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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary
Acts 25



Verses 1-27

FESTUS HAVING ARRIVED, he went up to Jerusalem after three days, and such was the animosity against Paul that at once the high priest and other leaders accused him, and asked Festus to have him brought to

Jerusalem. Though years had passed they would still fulfil their vow and wreak their vengeance. Such is religious rancour! Festus however declined this, so once more his accusers had to journey to Caesarea. This second hearing was practically a repetition of the first, as is shown in verses Acts 25:7-8. Paul had merely to rebut a large number of unproved assertions. Now Festus, as the next chapter shows, had not got any intimate knowledge of Jewish things; still, knowing them to be a people difficult to handle, he wished to gain their favour, and so suggested that after all Paul might go up to Jerusalem for his final trial.

In this sudden change on the part of Festus we may see the hand of God. During the night that followed the uproar in the council the Lord had appeared to Paul and told him that he must bear witness to Him in Rome, and now He controls circumstances to bring this to pass. The suggestion from Festus led Paul to appeal to Caesar, a privilege that belonged to him as a Roman citizen. Paul knew that the proposed change of place was the prelude to his being handed over to his enemies, though Festus knew very well that he had done no wrong. If Festus began yielding to the clamour in order to placate the Jews, he would end by yielding everything. Paul’s appeal settled everything. Having appealed to Caesar, to Rome he must go. This is the third occasion on which we find Paul taking his stand on his Roman citizenship, and here most evidently it was made to serve and work out the purpose of his Lord.

The coming of Agrippa and Bernice to salute Festus became the occasion for Paul to bear a third testimony before governors and kings, and we are now given a much fuller insight into the mighty way in which he presented the truth. He had not failed previously to convey even to Festus that which lay at the heart of the whole matter, for in speaking to Agrippa of his case, Festus stated the controversy to rage around, “one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.” This shows that, pagan though he was with no real understanding, he had grasped the central fact of the Gospel. The death and resurrection of Christ are at the basis of all blessing, and the full declaration of the love of God. We know something of this, while he know nothing of it. Still, Paul had made it plain.

That it was all a mystery to Festus, in spite of his having rightly seized the point at issue, is evident from his address to Agrippa, when the court had assembled and, Paul being brought forth, the proceedings commenced. He had no certain thing to write to his lord, the emperor in Rome. He hoped that Agrippa with his superior acquaintance with Jewish religion, might be able to help him to understand more clearly what was at stake, and know what to say.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Acts 25:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 30th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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