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Bible Commentaries
Acts 26

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-21

1 King Agrippa was a notable figure throughout the closing period of Jewish national life. He was the last prince of the Herodian line. Unlike the Roman governors, who were frequently replaced and most of whom knew little of the people they sought to govern, Agrippa had all his life been in a position to acquire a most intimate acquaintance with the Jews and their religious customs.

4-5 The morality of Saul of Tarsus was as unimpeachable as that of Paul the apostle. He had a good conscience ( Act_23:1 ) and his life was blameless ( Php_3:6 ). But he was the chief of sinners ( 1Ti_1:15 ) because his self-righteousness and religion made him a hater of Christ. Mere religion degrades men.

6 Paul's plight has often been repeated in the subsequent history of Christendom. His offense consists in believing the Scriptures-which his opponents claimed to believe. Strange to say, the most bitter persecution, to those who believe God, comes, not from the irreligious world, but from those who claim that they, too, believe the Scriptures, but who do not seem to have received the spirit of love which pervades them.

7 The Jews were expecting the Messiah and the kingdom, and should have rejoiced in the fulfillment of their expectatIon. Instead, they fly in the face of their fondest hopes, when they reject the proclamation of Messiah.

8 The Hebrew Scriptures contain several instances of resurrection besides that predicted concerning the awakening of those who sleep in the soil of the ground at the setting up of the kingdom ( Dan_12:2 ). The only entrance into the kingdom, for those who have fallen asleep, is resurrection, or awakening. Even Israel, now that they die as a nation, will have a national esurrection, as depicted by the dry bones of Ezekiel's vision ( Eze_37:1-14 ). Doubtless the stress which Paul lays on the doctrine of the resurrection in these final discourses, from the time he spoke in the Sanhedrin, arose from the fact that he now looked upon the nation as dead, and nothing but a spiritual resurrection would suffice to revive them when the kingdom should come.

12 This is the fullest account of Saul's call, and the only one which gives his commission to the nations. He forbore to mention this in speaking to his enraged kinsmen ( Act_22:7 ) as he here omits all reference to Ananias. He uses only such parts as suit the place and purpose.

13 Only those acquainted with the glare of the Syrian sun at midday, can grasp the full significance of this. Nature's brightest light is eclipsed by the glorious grace into which Saul is ushered by his call.

14 All fell to the earth at first, but later stood up ( Act_9:7 ) as Saul himself was told to do. The fact that the Lord spoke in Hebrew is shown in the other accounts by the form of the name Saul. It is spelled differently and is not declined, as is the Greek in other places.

15 In the Orient a sharp, pointed rod is used in place of a whip to urge animals to their task. To kick the sharp goad hurts no one but themselves. This is a graphic picture of Saul's service up to this time. The Lord was using him to carry out His purpose, but hitherto Saul did not acknowledge his Master. He had been goaded into persecuting the saints. Henceforth he was to render willing, intelligent service. Henceforth he acknowledges Christ as his Lord.

16 The twelve were to witness to the Lord's life from John's baptism to His ascension ( Act_1:21 ). Paul was to be a witness of Him after His ascension and glorification. It was to be progressive. Further visions were to be given to supplement this first commission.

16 Saul neither sought the Lord nor His service, neither had he a sense of need. He was arrested and saved by despotic grace.

17 As this is a continuation of Luke's account, most of the commissions are based on the commission for mankind ( Luk_24:47 ) proclaiming a pardon for all men. The twelve combined it with the kingdom commissions and limited it to Israelites and proselytes ( Act_2:38 ; Act_5:31 ; Act_10:43 ). Saul first preached a pardon of sins to gentiles in Pisidian Antloch ( Act_13:1-52 :38), combining it with the first intimation of justification. It is always coupled with repentance, though nothing is said in Saul's commission concerning this.

Verses 22-32

22 It is evident that the apostle did disclose secrets which cannot be found in Moses and the prophets. One of these was the secret of the resurrecction, made known to the Corinthians ( 1Co_15:15 ). Another was the secret of the evangel, which occupies much of the epistle to the Romans ( Rom_16:25 ). We must either take the statement that he had said nothing but what Moses and the prophets said of future occurrences in a general way of all his past course, or take it strictly of his conduct since his apprehension by the Jews. If the latter is the case, it becomes clear why, at this time of comparative leisure, no epistles proceed from his pen and there is a gap of several years between the Preparatory and the Perfection epistles. For the time being he seems to have confined himself to the closing drama of the kingdom. This aspect of his ministry is the only one, of course, which finds any place in the present account. Until the kingdom was fully set aside, he could disclose no more secrets.

24 The idea that light was to come to the nations through such a channel was too much for Festus. He did not deride learning . He might acknowledge that light could come through study. The word here used is the same which is elsewhere rendered scripture or writing. He objected, not to human attainments, but to divine revelation. This is shown in Paul's appeal to Agrippa, who had believed the prophets without becoming mad.

26 This holds good of all the facts of the gospel. The evangel has no esoteric doctrines. Even its "mysteries" are for the enlightenment of all ( Eph_3:9 ).

28 Agrippa was not "almost persuaded." His remark is sarcastic to a degree. Christian was not the honorable term it is today, but a name of reproach and scorn. He suggested that Paul is too hasty in supposing that, as he believed the prophets, he would believe the evangel. But Paul ignores his sarcasm and turns it into a sober wish. He could wish that all that noble company had the true treasures of nobility and wealth which were his in Christ! Thus ends Paul's testimony in Judea. This part of his course is finished.

1 The writer of Acts, probably Luke, seems to have become the apostle's constant companion from this time. In his latest epistle from Rome Paul speaks of him as his fellow laborer ( Phm_1:24 ) and later laments that he alone remained with him ( 2Ti_4:11 ).

1 This Julius has been identified with .Julius Priscus who afterwards became prefect of the

Prretorian guards when Vitellius was emperor.

1 There seems to have been no regular service either for passengers or freight on the Mediterranean in ancient times. Travelers were entirely dependent on passing merchant vessels and often sailed in a number of ships before reaching their destination. Paul took three different vessels in his last voyage to Jerusalem from Macedonia. Even emperors used this casual means of transportation. Hence the centurion took a ship to Asia, with the idea of transferring to another vessel as soon as he found one which would carry them toward Rome. Such a ship proved to be in Myra, one of the ports at which they called. And in this they pursued their journey to Italy.

2 Aristarchus is probably that same Aristarchus who was seized by the Ephesian mob when they could not find Paul ( Act_19:29 ) who returned to Asia with him on his last voyage to

Jerusalem ( Act_20:4 ). He was his fellow laborer in Rome ( Phm_1:24 ) and seems to have been imprisoned with him ( Col_4:10 ).

4 The direct course to the coasts of Asia would be south and west of Cyprus. This was the course on his second and third missionary journeys. They worked their way to windward by taking advantage of a current between Cyprus and Cilicia.

6 The Alexandrian ship was somewhat out of her course in this harbor unless it had business there also, but the prevailing west wind would account for this. Egyptian vessels were amongst the largest of that day, and as this one was engaged in the transMediterranean traffic it must have been of considerable size.

7 Cnidus had an excellent and sheltered harbor, to which, doubtless, they would have gone for the winter if the wind had allowed it.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Acts 26". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/acts-26.html. 1968.
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