Act 26:1 ¶ Then Agrippa said unto Paul, "You are permitted
to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched forth the hand,
and answered for himself:
COMMENT: Their courts were like those of today
in that ordinary people usually are not permitted to speak for
themselves, in that they are too ignorant of the law and of legal
Act 26:2 "I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because
I shall answer for myself this day before you touching all (of)
the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:"
COMMENT: This is the same way Paul addressed
the governor. He is happy to be able to speak for himself and wisely
makes it clear he will answer for himself "touching all of the
things" he is accused of.
Act 26:3 Especially [because I know] you to be expert
in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore
I beg you to hear me patiently.
COMMENT: Paul is asking for patience as he
continues to address King Agrippa though the Governor and other
dignitaries are present in the place of judgment.
Act 26:4 "My manner of life from my youth, which was at
the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
COMMENT: Paul tells King Agrippa he was well
known in Jerusalem.
Act 26:5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would
testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion
I lived a Pharisee.
COMMENT: Of the three sects of the Jewish
religion, Saint Paul recommends that of the Pharisees above them
all; so he must have found something wrong with the Essenes who
have some reputation historically as spiritual ascetics.
Paul says "if they would testify" of his former behaviour before
his Damascus Road experience, that Paul lived according to the
law according to the strictest sect of the Pharisees; but so far
none of the Jewish people who knew him in Jerusalem in his earlier
years have come forth for obvious reasons. Once the Jewish Sanhedrin
has decided to persecute and kill a believer in Jesus Christ, the
Jewish unbelievers in Christ will not come forward of their own
free will to testify of their former good behaviour.
Act 26:6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the
promise made of God unto our fathers:
Act 26:7 Unto which [promise] our twelve tribes, instantly
serving [God] day and night, hope to come. For which hope's
sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
Act 26:8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you,
that God should raise the dead?
COMMENT: Paul brings in his belief in
God raising Jesus Christ from the dead, as the hope the twelve
Jewish tribes are looking for, and that it should not be
thought of as something incredible for God to raise the dead
which he has also done through Paul; though none of his miracles
have come up during the two years or more he has been held in
custody and accused of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Paul goes on to
say to King Agrippa:
Act 26:9 "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do
many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Act 26:10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many
of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority
from the Chief Priests; and when they were put to death,
I gave my voice against [them].
Act 26:11 And I punished them often in every synagogue,
and compelled [them] to blaspheme; and being exceedingly
mad against them, I persecuted [them] even unto strange cities.
Act 26:12 ¶ Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority
and commission from the Chief Priests,
Act 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light
from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining
round about me and them which journeyed with me.
COMMENT: This is the third time the appearing
of the Lord on the Damascus Road has been discussed in the book of
Acts and each time we learn a little more of it.
Act 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I
heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue,
Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?
[It is] hard for you to kick against the pricks.
Act 26:15 And I said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I
am Jesus whom you persecute.
COMMENT: From the Lord's point of view, THAT
WHICH IS DONE UNTO THE LEAST OF MEN IS DONE TO HIM.
Act 26:16 But rise, and stand upon your feet: for I have
appeared unto you for this purpose, to make you a minister
and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and
of those things in the which I will appear unto you;
COMMENT: Christ promised from the second
visitation to visit Paul in visions to give him instructions on
how he was to witness. The Lord went on to say to Paul:
Act 26:17 "Delivering you from the people, and [from]
the Gentiles, unto whom now I send you,
COMMENT: Saint Paul is the Apostle to the
Gentiles. In the thousand year reign of Christ, he will
be the Apostle with supernaturl authority over the Gentile nations.
Act 26:18 To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from
darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God,
that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance
among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
COMMENT: Here Christ speaks of
of salvation, how sinners are turned from darkness to light, and from
the power of Satan unto God to receive forgiveness of sins,
and an inheritance in Christ.
Act 26:19 ¶ Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient
unto the heavenly vision:
COMMENT: Paul finishes quoting Jesus in the
vision and tells King Agrippa, he has not been disobedient unto
the heavenly vision.
Act 26:20 But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at
Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then]
to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do
works suitable for repentance.
Act 26:21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple,
and went about to kill [me].
Act 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue
unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none
other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say
COMMENT: Paul makes it clear he is totally
within the framework of Holy Scripture in what he continues to
do to this day.
Act 26:23 That Christ should suffer, [and] that he should be
the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light
unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
Act 26:24 ¶ And as he thus spoke for himself, Festus said with
a loud voice, "Paul, you are beside yourself; much learning
makes you mad."
COMMENT: Paul was addressing King Agrippa this
whole time while Governor Festus and the dignitaries of the city
observed, but Festus being in authority broke in with a statement
that once again showed himself to favor the Jewish rulers who
wished to kill Paul.
Act 26:25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but
speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
COMMENT: Paul turned aside the accusation
of Festus skillfully turning the focus of his presentation back
to King Agrippa.
Act 26:26 For the king knows of these things, before whom
also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things
are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
COMMENT: Paul is right back on track with
King Agrippa powerfully pointing out to Festus that none of these
things "are hidden from him."
Then Paul shows great skill as an orator in turning back to
Agrippa to say:
Act 26:27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know
that you believe.
COMMENT: This is called assuming the sale
in marketing. Paul has assumed Agrippa believes. It is a very
powerful marketing technique. And in this situation, Paul has
an invisible product to market to those who can believe in Jesus
Christ by faith.
Act 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost you persuade
me to be a Christian.
COMMENT: King Agrippa was moved by Paul's
Act 26:29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only you,
but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and
altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
Act 26:30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up,
and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
COMMENT: By standing up, King Agrippa indicated
by his body language he had heard enough.
Act 26:31 And when they were gone aside, they
talked between themselves, saying, This man does nothing worthy of
death or of bonds.
COMMENT: Once again it was decided Paul was
Act 26:32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus,
"This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not
appealed unto Caesar."
COMMENT: There apparently was a law in the
Roman empire that once a defendent appealed unto Caesar, he had
to be sent to Caesar.