at Jerusalem in Acts 20:17 (see Romans 15:25-28 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-5). First Thessalonians 4:13-18 also refers to that secret coming of Christ. These were written during the Acts period.
- Galatians 5:6 and Galatians 6:15 mention that there is no difference between circumcision (Jew) and uncircumcision (Gentile). This is mystery truth, not found outside of Paul’s ministry, and known during the Book of Acts. Galatians was likely Paul’s first epistle, written as early as chapter 16 or 17 of Acts. Again, these were written during the Acts period.
- Paul refers to Satan’s lie program taking on a “mystery” form in order to mimic God’s mystery program operating during the Acts period (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Mystery truth is on Paul’s mind and in his teaching ministry during the Acts period.
- We read about Paul knowing of the “mystery” and yet unable to make it known to the immature, carnal Christians in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8. Once more, this was written during the Acts period.