Governor Felix convenes the trial. Paul is accused by a lawyer named Tertullus, who represents the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. Felix delays his decision. [UPDATED]
VERSE 1. After five days, the high priest, Ananias, came down with certain elders and an orator, one Tertullus. They informed the governor against Paul.
Ananias. That is, Ananias the High Priest. He wants to get rid of Paul.
certain elders. Ananias was accompanied by elders of the Sanhedrin.
an orator, one Tertullus. The Greek word for “orator” is hrhêtoros.” In the language of those days, it meant a public speaker or an orator.
In our day, we would call Tertullus a lawyer. The Sanhedrin had hired a lawyer to help them win their case against Paul.
the governor. The governor is Marcus Antonius Felix, the Roman procurator of Iudaea Province from 52-58 AD.
VERSE 2. When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Seeing that by you we enjoy much peace, and that prosperity is coming to this nation by your foresight,
prosperity is coming to this nation by your foresight. Lawyer Tertullus is flattering Governor Felix.
In point of fact, Felix was known for corruption and his violent use of repressive force.
VERSE 3. we accept it in all ways and in all places, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.
VERSE 4. But that I don’t delay you, I entreat you to bear with us and hear a few words.
VERSE 5. For we have found this man to be a plague, an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
we have found this man. Lawyer Tertullus makes his three accusations against Paul:
a plague. This is the first accusation against Paul. He was a troublemaker, stirring up riots everywhere in the known world. This had political overtones because Rome desired to maintain order throughout its empire.
a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. This is the second accusation against Paul. The Roman Empire permitted Judaism as a legal religion, but it would not tolerate any new ones.
By describing the Christian movement as a sect of the Nazarenes, he made Paul’s faith appear to be illegal.
to profane the temple. This is the third accusation against Paul. It has political overtones.
That is because the Roman Empire had given the Jewish people permission to execute any Gentile who went inside the temple.
and we arrested him. One manuscript adds “We wanted to judge him according to our law,”
One manuscript has “but the commanding officer, Lysias, came by and with great violence took him out of our hands,”
By examining him. One manuscript precedes that with “commanding his accusers to come to you.”
The Jews. That is, the High Priest and the handful of elders from the Sanhedrin. They indicated that they agreed with lawyer Tertullus, whom they had hired.
VERSE 10. When the governor had beckoned to him to speak, Paul answered, “Because I know that you have been a judge of this nation for many years, I cheerfully make my defense,
VERSE 11. seeing that you can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem.
not more than twelve days. Paul had not been in Jerusalem long enough to instigate a riot.
I went up to worship. Paul’s purpose for being in Jerusalem was to worship.
VERSE 12. In the temple they didn’t find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the synagogues, or in the city.
or stirring up a crowd. Paul’s accusers could not cite a single instance of him starting a riot in the city.
VERSE 13. Nor can they prove to you the things of which they now accuse me.
VERSE 14. But this I confess to you, that after the Way, which they call a sect, so I serve the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets;
VERSE 15. having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
resurrection of the dead. Paul speaks of the resurrection.
NIV translation. So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
practice always. Paul strove to keep his conscience clear.
Having a clear conscience isn’t automatic. Even Paul needed to strive in order to have it.
Acts 26:19. Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
VERSE 17. Now after some years, I came to bring gifts for the needy to my nation, and offerings;
VERSE 18. amid which certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, not with a mob, nor with turmoil.
VERSE 19. They ought to have been here before you, and to make accusation, if they had anything against me.
VERSE 20. Or else let these men themselves say what injustice they found in me when I stood before the council,
VERSE 21. unless it is for this one thing that I cried standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged before you today!’ ”
VERSE 22. But Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way, deferred them, saying, “When Lysias, the commanding officer, comes down, I will decide your case.”
VERSE 23. He ordered the centurion that Paul should be kept in custody, and should have some privileges, and not to forbid any of his friends to serve him or to visit him.
VERSE 24. But after some days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus.
VERSE 25. As he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, “Go your way for this time, and when it is convenient for me, I will summon you.”
when it is convenient for me. Like many politicians, Governor Felix uses the bureaucratic tool of delay.
When politicians use the bureaucratic tool of delay, it is never for the good of the person standing before them. Rather, it is to benefit themselves.
VERSE 26. Meanwhile, he also hoped that money would be given to him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore also he sent for him more often and talked with him.
VERSE 27. But when two years were fulfilled, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and desiring to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in bonds.
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