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Bible Commentaries
Acts 26

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


You have permission to speak. Festus was the one who had the authority in this province, but this session of the court was arranged to permit Agrippa to investigate the case and help him write something the Emperor would accept. Paul stretched out his hand. Not to gain silence, but as part of his style of speaking.

Verses 2-3


I consider myself fortunate. Agrippa was a Jew, one who had been brought up in the Jewish religion. He claimed to live by the Jewish Law and traditions, and he was the legal guardian of the temple. Therefore, he is competent to judge whether Paul’s preaching contradicts the Law of Moses, or is the fulfillment of it.

Verses 4-8


All the Jews know how I have lived. His life had been lived in agreement with the Law. They knew about his education in Jerusalem, and that he lived as a Pharisee, the strictest of the Jewish sects [the Essenes were a quasi-Jewish sect, with some pagan elements]. Because I hope in the promise. Note how he presents Christ as the fulfillment of the PROMISE that God made to the ancestors. He had not “turned traitor” to the Law, but had become a “fulfilled Jew” in Christ. Compare Romans 3:31. Every Christian BECOMES a true descendant of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). The promise of the Messiah was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The very promise. The twelve tribes worshiped God day and night motivated by the HOPE this promise brought them. [Twelve tribes: This is sometimes used to mean all God’s people. The ten northern tribes had vanished into captivity centuries before this. Yet descendants of all the tribes were mixed among those who lived in Christ’s time. That is, Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin; John the Baptist of Levi; Joseph and Mary of Judah; Anna of Asher (Luke 2:36). Compare 2 Chronicles 11:14.] Paul shows the strange fact that these Jewish leaders persecute him because he is identified with what forms their deepest and strongest hope!!! Why do you Jews? Agrippa is a Sadducee, and does not believe man will survive death. But Paul speaks to all those present, and is emphasizing the raising of Jesus from the dead. This was the FACT that both Sadducee and Pharisee alike refused to believe. [Paul probably gave more detail than Luke records here. This is the outline of what he said.]

Verses 9-11


I myself thought. He shows his motivation as it had been when he persecuted the Christians. He did it, thinking that he honored God by doing it. I also voted for it. This may only mean that Paul approved of what was done (compare Acts 8:1), The literal meaning is that Paul was a member of the Council. But one of the requirements for membership was to be married and have a son. Some think that Paul’s wife had died before he became a Christian. If Paul had been married, it would explain some of his insights in 1 Corinthians 7:0, Many times I had them punished. Compare Matthew 10:17; Matthew 23:34. Tried to make them deny their faith. By the use of threats and torture. With such a history as this, no one could suspect him of “selling out” to a false ideology, All there must see that some amazing change had taken place in this man!!!

Verses 12-18


It was for this purpose. He had gone to Damascus with the idea of trying to crush the Christian movement. This is the third time he tells about his converting to Christ. See Acts 9:1-9 and notes. Here he points out the brilliance of the light (God’s glory), and tells us he heard the voice speak in the Hebrew language. This would be in the archaic Hebrew of the Bible (remember the people spoke the Aramaic dialect). Paul had been trained in the theology of the Law by Gamaliel, and understood this form of Hebrew perfectly. This shocked Paul to the very depths of his “Jewishness.” You hurt yourself by kicking back. This translation reconstructs the rest of the proverb for us: “like an ox kicking against its owner’s stick.” Paul’s audience would add this automatically. The meaning is that Paul was only hurting himself through his persecution of the messianic community. To appoint you as my servant. Paul was a devout man, even when he was persecuting the church of Christ. The Lord did not interfere with Paul’s free will. Paul had already decided to serve God. All he needed was to be made aware of the facts. Paul had to see the Risen Lord to be qualified as an apostle. Paul was to be a witness to the Gentiles of God’s act in Christ to set men free!

Verses 19-20


I did not disobey the vision. He could have disobeyed, as Judas did. But since he had already decided to serve God, this decision made him follow Jesus. First in Damascus. He had probably been a “missionary” for Judaism. Now he immediately begins to preach Jesus as the Messiah. See Acts 9:27-29

Verses 21-23


It was for this reason. Because he both obeyed and preached Christ. But to this very day. God had helped him and showed his work to be genuine. What I say is the very same thing. The historical Christ was always the subject of Paul’s preaching. The prophets and Moses had all predicted the things that did happen. They said that the Messiah would suffer and rise from death, to announce the light of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. Compare Acts 15:15-18 and notes.

Verses 21-30

21–30. Repent of their sins and turn to God. Compare Acts 3:19 and note. Paul preached a NEW LIFE!!!

Verses 24-26


You are mad, Paul! Notice it is Festus, a Gentile, who breaks in on Paul and shouts that only a deranged brain could imagine such things, Compare this outburst with the reaction of the Athenians (Acts 17:32). Your great learning may refer to Paul’s obvious religious education, since Festus and many others like him thought all religion was a delusion. Remember also, Festus had just become governor, and did not know Paul’s history. Paul answered. He calmly points out that he is not “mad,” but speaks the truth. He had full control of himself. King Agrippa! All the things that Paul had been talking about were well known to Agrippa. This had been “out in the open” where everyone could see, and Christianity had started in the very city where Christ had been killed, just fifty days after he raised from death.

Verses 27-30


Do you believe the prophets? Agrippa did believe the prophets, as all Jews did. Therefore he would not appraise the idea of the prophecies being fulfilled as mad and irrational. Do you think you will make me a Christian? McGarvey says there is strong evidence to take this expression as ironic, teasing Paul for thinking him such an easy convert to Christianity. However he prefers to take it as a genuine expression of interest, which is at least allowable from the text. Whether a short time or a long time. Paul’s intense desire is to see people reach out through faith to seize Christ! Except, of course. He would not want any of them to be chained as he was.

Verses 31-32


They said to each other. They agree that Paul is not guilty of any crime. This man could have been released. Paul would have been a free man, if he had not appealed to the Emperor. However, the Jews still wanted to kill him, and his freedom might not have lasted very long. But it is God’s will that he go to Rome as a prisoner of the Roman Government (see Acts 28:16 and note).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 26". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/acts-26.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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