Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Acts 24

Verses 1-27

The Third Witness of Paul's Innocence, Standing Before Felix the Governor (A.D 58-60) - Acts 24:1-27 gives us the testimony of Paul standing before Felix the governor and defending himself against the accusation of sedition. This is the third speech that Luke records of Paul's defense of the Christian faith. Paul has spoken before the Jewish mob at the Temple ( Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29); he has been taken before the Sanhedrin and addressed the Jewish leaders ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35); he now stands before Felix the governor ( Acts 24:1-27); he will stand before Festus the subsequent governor ( Acts 25:1-12), and he will stand before King Agrippa ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32). These preliminary trials lead up to Paul's appeal to Caesar. Many scholars suggest Luke compiles this sequence of trials in order to reveal Paul's innocence as a legal defense that could have been used during Paul's actual trial.

Acts 24:1Comments - Although Tertullus is a Roman name, and this orator appears to be hired by the Jewish leaders to argue in behalf of Sanhedrin, he was not necessarily a Roman or Greek. C. M. Kerr says there were many Jews that bore Latin names during this period of Jewish history, and he was very likely trained in the East. 294]

294] C. M. Kerr, "Tertullus," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Acts 24:10Comments - Each of Paul's opening speeches reveals a man unashamed and confident of his innocence. In Acts 21:40 he turns to address the Jewish mob rather than accept deliverance from the Roman soldiers, as would be typical for someone who had committed a crime and wanted to escape punishment. In Acts 23:1 he looks intently upon the Sanhedrin and speaks boldly rather than hanging his head down in shame and guilt. In Acts 24:10 he addresses Felix the governor with cheer. In Acts 25:11 Paul boldly declares to Festus that if any wrong can be found in him, he is ready to die. In Acts 26:1-2 he stretches forth his hand as an orator and speaks unto King Agrippa.

Acts 24:14 — "that after the way which they call heresy" - Comments- This verse reveals the atmosphere in which Paul was preaching the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire. To the Jews, Christianity was a Jewish heresy, and to the Romans, it had not yet been recognized as a group of legal status as the Jews had been recognized. It was Paul's intent to stand before Caesar and appeal the legality of the Christian faith so that it might become recognized and acceptable throughout the Empire. This was his underlying motive for appealing to a higher court as he stood in defense of the legality of the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While in prison at Rome, he wrote to the church at Philippi and said, "I am set for the defence of the Gospel."

Philippians 1:17, "But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel."

Acts 24:16Comments- The voice of our hearts, or spirits, is our conscience. Thus, Paul reveals in Acts 24:16 that he learned how to follow his conscience rather than the voice of his mind, which is human reason, or the voice of his physical body, which are our senses, or our feelings. Paul tells us in this verse that he exercised himself, or trained himself, to follow his conscience, which is the same as being led by the Spirit. For the Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides us through our spirits.

Acts 23:1, "And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day."

2 Timothy 1:3, "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;"

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Acts 24". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.