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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Acts 26



Verse 2

Happy ( μακάριον )

See on blessed, Matthew 5:3.

Answer ( ἀπολογεῖσθαι )

See on 1 Peter 3:15.

Verse 3

Expert ( γνώστην )

Lit., a knower.

Questions ( ζητημάτων )

See on Acts 15:2.

Verse 4

My manner of life, etc

The repeated articles give additional precision to the statement: “the manner of life, that which was from my youth; that which was from the beginning.”

Verse 6

For the hope ( ἐπ ' ἐλπίδι )

Lit., “on the ground of the hope.”

Made of God

The article clearly defines what promise, “the one, namely, made of God.

Verse 7

Twelve tribes ( δωδεκάφυλον )

Only here in New Testament. A collective term, embracing the tribes as a whole. Meyer renders our twelve-tribe-stock.

Instantly ( ἐν ἐκτενείᾳ )

Only here in New Testament. Lit., in intensity. See on fervently, 1 Peter 1:22. Compare more earnestly, Luke 22:44; without ceasing, Acts 12:5;fervent, 1 Peter 4:8. See, also, on instantly and instant, Luke 7:4; Luke 23:23.


Compare Acts 24:14; and see on Luke 1:74.

Come ( καταντῆσαι )

Lit., to arrive at, as if at a goal. Compare Acts 16:1; Acts 18:19; Acts 25:13, etc. Rev. attain.

Verse 8

That God should raise the dead ( εἰ ὁ Θεὸς νεκροὺς ἐγείρει )

Much better, as Rev., if God raises the dead. He does not put it as a supposition, but as a fact: if God raises the dead, as you admit that he has the power to do, and as your own writings tell you that he has done.

Verse 10

Saints ( τῶν ἁγίων )

Lit.,the holy ones. Paul did not call the Christians by this name when addressing the Jews, for this would have enraged them; but before Agrippa he uses the word without fear of giving offence. On this word ἅγιος , holy, which occurs over two hundred times in the New Testament, it is to be noted how the writers of the Greek scriptures, both in the New Testament and, what is more remarkable, in the Septuagint, bring it out from the background in which it was left by classical writers, and give preference to it over words which, in pagan usage, represented conceptions of mere externality in religion. Even in the Old Testament, where externality is emphasized, ἅγιος is the standard word for holy.

Gave my voice ( κατήνεγκα ψῆφον )

Lit., laid down my vote. See on counteth, Luke 14:28. Some suppose that Paul here refers to casting his vote as a member of the Sanhedrim; in which case he must have been married and the father of a family. But this there is no reason for believing (compare 1 Corinthians 7:7, 1 Corinthians 7:8); and the phrase may be taken as expressing merely moral assent and approval.

Verse 12

Whereupon ( ἐν οἶς )

See on Acts 24:18. Better, on which errand; in which affairs of persecution.

Verse 13

Above the brightness of the sun

Peculiar to this third account of Paul's conversion. The other peculiarities are: the falling of his companions to the ground along with himself; the voice addressing him in Hebrew; and the words, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

Verse 14

It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks

Or, goads. The sharp goad carried in the ploughman's hand, against which the oxen kick on being pricked. The metaphor, though not found in Jewish writings, was common in Greek and Roman writings. Thus, Euripides (“Bacchae,” 791): “Being enraged, I would kick against the goads, a mortal against a god.” Plautus (“Truculentus, 4,2, 55): “If you strike the goads with your fists, you hurt your hands more than the goads.” “Who knows whether at that moment the operation of ploughing might not be going on within sight of the road along which the persecutor was travelling? (Howson, “Metaphors of St. Paul”).

Verse 16

Have I appeared ( ὤφθην )

See on Luke 22:43.

To make ( προχειρίσασθαι )

Better, as Rev., appoint. See on Acts 3:20.

A minister and a witness

See on Matthew 5:25; and Acts 1:22.

Verse 17

The people

The Jews.

Verse 22

Help of God ( ἐπικουρίας τῆς παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ )

Lit., “helpthat is from God.” The article defines the nature of the help more sharply than A. V. The word for help originally meant alliance.

Verse 23

That Christ should suffer ( εἰ παθητὸς ὁ Χριστὸς )

Rather, if or whether the Messiah is liable to suffering. He expresses himself in a problematic form, because it was the point of debate among the Jews whether a suffering Messiah was to be believed in. They believed in a triumphant Messiah, and the doctrine of his sufferings was an obstacle to their receiving him as Messiah. Note the article, “the Christ,” and see on Matthew 1:1.

Verse 24

Much learning doth make thee mad ( τὰ πολλά σε γράμματα εἰς μανίαν περιτρέπει )

The A. V. omits the article with much learning:the much knowledge” with which thou art busied. Rev., “thy much learning.” Doth make thee mad: literally, is turning thee to madness.

Verse 25

Speak forth ( ἀποφθέγγομαι )

See on Acts 2:4.

Verse 28

Almost thou persuadest ( ἐν ὀλίγῳ με πείθεις )

Lit., in a little thou persuadest. The rendering almost must be rejected, being without sufficient authority. The phrase, in a little, is adverbial, and means in brief; summarily. We may supply pains or talk. “With little pains, or with a few words.” The words are ironical, and the sense is, “You are trying to persuade me off-hand to be a Christian.Thou persuadest ( πείθεις ) is, rather, thou art for persuading; thou attemptest to persuade; a force which both the present and the imperfect sometimes have.

Verse 29

Almost and altogether ( ἐν ολίγῳ καὶ ἐν μεγάλῳ ).

Lit., in little and in great; i.e., with little or with great pains.

Were ( γενέσθαι )

Better, as Rev., might become. Agrippa's word, “to become a Christian,” is repeated.

Except these bonds

An exquisite touch of Christian courtesy.

Verse 30

The king, the governor, Bernice

Mentioned in the order of their rank.

Verse 31


Referring, not to Paul's past conduct, but to the general character of his life.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 26:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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