30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.
Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”
4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”
5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'” Acts 22:30 – 23:5
If you’ve ever watched police shows, there are times when one officer will be mean and petty while threatening violence. He leaves the room but his partner is kind and benevolent and just wants to smooth things over, all in the hopes that the criminal will trust him.
Paul seemed to be playing both Good and Bad Cop here. First, he yelled at those who hit him, and then immediately apologized when he realized he had been speaking to the high priest. He quoted Scripture they would all recognize and relate to. He still had the upper hand and had their attention.
In the end, he was respectful and courteous.
I’ve noticed a worsening in our public discourse lately that is contrary to Paul’s deference to leadership. We see it now towards Trump, and for the last eight years towards Obama. Take Paul’s lead in this: be careful what you say. It’s better to not say something than to say it and immediately regret it.