Biblical People

Biblical People: Ananias (3)

Ananias (3) is a high priest and part of the religious Council, the Sanhedrin. This is at a time when the Jewish religious leaders are doing their best to get rid of Paul, trying to silence him forever or at least remove his influence on their community.

Paul, a prisoner for his beliefs and for telling others about Jesus, is brought before the Council. Paul looks at them and declares, “I’ve been faithful to God and have a clear conscience, up to this very day.”

At that moment Ananias orders someone near Paul to hit him in the mouth. We don’t know if this is a mere slap or a punch.

Regardless, Paul reacts. “You hypocrite! You claim to judge me according to the law, but you violate it by commanding someone to strike me.”

The people standing next to Paul inform him that he just insulted God’s high priest. 

Paul apologizes.

cWithout justification, he ordered that Paul be punished. 

Being high priest doesn’t give him the right to do that, but his position does give him the power, whether it’s okay or not. And the people support him in this.

Despite whatever good qualities Ananias may have, he’s a corrupt leader who uses his power to advance his personal agenda, opposing God’s plan in the process.

Whether we have little power or much, do we abuse what power we have or use it to honor God in all things?

[Discover more about Ananias in Acts 23:1–5 and Acts 24:1.]

Read more about other biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at