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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Acts 26

Verses 1-32

    1. PAUL’S INTRO! (26:1-3)
    2. (1) Paul stretched out his hand - The gesture here was a form of dignified oratory, designed to show the earnestness of the speaker.
      1. The orator stretched forth the right hand, with the two lowest fingers shut in on the palm of the hand and the other fingers extended. (Manners & Customs of the Bible)
    3. (2,3) Paul’s finest hour. He gets to tell of Christ's purpose & power to King Agrippa.
      1. He starts to build a bridge that Agrippa can cross securely.
    4. Now he builds his bridge in 3 sections: Paul’s life Before Christ; his Conversion Experience; & his life After Salvation.
    5. [1] BEFORE CHRIST! (4-11)
    6. Why does Paul make such a big deal about himself as a persecutor of the church?
      1. To establish his credibility w/Agrippa, who like his sister Drusilla, comes from a long line of Christian-haters.
        1. Remember, Herod Agrippa I, killed James; Herodias & Herod Antipas, had John the Baptist killed; Herod Aristoblus was strangled by his father, Herod the Great, who ordered all the killings of the Bethlehem baby boys.
      2. Paul’s saying, “I used to be just like that!”
      3. I’m sure Agrippa was expecting some wild-eyed, scripture-spoutin fool, but now is faced with a man that isn’t much different from himself.
        1. This man is real & transparent & surprisingly believable.
    7. With this established, Paul moves to the day his life turned a strange new course.
    8. [2] CONVERSION EXPERIENCE! (12-18)
    9. (12) While thus occupied - meaning, I wasn’t on some spiritual quest, or gnawed by doubts, about what I was doing. I was engaged in pursuing my vendetta against Christians, when Jesus stopped me in my tracks.
    10. (13-15) Real simply he says 3 down-to-earth phrases: “I saw...”; “I heard..”; “I said…”
    11. (18) Wow! What a concise, believable, & coherent statement of Christianity!
      1. Its not syrupy; he does not dangle Agrippa over the flames of burning hell; nor does he alter the gospel to make it palatable.
      2. He addresses the king person to person, sinner to sinner, with the simple facts of Christ’s mercy, generosity, & love.
      3. Sin - What is sin anyways? Missing the mark; refusal to render to God worship due Him; living against Hs laws; being unjust; crossing forbidden lines; not only doing what you shouldn’t, but not doing what you should(omission & co...); owing a debt you can’t pay; having wickedness of heart, enmity of spirit, or shameless deeds. [Have you mis-stepped in any of these areas? One?]
      4. Sanctification - Read 2 Cor.5:15 Wow!
    12. [3] AFTER SALVATION! (19-23)
    13. But, knowing the facts isn’t enough. Agrippa must respond in faith, so Paul describes what that faith looked like in his own life.
      1. He says I didn’t ignore the light & the voice; I obeyed!
      2. King Agrippa, you need to trust Christ & live for Him.
      3. He didn’t shake his boney finger of judgment at Agrippa, despite the king’s rumored incestuous relationship w/his sister Bernice.
        1. Instead he unwrapped God for him, by unveiling Jesus. [The suffering Christ nailed to the cross, the shining Savior risen from the dead!]
    14. MAD! (24-32)
    15. Agrippa sat quite, but Festus had enough..You’re crazy!
      1. He remained composed & confident, “I’m not mad...I speak sober truth.”
    16. (28) You almost persuade me to be come a Christian - Commentators vary widely on what Agrippa was saying here.
      1. Said it in jest; bitter sarcasm; irony; anger; expression of sincere conviction?
      2. With Paul’s response in vs.29 I think Agrippa’s heart was touched, because Paul pleads with him to trust Christ!
    17. (30-32) Side bar - to consult with each other.
    18. Yet like Felix he also walks off the pages of history w/o a commitment to follow Christ.
      1. Almost! - Another dropped baton like the 4x100 meter relay.
      2. Almost! - Milorad Cavic from Serbia almost beat Phelps for the gold.
      3. Almost! - Agrippa was like the man almost pardoned, but was hanged;
      4. Almost! - Agrippa was like the man almost rescued, but was burned in the auditorium.
      5. Almost! - Agrippa was almost saved but now is damned, if he never responded to such a fine message!
        1. Agrippa, DQ’d, disqualified from salvation, he had it in his hand & let it go!
          1. Like the Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian when he threw down his greco-roman bronze medal in protest.
        2. Agrippa walks away from being crowned one of The Real Kings Kids & settles for his fake title of king; his false security of temporary power on earth; his all around fake life! & now his new nicknameAlmost Agrippa”!
    19. Paul was still in chains, yet his heart was free.
    20. Agrippa enjoyed unlimited freedom & power, yet his heart was chained in darkness.
      1. So in the end the prisoner was the free man & the king was the slave.
      2. Agrippa was almost when he could have been altogether!
    21. Life Lessons:
    22. Hearing about Christ doesn’t automatically bring internal change (Agrippa); Responding to Christ doesn’t automatically remove external chains (Paul).
    23. Paul’s guidelines in clearly communicating his faith:
      1. Establish common ground; find common interest; be transparent &honest; explain the gospel clearly; emphasize the need for a decision.
    24. Stay calm under pressure:
      1. John White illustrates the peace that Jesus gave Paul:
        1. “The heart that has this kind of peace is like a lighthouse in a storm. Winds shriek, waves crash, lightening flickers around it. But inside, the children play while their parents go about their work. They may look out the window to marvel at the powers that rage around them, but they have peace - the peace of knowing that the strength which protects them is stronger than the strength of the storm.” (ohn White, Greater Than Riches; pg.131)
    25. End: I want you to pray about some important decisions here at CCM (Family Mtg)
      1. In regards to finances & staff. You know, almost everyone is feeling the effects of our economy. I brought our pastors together a 2 weeks ago & asked each to pray regarding there being here [instead of just picking 3/4 employees; prayer]
      2. This has to deal with 2 of our Core Values: Stewardship & Participation.
        1. Stewardship - It’s the right thing to do. You’re having to do this at home & work, we are no different. It would be wrong for us to continue w/our # of pastors givin the present finances. (I’ve stalled since May)
        2. Participation - How? Prayer. (Don’t walk up to all the pastors, “hey, you leaving?”) Pray for each of them, & let’s watch the moving of the H.S.!
          1. ​​​​​​​Maybe a new church plant; Maybe helping another church that’s been praying for a shepherd; Maybe God wants to use them once again in the secular work force, to go find the Agrippa’s of our world.
        3. Not a bummer, but a movement of the H.S.!
          1. This is about advancing God’s kingdom, not destroying it.
          2. Gideon went down in #’s & they was successful.
          3. God is going to move in a powerful way in our individual pastors & with you!
            1. How? Because there will be a shift in some ministries that have been paid positions to volunteers. Again it wouldn’t be a bad thing if there was no paid staff. We can’t get comfortable.
            2. May God stir each of your hearts to “fill in” when the time arises. Some of you have been chosen to be leaders & maybe we’ve held you back
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Acts 26". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/acts-26.html. 2017.