Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024
the Second Week of Lent
There are 29 days til Easter!
Attention!
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Acts 26

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

PAUL’S FINAL DEFENCE IN ISRAEL BEFORE KING AGRIPPA

V. 1-29

1)"Then Agrippa said unto Paul," (Agrippas de pros ton Paulon ephe) "Agrippa then said to Paul," directly recognized Paul, by direct vocal address, as follows: (Agrippa as guest and king, presided over this hearing by right of country).

2) "Thou art permitted to speak for thyself," (epitrepetai soi huper sequtou legein) "You are permitted to speak on behalf of yourself," about this matter, at this time, on this occasion. The language of this verse indicates that, though not on formal trial, Paul was defending himself, in who he was, in what he was, in what he said, and in what he did, always.

3) "Then Paul stretched forth the hand," (tote ho Paulos ekteinas ten cheira) "Then Paul stretching out his hand," with a courteous, gracious gesture, and to indicate an emotional, sincere appreciation for the privilege of addressing King Agrippa and the huge throng that had crowded into the theatre arena that day.

4) "And answered for himself:" (apelogeito) "He defended himself," against the extended, malicious charges that the Jews had bellowed against him. He was ready "rightly to divide the word of truth," to give a "witness" for Jesus Christ and His church, to "defend the faith, - and to "give a reason for the hope that was in him, in meekness and in fear," 2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 1:8; Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:17; 1 Peter 3:15. The king little expected to hear such a moving speech, an oration.

Verse 2

1) “I think myself happy, king Agrippa," (basileu Agrippa hegemai hemauton makarion) "King Agrippa, I consider myself to be happy," to be spiritually prosperous and fortunate, particularly blessed, because of this occasion. Paul rejoiced because of the occasion, not because of the chains of humiliation he wore that day, not because of the grave charges yet against him that day, but because he could defend his personal integrity and witness for Jesus Christ, which he did, Philippians 4:4; Matthew 5:10-12; Romans 8:28.

2) "Because I shall answer for myself this day before thee," (epi sou mellon semeron apologeisthai) "Because I am permitted to defend myself before you today;" His introduction was direct, to the point, sincere, honest, because he knew that Agrippa, as a Jew, had in-depth knowledge of Jewish customs. Had he been guilty, he would have been fearful of being tried before one who knew all the facts.

3) "Touching all things," (peri panton) "Concerning all things," relative or germane to all things (kind of things), a broadside, whole- hog -charge against him, as a person and what he believed, taught and practiced. He would not omit answering one clause of the indictment.

4) "Whereof I am accused," (hon egkaloumai) "Of which I am repeatedly being accused," based on inaccurate information and gossiping rumor mongering. The nature of the charges repeatedly circulated was threefold, of 1) Sedition or treason, 2) Heresy, and 3) Profaning the temple, Acts 24:5-6.

5) "Of the Jews:” (hupo loudaion) "By origin, creation, and circulation of the Jews," or incited and kept stirred up for more than two year by the Jews, your people (nation) and mine, Acts 24:9; Acts 24:27; Acts 25:2-3; Acts 25:7; Acts 25:15-20.

Verse 3

1) "Especially because I know thee to be expert," (maIista gnosten onta se)" Most of aII (primarily) because I know you to be an expert," a definitive authority, a knower, to know what one ought to know, to pass judgement on matters of the nature of things alleged against me by the Jews.

2) "In all customs and questions which are among the Jews:” (panton ton kata loudaious ethon te zetematon) "Of all of both the ethics (customs) and questions among all the Jews," wherever scattered thru the Roman Empire.

3) "Wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently " (dio deomai makrothumos akousai mou) "Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently," with patience, as I try to disclose matters that establish my personal identity, in character and conduct, as each relates to the charges maliciously circulated against me, though they might not interest a king.

Identity of a witness is always important in determining the trustworthiness of his testimony. Where he has lived, what he has done, and with whom he has been and is associated, at the moment of the testimony, are proper matters of controversy. Note how thoroughly Paul opened up his life to the king, and the throng before him, in the powerful testimony that follows, Luke 14:35; Romans 10:17.

Verse 4

1) "My manner of life from my youth," (ten men oun biosin mou ek neoteos) "Therefore the manner of my life from the days of my youth," from the beginning of young manhood, when I came to Jerusalem from Tarsus, where I was free-born as a Roman citizen. Yet my conduct, behavior, or manner of living, morally, ethically and religiously.

2) "Which was at the first among mine own nation," (ten ap’ arches genomen en to ethnei mou) "Which was from the beginning (lived) in and among my own nation," of Israel, in Judea, that is the years of my training, my education from youth, was down among my own people, Romans 9:1-3; Romans 10:1-4.

3) "At Jerusalem," (en te lerosolumois) "in the city and area of Jerusalem," where these terrible accusations were, these many years later, lodged against me, about two years ago, Acts 21:27-30; Acts 21:34; Acts 22:22-23; Acts 23:12-15; Acts 24:5-9; Acts 24:27.

4) "Know all the Jews;” (esasi pantes loudaioi) "All the Jews know," are aware of it, my general course of life’s behavior or conduct. Man does not live to himself alone. He has an influence, develops a reputation, a name that bears influence, for good or for bad, Romans 14:7; Ecclesiastes 7:1; Proverbs 22:1.

Verse 5

1) "Which knew me from the beginning," (proginaskontes me anothen) "Have previously known me from the first," knew me beforehand, from the beginning of my formal, public education in Jerusalem.

2) "If they would testify," (ean thelosi marturein) "If they are (were) only willing to testify," to relate the truth concerning my life, my behavior among them, my reputation from my youth among them, relating to my whole course of conduct and association.

3) "That after the most straitest sect of our religion," (hoti kata ten akribestaten airesin tes hemeteras threskeias) "That according to, or in accord with, the most exact, strictest sect (conservative in Jewish philosophy) of our religion," in letter, forms, and ceremonies, Galatians 1:13-14. The double accusative is here used to emphasize that he emphatically followed the tenets of the most restricted sect or order of Jewish religion, Acts 22:3; Acts 23:6.

4) “I lived a Pharisee." (ezesa Pharisaios) "I continually lived a Pharisee," among them, later referred to as "an Hebrew of the Hebrews," Acts 22:3; Philippians 3:5-6.

Verse 6

1) "And now I stand and am judged," (kai nun hesteka krinomenos) "And now, and for the indeterminate future, I stand being judged," or am standing for judgement of what is in my future, Acts 23:6. This hope for which he is now being judged, he asserts, is the same hope, not different from, that he had professed during his whole past life. Not merely of the resurrection but also of the future messianic kingdom of Israel, Luke 1:31-33,

2) "For the hope," (ep’ elpidetes) "Upon the basis of the hope," which I have, hold, or possess and express to others in my witnessing, Acts 1:8; Romans 1:13-16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Acts 28:20. He, Jesus Christ, is still the hope set before men, as the anchor for their souls, and the Messed Hope for whom believers are faithfully to look, Hebrews 6:18-19; Titus 2:13-14.

Verse 7

1) "Unto which promise," (eis hen) "Unto which promise," or with reference or relationship to which promise, described specifically, Acts 3:17-26.

2) "Our twelve tribes," (to dodeka plulon hemon) "To our twelve tribes," of the nation of Israel, Acts 15:13-18; Acts 10:43.

3) "Instantly serving God day and night," (en ekteneia nukta kai hemeran latreuon) "Worshipping God with earnestness, night and day," constantly, zealously, "but not according to knowledge," Romans 10:1-4.

4) "Hope to come” (elpizei katantesai) "Hope to arrive," eventually, surely, in spite of their many years of captivities among the nations of the world, Romans 8:23-25; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:23-29.

5) "For which hope’s sake," (peri hes elpidos) "Concerning which hope," of personal and national resurrection and redemption, Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:13-14; Titus 2:13-14.

6) "King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews." (egkaloumoi hupo loudaion basileu) "I am accused by Jews, 0 King;” - charged with a crime in relation to the hope of the Messiah, Agrippa knew that this was the hope of every true Israelite; and the apostle Paul laid stress upon the strange fact that Jews should persecute one who identified himself with their deepest and most enduring hope, Acts 23:6; Acts 23:6-11.

Verse 8

1) "Why should it be thought a thing incredible by you," (ti apiston krinetai par humin) "Why is it (should it exist as) incredible by you?" or be "judged as a thing incredible," unfaithful, outside the realm of faith in the long existing promises of God, Job 14:14-15; Job 19:23-27; Daniel 12:2-3. Why should this resurrection concept seem to be a poetic fable to any Jew, or to you, your majesty? to you as you believe the Jewish Scriptures, Acts 26:27. It seems that Festus did not believe it, but was a Sadducee in this matter, Acts 23:8.

2) "That God should raise the dead?" (ei ho theos nekrous egeirei) "If God should raise (or raises) dead persons?" For He had promised "I will ransom them from death," Hosea 13:14. Do not all men long to live after death? And has not this been an hope of Israel that you know to be an express part of their national heritage, King Agrippa? Ezekiel 37:1-14. That both the nation of Israel, and every Israelite should live again, had been a specific promise from God to Israel, and hope of Israel, from ancient times, Daniel 12:2-3; John 5:28-29; Acts 15:13-18. Jesus Christ was the initial fulfillment, of the personal resurrection, redemption hope, and it was Paul’s main contention, the primary goal of his testimony this day, Acts 26:22-23.

Verse 9

1) “I verily thought with myself," (ego men oun edoksa hemauto) "I myself certainly at one time thought," back in those days, when I lived as a devout Pharisee in Jerusalem, as described Acts 26:4-5. For I was once a skeptic, regarding the resurrection, and incredulous, with perverted reasoning myself.

2) "That I ought to do many things contrary " (dein polla enantia praksai) "I ought (was obliged) to practice many things, that were contrary or in opposition," and at enmity to or toward Jesus Christ and His church, Luke 23:34. Like those who hissed at our Lord and Stephen in their death, Paul once knew not the gravity or seriousness of his persecution of Jesus and His church, Acts 7:60; Acts 8:1-3; Acts 9:4-6.

3) "To the name of Jesus of Nazareth." (pros to onoma lesou tou Nazoraiou) "To or toward the name of Jesus of Nazareth," that is, against who He was, and what He had taught, and authorized. Paul even thought that "killing the disciples of the Lord," and reeking havoc against His church, was the will of the Lord; Tho his religious, zealous thoughts were in ignorance and wicked, John 16:2; 1 Timothy 1:13. Paul as a "wise one" in this world, was self -deluded, even as the Jews in their rejection of Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:18-20; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

Verse 10

1) "Which things I also did in Jerusalem:” (ho kai epoiesa en lerousolemois) "Which things I certainly did in Jerusalem," Acts 8:1; Acts 8:3.

2) "And many of the saints," (kai pollous te ton hagion) "And many of the holy ones (saints), members of the church, in Jerusalem," Acts 9:1-2.

3) "Did I shut up in prison," (ego en phulakais katekleisa) "I shut up in prison," which he also later referred to specifically, as persecuting the church, as an institution, which Jesus purchased with His own blood, Acts 20:28.

4) "Having received authority from the chief priests;” (te para ton archiereon eksousian labon) "When I had received administrative and executive authority, from the chief priests," as expressed Acts 9:1-2. The hands of the witnesses were the first upon the criminal vvhen one was put to death. The witnesses led out in the execution, casting the first stones, Deuteronomy 17:5-7; John 8:7.

5) "And when they were put to death,’’ (anairoumenonte) "Then when they were put to death," while they were being killed, slain, as Stephen was Acts 7:59-60. The accusers or witnesses cast the first stones, then stood back as others finished the job. Paul was once a lead-man in such.

6) “I gave my voice against them." (auton katenegka psephon) "I cast a stone-vote against them," Acts 22:4; against their living, being permitted to live any longer, or in favor of their being stoned to death, The term "vote” means my "pebble" indicating "my vote" to see them put to death, Acts 8:1-3. It is thought that Paul may have even been a voting member of the Sanhedrin of seventy councilmen.

Verse 11

1) "And I punished them oft in every synagogue” (kai kata pasas tas sunagogas pollakis timoron autous) "And throughout all their synagogues, I often punished or humiliated them,"

2) "And compelled them to blaspheme," (enagkazon blasphemein) "And I compelled them to blaspheme," I strove or worked hard to make them blaspheme," to give me a law-pretence to put them to death, 1 Timothy 1:13; Acts 13:45; James 2:7.

3) "And being exceedingly mad against them," (perissos te emmainomenous autois) "And I raged against them (the church), excessively, boisterously," 1 Corinthians 15:9.

4) “I persecuted them even unto strange cities." (eidokon heos kai eis tas ekso poleis) "I persecuted them (the saints) members of the church, followers of Jesus of Nazareth, whom He had chosen, as far as to outside cities, or foreign cities, cities beyond both Jerusalem and Judea. The Gk. term (ediokon) means "I set about persecuting them," whereby he could trail them down, even in foreign countries, wherever he might find them, not in Damascus, Syria alone, he persecuted them, Acts 9:1-2; Acts 22:4.

Verse 12

1) "Whereupon as I went to Damascus," (en hois poreuomenos eis ten Damaskon) "in which journeying persecution I went into Damascus," as previously recounted, keeping the record straight, witnessing of his conversion, as on previous occasions, Acts 9:3 or "while I was engaged" in this deposition, I went as far away as to Damascus, the last foreign city before his total conversion.

2) "With authority and commission," (met’ eksousias kai epitropes) "With administrative and executive power to decide," Acts 9:1-3, with a deposition for seizure and persecution against disciples of the Lord and His church, 1 Corinthians 15:9.

3) "From the chief priests," (tes ton archiereon) "Of the kind mandated of the high priests," Acts 9:1-3; Acts 22:5-6. He received deposition papers and persecution rights granted under signature of the high priests, to treat Christians as termites, pests, heretics, religious saboteurs, and renegades, a matter with which he was now being charged, Acts 22:4; 1 Timothy 1:13.

Verse 13

1) "At midday, 0 king," (hemera meses basileu)"At the time of or about midday, 0 king," or "about noon," Acts 22:6. That the light fell so radiant, was above the midday glare of an Eastern sun, was a supernatural light, could not be denied, because of the testimony of Paul, and those other enemies of Christ who fell under the sudden glare that day.

2) “I saw in the way a light from heaven," (kata ten hodon eidon ouranothen phos) "I saw along the way a light which came down from heaven;" Four things happened that day: 1) He saw a light, 2) He heard a voice, 3) "He received a call, 4) He obeyed the call, Acts 26:13-19. The light was from heaven, of a supernatural brilliance, Acts 9:3; "above (more than) the brilliance of the sun," Acts 26:13.

3) "Above the brightness of the sun," (huper ten lamproteta tou heliou) "Above the brilliance of the sun," from higher up it came, and was more brilliant in radiance than the sun, Acts 26:13, "from heaven," 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

4) "Shining round about me," (perilampsan me) "Shining blindingly radiant around, about, and upon me," personally, so that he was blinded for three days, Acts 9:8-9.

5) "And them which journeyed with me." (kai tous sun hemoi poreuomenous) "And those who were journeying in concert with me," those traveling with me, to carryon a persecution ministry against Jesus Christ and His church, assisting me in my deposition and persecution pursuits into foreign countries, away from Judea, Acts 26:11; Acts 9:1-3; Acts 9:7.

Verse 14

1) "And when we were all fallen to the earth," (panton te katapesonton hemon eis ten gen) "Then when all of us had fallen to the earth," had fallen upon the ground, as if struck by lightening; Acts 9:4, details Paul’s hearing the voice and understanding his name, while those with him heard not the voice, in the sense of understanding what was said, Acts 9:7; Acts 22:9.

2) “I heard a voice speaking unto me," (ekousa phonen legousan pros me) "I heard a voice repeatedly, distinctly, saying to me," as a call of personal nature, such as that of little Samuel and of Isaiah; 1 Samuel 3:1-10; Isaiah 6:8; Acts 9:4-5.

3) "And saying in the Hebrew tongue” (te Hebraidi dialekto) "In the Hebrew dialect, saying," in the language of national Israel. Saul was his Hebrew name, Paul his later Christian name, Acts 9:4. Only he understood the message of the Divine voice.

4) "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" (Saoul, Saoul ti me diokeis) "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Acts 9:4. To persecute the disciples, and church of the Lord, is to persecute the Lord, Acts 8:1; Acts 8:3; 1 Corinthians 15:9; 1 Timothy 1:13.

5) "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." (skleron soi pros kentra laktizein)" It is hard for you to kick and keep kicking against the goads," the sharp reproof of a guilty conscience, enlightened by the Word of God, testimony of Stephen and other believers he had persecuted, and by the Spirit of God that convicted him of sin, righteousness and the judgement to come, Proverbs 1:22-23; John 16:7-11; Hebrews 3:7; Hebrews 4:7; Romans 2:4-5. Paul had been resisting, kicking against the pricking of the spirit, for some time, Acts 7:51; Acts 7:54.

Verse 15

1) "And I said, who art thou, Lord?" (ego de eopa tis ei kurie) "Then I said, who are you, Lord," Acts 9:5. You see Paul knew the voice of the Lord that reproved him of his grave guilt of sin. God takes the initiative to call sinners to repentance and faith, else none, of his own nature would ever be saved, John 6:44; Proverbs 1:22-23; Ephesians 2:8-9. Romans 2:4-5.

2) "And He said," (ho de kurias eipen) "Then the Lord replied," responded to me, for it was me, not they who were with me, to whom He was extending a special call, of eternal consequence to all nations, Acts 9:6; Acts 9:15-16; Acts 26:16-18.

3) “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." (ego eimi lesous hon su diokes) "I am (exist as) Jesus, whom you are engaged in persecuting," Acts 9:5, for the "carnal mind of man is at enmity with God," Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:3. He who is lost, unsaved, is always, by his influence and identity, against the Lord. There is no "neutral or innocent state" or "condition" for any responsible unbeliever. "He that is not with me is (exists) against me," our Lord affirmed, as an everlasting truth, an axiom of moral truth, Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23.

It appears that what is said in Acts 26:16-19, as follows, is a summary of what God had said to both Paul and Ananias in the vision formerly recounted, Acts 9:15-16; Acts 22:14-15.

Paul received his recovery of sight from Ananias in Damascus, but his apostolic call before that, on the way to Damascus, so that he affirmed that he received it from the Lord, not from or by man, Galatians 1:1; Galatians 1:11-12. Thus the three accounts of Paul’s conversion and apostolic call, corroborate, rather than contradict, the liberty of witnesses to recount events in their own words, at different times.

Verse 16

1) "But rise and stand upon thy feet:” (alla anastethi kai atethi epi tous podas sou) "But arise (stand upright) and stand (at attention) upon your feet:" Acts 9:6, for orders from your Lord or commander, to denote respect for authority, as a soldier stands at attention before his commander, or a servant before a king, Ezekiel 2:1-2.

2) "For I have appeared unto thee for this purpose," (eis touto gar ophthen soi) "For regarding this purpose, I have appeared to you;" The purpose was then disclosed or explained to him, as God had done to Ezekiel, Ezekiel 2:3-10; Ezekiel 3:17-21.

3) "To make thee a minister and a witness," (procheirisasthai se hupereten kai martura) "To appoint (choose) you (to be) an attendant and a witness;" It was a ministry and a witness for Christ to all nations, the Gentiles in particular, a trust in which he gloried, Ephesians 3:7-11; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 1:12; Galatians 6:14; Romans 1:13-16.

4) "Both of these things which thou hast seen," (hon te eides) "Both of the things which you have seen," (me hon) “of the things of me," which you have seen, or "wherein thou hast seen or perceived me," 1 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Corinthians 15:7-8.

5) "And of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;” (te ophthesomai soi) "As well as things which I shall appear (hereafter) to show to you," which He did, from time to time, throughout his ministry. In Corinth, Acts 18:9-10; In Jerusalem, Acts 22:18; Acts 22:24; Acts 23:11.

Verse 17

1) "Delivering thee from the people," (eksairoumenos se ek tou laou) "Delivering you from the people, "the laity, the masses, repeatedly, continually, again and again, from identity in character and the kind of testimony the masses of his own people, Pharisees and Sadducees, then gave, by which no one could be saved, Romans 10:1-4. As an Ambassador, an high "person of state," must sever all pledges of business ties and obligations to serve his country abroad, so must the apostle.

2) "And from the Gentiles," (kai ek ton ethnon) ’And out of (from) the Gentiles," heathen, or nations -from personal identity with their heathen and idolatrous worship. He was called of God to break with all worldly and/or religious ties of obligation toward Jew and Gentile, in religious and civil matters, to do ambassadorial work for Jesus Christ, to the Gentile world, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Romans 12:1-2. Was not Abraham, the Father of the faithful, also called in a similar way? Genesis 12:1-3.

3)"Unto whom now I send thee," (eis ous ego apostello se) "Unto whom (into the midst of whom) I mandate or commission you," to go forth, as an apostle, one Divinely mandated, or commissioned, or deputized for a special work, an ambassador-ship, Galatians 1:10-17; Romans 1:5; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 3:1-11.

Verse 18

1) "To open their eyes," (anoiksai ophthalmous auton) "To open their eyes," from semi-blindness, astigmatism, or darkness of unbelief, from impaired spiritual vision, as prophesied Isaiah 35:4-5; and declared, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:6 --- to see themselves as sinners, and Jesus as Savior.

2) "And to turn them from darkness to light," (tou epistrepsai skotous eis photos) "That is to turn them, to change their course of life, out of darkness into light," or unto light, spiritual light, Romans 1:21; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:18; John 8:12. What a mission! to rescue men from wandering the dark shores of despairing doubt and unbelief, and deliver them to the shores of the river of life! Revelation 22:1-2.

3) "And from the power of Satan unto God," (kai tes eksousias tou satana epi ton theon) "And from the authority or jurisdiction of Satan toward God," to deliver them from the administrative slavery of servitude of the slanderer, of Satan himself, to the service of God; What a deliverance! 2 Corinthians 1:10.

4) "That they may receive forgiveness of sins," (tou labein autous aphesin hamartion) "That they may receive, of their own accord, in their own behalf, for themselves, forgiveness of sins;" This is the essence or purpose of the Divine call of Paul, of the church, and of the witness of every believer, Acts 26:16; Luke 19:10; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:16-18; 1 John 1:8-9.

5) "And inheritance among them which are sanctified," (kai kleron en tois hegiasmenois) "And an heirsetting position among those having been already sanctified," among the Jews in the golden millennial age or era, that the church, called from among the Gentiles, as a witness for His name sake, should also be heir-holding participants in the millennial reign promises and privileges with Israel, Acts 15:13-18; Ephesians 3:5-12; Ephesians 3:21.

6) "By faith that is in me." (pistei te eis eme) "By the faith that is (now exists) in me, "that is by the faith, system of teaching, of the church of Jesus Christ, that I now embrace and espouse or teach, preach, and practice, Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:8-13; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Corinthians 3:5.

Verse 19

1) "Whereupon, 0 king Agrippa," (othen basileu Agrippa) "From which (call) king Agrippa," from the time, understanding that I received, and purpose of the call, your majesty," Ephesians 3:1-12.

2) “I was not disobedient," (ouk egenomen apeithos) "I was not, and have not been, disobedient," obstinate, unfaithful, or careless in the matters I have related to you, Acts 26:12-18; Galatians 1:15-16.

3) "Unto the heavenly vision:" (te puranio optasia) "That is toward the call of the heavenly vision," the mission call, the Divine commission or mandate, to the extent that I have understood it, from that day some 27 years ago on the Damascus road and in Damascus three days later, Acts 9:1-25. And this fidelity to God’s call, Paul held till the end, an example to be emulated by each of God’s children, even today, 2 Timothy 4:7-8; 1 Corinthians 11:2. This heavenly vision was confirmed by further Divine calls thru Paul’s ministry, before the Bible was completed to become man’s perfected, completed rule or system of faith in practice, Acts 16:6-10; Acts 23:11; Acts 27:22-25; Acts 28:16; Acts 28:28-31; Ephesians 4:11-16.

Blessed is that man who:

1. Sees a light from heaven, thru the Word today, Acts 26:13; Psalms 119:105; Psalms 119:130; John 5:39.

2. Hears a voice from heaven, Acts 26:14; Isaiah 6:8; Ezekiel 2:1-2; and Paul, Acts 1:4-6.

3. Recognizes and acknowledges it, Acts 26:15-18; as Paul did, 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

4. Receives a call and respects it, Acts 26:16; as Abraham, Moses, Isa.

5. Obeys, pursues, the course of His call with fidelity, Acts 26:19; as Jesus did, ”l have finished the work thou gavest me to do," John 17:4. O, to be a finisher, not a quitter, to be a winner, not a loser, in the Master’s work, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Revelation 2:10.

Verse 20

1) "But shewed first unto them of Damascus," (alla tois en Damasko proton) "But firstly (in priority) to those then in Damascus," those at hand, those nearest me. Paul began to witness where he was, after he was saved, surrendered to the Lord, and was baptized, after he identified himself in Baptism, with the very church or congregation of Damascus brethren he had meant to persecute, Acts 9:18-25.

2) "And at Jerusalem," (te kai lerosolumois) "And also to those who were in Jerusalem," after he had first been refused fellowship, or a hearing before them, Acts 9:26; Acts 9:30; Acts 11:22-26; It is possible he may have preached in synagogues on his way from Damascus back to Jerusalem.

3) "And throughout all the coasts of Judea," (pasan te ten choran tes loudaias) "Then throughout all the coast-country of Judea," or coastal territory of Judea, Acts 15:3.

4) "And then to the Gentiles," (kai tois ethnesin apengellon) "Even to the Gentile nations I announced," gave testimony, at Antioch in Syria, with Barnabas, Acts 11:22-26; then on three missionary tours of Asia Minor and the Eastern European countries, Acts 13:1 to Acts 26:32.

I

5) "That they should repent and turn to God," (metanoein kai epistrephein epi ton theon) "To repent and turn to God," that they should repent and turn their lives to God, Acts 17:30-31; Acts 20:21; Romans 2:4-5; 2 Corinthians 7:10.

6) "And do works meet for repentance." (aksia tes metanoias erga prassontas) "And practice works worthy of, acknowledging or becoming to, repentance," to one who has repented, Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:5-16. Tho works do not bring one repentance, faith, or salvation, they are to follow these in the lives of the saved, as fruits or evidence of salvation, as expressions of gratitude for salvation, as the means of saving some, 1 Corinthians 9:20-23; Matthew 5:13-16; John 13:34-35.

Verse 21

1) "For these causes," (heneka touton) "On account of these things," or as a result of these things. Because I preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, impartially, to Jews and Gentiles alike, and not for profaning or desecrating the temple, Acts 21:28; Romans 1:13-16; Romans 10:8-13. For these causes and no others, certainly not those they have repeatedly alleged, Acts 24:15-16.

2) "The Jews caught me in the temple," (me loudaioi sullabomenoi en to hiero) "Having seized (pounced upon) me in the temple," in a violent manner, with malice.

3) "And went about to kill me." (Epeironto diacheirisasthai) "And they tried to kill me,’’ to slay me, inciting a lynching or stoning mob, crying that I shouldn’t be permitted to live, Acts 21:27-28; Acts 21:31-32; Acts 22:22-23.

Verse 22

1) "Having therefore obtained help of God,"(epikourias oun tuchon tes apo tou theou) "Therefore having obtained or secured the help that is from God," by His word, His spirit, and His providential care, Hebrews 13:5; Hebrews 4:15-16.

2) “I continue unto this day," (achri tes hemerastautes hesteka) "I stand (continue to take a stand) until this day," cared for by Him whom I try to serve,

3) "Witnessing both to small and great," (marturomenos mikro te kai megalo) "Continually witnessing, testifying to both small and to great ones," to the learned and the unlearned, the rich and the poor, the high and the low, to those of all classes of life, of all ranks. 1 Corinthians 9:20-23,

4) "Saying none other things than," louden ektos hon) "Saying not one thing apart from the things which," those holy men of God spoke and wrote concerning Jesus, Acts 10:43; 2 Peter 1:20-21.

5) "Those which the prophets," (te hoi prophetoi) "Both the things which the prophets," of the Old Testament Law before Christ, spoke, Luke 16:16; Luke 24:44-45.

6) "And Moses did say should come:” (elalesan mellonton ginesthai kai Mouses) And Moses said were about to, or should occur," Luke 24:25-27; Deuteronomy 18:17-19. This was the gospel story of life and hope thru the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 8:11; John 5:46 reads, "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me," Genesis 3:15; John 1:45.

Verse 23

1) "That Christ should suffer," (ei pathes ho Christos) "That the Christ should be subjected to suffering," must suffer, as all the Levitical sacrifices witnessed, as Isaiah prophesied, Isaiah 53:4-12; Acts 8:27-35.

2) "And that He should be the first that should rise from the dead," (ei protos eks anastaseos nekron) "That He should be the first (in order) by a resurrection of dead persons," to rise from the dead, Acts 2:25; Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31; 1 Corinthians 15:20-29; Colossians 1:18. He is therefore called the "first born" from the dead.

3) "And should shew light unto the people," (phos mellei katangellein to te prophets) "And that a light of hope and immortality, He is about to announce (said Moses and the prophets), to both the people of Israel," and declare Himself to be the "light of the world," John 8:12; Revelation 1:18; Acts 1:8; giving, not only hope of resurrection and immortality, but also of the restitution of all things promised to Israel.

4) "And to the Gentiles," (kai tois ethnesin) "And to the nations, Gentiles, or all heathen races of the earth," Luke 24:46-51; This involved the future Golden era of the Millennial age, Luke 1:32-33; Acts 15:13-18.

Verse 24

1) "And as he thus spake for himself," (tauta de autou apologournenou) "Then as he defended himself of these things," in a substantive and definitive manner, making his own defence before the huge audience of dignitaries and the common people of Israel.

2) "Festus said with a loud voice," (ho phestos megale te phone phesin) "Festus spoke up (interrupted) vociferously, with a megaphone-like voice, charging," in a frustrated, disconcerted, bewildered manner- To the Athenians a resurrection seemed impossible.

3) "Paul, thou art beside thyself;” (maine Paule) "Paul, you are just raving," bewildered and confused. No, Paul was glorifying in the fulfillment of the Scriptures concerning Jesus Christ, a thing that rather appeared to be confusing to Festus, a Roman, not to Paul or Agrippa. Even Jesus was accused of such, Mark 3:21; John 7:5; John 10:20; 1 Corinthians 1:23-24; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

4) "Much learning doth make thee mad." (ta polla se grammata eis manian peritrepei) "The much learning you have turns you into a raving maniac," makes you incoherent in what you are saying; you have too much writing or literature knowledge. Even the Greeks had no literature to compare in nature and content with the Sacred Old Testament Scriptures, upon which Paul had definitively been documenting his defence against the charges of Sedition (treason), heresy, and desecration or pollution of the holy Jewish temple.

A speech of Scripture content, delivered in sincerity and with emotional fervency, may still well be considered madness or derangement by those who do not know God, thru faith in Jesus Christ and the new birth experience, you see, 1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Verse 25

1) "But he said," (ho de Paulos phesin) "Then Paul replied," (ou mainomai) "I do not rave;" note the calm dignity, the self-control, the respectful but firm refutation of the charges Festus had made against Paul. God was with Paul in this moment of interruption, Hebrews 13:5.

2) "Most noble Festus;” (kratiste Pheste) "Most excellent Festus," man of nobility, a title of courtesy, more of which Paul here demonstrated, than Festus, Acts 23:26; Paul obeyed the injunction of Peter "Honor all men- -love the brotherhood - -- Fear God - - Honor the King," 1 Peter 2:17.

3) "But speak forth the words of truth and soberness." (alla aletheias kai sophrosunes hranata apophthengomai) "But I do speak out clearly, coherently, emphatically, words of truth and sobriety, or words that make good sense," based upon Divine revelation to my people, as reflected in the Holy Scriptures. The term "truth" is used to define that which is morally and ethically and religiously right, in the light of and by the measurement of the Holy Scriptures, as a yardstick or scales for testing "what is truth" Isaiah 8:20; John 10:35; Psalms 119:160; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Testimony of men, in harmony with the truth of the Scriptures, is not "madness," but rather sobriety, without regards to the emotional expression of its manner of delivery. It is the truth content, not the mere manner of emotional expression, that determines right or wrong, though the world may not understand, 1 Corinthians 1:23-24; John 8:24; John 8:32; John 8:36; John 17:17.

Verse 26

1) "For the king knoweth of these things," (epistatai gar pen touton ho basileus) "Because the king understands these things," is knowledgeable of these things. He had surely heard of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and even the pay-off of certain hired false witnesses to testify that His body had been stolen by the disciples. Yet he had heard no satisfactory explanation, such as Paul had here given, Matthew 28:11-15.

2) "Before whom also I speak freely:” (pros hon kai parresizomenos lalo) "To whom I also (primarily, boldly) speak," for the benefit of the his majesty, the king, King Herod, Acts 26:1-3.

3) "For I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him;” (lanthanein gar auton touton ou peithomai outhen) "For I am convinced or persuaded that not one of these things is hidden or concealed from him," has been really kept from his general knowledge, for he has the power to suppress heresy. As our Lord stood before Pilate and witnessed the truth, so Paul stood before the skeptical Festus, and uncertain King Agrippa, and witnessed to him, John 18:37-38.

4) "For this thing was not done in a corner." (ou gar estin gonia pepagmenon touto) "For this thing was not done or did not occur off in a corner;" It had been public, notorious, a thing the Jews wanted "to cover up," to hide from the world, if they had really murdered their own Deliverer, their own Messiah; and they did, and had; John 1:11-12; Matthew 28:1-15; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:24; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 3:16.

Verse 27

1) "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?" (pisteueis basileu Agrippa tois prophetais) "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?" On whom .I have founded my belief and teachings? Not only had these events concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and Paul’s preaching of such "not been done in a corner," but these things had even been prophesied by the prophets as matter that concerned the Messiah, Luke 24:25-27.

2) “I know that thou believest." (oida hoti pisteueis) "I perceive (know) that you believe," really, honestly do believe the things spoken by, and written in the Hebrew prophets regarding the Messiah, Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; Numbers 21:9; John 3:14-15; Deuteronomy 18:15; Deuteronomy 18:18-19; Daniel 9:24; Mal 31; Luke 24:44-48; Acts 10:39-43.

Our Lord had declared, "if they hear not Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead," Luke 16:31.

Verse 28

1) "Then Agrippa said unto Paul," (ho de Agrippa pros ton Paulon) "Then Agrippa replied to Paul," regarding the prophetic hope of the prophets, which Paul declared he had embraced and was preaching, as being progressively fulfilled thru the resurrected, living, interceding, and coming Messiah, Titus 2:14; Hebrews 6:17-20; Hebrews 10:36-37.

2) "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." (en holio me peitheia Christianon poiesai) "You persuade me in an inch (of becoming) a Christian," The idea in the original seems to be that "with a little more time, persuasion, or effort you might lead me on to be or exist as a Christian myself.

In essence King Agrippa spoke respectfully to, if not also deeply sympathetic with, Paul in his stand for Christ and defence of the "foul" charges filed against him by the Christ-hating religious Hebrew "mafia" of Jerusalem, John 3:36.

By whatever name Paul was called, he knew who he was, whose he was, and what he was, as: A child of God

A servant of God A steward of God A minister of God An apostle of God An ambassador of God. And he indicates in the next verse that he could commend all men to find themselves in Christ, and in His will, 2 Timothy 1:12; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; Galatians 6:9; 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Verse 29

1) "And Paul said, I would to God," (ho de Paulos euksaimen an to theo) "I would pray to God, Paul said," for only God can make one a true believer or Christian, John 3:3; John 3:5.

2) "That not only thou," (ou monon se) "That not only you," as an individual, a king your excellence, who must be born again, by repentance to God and faith in Jesus Christ, as surely as a pauper, to get to heaven, Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30-32; Romans 2:4-5,

3) "But also all that hear me this day," (alla kai pantas tous akouontas mou semeron) "But also all those who hear me today," both unsaved Jews and Gentiles, dignitaries of Roman and Jewish law, and those of the masses who hear me today, 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 4:7; to Paul, salvation today was important.

4) "Were both almost, and altogether such as I am," (genesthai toioutous hopoios kai ego eimi) "Become or come to be, (exist) such an one as I am today," (kai en oligo kai en megalo) "Both in great and in small things,” in profession of faith, and commitment in service to Christ, in and thru His church, Acts 20:28; Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 5:25; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

5) "Except these bonds." (parektos ton desnom touton) "Except these bonds," these restraints. It is believed that Paul, at this point in his speech, extended his hands showing and shaking his chains, with which he was bound as a criminal, while his soul was righteous before God, Acts 12:6; John 15:20; Matthew 5:10-12. Paul yearned to see the lost saved, Jew and Gentile, with a special burden for Israel, his own people, Romans 9:1-3; Romans 10:1-4; Romans 8-13; Romans 1:13-16.

Verse 30

FINAL CONFERENCE AND CONCLUSION OF FELIX AND AGRIPPA ON THE CASE V. 30-32

1) "And when he had thus spoken," (parektos ton desmon touton) "Having spoken the words - except these bonds (or chain-shackles)," which he perhaps raised and rattles while gesturing a final "that’s all" "I’m finished." In a moment of high drama, perhaps with Agrippa on his feet, as he respectfully responded to Paul, Paul concluded his defence, rested his case; having fought with the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

2) "The king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice," (aneste te ho Basileus kai ho hegemon he to Bernike) "Then the king, the governor, (Felix) and Bernice (the queen) rose up," and left the theater, from where they had been sitting; They arose and led the way out of the amphitheater in Caesarea. The order of rank is maintained in leaving the chamber of the theater, the most honored leading the way.

3) "And they that sat with them:” (kai hoi sugkathemenoi autois) "And the ones (officials) who sat with them," as dignitaries of the day, from among both Roman and Jewish officials, Psalms 1:1-3.

Verse 31

1) "And when they were gone aside," (kai anachoresantes) "And when they had gone out," of the public theater, retired or gone aside privately for consultation over what they had heard, observed, and even experienced in the public hearing that day.

2) "They talked between themselves, saying," (elaloun pros allalous) "They conversed among themselves," (legontes) "repeatedly saying,” affirming, asserting, or agreeing. Festus desired Agrippa’s honest opinion on the issue, from both a moral and legal standpoint. When he had received it, both of them, in one accord agreed, affirmed, or asserted, in conflict with the murderous, conspiratorial wishes of the Jewish mafia of Jerusalem.

1 3) "This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds." (hoti ouden thanatou e desmon aksion prassei ho anthropos houtos) "This man has not, or does not, practice (engage in doing) one thing worthy of either bonds (being put in chains) or of death," such as had been demanded of his accusers and toward which Felix, with his avaricious covetousness and greed for money, had kept Paul in chains for two years, while playing favorites with Paul’s accusers, hoping to receive a bribe, pay-off, or ransom money from Paul’s friends, Acts 24:26-27.

Verse 32

1) "Then Agrippa said unto Festus," (Agrippas de to phesto ephe) "Then Agrippa said to Festus," the governor, after Festus had simmered down from his boisterous outrage against Paul in the theatre, accusing him of being mad or mentally and emotionally disturbed, Acts 26:24-25.

2) "This man might have been set at liberty," (apolebusthai eclunato ho anthropos houtos) "This man was able or qualified to have been released, or set free, liberated," in my considered judgement, a judgement that likely influenced the letter of judgement Felix prepared and sent by the centurion to Rome with Paul, Acts 23:11; Acts 27:24; Romans 1:13; Romans 1:15; Romans 15:24; Romans 15:28-32.

3) "If he had not appealed unto Caesar." (ei me epekekleto Kaisara) "If he had not already appealed to Caesar," an appeal that had already been made, and publicly granted, and could therefore be dismissed only by Caesar in Rome, Acts 25:11-12, Had Paul not already appealed to Caesar, Agrippa could only have suggested his legal and moral right to be released, and Festus, to please Agrippa, would likely have released Paul. Yet, Paul felt that if he had been released by Felix earlier, he would not have then had protection from the assassination squad of the 40 Jews in Jerusalem, Acts 23:12-15; Acts 25:1-3.

NOTHING WORTHY OF DEATH OR OF BONDS

The result of this trial was a complete vindication of Paul before the world. Festus no doubt wrote such a favorable view of the prisoner’s case as eventually brought about his acquittal and freedom from his first Roman imprisonment. It certainly procured him kindly treatment after his arrival in the capital (he was allowed to dwell in his own hired house and even to receive a large number of friends and pupils there, Acts 28:17-23; Acts 28:30-31). From this time a kindly feeling seems to have sprung up in the king’s heart towards that strange Nazarene sect. Stier, in his "Words of the Apostles," calls attention to the fact of this Agrippa, at the outbreak of the great Jewish war, some eight or none years after the scene at Caesarea, protecting the Christians, giving them succor, and receiving them kindly into his territory.

- Schaff.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Acts 26". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/acts-26.html. 1985.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile