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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Acts 26

 

 

Verses 1-32


Defence before Agrippa

1-32. St. Paul before Agrippa. This speech, though in form a defence to the Jews, is really intended by St. Luke to be St. Paul's defence to the world—an apology for his whole life and work.

Analysis. Opening compliment to Agrippa (Acts 26:2-3); the Apostle's orthodox Pharisaic education (Acts 26:4-5); he is really called in question because he believes in the hope of all orthodox Jews, the coming of the Messiah, and the Resurrection (Acts 26:6-8); his persecution of the Church in the time of his ignorance (Acts 26:9-11); his conversion and divine commission to preach to the Gentiles (Acts 26:12-18); his subsequent conduct the result of a direct divine command (Acts 26:19); his labours among Jews and Gentiles (Acts 26:20); the hostility of the Jews (Acts 26:21); the conclusion, emphasising the fact that Christianity is nothing but orthodox Judaism properly understood. Moses and the prophets taught, (1) that the Messiah should come; (2) that He should suffer; (3) that He should rise again from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep; (4) that in the Messiah's days the religion of Israel would be taught to the Gentiles. This is precisely what St. Paul preaches, and therefore he claims acquittal from Agrippa, and from all orthodox Jews (Acts 26:22-23, Acts 26:27).

5. See Acts 22:3; Acts 23:6; Philippians 3:5.

6. The promise] viz. of the Messiah, made to Abraham, Genesis 22:18 also of the Resurrection, for it was believed by the Pharisees and orthodox Jews that all Jews would be raised to life to share in the Messianic kingdom.

7. Instantly] RV 'earnestly.'

9, 10. 'I once found the same difficulty in believing that God does actually raise the dead; and therefore I bitterly persecuted those who proclaimed the Resurrection of Jesus, just as you are now persecuting me.'

9. Contrary to the name] i.e. in order to suppress the confession and invocation of it.

10. My voice] RV 'my vote.' The Gk. means 'the vote of a judge,' and establishes the fact that at the time of the death of Stephen, Paul, though so young a man, was a member of the Sanhedrin.

12-18. See on Acts 9:3; Acts 22:6.

16-18. It appears from Acts 9:6; Acts 22:10 that all the directions that Jesus gave to Paul at the moment of his conversion were, 'Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.' The command to preach to the Gentiles was apparently given through Ananias (Acts 22:15), and more definitely in a subsequent vision at Jerusalem (Acts 22:21). It seems reasonable, therefore, to suppose that St. Paul here summarises the contents of more than one revelation.

23. That Christ should suffer] RV 'how that the Christ must suffer'; RM 'if the Christ must suffer,' or, 'whether the Christ must suffer': see Luke 24:26, Luke 24:46 and Isaiah 53. The first] see 1 Corinthians 15:20, 'the firstfruits of them that slept'; Colossians 1:18, 'the firstborn from the dead'; Revelation 1:5, 'the first begotten of the dead.'

Light] see Luke 2:32; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 60:1-3. The people] i.e. the Jewish nation, 'the people of God.'

24. The exclamation of Festus shows impatience and perhaps anger at the idea that an uneducated peasant like Jesus (one, moreover, who had been crucified) could have anything to teach a Roman like himself. Much learning] lit. 'the numerous writings,' probably the writings of Moses and the prophets, quoted by St. Paul in his speech. Or the reference may be a general one to the Apostle's wellknown studious habits.

25. Observe the good temper and courtesy of St. Paul's retort.

Most noble] see Luke 1:3, 'most excellent Theophilus' (same word).

28. Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian] This translation is now given up. The best rendering seems to be, 'Too easily art thou persuading thyself that thou canst make me a Christian!'

32. Agrippa, speaking as a Jew, pronounces St. Paul's views orthodox, or at least not heretical. There is nothing in them, he thinks, contrary to the OT., though, of course he does not accept them as true.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Acts 26:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/acts-26.html. 1909.

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Sunday, June 16th, 2019
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