Acts 24 Commentary

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Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission


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John Hannah's Outline for Third  Missionary Journey (see map)

  • The third missionary journey of Paul  (Acts 18:23-21:16)
    1. The ministry in Galatia and Phrygia  (Acts 18:23)
    2. The ministry in Ephesus  (Acts 18:24-19:41)
      1. Instruction of Apollos  (Acts 18:24-28)
      2. Instruction of some of John's followers  (Acts 19:1-7)
      3. Instruction of the Ephesians  (Acts 19:8-20)
      4. Instructions concerning his plans  (Acts 19:21-22)
      5. The riots in Ephesus  (Acts 19:23-41)
    3. The ministry in Macedonia and Achaia  (Acts 20:1-5)
    4. The ministry in Troas  (Acts 20:6-12)
    5. The ministry in Miletus  (Acts 20:13-38)
      1. His journey to Miletus  (Acts 20:13-16)
      2. His message to the Ephesian elders  (Acts 20:17-35)
        1. Concerning his ministry  (Acts 20:17-27)
        2. Concerning the church  (Acts 20:28-35)
      3. His farewell to the Ephesians  (Acts 20:36-38)
    6. The  ministry at Tyre  (Acts 21:1-6)
      1. His journey to Tyre  (Acts 21:1-3)
      2. His ministry in Tyre  (Acts 21:4-6)
    7. The ministry in Caesarea  (Acts 21:7-16)
      1. Agabus' prediction  (Acts 21:7-12)
      2. Paul's reply  (Acts 21:13-14)
      3. The journey toward Jerusalem  (Acts 21:15-16)
  • The journey of Paul to Rome  (Acts 21:17-28:31)
    1. His witness in Jerusalem  (Acts 21:17-23:35)
      1. Paul's report to the elders  (Acts 21:17-26)
      2. Paul's arrest  (Acts 21:27-36)
      3. Paul's defense  (Acts 21:37-23:10)
        1. His first defense  (Acts 21:37-22:23)
          1. The background  (Acts 21:37-40)
          2. The content  (Acts 22:1-21)
          3. The result  (Acts 22:22-23)
        2. His second defense  (Acts 22:24-23:10)
          1. The background  (Acts 22:24-29)
          2. The council  (Acts 22:30)
          3. The content  (Acts 23:1-9)
          4. The conflict  (Acts 23:10)
      4. Paul's deliverance  (Acts 23:11-35)
        1. The encouragement  (Acts 23:11)
        2. The plot  (Acts 23:12-16)
        3. The counterplot  (Acts 23:17-24)
        4. The letter to Felix  (Acts 23:25-30)
        5. The deliverance to Felix  (Acts 23:31-35)
    2. His witness in Caesarea  (Acts 24:1-26:32)
      1. Paul's defense before Felix  (Acts 24:1-27)
        1. The setting  (Acts 24:1)
        2. The accusations of Tertullus  (Acts 24:2-9)
        3. The reply of Paul  (Acts 24:10-21)
        4. The consequences  (Acts 24:22-27)
      2. Paul's defense before Festus  (Acts 25:1-12)
        1. The setting  (Acts 25:1-5)
        2. The trial  (Acts 25:6-11)
        3. The result  (Acts 25:12)
      3. Paul's defense before Agrippa  (Acts 25:13-26:32)
        1. The arrival of Agrippa  (Acts 25:13)
        2. Festus' presentation of Paul's case  (Acts 25:14-22)
        3. Festus' presentation of Paul  (Acts 25:23-27)
        4. Paul's defense before Agrippa  (Acts 26:1-23)
        5. Paul's answer to Festus  (Acts 26:24-26)
        6. Paul's interaction with Agrippa  (Acts 26:27-29)
        7. The conclusion  (Acts 26:30-32)
    3. His witness on the way to Rome  (Acts 27:1-28:15)
      1. His witness aboard ship  (Acts 27:1-44)
      2. His witness on Malta  (Acts 28:1-15)
        1. Paul's miraculous preservation  (Acts 28:1-6)
        2. Paul's healing of Publius' father  (Acts 28:7-10)
        3. Paul's continued journey toward Rome  (Acts 28:11-15)
    4. His witness in Rome  (Acts 28:16-31)
      1. The occasion for his witness  (Acts 28:16-22)
      2. The content of his witness  (Acts 28:23-28)
      3. The result of his witness  (Acts 28:29)
      4. The summary of Paul's witness in Rome  (Acts 28:30-31)
  • Hannah's Bible Outlines - Recommended Resource

Acts 24:1 After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders, with an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought charges to the governor against Paul.

NET  Acts 24:1 After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought formal charges against Paul to the governor.

GNT  Acts 24:1 Μετὰ δὲ πέντε ἡμέρας κατέβη ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς Ἁνανίας μετὰ πρεσβυτέρων τινῶν καὶ ῥήτορος Τερτύλλου τινός, οἵτινες ἐνεφάνισαν τῷ ἡγεμόνι κατὰ τοῦ Παύλου.

NLT  Acts 24:1 Five days later Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some of the Jewish elders and the lawyer Tertullus, to present their case against Paul to the governor.

KJV  Acts 24:1 And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.

ESV  Acts 24:1 And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul.

CSB  Acts 24:1 After five days Ananias the high priest came down with some elders and a lawyer named Tertullus. These men presented their case against Paul to the governor.

NIV  Acts 24:1 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor.

NKJ  Acts 24:1 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.

NRS  Acts 24:1 Five days later the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an attorney, a certain Tertullus, and they reported their case against Paul to the governor.

YLT  Acts 24:1 And after five days came down the chief priest Ananias, with the elders, and a certain orator -- Tertullus, and they made manifest to the governor the things against Paul;

  • After five days: Ac 24:11 21:27 
  • the high priest Ananias came down with some elders: Ac 23:2,30,35 25:2 
  • with an attorney named Tertullus: Ac 12:21 Isa 3:3 1Co 2:1,4 
  • they brought charges to the governor against Paul Ac 25:2,15 Ps 11:2 
  • Video of Paul before Felix
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Ancient Caesarea by the Sea


Why do we say Sadducees? Remember that they were the group mortally offended by Paul's belief in the resurrection and the high priest Ananias was a Sadducee, one so filled with venom against Paul that he was willing to make haste from Jerusalem to the seat of the Roman governor Felix at Caesarea by the Sea (Maritima). This section fulfills Jesus' prediction that there would be a time of laying on of hands, persecution, delivering over and ''bringing you before kings & governors for My name's sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.'' Luke 21:12. Because in this section Paul is brought before not only the governor FELIX, but also his successor FESTUS and later before King Agrippa.(see Acts 25:13)

Jack Arnold introduces his sermon on Acts 24 - Perhaps no chapter in the Book of Acts is filled with intrigue and the intertwining of plots more than Acts 24.  The Apostle Paul is on trial before the Roman procurator Felix.  However, not only Felix is mentioned but there is Ananias, the high priest, the elders of Israel, consisting of a few Pharisees and many Sadducees, Tertullus, a lawyer, and Drucilla, the wife of Felix.  What we find in this chapter is that, while Paul is on trial, all of these characters are also on trial before God.  Because of the rottenness of their lives, they were yet to face the ultimate and highest court a man must face--the court of Almighty God! (Paul on Trial Before Felix)

Longenecker makes an interesting observation on chapter 24 - "In his account of Paul's defense before Felix, Luke gives almost equal space to (1) the Jewish charges against Paul (Acts 24:1-9), (2) Paul's reply to these charges (Acts 24:10-21), and (3) Felix's response (Acts 24:22-27). He does this, it seems, because he wants to show that despite the devious skill of the Jewish charges and the notorious cruelty and corruptibility of Felix, no other conclusions can be drawn from Paul's appearance before him than that (1) Christianity had nothing to do with political sedition and (2) Jewish opposition to Christianity sprang from the Christian claim to legitimate fulfillment of the hopes of Judaism" (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

After five days the high priest (archiereus) Ananias came down (katabaino - one always goes down in elevation from Jerusalem) with some elders (presbuteros) - Somehow they found out that Paul had made his "great escape" (can you imagine their bewilderment at how he could have "gotten wind" of the assassination plot - they wouldn't have believed it anyway for it was providentially orchestrated by Jesus Himself) from their grasp so an envoy of Jews (not all the Sanhedrin) departed Jerusalem for Caesarea by the Sea. Ananias was the high priest from A.D. 47-59. Notice that Luke makes no mention of the forty Jewish conspirators (Acts 23:12-15+) or of the Asian Jews who had almost gotten Paul killed as they stirred up the Jews into a veritable mob scene (Acts 21:27-31+)  

G Campbell Morgan comments that "The inspiration of that accusation is made evident by the presence of Ananias the high priest. In considering this story the geographical facts should be remembered, and the age in which these things happened. One can imagine with what distaste an old man like Ananias would make this journey of about seventy miles. Nevertheless he did so in great haste. The memory of that simple fact will help us to understand the inspiration of this opposition. It was caused by the hatred that had entered into the heart of this man Annaias and all those associated with him, toward Paul and toward all that for which Paul stood. (ED: And who do you think put in his heart a hatred so vile and vicious that it sought to kill another human being? Satan of course - see Jn 8:44 whch aptly describes these Jewish accusers as full of lies and murder. Like father like son as they say!) (Commentary)

Utley on elders - In the OT this term referred to older tribal leaders. By the post-exilic time it began to be used of wealthy, influential people of Jerusalem. Often in the NT the Sanhedrin is described as “the High Priests, scribes, and elders.” These were probably members of the Sanhedrin who were supporters of the Sadducees. The temple leadership had seen the potential problem when Pharisees were present (cf. Acts 23:6–10).

Steven Ger - To ensure that they effectively made their case against Paul, they hired Tertullus, a slick Gentile lawyer familiar with Roman law.  (Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series: Acts p. 287).

With an attorney named Tertullus - Tertullus is a diminutive of Tertius (Ro 16:22). Attorney is rhetor (from rheo = to speak; Eng = rhetor) used only here in the NT and refers to a public speaker, an orator and then specifically as in this case a speaker in court and thus an advocate or attorney. Tertullus is Roman because the Jews were not familiar with the Roman legal system and thus would not have known how to prosecute the case against Paul before the Roman provincial governor, Felix.  A T Robertson suggests that Tertullus' speech "was probably in Latin which Paul may have understood also."  See What does the Bible say about lawyers?

THOUGHT - The Jews had their human "advocate," but little did they know he would be going against Paul's super-human Advocate, the parakletos Himself, the Spirit of Jesus Christ (cf His promise in Acts 23:11+). Beloved, He is your Advocate also when you are falsely accused, slandered, or maliciously maligned! Don't forget that He is "on duty" in your hour of need! 

And they brought charges to the governor against Paul - Against Paul in Greek is "kata tou Paulou" where the preposition kata can mean "down" - the point is that they were as we might say "down on Paul!" The Jews present their formal charges (cf Acts 23:15+ and Acts 25:2+). This was like our modern day indictment.

Felix was a cruel man (cf. Tacitus,Histories 5:9 which is sad because he was also a Greek Freedman, and one would have thought he who had been freed from slavery would be a mercy filled man. Apparently not the case! 

Utley adds Felix was only in his position because of his brother, Pallas, who, along with Felix, was a Freedman of Antonia (Marc Antony’s daughter), Claudius, the Emperor’s mother. He was later removed by Nero at the request of the people (cf. Josephus, Wars 2.12.8–13.7 and Antiq. 20.7.7–8.9.

Brought charges (1718)(emphanizo from en = in, into + phaino = show, make visible, make conspicuous) means to make visible, to lay something open to view (clear or plain) so all can see (Jn 14:22, cp Ex 33:13 = idea is "reveal Yourself to me", Mt 27:53, He 9:24). In this case the idea is to present evidence or bring charges as in a formal judicial report (Acts 24:1, 25:2, Esther 2:22)

Emphanizo in Acts - Matt. 27:53; Jn. 14:21; Jn. 14:22; Acts 23:15; Acts 23:22; Acts 24:1; Acts 25:2; Acts 25:15; Heb. 9:24; Heb. 11:14

Acts 24:2  After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, "Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation,

NET  Acts 24:2 When Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, "We have experienced a lengthy time of peace through your rule, and reforms are being made in this nation through your foresight.

GNT  Acts 24:2 κληθέντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἤρξατο κατηγορεῖν ὁ Τέρτυλλος λέγων, Πολλῆς εἰρήνης τυγχάνοντες διὰ σοῦ καὶ διορθωμάτων γινομένων τῷ ἔθνει τούτῳ διὰ τῆς σῆς προνοίας,

NLT  Acts 24:2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against Paul in the following address to the governor:"Your Excellency, you have provided a long period of peace for us Jews and with foresight have enacted reforms for us.

KJV  Acts 24:2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,

ESV  Acts 24:2 And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: "Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation,

CSB  Acts 24:2 When he was called in, Tertullus began to accuse him and said: "Since we enjoy great peace because of you, and reforms are taking place for the benefit of this nation by your foresight,

NIV  Acts 24:2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: "We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation.

NKJ  Acts 24:2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: "Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight,

NRS  Acts 24:2 When Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: "Your Excellency, because of you we have long enjoyed peace, and reforms have been made for this people because of your foresight.

YLT  Acts 24:2 and he having been called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, 'Much peace enjoying through thee, and worthy deeds being done to this nation through thy forethought,

Paul Summoned Before Felix


After Paul had been summoned (kaleo) - "Paul is called in by the crier at the beginning of the court session" (Larkin) Under Roman law one had to have the accused present before he could be accused.

Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor - Note the silver tongued lawyer's laudatory preparation of Felix, preceding actual accusations. Recall that the governor (procurator) of Judea at this time was Antonius Felix who served from 52-59 A.D. Procurator of Judea was the same office Pontius Pilate had occupied  from 26-36 A.D. It is notable that Tertullus spent almost as much time in his flattery as he did on the facts of the case, or at least facts as the Jews had related to him.

Governor (2232)(hegemon from hegeomai = to lead, rule) refers to one holding high office, especially in a preeminent position in this case the Roman procurator.

Revelation 12:10+ gives us a clue as to who is behind this lawyer's (now notice I did not say "ALL" lawyers!) accusations on behalf of the Jews. His charges are obviously false, "trumped up" [concocted with intent to deceive] and in essence "lies!"

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser (kategoros) (SATAN, THE LIAR, OUR ADVERSARY) of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses (kategoreo in present tense = continually accuses) them before our God day and night.

THOUGHT - Christians often are lied about, looked down upon, brought in, and stood before the court of a watching and listening world. Are you on trial today? Has the enemy brought accusations against you? Do you trust God when everything is out of your hands? I once was accused of costing the hospital I worked at a million dollar loss. The funny thing is that I did not even know I was being accused. Some time later one of my associates who had met with the hospital hierarchy told me about how the Laboratory Supervisor (whom I trusted and with whom I had participated in the meeting that eventually cost the hospital, a meeting in which it was her advice that cost the hosptial a cool million!). I could have easily been fired over this accusation, and not sure why I was not, but I believe without any doubt whatsoever that God was my Advocating Attorney in some way I may discover in Heaven. In the meantime the supervisor who slandered me developed a severe cancer and was dead in only a few months. And I did go to her death bed and share the Gospel again (I had done so many times before but received some of the most hateful looks I have ever seen in my life) but she steadfastly refused to believe in Jesus. We have a Covenant Defender when we are slandered, lied about, falsely accused, etc. One way or another He will defend us so that in the end we can say like Joseph "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." (Ge 50:20). 

Related Resources:

Began to accuse (present tense)(2723)(kategoreo from kata = against + agora = the assembly, a place of public speaking. Other sources have agoreuo = to speak. The prefixed preposition suggests animosity!) means to speak against a person before a public tribunal or bring an accusation in court. To accuse formally and before a tribunal, to bring a charge publicly. The idea is to speak openly against, to condemn or accuse mainly in a legal sense. The cognate word kategoria was a legal technical term that referred to the content of the accusation or charge made against someone. Note that all of the Gospel uses involve accusing Jesus (except John 5:45). The present tense indicates this accusation is on ongoing activity.

Kategoreo in Acts - Acts 22:30; Acts 24:2; Acts 24:8; Acts 24:13; Acts 24:19; Acts 25:5; Acts 25:11; Acts 25:16; Acts 28:19; Rom. 2:15; Rev. 12:10


Fawning means to show submission or fear; excessively anxious to please; to seek attention and admiration (from) by cringing and flattering. And Tertullus had good reason to attempt this tactic because "Felix was known for his violent use of repressive force and corrupt self-aggrandizement." (Toussaint) 

Since we have through you attained (tugchano/tynchano) much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation - Talk about "buttering up" the judge! There is a kernel of truth in his praise that Felix had "attained much peace" for some sources tell us Felix had subdued bandits, suppressed an Egyptian imposter (Acts 21:38) and quelled a very afflictive disturbance which took place between the Syrians and Jews of Caesarea.  The Romans prided themselves in preserving the peace and such a comment was sure to win favor

On the other hand Robert Girard wrote, “Tertullus waxed eloquent about the ‘great peace’ the province had enjoyed under Felix. Actually, few periods in Judean history were marred by more unrest and terrorism. Tertullus told how grateful the people were for Felix’s ‘foresight.’ The years of A.D 52-59 when Felix was procurator were years of unparalleled government corruption!”

Wiersbe agrees with Girard writing " It was true that Felix had put down some revolts, but he had certainly not brought peace to the land. In fact, during the time Felix was suppressing robbers in his realm, he was also hiring robbers to murder the high priest Jonathan! So much for his reforms."

A T Robertson on Tertullus' flattery - A regular piece of flattery, captatio benevolentiae, to ingratiate himself into the good graces of the governor. Felix had suppressed a riot, but Tacitus (Ann. XII. 54) declares that Felix secretly encouraged banditti and shared the plunder for which the Jews finally made complaint to Nero who recalled him. But it sounded well to praise Felix for keeping peace in his province, especially as Tertullus was going to accuse Paul of being a disturber of the peace. 

Steven Ger - In an address dripping with florid rhetoric and gratuitous flattery, the lawyer praised Felix for the peace he had established and the reforms he had initiated in Judea. (Of course, the reality was that Felix' rule was characterized by an abundance of both violence and corruption.)  (Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series: Acts p. 287).

THOUGHT - Someone has said that flattery is something that you say to a person’s face that you would never say behind their back!

Peace (1515)(eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. In the more significant spiritual sense eirene can convey the sense of an inner rest, well being and harmony, the state of reconciliation with God, that comes when one places their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (see Ro 5:1+).

All uses of eirene in Acts - Acts 7:26; Acts 9:31; Acts 10:36; Acts 12:20; Acts 15:33; Acts 16:36; Acts 24:2

Providence (4307)(pronoia from pronoeo = perceive beforehand, foresee from pro = before + noeo = perceive with mind) literally means "a thought one has beforehand", a planning ahead, a "premeditation". Pronoia conveys the basic idea of planning something out ahead of time, giving it forethought or carrying out thoughtful planning to meet a need. Also used of planning out our sin ("pre-planned sin" - Woe!) See discussion in notes on Ro 13:14+.

Providence - "Forethought. Providentia Augusti (the providence of the emperor ) was a common title on the coins of the emperors." (Vincent) “Providence” is Latin Providentia (foreseeing, provideo). Roman coins often have Providentia Caesaris. Post-Augustan Latin uses it of God (Deus). (ATR)

Larkin - Tertullus' exordium with its extensive captatio benevolentiae (ED: MEANS "WINNING OF GOOD WILL") (it takes up half the speech as Luke reports it, vv. 2-4) curries the judge's favor with conventional flowery rhetoric...In fact, the governor's rule brought anything but a long period of peace, and there is no record of many improvements, reforms. Felix did maintain a tense peace through an ongoing series of search-and-destroy missions against hoodlum terrorists (Josephus Jewish Wars 2.253, 264, 265Jewish Antiquities 20.5). Yet this fanned the fires of Jewish political rebellion into fiercer and fiercer flame. Second, Tertullus curries favor by declaring his intent to move to the charges directly and deal with them briefly, depending on Felix's kindness to hear him.. (IVP Commentary)

ESV reforms are being made for this nation - Being made is in the present tense so the flattering statement is “Reform continually taking place for this nation.” 

Reforms (only NT use, none in Lxx)(1357)(diorthoma from diorthoo = to correct, set right) in classical uses describes something made straight or set right. BDAG = "that which results from correcting a wrong or undesirable situation." Robertson adds diorthoma "occurs from Aristotle on of setting right broken limbs (Hippocrates) or reforms in law and life (Polybius, Plutarch)." Figuratively diothoma refers to a “revision” of a law. It refers to what has been set straight, especially internal improvements in administration (probably an exaggeration to put it mildly, given the notoriously corrupt character of Felix)

Tertullus continues his appeal using flattery including his highly debatable statement that Felix, through his providence had instituted reforms (“very worthy deeds”) which brought great peace to the region. Proverbs 26:28 has this to say about flattery - "A lying tongue hates those it crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin."

Bruce Winter - The speeches could be analyzed according to the rhetorical arrangement of that time as follows: for Tertullus: vv. 2 b-3 exordium (the introduction); v. 5 narratio (the statement of facts); vv. 6-8 confirmatio (probatio) (the proof), w. peroratio (the conclusion) at v. 8; for Paul: v. 10 b exordium; v. 11 narratio; vv. 12-13 probatio or confirmatio; vv. 14-18 refutatio (the refutation); vv. 19-21 peroratio

Acts 24:3  we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.

NET  Acts 24:3 Most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this everywhere and in every way with all gratitude.

GNT  Acts 24:3 πάντῃ τε καὶ πανταχοῦ ἀποδεχόμεθα, κράτιστε Φῆλιξ, μετὰ πάσης εὐχαριστίας.

NLT  Acts 24:3 For all of this we are very grateful to you.

KJV  Acts 24:3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

ESV  Acts 24:3 in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.

CSB  Acts 24:3 we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with utmost gratitude.

NIV  Acts 24:3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.

NKJ  Acts 24:3 "we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

NRS  Acts 24:3 We welcome this in every way and everywhere with utmost gratitude.

YLT  Acts 24:3 always, also, and everywhere we receive it, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness;


We acknowledge this (What is this? see previous flattering declaration by Tertullus) in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness - We - speaking for Ananias and the elders who were likely all Sadducees. Acknowledge (apodechomai) in this context means Tertullus is commending (present tense) Felix as worthy of praise. BDAG says this use was " typical administrative prose." 

Related Resource:

Most excellent (2903)(kratistos superlative from kratus = strong) is an honorary way to address high officials. Most noble. BDAG - "strongly affirmative honorary form of address." Used to address Theophilus, Claudius (Acts 23:26), Felix (Acts 24:3) and Festus (Acts 26:25). Used 4x in NT - Lk. 1:3; Acts 23:26; Acts 24:3; Acts 26:25. 

All thankfulness - not just thankfulness but "all" (more "butter"!) 

Thankfulness (2169)(eucharistia from  = well, + charizomai = to grant, give freely; English = Eucharist as related to Lord's Supper) is the expression of thanks or gratitude for favor and mercy shown. Thankfulness from one conscious of benefit received.

Acts 24:4  "But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing.

NET  Acts 24:4 But so that I may not delay you any further, I beg you to hear us briefly with your customary graciousness.

GNT  Acts 24:4 ἵνα δὲ μὴ ἐπὶ πλεῖόν σε ἐγκόπτω, παρακαλῶ ἀκοῦσαί σε ἡμῶν συντόμως τῇ σῇ ἐπιεικείᾳ.

NLT  Acts 24:4 But I don't want to bore you, so please give me your attention for only a moment.

KJV  Acts 24:4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.

ESV  Acts 24:4 But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.

CSB  Acts 24:4 However, so that I will not burden you any further, I beg you in your graciousness to give us a brief hearing.

NIV  Acts 24:4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

NKJ  Acts 24:4 "Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us.

NRS  Acts 24:4 But, to detain you no further, I beg you to hear us briefly with your customary graciousness.

YLT  Acts 24:4 and that I may not be further tedious to thee, I pray thee to hear us concisely in thy gentleness;

But, that I may not weary you any further - NLT "But I don't want to bore you." The idea is that Tertullus may not further hinder or detain Felix. But considering Felix's selfish character, it is not likely that he was "bored" or "wearied" by praises of his "virtuous" rule. 

UBS Note on not weary you - "I do want to take up too much of your time is understood in this same fashion by most other translations, though it is faintly possible that the meaning may be “I do not want to tire you out.” Ancient orators, as well as modern, felt it advisable to promise their hearers only a short speech."

Weary (1465)(egkopto/enkopto from en = in + kópto = cut down, strike) strictly means to knock or cut into, to impede one's course by cutting off his way; and hence to hinder, impede, thwart or interrupt. It means to make progress slow or difficult. It can also convey the idea of delay. 

Egkopto - Only 5 uses - all are interesting - Acts 24:4; Ro 15:22; Gal. 5:7; 1 Th. 2:18; 1 Pet. 3:7

I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing - Kindness is epieikeia (1932)(only other use 2 Cor 10:1 of the "gentleness of Christ") which BDAG says is "the quality of making allowances despite facts that might suggest reason for a different reaction." It is  the quality of justice which treats people with mercy; the quality of gracious forbearing. This word can be rendered clemency which describes leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice. Of course Tertullus and the Jews hardly wanted Felix to show clemency toward Paul. Tertullus  desired to continue to flatter Felix. 

Constable quips that "Speakers also usually promised to be brief, which promises then as now they did not always keep.  (Acts 24 Commentary)

NET Note - "Tertullus was asking for a brief hearing, and implying to the governor that he would speak briefly and to the point." 

Kindness (1932)(epieikeia from epieikes = fitting) is used only twice in the NT of gentleness and graciousness in (2 Cor 10.1) and as a commendable attribute for a ruler (forbearance, clemency) here in (Acts 24.4). Leniency and compassion toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice. The quality of gracious forbearing. "Consideration springing from a recognition of the danger that ever lurks upon the assertion of legal rights lest they be pushed to immoral limits. The virtue that rectifies and redresses the severity of a sentence." (Zodhiates - borrow The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Acts 24:5  "For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes

NET  Acts 24:5 For we have found this man to be a troublemaker, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

GNT  Acts 24:5 εὑρόντες γὰρ τὸν ἄνδρα τοῦτον λοιμὸν καὶ κινοῦντα στάσεις πᾶσιν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις τοῖς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην πρωτοστάτην τε τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως,

NLT  Acts 24:5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker who is constantly stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes.

KJV  Acts 24:5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:

ESV  Acts 24:5 For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

CSB  Acts 24:5 For we have found this man to be a plague, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the Roman world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes!

NIV  Acts 24:5 "We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect

NKJ  Acts 24:5 "For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

NRS  Acts 24:5 We have, in fact, found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

YLT  Acts 24:5 for having found this man a pestilence, and moving a dissension to all the Jews through the world -- a ringleader also of the sect of the Nazarenes --

  • we have found this man a real pest: Ac 6:13 16:20,21 17:6,7 21:28 22:22 28:22 1Ki 18:17,18 Jer 38:4 Am 7:10 Mt 5:11,12 10:25 1Co 4:13 
  • fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews : 1Sa 22:7-9 Ezr 4:12-19 Ne 6:5-8 Es 3:8 Lu 23:2,5,19,25 1Pe 2:12-15,19 
  • the sect of the Nazarenes: Ac 24:14 *Gr: Ac 5:17 15:5 26:5 28:22 1Co 11:19 
  • Nazarenes: Mt 2:23 
  • Video of Paul before Felix
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Paul was what we might call "a pain in the neck" to the Jews. Notice the ESV translation says Paul is a veritable "plague" which is interesting and as an infectious disease doctor it recalls the pathogen Yersinia Pestis which is a serious (sometimes fatal) infection of rodents caused by this bacterial agent and accidentally transmitted to humans by the bite of a flea that has bitten an infected animal. And so figuratively Paul is a plague and a pest to those who do not want to hear about Jesus as the Messiah Who was sent to redeem and save and not to kill. 

BDAG renders it "we have found this man to be a public enemy where the noun loimos as designation of a person dangerous to the public weal [cp. Latin - pestis] in Demosthenes 25, 80." 

For we have found this man a real pest - They found him, this verb (heurisko) conveying in this context the idea that the Jews accidentally came upon Paul making trouble. To them he is a pestilent fellow! Would it be that men would say that about us for daring to boldly the Gospel to those who otherwise will die and spend eternity in hell!

G Campbell Morgan on pest - No word could have been used by Tertullus in the presence of Felix more calculated to suggest that Paul was a man of the very basest morals. The translation hardly carries the offensiveness of the description. (Ibid)

Robertson on the absurdity of this charge - Think of the greatest preacher of the ages being branded a pest by a contemporary hired lawyer! 

Pest (troublemaker, a "plague-spot")(3061)(loimos) was used literally in secular Greek most often to describe pestilence, plague or "any deadly infectious malady" (as in times of war and famine - the only other NT uses = Mt 24:7=GTR, Lk 21:11 = plagues), but was occasionally used figuratively to describe someone as a "pest," a public menace, one who was malignant and mischievous, causing all manner of trouble. In the Septuagint of Ps 1:1 it was used of "scoffers" (Heb - lits - one who scorns). In the apocryphal book 1 Macc 15:21 it was used of wanted criminals. Loimos was used of birds of prey or people who are dangerous to the public.

Loimos in the Septuagint - frequently used of scoffer in Proverbs

1 Sam. 1:16; 1 Sam. 2:12; 1 Sam. 10:27; 1 Sam. 25:17; 1 Sam. 25:25; 1 Sam. 29:10; 1 Sam. 30:22; 2 Chr. 13:7; Ps. 1:1; Prov. 19:25; Prov. 21:24; Prov. 22:10; Prov. 24:9; Prov. 29:8; Isa. 5:14; Jer. 15:21; Ezek. 7:21; Ezek. 18:10; Ezek. 28:7; Ezek. 30:11; Ezek. 31:12; Ezek. 32:12; Dan. 11:14; Hos. 7:5; Amos 4:2; 

Tertullus' point is to create the right atmosphere—Paul was a political, not a theological, offender.


And a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world (oikoumene) - A politically charged accusation. Note the exaggeration for effect - throughout the world (the entire Roman empire - ridiculous!) This recalls the antagonism to the Gospel by the Jews in Thessalonica in Acts 17:6+

When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also.

Vance Havner quipped “Wherever Paul went, there was either a riot or a revival!” So in a sense the charge has some truth, but it was not Paul who was guilty but the Jews who opposed his Gospel message! Indeed, the Gospel does "stir up" the status quo in the lives of sinners! So remember that Paul is on trial for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need not be surprised when we proclaim the Gospel to others, that they in a sense "put us on trail" for the Gospel stirs up folks, especially religious folks who are satisfied with their ritual without a relationship with God. 

Wiersbe - The political charge was much more serious, because no Roman official wanted to be guilty of permitting illegal activities that would upset the “Pax Romana” (Roman Peace). Rome had given the Jews freedom to practice their religion, but the Roman officials kept their eyes on them lest they use their privileges to weaken the Empire. When Tertullus called Paul “an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the Roman Empire” (WUEST), he immediately got the attention of the governor. Of course, his statement was an exaggeration, but how many court cases have been won by somebody stretching the truth? Tertullus knew that there was some basis for this charge because Paul had preached to the Jews that Jesus Christ was their King and Lord. To the Romans and the unbelieving Jews, this message sounded like treason against Caesar (Acts 16:20–21; 17:5–9). Furthermore, it was illegal to establish a new religion in Rome without the approval of the authorities. If Paul indeed was a “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes,” then his enemies could easily build a case against him. At that time, the Christian faith was still identified with the Jews, and they were permitted by the Romans to practice their religion. There had been Gentile seekers and God-fearers in the synagogues, so the presence of Gentiles in the churches did not create legal problems. Later, when the number of Gentile believers increased and more of the congregations separated from the Jewish synagogues, then Rome saw the difference between Jews and Christians and trouble began. Rome did not want a rival religion thriving in the Empire and creating problems. (BEC)

Robertson on A mover of insurrections - This was an offence against Roman law if it could be proven. “Plotted against at Damascus, plotted against at Jerusalem, expelled from Pisidian Antioch, stoned at Lystra, scourged and imprisoned at Philippi, accused of treason at Thessalonica, haled before the proconsul at Corinth, cause of a serious riot at Ephesus, and now finally of a riot at Jerusalem” (Furneaux). Specious proof could have been produced, but was not. Tertullus went on to other charges with which a Roman court had no concern (instance Gallio in Corinth - Acts 18:12, 14, 17+).

Larkin makes the point that "Tertullus carefully clothes the charges in mainly political terms so that they may be viewed as violations of Roman law. He begins with empire-wide insurrection. Whether the implication is general insurrection (Latin seditio) or simply disrupting Jewish communities, this charge is serious (compare Lk 23:2; Acts 17:6-7). Emperor Claudius's letter to the Alexandrines (November 10, A.D. 41) uses similar language. He warns the Jews that if they persist in suspicious activities, he "will by all means take vengeance on them as fomenters of what is a general plague [nosos] infecting the whole world" (Greek Papyri in the British Museum [P. Lond.] 1912, line 99). " (IVP Commentary)

Stirs up (present tense - continually, habitually)(2795)(kineo - Eng - kinetics) means first to put something in motion and in this passage it refers to Paul putting circumstances in motion so to speak to cause something to happen (in this case insurrection). 

Dissension (insurrection)(4714)(stasis from histemi = to stand) means first a stance or posture (Heb 9:8), then figuratively as in the accusation that Paul was guilty of sedition, insurrection or inciting an uprising. Luke uses stasis to describe "a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Acts 23:7). Clearly local Roman leaders feared insurrections, as for example the "town clerk" of Ephesus (Acts 19:35+) who declared "we are in danger of being accused of a riot (stasis) in connection with today’s events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable to account for this disorderly gathering.” Note that stasis applies to civil insurrection while pólemos (war) refers to foreign strife.

William Barclay comments that this second charge (a ringleader) "coupled Paul with Messianic movements; and the Romans knew what havoc false Messiahs could cause and how they could whip the people into hysterical risings which were only settled at the cost of blood." (Acts 24 Commentary)

Constable points out that "The first two charges gave the impression that Paul was guilty of sedition against Rome. The Jews had similarly charged Jesus with political sedition before Pilate (cf. Luke 23:2, 5+)."   (Acts 24 Commentary)

And a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes - The politically charged term ringleader (protostates - only here in NT - pro = before + histemi = stand) was used in secular Greek of one who stood first before soldiers (i.e., a commander, cf single use in Sept = Job 14:24 - "king"). Here it is used of one who stand up first as the chief or the leader. Clearly the implication Tertullus intends is that Felix begin to think this man was a political threat to Roman rule, which was not tolerated in the empire. The fact is that this charge by Tertullus was a true statement for Paul was indeed the "front-rank man," "the champion" for the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. 

Swindoll - Romans tolerated other religions, but they also expected all subjects of the empire to adopt the gods of Rome. To worship a Roman god was like saluting a flag; failing to do so expressed contempt for the state. Paul not only led others to reject Roman religion, but he also proclaimed a King other than Caesar. (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Sect (139)(hairesis from haireo = to choose = to take for oneself; cf hairetikos) denotes a choosing or a choice then an opinion chosen or a tenet (a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true) and finally as used here came to refer to a sect, party or faction that held tenets distinctive to it. Vine explains that as hairesis evolved it came to mean “an opinion, especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects… such erroneous opinions are frequently the outcome of personal preference or the prospect of advantage."

Vincent on hairesis - αἵρεσις , the primary meaning of which is choice; so that a heresy is, strictly, the choice of an opinion contrary to that usually received; thence transferred to the body of those who profess such opinions, and therefore a sect. 

All uses of hairesis - Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5; Acts 24:14; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22; 1 Co. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2 Pet. 2:1

It is worth noting  that at this point the Jews still considered the followers of Jesus to be Jewish and the  Nazarenes were merely another aberrant Jewish sect among many (like the Zealots, etc).

Nazarenes (3480)(Nazoraios rom Nazara Nazareth) describes an inhabitant of Nazareth and as in the first NT use in Mt 2:23 is used to describe Jesus. Zodhiates points out that "In Mt 2:23, we find the expression "He shall be called a Nazarene," i.e., according to the meaning of the Hebrew word netser (05342), "he shall be called a shoot" or branch. This is in allusion to such passages as as Isa 11:1+; Isa 53:2+ and Zech 3:8; 6:12,, but here also it implies reproach from the contempt in which Nazareth was held."

In the plural (nazoraios) as used by Tertullus here in Acts 24:5 describes Christians in a derogatory sense. Nazoraios was part of the inscription on the Cross (Jn 19:19). This is the only passage in Scripture where this term is used to describe Christians and it is negative in this case. Robertson adds "The disciple is not above his Master. (Lk 6:40+, Mt 10:24) There was a sneer in the term as applied to Jesus and here to His followers."

Nazoraios in NT - Mt. 2:23; Mt. 26:71; Lk. 18:37; Jn. 18:5; Jn. 18:7; Jn. 19:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 3:6; Acts 4:10; Acts 6:14; Acts 22:8; Acts 24:5; Acts 26:9

Larkin has a helpful note - Tertullus next charges disruptive heresy, which may carry with it the implication of fomenting theologically motivated civil unrest. He uses a contemptuous nickname for Christians, Nazarene (compare Jn 1:46; nosrim in the Talmud [for example, Ta`anit 27b]; Williams 1985:397), and labels them a sect--no more than an unauthorized minority movement within Judaism--and Paul their ringleader. Felix had to constantly deal with civil uprisings from such movements (see Josephus Jewish Wars 2.253-65 below). (IVP Commentary)

Josephus - This Felix took Eleazar the arch-robber, and many that were with him, alive, when they had ravaged the country for twenty years together, and sent them to Rome; but as to the number of robbers whom he caused to be crucified, and of those who were caught among them, and whom he brought to punishment, they were a multitude not to be enumerated. 2.543. When the country was purged of these, there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarii, who slew men in the daytime, and in the midst of the city; 2.255 this they did chiefly at the festivals, when they mingled themselves among the multitude, and concealed daggers under their garments, with which they stabbed those that were their enemies; and when any fell down dead, the murderers became a part of those that had indignation against them; by which means they appeared persons of such reputation, that they could by no means be discovered. (Josephus Jewish Wars 2.253-65 - for 256-265 click the links on each note to go to the next note).

While most commentators see 3 charges against Paul, William MacDonald feels there are four writing "He then proceeded to specify four distinct charges against the Apostle Paul:
    1.      He was a plague, that is, a pest or a nuisance.
    2.      He was a creator of revolt among all the Jews.
    3.      He was a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
    4.      He tried to profane the temple.

Acts 24:6  "And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then we arrested him. [We wanted to judge him according to our own Law.]

NET  Acts 24:6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, so we arrested him.

GNT  Acts 24:6 ὃς καὶ τὸ ἱερὸν ἐπείρασεν βεβηλῶσαι ὃν καὶ ἐκρατήσαμεν, 

NLT  Acts 24:6 Furthermore, he was trying to desecrate the Temple when we arrested him. 

KJV  Acts 24:6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. 

ESV  Acts 24:6 He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. 

CSB  Acts 24:6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, so we apprehended him [and wanted to judge him according to our law.

NIV  Acts 24:6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 

NKJ  Acts 24:6 "He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.

NRS  Acts 24:6 He even tried to profane the temple, and so we seized him. 

YLT  Acts 24:6 who also the temple did try to profane, whom also we took, and according to our law did wish to judge, 

And he even tried to desecrate the temple - He doesn't say Paul accomplished desecration but just that he attempted it. Accusation that he tried to profane the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, thus depriving it of its sacred character. We read the original charge by the Jews in Acts 21...

When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere (CF "A WORLDWIDE TROUBLEMAKER!") against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place. For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian (Trophimus of Asia - Acts 20:4+) in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.  And all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together; and taking hold of Paul, they dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.” (Acts 21:27-30+)

This accusation was less politically charged than the previous charges. Nevertheless, the Romans were well aware that theological problems with the Jews could turn into riots, which is exactly what Claudius Lysias had seen in Acts 23

And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 And as a great dissension (stasis same word in Acts 24:5+) was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks. (Acts 23:9-10+)

To desecrate (953)(bebeloo from bebelos = profane from basis = a stepping or walking from baíno = to step + belos = threshold, particularly of temple) means literally "to cross the threshold," and then to defile ritually. To cause something to become unclean, profane, or ritually unacceptable. BDAG - "to cause something highly revered to become identified with the commonplace." Vincent adds that the fundamental idea of bebelos "is that of overstepping (cf baino = to step) the threshold of sacred places. The word profane is the Latin pro fanumin front of the sanctuary; that which is kept outside the fane because unholy."

The only other NT use is Mt 12:5 = "Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break (bebeloo - "profane" = ESV) the Sabbath and are innocent?"

Bebelos - The picture is that which is trodden under foot and which thus describes that which is the antithesis of that which is holy or set apart. Bebelos thus describes that which is accessible to everyone and therefore devoid of real significance.  The meaning of this adjective is nicely conveyed by our English word profane which describes that which disregards what is to be kept sacred or holy. The English word "profane" is derived from the Latin profanus which means "outside the temple, not sacred" and in turn is derived from pro- ‘before’ + fanum = ‘temple’.

Bebeloo is frequent in the Septuagint - TDNT says bebeloo is "used in the LXX of God (Ezek. 13:19), his name (Lev. 18:21), his day (Neh. 13:17-18), his land (Jer. 16:18), his covenant (Ps. 55:20), and the name of the priest (Lev. 21:9; used also here of a virgin). Ex. 31:14 = "Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death"; Lev. 18:21 = "‘You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech (NO CHILD SACRIFICE!), nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD."; Lev. 19:8; Lev. 19:12; Lev. 19:29; Lev. 20:3; Lev. 21:6; Lev. 21:7; Lev. 21:9; Lev. 21:12; Lev. 21:14; Lev. 21:15; Lev. 21:23; Lev. 22:2; Lev. 22:9; Lev. 22:15; Lev. 22:32; Num. 18:32; Num. 25:1; Num. 30:2; Neh. 13:17; Neh. 13:18; Ps. 10:5; Ps. 55:20; Ps. 74:7; Ps. 89:31; Ps. 89:34; Ps. 89:39; Isa. 48:11; Isa. 56:2; Isa. 56:6; Jer. 16:18; Jer. 34:16; Lam. 2:2; Ezek. 7:21; Ezek. 7:22; Ezek. 13:19; Ezek. 20:9; Ezek. 20:13; Ezek. 20:14; Ezek. 20:16; Ezek. 20:21; Ezek. 20:22; Ezek. 20:24; Ezek. 20:39; Ezek. 20:44; Ezek. 22:8; Ezek. 22:26; Ezek. 23:38; Ezek. 23:39; Ezek. 24:21; Ezek. 25:3; Ezek. 28:18; Ezek. 36:20; Ezek. 36:21; Ezek. 36:22; Ezek. 36:23; Ezek. 39:7; Ezek. 43:7; Ezek. 43:8; Ezek. 44:7; Dan. 11:31; Amos 2:7; Zeph. 3:4; Mal. 1:12; Mal. 2:10; Mal. 2:11

And then we arrested him - Tertullus say "we arrested him" which at first seems to suggest "we Romans" for the Claudius Lysias who took Paul into custody was a Roman. But that interpretation does not fit with the next statement where Tertullus identifies himself with the Jews ("according to our own Law" referring to Jewish Law.) Actually this is more like a slight euphemism for a mob lynching!

Constable comments that "arrested Paul harmonized with Lysias' report (Acts 23:27+). The Jews had tried to kill Paul on the spot too (Acts 21:31-33+). Perhaps Tertullus did not mention that because it would have put the Jews in a very bad light. This third charge implied that Felix should put Paul to death since Rome had given the Jews the right to execute temple desecrators. (Acts 24 Commentary)

John MacArthur - The third accusation appears in verse 6, and this really was the thing that got them going in the first place, although it was a lie. It says in verse 6, “Who also has gone about to profane the temple.” Now, the temple to the Jews was a very sacred thing, and the laws of the temple were very binding. There was an outer court, and the outer court was a court where the Gentiles could come. But, Gentiles could not go past the barricade into the inner part of the temple. In fact, there were signs posted there disallowing them to go in. We have even found archaeological remnants of those signs; so much so, that we even know exactly what they said – from Herod’s temple. But the signs were there that if a Gentile went into the inner part, he would pay with his life. Now, that was such a serious violation of Jewish law that the Romans allowed the Jews to have the right of capital punishment for that offense, and that offense only. That’s why I just said the Jews had to get the Romans to crucify Christ. In any other area, a violation of their law, they had no right to take the life – except in the violation of the sacredness of the temple because that was such a high priority. Rome gave them the right to take the life of one who violated that. Now, when Paul was in the temple, these people from Asia Minor – these Jews from Asia Minor who saw him there – accused him of bringing a Gentile in there. He hadn’t done that; they accused him of it, and they were going to kill Paul. Well, as I told you, that was ridiculous. If the Gentile came in there, the Gentile was the one killed, not Paul. The law said, “A Gentile who enters gets killed,” not the one who brings him in. So, they were twisting the whole thing. (Paul's Trial Before Felix - Part 1)

[We wanted to judge him according to our own Law.] Not in the best Greek manuscripts.

Acts 24:7  [But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands]

KJV  Acts 24:7 But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,

NOTE Verse 7 and parts of 6 and 8 (marked by parenthesis and this color in the NASB updated text) are not found in the ancient Greek manuscripts and is most likely a later editorial insertion made by someone other than Luke.

Acts 24:8  [ordering his accusers to come before you.] By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him."

NET  Acts 24:8 When you examine him yourself, you will be able to learn from him about all these things we are accusing him of doing."

GNT  Acts 24:8 παρ᾽ οὗ δυνήσῃ αὐτὸς ἀνακρίνας περὶ πάντων τούτων ἐπιγνῶναι ὧν ἡμεῖς κατηγοροῦμεν αὐτοῦ.

NLT  Acts 24:8 You can find out the truth of our accusations by examining him yourself."

KJV  Acts 24:8 Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.

ESV  Acts 24:8 By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him."

CSB  Acts 24:8 commanding his accusers to come to you.] By examining him yourself you will be able to discern all these things we are accusing him of."

NIV  Acts 24:8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him."

NKJ  Acts 24:8 "commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him."

NRS  Acts 24: By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him concerning everything of which we accuse him."

YLT  Acts 24:8 having commanded his accusers to come to thee, from whom thou mayest be able, thyself having examined, to know concerning all these things of which we accuse him;'


[ordering his accusers to come before you.] Not in the best Greek manuscripts.

By examining (anakrino) him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able (dunamai) to ascertain the things of which we accuse him - Tertullus expresses confidence that Felix will verify the accusations. This word (anakrino) is the same used Pilate used to describe his examination of Jesus...

(Pilate) said to them (the chief priests and the rulers), “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined (anakrino) Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. (Luke 23:14)

And as Robertson reminds us the examination could not be by torture (e.g., flogging) "since Paul was a Roman citizen, but by hearing what Paul has to say in defence of himself."

Examining (350)(anakrino from aná = again + kríno = sift, judge, distinguish, separate out so as to investigate) means to sift up and down, to examine accurately or carefully (re-examine), to make careful and exact research as in legal processes. Anakrino can mean to interrogate, to cross-examine or to put through a course of questioning as when one is questioned and examined by a judge in a court of law. It was often used in secular Greek of the interrogation of a prisoner. It was also used of a judicial examination before the final verdict was rendered. Anakrino is translated on trial in Acts 4:9+ where Peter, were examined by the religious leaders for the healing of a lame man. Herod examined his soldiers after Peter had escaped from jail and then he sent them to be executed for allowing their prisoner to escape (Acts 12:19+). My favorite use of anakrino is of the disciples at Berea "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11+).

To ascertain means to establish after  investigation, to make certain of, to determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort. 

Ascertain (1921)(epiginosko from epí intensifies force of + ginosko = to know) means to know fully, know with certainty, become thoroughly acquainted with and thus possessing more or less definite information, in this case the information that Paul is guilty of the accusations. 

Epiginosko in Acts

Acts 3:10; Acts 4:13; Acts 9:30; Acts 12:14; Acts 19:34; Acts 22:24; Acts 22:29; Acts 23:28; Acts 24:8; Acts 24:11; Acts 25:10; Acts 27:39; Acts 28:1

Accuse (present tense)(2723) see notes above on kategoreo

Acts 24:9  The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so.

NET  Acts 24:9 The Jews also joined in the verbal attack, claiming that these things were true.

GNT  Acts 24:9 συνεπέθεντο δὲ καὶ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι φάσκοντες ταῦτα οὕτως ἔχειν.

NLT  Acts 24:9 Then the other Jews chimed in, declaring that everything Tertullus said was true.

KJV  Acts 24:9 And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.

ESV  Acts 24:9 The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.

CSB  Acts 24:9 The Jews also joined in the attack, alleging that these things were so.

NIV  Acts 24:9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

NKJ  Acts 24:9 And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so.

NRS  Acts 24:9 The Jews also joined in the charge by asserting that all this was true.

YLT  Acts 24:9 and the Jews also agreed, professing these things to be so.

  • Ac 6:11-13 Ps 4:2 62:3,4 Ps 64:2-8 Isa 59:4-7 Jer 9:3-6 Eze 22:27-29 Mic 6:12,13 7:2,3 Mt 26:59,60 Joh 8:44 
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so - Time to gang up on Paul! The Jews began to speak up and in so doing confirmed the alleged charges against Paul. Liars every one of them! 

This recalls David's words in Psalm 3:6 "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about."

Constable comments that "They undoubtedly expected Felix to dispatch Paul quickly (ED: SENTENCE HIM TO DEATH) since Felix had repeatedly crucified the leaders of uprisings for disturbing the peace of Rome"   (Acts 24 Commentary)

To allege means to assert without proof or before proving. It is used of Paul in Acts 25:19 " but they simply had some points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted (alleged) to be alive." Paul's allegation was actually not an allegation but a fact, for he himself had seen the risen Lord! 

Asserting (alleging)(5335)(phasko from phemi = to say or affirm) means to affirm, allege, pretend, profess. The idea conveyed by this verb is that one is speaking with an air of certainty, stating something with a high degree of confidence. The NAS translates phasko with the English word assert which means to affirm or declare positively or with assurance and often even forcefully or aggressively. The idea of assert implies stating confidently without need for proof or regard for evidence. Phasko - 3x - Acts 24:9; Acts 25:19; Ro 1:22

Acts 24:10 When the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: "Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense,

NET  Acts 24:10 When the governor gestured for him to speak, Paul replied, "Because I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I confidently make my defense.

GNT  Acts 24:10 Ἀπεκρίθη τε ὁ Παῦλος νεύσαντος αὐτῷ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος λέγειν, Ἐκ πολλῶν ἐτῶν ὄντα σε κριτὴν τῷ ἔθνει τούτῳ ἐπιστάμενος εὐθύμως τὰ περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ ἀπολογοῦμαι,

NLT  Acts 24:10 The governor then motioned for Paul to speak. Paul said, "I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I gladly present my defense before you.

KJV  Acts 24:10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:

ESV  Acts 24:10 And when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied: "Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense.

CSB  Acts 24:10 When the governor motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: "Because I know you have been a judge of this nation for many years, I am glad to offer my defense in what concerns me.

NIV  Acts 24:10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: "I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense.

NKJ  Acts 24:10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: "Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself,

NRS  Acts 24:10 When the governor motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: "I cheerfully make my defense, knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation.

YLT  Acts 24:10  And Paul answered -- the governor having beckoned to him to speak -- 'Knowing that for many years thou hast been a judge to this nation, the more cheerfully the things concerning myself I do answer; 

  • had nodded for him to speak: Ac 12:17 13:16 19:33 21:40 26:1 
  • Knowing that for many years you have been a judge: Ac 18:15 1Sa 2:25 Lu 12:14 18:2 
  • I cheerfully make my defense: 1 Pe 3:15 
  • Video of Paul before Felix
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


I love S Lewis Johnson's sermon title - The Governor Before the Apostle, or Delegated Authority Before Ultimate Authority: Acts

When the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded - "the governor gestured for him to speak" "The governor then motioned for Paul to speak." The only other use of the verb "nodded" (neuo) is in Jn 13:24 where " Simon Peter gestured to him (JOHN), and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.”

Knowing (epistamai) that for many years you have been a judge (rites) to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense - Notice that Paul sticks with facts and avoids flattery unlike Tertullus! He goes as far as he can in the way of a compliment. It is an honest statement that comes across a succinct but sincere compliment. The idea would be you have been a judge for a long time and presumably have honed your skills as a judge. So Paul is not fearful, but cheerful! Talk about a Spirit filled man. 

Constable adds that "Felix had had contact with the Jews in Palestine for over 10 years, first in Samaria and then in Judea. Paul"s introduction was also briefer than Tertullus" opening statement."  (Acts 24 Commentary)

Larkin comments that Paul's "exordium with its captatio benevolentiae is respectful, affirming, within the bounds of truth, and brief. Paul gladly makes his defense because Felix's long tenure in Palestine has provided experience, knowledge and insight on Jewish affairs. Felix may well have spent a decade already in Palestine, first as administrator of Samaria under Cumanus (A.D. 48-52) and then as governor from A.D. 52 to the time of Paul's trial, A.D. 58 (Tacitus Annals 12.54; Josephus Jewish Wars 2.247; Jewish Antiquities 20.137). Paul's introduction models the bold, yet respectful, demeanor that Peter counsels us all to adopt when we stand before civil authorities and are required to "give the reason for the hope" that is within us (1 Pet 3:15-16+)....Paul's solid defense teaches us that though proclaiming a controversial message may spark an uproar, messengers themselves must always be peace-loving, circumspect and law-abiding. (Ref)

Cheerfully (only use in Bible)(2115)(euthumos from eu = good, well + thumos = temperament, mindset) is literally well-minded, and so in good spirits, encouraged. With good spirited happiness on account of being encouraged.

Make...defense (626)(apologeomai from apo = from + logos = speech) literally means, “to talk one’s self off from" and thus to speak in one's own defense, defend oneself. BDAG - "to speak in one’s own defense against charges presumed to be false," Apologia was a technical word used in the Greek law courts and was used of an attorney who talked his client off from a charge preferred against him. The English word “apologetics” comes from the Greek word. Our English word apology originally did not mean “to say I am sorry” but actually referred to “a defense presented in court.”  Apologetics is the branch of theology that deals with the defense of the faith. Every Christian should be able to give a reasoned defense of his hope in Christ, especially in hopeless situations. A crisis creates the opportunity for witness when a believer behaves with faith and hope, because the unbelievers will then sit up and take notice.

Acts 24:11  since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.

NET  Acts 24:11 As you can verify for yourself, not more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.

GNT  Acts 24:11 δυναμένου σου ἐπιγνῶναι ὅτι οὐ πλείους εἰσίν μοι ἡμέραι δώδεκα ἀφ᾽ ἧς ἀνέβην προσκυνήσων εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ.

NLT  Acts 24:11 You can quickly discover that I arrived in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago to worship at the Temple.

KJV  Acts 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.

ESV  Acts 24:11 You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem,

CSB  Acts 24:11 You are able to determine that it is no more than 12 days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem.

NIV  Acts 24:11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.

NKJ  Acts 24:11 "because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.

NRS  Acts 24:11 As you can find out, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem.

YLT  Acts 24:11 thou being able to know that it is not more than twelve days to me since I went up to worship in Jerusalem,

Since you can take note of the fact - As you can verify for yourself" (NET); "You can quickly discover" (NLT).

Take note (1921) see discussion above on epiginosko. Robertson notes that this is "The same word and form (epignōnai) used by Tertullus, if (HE SPOKE) in Greek, in Acts 24:8 to Felix. Paul takes it up and repeats it."

That no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship - Paul's desire as expressed in Acts 20:16+ was to arrive at Jerusalem in time to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. In addition as he explains in Acts 24:17,18+ he "came to bring alms to (his) nation and to present offerings."

Worship (bow down) (4352)(proskuneo from pros = before + kuneo = kiss or adore) means to prostrate oneself in homage before another in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. When Jesus Christ was born into this world, He was attended and worshipped by angels. (Lu 2:13f+). Proskuneo represents the most common Near Eastern act of adoration and reverence and also carries the idea of profound awe and respect. Some believe that the root word kuneomay be related to kuon which is the Greek word for dog and which then could be picturing a dog licking his master's hand.  The word proskuneo literally means to kiss toward someone, to throw a kiss in token of respect or homage, to prostrate oneself in homage, to do reverence to, to adore and so to worship and show respect. In the ancient Oriental (especially Persia) the mode of salutation between persons of equal rank was to kiss each other on the lips. When the difference of rank was slight, they kissed each other on the cheek. When one was much inferior, he fell upon his knees touched his forehead to the ground or prostrated himself, and as he was bowing down he would be throwing kisses toward the superior. It is this latter mode of salutation that is intended by the Greek writers in the use of the verb proskuneo .

Proskuneo in Acts -  Acts 7:43; Acts 8:27; Acts 10:25; Acts 24:11;

Acts 24:12  "Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city itself did they find me carrying on a discussion with anyone or causing a riot.

NET  Acts 24:12 They did not find me arguing with anyone or stirring up a crowd in the temple courts or in the synagogues or throughout the city,

GNT  Acts 24:12 καὶ οὔτε ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ εὗρόν με πρός τινα διαλεγόμενον ἢ ἐπίστασιν ποιοῦντα ὄχλου οὔτε ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς οὔτε κατὰ τὴν πόλιν,

NLT  Acts 24:12 My accusers never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring up a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city.

KJV  Acts 24:12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:

ESV  Acts 24:12 and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city.

CSB  Acts 24:12 They didn't find me disputing with anyone or causing a disturbance among the crowd, either in the temple complex or in the synagogues or anywhere in the city.

NIV  Acts 24:12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city.

NKJ  Acts 24:12 "And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city.

NRS  Acts 24:12 They did not find me disputing with anyone in the temple or stirring up a crowd either in the synagogues or throughout the city.

YLT  Acts 24:12 and neither in the temple did they find me reasoning with any one, or making a dissension of the multitude, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city;


Calumniator means one who makes false and malicious statements about another. As someone has said a calumniator is not only a moral assassin, but he is the most accomplished type of the coward known to man!

Neither in the temple (hieron), nor in the synagogues (sunagoge), nor in the city itself did they find heurisko) me carrying on a discussion (dialegomai) with anyone or causing a riot - Paul denies the two charges that were serious and the only one that concerned Roman law which was insurrection.

Constable - In response to Tertullus' first charge (v. 5), Paul said that since he had been in Jerusalem only 12 days he had not had time to be much of a pest.  (Acts 24 Commentary)

Carrying on a discussion (1256)(dialegomai) means that his accusers did discover him engaging in an interchange of speech which would have in any way been construed as inciting others to riot.  

Acts 24:13  "Nor can they prove to you the charges of which they now accuse me.

NET  Acts 24:13 nor can they prove to you the things they are accusing me of doing.

GNT  Acts 24:13 οὐδὲ παραστῆσαι δύνανταί σοι περὶ ὧν νυνὶ κατηγοροῦσίν μου.

NLT  Acts 24:13 These men cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing.

KJV  Acts 24:13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.

ESV  Acts 24:13 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me.

CSB  Acts 24:13 Neither can they provide evidence to you of what they now bring against me.

NIV  Acts 24:13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.

NKJ  Acts 24:13 "Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.

NRS  Acts 24:13 Neither can they prove to you the charge that they now bring against me.

YLT  Acts 24:13 nor are they able to prove against me the things concerning which they now accuse me.


Nor can (dunamai) they prove (paristemito you the charges of which they now accuse (kategoreo) me - "They have made “charges,” mere assertions. They have not backed up these charges with proof, “nor can they,” says Paul." (Robertson)

Robertson comments on the phrase Of which they now accuse me - As if they had (NOW) changed their charges from the cries of the mob in Jerusalem which is true. Paul has no hired lawyer to plead for him, but he has made a masterly plea for his freedom.

Larkin summarizes - As to motive, whether to celebrate Pentecost (20:16), render account of his stewardship thus far or rededicate himself to the next phase of ministry, Paul went up to Jerusalem to complete a spiritual pilgrimage, to worship(compare 8:27), not to start a "holy war." While on an earlier visit he had engaged in debate and witness to non-Christian Jews, this time he evidently confined himself to the Christian community (9:28-30/22:18; 21:17-26). His method of operation did not include arguing . . . at the temple, or stirring up a crowd for insurrection (epistasis; 2 Macc 6:3). In fact, if anyone could be accused of stirring up a crowd and inciting the city to riot, it was Paul's initial accusers (Acts 21:27-28, 30, 34-35). He lacked opportunity to orchestrate a revolt, since he had arrived in Jerusalem only twelve days before he was arrested. Besides, no proof of the charges can be now offered. Paul's solid defense teaches us that though proclaiming a controversial message may spark an uproar, messengers themselves must always be peace-loving, circumspect and law-abiding. (IVP Commentary)

Henry Morris, a creationist, has an interesting comment -  Paul's factual answer, and the contrasting emotional diatribes of his opponents, seem typical of modern controversies between creationists and evolutionists, as well as controversies between Christians and anti-Christians in general. The facts of the case completely supported Paul, and Felix would have released him except Felix hoped to receive a bribe from Paul (Acts 24:26) and desired to appease the Jewish leaders (Acts 24:27). Similarly, today the facts always support the Biblical creationist Christian world view, but financial and political considerations generally favor its opponents. Paul was not guilty of any of their charges or of anything else except believing and teaching the truth of God's Word.

Accuse (present tense)(2723) see notes above on kategoreo

Acts 24:14  "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets

NET  Acts 24:14 But I confess this to you, that I worship the God of our ancestors according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law and that is written in the prophets.

GNT  Acts 24:14 ὁμολογῶ δὲ τοῦτό σοι ὅτι κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἣν λέγουσιν αἵρεσιν, οὕτως λατρεύω τῷ πατρῴῳ θεῷ πιστεύων πᾶσι τοῖς κατὰ τὸν νόμον καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς προφήταις γεγραμμένοις,

NLT  Acts 24:14 "But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets.

KJV  Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

ESV  Acts 24:14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,

CSB  Acts 24:14 But I confess this to you: I worship my fathers' God according to the Way, which they call a sect, believing all the things that are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

NIV  Acts 24:14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,

NKJ  Acts 24:14 "But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

NRS  Acts 24:14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our ancestors, believing everything laid down according to the law or written in the prophets.

YLT  Acts 24:14 'And I confess this to thee, that, according to the way that they call a sect, so serve I the God of the fathers, believing all things that in the law and the prophets have been written,

  • But this I admit to you: Ps 119:46 Mt 10:32 
  • that according to the Way: Ac 9:2 19:9,23 Am 8:14 2Pe 2:2 
  • which they call a sect Ac 24:5 1Co 11:19 Ga 5:20 Tit 3:10 2Pe 2:1 
  • I do serve : Mic 4:2 
  • the God of our fathers: Ac 3:13 5:30 7:32 22:14 Ex 3:15 1Ch 29:18 2Ti 1:3 
  • believing everything : Ac 3:22-24 10:43 26:22,27 28:23 Lu 1:70 24:27,44 Joh 5:39-47 1Pe 1:11 Rev 19:10 
  • that is in accordance with the Law  Ac 13:15 Mt 7:12 22:40 Lu 16:16,29 Joh 1:45 Ro 3:21 
  • Video of Paul before Felix
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect - Tertullus had accused Paul of being a member of The Way and he unashamedly confesses that is the case. Paul's faith was not in a sect but in the Savior

Robertson - The only charge left was that of being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. This Paul frankly confesses is true. He uses the word in its full sense. He is “guilty” of that.

Jack Andrews - Paul did make a confession of his guilt before the governor—he was saying that he was guilty as charged of being a Christian. If we testify that we are a Christian is there enough evidence against us to prove that? A heard about a pious church member who thought of himself as a great Christian. One Sunday morning he came into the 2nd grade Sunday school class and the teacher asked him to say a few words. He stood pompously before them and asked, “Why do you think people call me a Christian?” There was an embarrassing silence, then a small voice from the back of the room said, ‘Because they don’t know you.” (Jack Andrews Expository Studies – Understanding Acts)

Admit (confess) (3670)(homologeo from homos = one and same + lego = say) literally means to say the same thing as another and so to agree in one's statements with, to acknowledge, to admit the truth of an accusation. NIDNTT notes that in the secular use of homologeo "The legal connotation is dominant. A man agrees with another’s statement, concedes or confesses something (e.g. his guilt before a judge), agrees to something (e.g. another’s wish) and so promise. And that is the sense here in Acts 24:14 as Paul confesses to Felix that what Tertullus had said about The Way is factual or true. 

Vincent writes that "The fundamental idea of confess is that of saying the same thing as another. 

Sect (139) see discussion above on hairesis 

The Way is another name for the disciples of Jesus, Christians who at this stage of the church development, had converted to Christianity out of Judaism. The Way is mentioned 4 times in Acts -  Acts 19:9,23 Acts 24:14 Acts 24:22. Meyer says the name is apropos because of “the characteristic direction of life as determined by faith on Jesus Christ” Marty adds that "The designation of believers as belonging to the Way referred to a distinctive moral and spiritual way of life. Significantly, this is in contrast to Jewish halacha,  meaning the way of walking, of rabbinic explanations of Mosaic law. Instead of following halacha, these believers follow the way of the Messiah. Notice that the Greek is very specific here - Luke says not "a Way" but "the Way." Christianity is not one of many ways to God but is "the way," the only way! Proverbs describes the approach of most people in the world declaring "There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." (Pr 14:12). Jesus made it clear that He alone was the way (cf Acts 4:12+) when He declared  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; (absolutely) no one comes to the Father but through Me." (Jn 14:6). Even the demon possessed girl knew that Paul and Silas were proclaiming "the way of salvation." (Acts 16:17+). In Acts 18:25+ Apollos "had been instructed in the way of the Lord." In Paul's third mention of his conversion on the Damascus road, he declares "I saw on the way a light from heaven." (Acts 26:13+) In other words on the way to persecute Christians he encountered the Way of salvation, the Savior Himself! Stated another way, as Saul journeyed on his way to arrest members of the Way, he himself was arrested by the One Who alone is the Way! What divine irony! Compare parallel uses of the way - "the way into the holy place" (Heb 9:8),  "the way of truth" (2 Pe 2:2), "the way of righteousness" (2 Pe 2:21)

Jesus warned there were two ways, one broad, the other narrow, but only one  way leads to eternal life...

Enter (aorist imperative) through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mt 7:13-14+)

Comment: Jesus' words are paralleled by the psalmist's description of the two ways in Psalm 1 - "For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish." (Ps 1:6+)

Longenecker comments that "The origin of the absolute use of “the Way” for Christians is uncertain, though it surely had something to do with the early believers’ consciousness of walking in the true path of God’s salvation and moving forward to accomplish his purposes." (Expositors Bible Commentary)

Did you notice the four names Luke used for believers in Acts 9? 

  • Disciples (Acts 9:1, 10, 19, 25, 26, 36, 38)
  • The Way (Acts 9:2)
  • Saints (Acts 9:13, 32, 41) - first time they are called "saints" in Acts (cf Acts 26:10).
  • Brother (Acts 9:17)


I do serve the God of our fathers - This is a very Jewish affirmation and again shows how the early church was still closely linked to Judaism. Notice how Peter and Stephen's statements also serve to link Christianity to Judaism. 

  • Acts 3:13+ (PETER) The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.
  • Acts 5:30+ (PETER AND THE APOSTLES)  “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.
  • Acts 7:32+  (STEPHEN QUOTING MOSES - Ex 3:6). "‘I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look." 

Vincent on God of our fathers - A familiar classical phrase, and therefore well known to Felix. Thus Demosthenes calls Apollo the πατρῷος(ancestral god) of Athens. Socrates is asked (Plato, “Euthydemus,” 302), “Have you an ancestral Zeus (Ζεὺς πατρῷος )?” So, frequently, in the classics. Similarly, the Roman phrase, Di patrii, “the gods of the forefathers. ” On the Roman reverence for the ancestral religion, see note on Acts 16:21+. The Roman's own sentiment would prepare him to respect Paul's.

Wiersbe - Paul and the early Christians did not see themselves as “former Jews” but as “fulfilled Jews.” The Old Testament was a new book to them because they had found their Messiah. They knew that they no longer needed the rituals of the Jewish Law in order to please God, but they saw in these ceremonies and ordinances a revelation of the Saviour. (BEC)

I serve (present tense - continually)(3000)(latreuo from latris = one hired or latron = reward, wages) means to work for reward, for hire or for pay, to be in servitude, render cultic service. Latreuo was used literally for bodily service (e.g., workers on the land, or slaves), and figuratively for “to cherish.” In the NT the idea is to render service to God, to worship, to perform sacred services or to minister to God in a spirit of worship (in fact in the NT uses below, note several passages clearly associate worship with serving.) Luke 1:74 "To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve (latreuo) Him without fear." Other uses in Acts - Acts 7:7; Acts 7:42; Acts 24:14; Acts 26:7; Acts 27:23. 

THOUGHT - In light of the secular meaning "to work for reward" certainly that is not a disciple's main motive - we serve Him because we love Him), but it is a gift of His amazing grace that not only has He saved us, but that one day He will reward us. This is what I would call grace (saved us) upon grace (rewards us)! Amazing indeed!

Larkin writes that "Paul also emphasizes the Christian's continuity with Old Testament Jewish faith (BUT SEE CONSTABLE'S COMMENT BELOW). He worships the same God, the God of our fathers (Acts 3:13; 5:30; Acts 7:32 = Ex 3:6). He does so with the same belief. He believes all that is written according to the Law and in the Prophets (Lk 24:25-27, 44; Acts 26:22). His worship involves the same hope, . . . that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (Is 26:19; Dan 12:2; 1 Enoch 51:1-2). And his worship has the same aim: to live with conscience clear before God and man,no conscious record of misdeeds, in light of the coming judgment at the final resurrection (Acts 23:1). (IVP Commentary)

THOUGHT - Larkin writes "For Jewish seekers and believers in any age, Paul's confession gives an encouragement that Christianity is, in the end, not a betrayal but the fulfillment of the Old Testament faith. The challenge is that this fulfillment will radically transform the Jewishness of those who step onto the "Way" inaugurated by Messiah Jesus."

Constable points out that in mentioning his belief in the fathers and then the Word of God he "was not claiming that the church is the continuation of Israel (cf. Eph. 2:11-22). His point was that his beliefs did not contradict anything predicted in the Old Testament."  (Acts 24 Commentary)

Constable's point is important because of the false teaching that has surfaced in recent years that is referred to as the Hebrew roots movement. 

Related Resources:



John Phillips wrote, “He took it at its face value, as the Word of God to be believed implicitly, interpreted literally, and obeyed utterly.” (Exploring Acts)

Believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets - In other words Paul believers in the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures (the OT was all they had at this time). He believes the Word of God!

Robertson quips "Paul has not stretched the truth at all. He has confirmed the claim made before the Sanhedrin that he is a spiritual Pharisee in the truest sense (Acts 23:6). He reasserts his faith in all the law and the prophets, holding to the Messianic hope. A curious “heretic” surely!"

Believing (present tense - continually)(4100)(pisteuo) means Paul considered the OT writings to be true and therefore totally trustworthy. 

All uses of pisteuo in Acts

Acts 2:44; Acts 4:4; Acts 4:32; Acts 5:14; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:13; Acts 8:37; Acts 9:26; Acts 9:42; Acts 10:43; Acts 11:17; Acts 11:21; Acts 13:12; Acts 13:39; Acts 13:41; Acts 13:48; Acts 14:1; Acts 14:23; Acts 15:5; Acts 15:7; Acts 15:11; Acts 16:31; Acts 16:34; Acts 17:12; Acts 17:34; Acts 18:8; Acts 18:27; Acts 19:2; Acts 19:4; Acts 19:18; Acts 21:20; Acts 21:25; Acts 22:19; Acts 24:14; Acts 26:27; Acts 27:25;

Written (1125)(grapho from graph- = scratch on or engrave) means to engrave or inscribe with a pen or stylus characters or letters on a surface. The perfect tense signifies the permanence of the written word of God.

All uses of grapho in Acts - Acts 1:20; Acts 7:42; Acts 13:29; Acts 13:33; Acts 15:15; Acts 15:23; Acts 18:27; Acts 23:5; Acts 23:25; Acts 24:14; Acts 25:26;

The Law and the Prophets - speaks of the entirety of OT Scriptures (not rabbinical interpretations of them). All uses of this phrase - Mt 5:17, Mt 7:12; Mt 11:13, Mt. 22:40; Lk. 16:16; Lk 24:44, Jn 1:45, Acts 13:15; Acts 24:14, Acts 28:23, Ro. 3:21. Jesus gave this description of the OT

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Lk 24:44)

Comment - A common Jewish division of the OT. The Prophets included most of the historical books, and the Psalms included the "writings."

The Prophets (4396)(prophetes from próphemi = literally to tell beforehand in turn from pró = before, in front of, forth, on behalf of + phemí = speak, tell) is primarily a forth-teller or one who speaks out God’s message, primarily to their own generation. 

John MacArthur wrote, “(Paul) turned the tables on his adversaries, pointing out that they were the real heretics. They did not truly worship God, since they rejected His Son. Paul accepted the plenary (full) inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures, believing everything written in them. The Sadducees accepted only the Pentateuch as divinely inspired, while the Pharisees accepted the entire Old Testament. But both rejected the clear testimony of the Law and the Prophets to Jesus Christ. Far from being a heretic, Paul was more orthodox than his accusers, since he served the God of his fathers, believed in the inspiration of the entire Old Testament, and accepted everything it taught.”

QUESTION - What is “the Way” in the Bible?

ANSWER - “The Way” is mentioned several times in the book of Acts (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22) in connection with early followers of Christ. It was to take prisoner men and women who “belonged to the Way” (Acts 9:2; 22:4) that Saul of Tarsus went to Damascus. After Saul was converted, he became a missionary and went by the name of Paul. In Ephesus, Paul met some in the synagogue who “became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way” (Acts 19:9). Paul left the synagogue and continued to preach the gospel where it would be heard rather than remain with those who denigrated the Way.

During his trial before Felix, Paul said, “I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect” (Acts 24:14). We are also told that Felix knew about the Way (verse 22). It seems that the Romans considered the Way to be a sect of Judaism rather than a separate religion.

Presumably, the early followers of Christ referred to themselves as followers of the Way because of Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 that He is “the way and the truth and the life.” Luke says that Aquila and Priscilla explained to Apollos “the way of God” more fully (Acts 18:26). Peter refers to Christianity as “the way of truth” (2 Peter 2:2). And the writer of Hebrews says that Jesus’ broken body is the “new and living way” for us to enter the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 10:19–20).

Today there are various Bibles that include The Way in their titles. There is also a book by Josemaria Escriva, founder of the Catholic Opus Dei, titled The Way. Additionally, there is a cult called The Way or The Way International. For more information on this cult, please refer to our article “What is the Way International?”

Acts 24:15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

NET  Acts 24:15 I have a hope in God (a hope that these men themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

GNT  Acts 24:15 ἐλπίδα ἔχων εἰς τὸν θεὸν ἣν καὶ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι προσδέχονται, ἀνάστασιν μέλλειν ἔσεσθαι δικαίων τε καὶ ἀδίκων.

NLT  Acts 24:15 I have the same hope in God that these men have, that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous.

KJV  Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

ESV  Acts 24:15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

CSB  Acts 24:15 And I have a hope in God, which these men themselves also accept, that there is going to be a resurrection, both of the righteous and the unrighteous.

NIV  Acts 24:15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

NKJ  Acts 24:15 "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

NRS  Acts 24:15 I have a hope in God-- a hope that they themselves also accept-- that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

YLT  Acts 24:15 having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, that there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous;

  • having a hope in God: Ac 24:21 26:6,7 28:20-31 
  • which these men cherish themselves: Ac 23:6-8 Job 19:25,26 Da 12:2 Mt 22:31,32  John 5:28,29 1Co 15:12-27 Php 3:21 1Th 4:14-16 Rev 20:6,12,13 
  • Video of Paul before Felix
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


In Romans 15:13+ there is a great prayer for us to pray for ourselves and each other

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

J Vernon McGee asks "Have you noticed that the Resurrection is the very center of Christianity? It has been from the very beginning, friend. “What think ye of Christ?” is always the test. Did He die for your sins? Was He raised from the dead? Paul immediately comes to the core: the Resurrection."

Having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves - Which men? Jews in general but he would not have been pointing to the Sadducees in the courtroom for they were anti-supernaturalists and did not believe in the resurrection from the dead. (Read notes on Acts 23:6-8). This indicates that most likely some of the Jews present in the courtroom were Pharisees who believed in the hope of resurrection.

Robertson on which these men cherish - Probably with a gesture towards his accusers. He does not treat them all as Sadducees. 

Hope (1680)(elpis) most often in Scripture is not the world's definition of "I hope so", with a few rare exceptions (e.g., Acts 27:20, also "hoping" in Acts 24:26) Hope is defined as a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is always an expectation of something good as well as descriptive of something for which we must wait. Hope is the opposite of despair. 

Elpis in Acts - Acts 2:26; Acts 16:19; Acts 23:6; Acts 24:15; Acts 26:6; Acts 26:7; Acts 27:20; Acts 28:20;

Cherish (4327)(prosdechomai from pros =  implies motion toward + dechomai =  deliberate, ready reception) means to accept favorably, to receive one into intercourse/companionship, to give access to oneself or receive to oneself. In a striking contrast in Acts 23:21 prosdechomai is used to describe the expectancy of the 40 assassins who "ready and waiting for the promise from" Claudius Lysias, so that they might kill hope..

Paul uses this same verb in his letter to Titus writing that we are continually (present tense), expectantly, eagerly "looking for (prosdechomai) the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." (Titus 2:13+)

THOUGHT - Are you looking for the Blessed Hope? If you are it should be affecting how you are living - for the temporal or the eternal! 

Prosdechomai in NT - Mk. 15:43; Lk. 2:25; Lk. 2:38; Lk. 12:36; Lk. 15:2; Lk. 23:51; Acts 10:24; Acts 23:21; Acts 24:15; Rom. 16:2; Phil. 2:29; Titus 2:13; Heb. 10:34; Heb. 11:35; Jude 1:21

Paul is clearly saying that the Hope of the Resurrection is taught in the Old Testament. Here are some of the passages...

1 Samuel 2:6   “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. 

Job 19:25-27 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;  27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me! 

Psalm 16:9; 10  Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.  For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 

Psalm 17:15  As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

Isaiah 26:19  Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. 

Daniel 12:2+  “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life (All those who put their faith in Jesus Christ - Bema Seat), but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt (All those who do not put their faith in Jesus Christ - Great White Throne).

That there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked - It is interesting that the Talmud teaches the resurrection of Israelites only.

Constable - This verse contains the only New Testament reference that Paul believed in the resurrection of the wicked as well as the resurrection of the righteous. Nevertheless the Scriptures speak elsewhere of God raising all people to face judgment (e.g., Dan. 12:2; Matt. 25:31-33, 46; John 5:28-29; Rev. 20:12-15).  (Acts 24 Commentary)

Resurrection (386)(anastasis from ana = up, again + histemi = to cause to stand) literally means “to stand again" or "to cause to stand again" and most NT uses refer to a physical body rising from the dead or coming back to life after  having once died. The resurrection is distinguished from belief in reincarnation, which usually involves a series of rebirths from which the soul may seek release. Resurrection has primary reference to the body. The resurrection is the central, defining doctrine and claim of the gospel for as Paul wrote "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain." (1Cor 15:14)

Anastasis in Acts - Acts 1:22; Acts 2:31; Acts 4:2; Acts 4:33; Acts 17:18; Acts 17:32; Acts 23:6; Acts 23:8; Acts 24:15; Acts 24:21; Acts 26:23;

Righteous (1342)(dikaios from dike = right, just) defines that which is in accordance with high standards of rectitude. It is that which is in right relation to another and so in reference to persons defines the one who is morally and ethically righteous, upright or just. 

Dikaios in Acts - Acts 3:14; Acts 4:19; Acts 7:52; Acts 10:22; Acts 22:14; Acts 24:15

Wicked (94)(adikos from a = without + dike = justice) is an adjective which generally describes that which is characterized by violation of divine law. It means acting in a way that is contrary to what is right. As in the Old Testament, the “unrighteous” (adikos) are a class of people who stand over against the “righteous,” or the people of God. The “righteous” will be “rescued” (cf. above Ps 18:48; 120:2; 140:1 and 2 Pe 2:9), while the “unrighteous” will be punished and judged (2 Pe 2:9-note; cf. 1 Cor 6:9 - referring to a lifestyle or continual behavior that is adikos

Jesus declared 

“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28,29)

Comment - Robertson says "apparently at the same time," but he is an amillennialist and misses the truth that there is 1000 years separating these two judgments. 

Related Resources:

There’s a great day coming, a great day coming - Dear reader "Are you ready?" The only way to "be ready" is to believe in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31+), confessing Him as Lord (Ro 10:9-10+) and living out your faith (see Relationship of faith and obedience or  Obedience of faith). 

There’s a great day coming by and by,
When the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left,
Are you ready for that day to come?

Are you ready? Are you ready?
Are you ready for the judgment day?
Are you ready? Are you ready?
For the judgment day?
(Play - There’s a Great Day Coming)
(Play Acapella Version)

Acts 24:16  "In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.

NET  Acts 24:16 This is the reason I do my best to always have a clear conscience toward God and toward people.

GNT  Acts 24:16 ἐν τούτῳ καὶ αὐτὸς ἀσκῶ ἀπρόσκοπον συνείδησιν ἔχειν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν καὶ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους διὰ παντός.

NLT  Acts 24:16 Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.

KJV  Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

ESV  Acts 24:16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

CSB  Acts 24:16 I always do my best to have a clear conscience toward God and men.

NIV  Acts 24:16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

NKJ  Acts 24:16 "This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

NRS  Acts 24:16 Therefore I do my best always to have a clear conscience toward God and all people.

YLT  Acts 24:16 and in this I do exercise myself, to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always.


In view of this - (NET - "This is the reason." NLT - "Because of this") In view of what? The fact that he believed that God would resurrect him. In view of Paul's future focus (see related discussion of Vertical Vision") he was motivated to seek to always keep a clear conscience.

THOUGHT - The implication of course is that what we do in our time on earth will in ways that we cannot now fully grasp impact our time in eternity (cf 1 Peter 1:17+, 1 Jn 3:2+,1 Jn 3:3+). Woe! We all need this "wake up call"....EVERY morning! Yes, Holy Spirit, remind us every morning of our desperate need for Your enabling power to fight the good fight of faith for the glory of Jesus! Amen.

I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men - Note Paul's use of always which is a bold claim that he continually sought to live with a clear conscience. His aim is to have a conscience void of offense toward God and men.  

Rackham writes that "Certainly his conscience acquitted him of having caused any offence to his countrymen."

Gilbrant on blameless conscience - That is, a conscience that was aproskopos would not condemn him because of his religious fidelity and his relationship to humanity. Paul’s conscience did not judge him, become an offense to his faith, or deter his open prayer and testimony.

Do my best (778)(askeo) means to exercise oneself, to exert all one's diligence, study and industry, to endeavor, strive. 

Gilbrant - In classical Greek askeō originally meant “to work raw materials,” as would a craftsman fashioning a work of art. Later the usage broadened to “dress, adorn.” An important use developed around the physical training of athletes, “to practice, exercise, train.” In the mental and ethical sphere, askeō was used of thoughts and passions—especially sexual desires—which must be tamed and disciplined to practice the good. The English word ascetic (“One who practices strict self-denial as a means of personal or spiritual discipline”) comes from this root. Finally, the word developed the more general sense “to practice, endeavor, exert oneself” to do something. The word is used only once in the Septuagint: of keeping the Sabbath (2 Maccabees 15:4). Askeō is found only once in the New Testament. In Acts 24:16 Paul, testifying before Felix, declared, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (NIV). The KJV’s “I exercise myself” hints at the discipline of athletic training. Newer translations stress exerting oneself to accomplish something: “I do my best” (NASB), “I take pains” (RSV). Though Paul employed a different word in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, we see the same image: the physical self-control of an athlete compared to the spiritual self-discipline necessary to continue in God’s will. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Martin Luther emulated Paul when he declared before the court of the Roman Empire at Worms in 1521: "My conscience is captive to the Word of God. ... I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self."

Blameless (677)(aproskopos from a = not + proskopto = strike at, to trip, dash against as foot against a stone) literally means without offense, without stumbling, not stumbling or not tripping. Not causing others to stumble or fail. Not giving offense (thus inoffensive). Used on two other times - 1 Cor. 10:32; Phil. 1:10.NIDNTT adds that aproskopos means "both giving no offense, unobjectionable, blameless, and taking no offense, unhurt." Not leading others into sin. Christians are to live lives of true integrity that do not cause others to sin. It is blameless in the sense of not offending or not causing someone else to stumble. It describes one who does not lead others into sin. Such a one is inoffensive and clear (in their conscience).

A blameless conscience would be a "not causing to stumble" or "not offending" conscience.

Conscience (4893)(suneidesis is derived from sun/syn = with + eido = know) literally means a "knowing with", a co-knowledge with oneself or a being of one's own witness in the sense that one's own conscience "takes the stand" as the chief witness, testifying either to one's innocence or guilt. It describes the witness borne to one's conduct by that faculty by which we apprehend the will of God. Only other use in Acts is Acts 23:1+.

Wayne Detzler - At salvation one's conscience is cleansed by the blood of Christ, and this deals effectively with past sin (Heb. 9:14). This clean conscience becomes the most valuable possession of a Christian (Heb 13:18). Conversely a non-Christian has a defiled conscience, which no amount of human activity can make clean (Titus 1:15). In the pastoral epistles Paul made much of the conscience. Those who denied the truth had a "seared" conscience, which could not respond to revelation (1 Tim. 4:2). Church leaders were supposed to have clear consciences (1 Tim 3:9), and this was applied specifically to Timothy (1 Tim 1:19). Paul himself was an example of a clear conscience, which gave credibility to his ministry (2 Tim. 1:3). The Apostle Peter placed equal emphasis on the need for a clear conscience (1 Peter 3:16). A careful study of the New Testament reveals the absolute importance of a clear conscience. This is true of our relationships with other people in the world and  in the church. Most important is a clear conscience toward God. (NT Words in Today's Language)

More from Wayne Detzler:

Often conscience has been trivialized. According to Franklin P. Jones: "Conscience is a small, still voice that makes minority reports." To this someone added: "Con-science is also what makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does."
Christopher Morley said about conscience: "Pop used to say about the Presbyterians, 'It don't prevent them committing all the sins there are, but it keeps them from getting any fun but of it.' "
The late General Omar Bradley was more serious in commenting on con-science: "The world has achieved brilliance without conscience," he conceded. "Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants."
When a person comes to faith in Christ, his conscience becomes acutely sensitive to sin. No longer as a Christian can he sin with impunity. The story is told about an old Indian chief who was converted. Later a missionary asked him: "Chief, how are you doing spiritually? Are you experiencing victory over the devil?"
 "It's like this," the chief replied. "I have two dogs inside me: a good dog and a bad dog. They are constantly fighting with each other."
 "Which dog wins?" asked the puzzled missionary.
 "Whichever one I feed the most," retorted the wise old man. His conscience was being shaped by the Scriptures.
As a young missionary I taught at a small Bible institute. As we surveyed the Old Testament I taught students about the danger of tolerating unforgiven sin. One young man came after class and confessed having stolen a piece of equipment from his employer. That same day he wrote to his former boss and made it right. The result was not just a good grade in the course, but also a clear conscience, which is worth much more.
It is important to have a conscience sensitive to others. When we moved to England, I carried on with many practices which were acceptable to American Christians. Soon a British brother mentioned to me that English evangelicals did not go to restaurants to eat on Sunday. This was strange to me, but for the sake of my English friends I stopped eating out on Sunday. This protected my conscience and our fellowship.
In his usual practical way Billy Graham set out the importance of a clear conscience: "To have a guilty conscience is a feeling. Psychologists may define it as a guilt complex, and may seek to rationalize away the sense of guilt, but once it has been awakened through the application of the law of God, no explanation will quiet the insistent voice of conscience."

There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball,
 And that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all. 
—Ogden Nash

  • My conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God, and to go against conscience or Scripture is neither right nor safe. —Martin Luther,
  • Many people have their bad memory to thank for their clear conscience. That was not the case with Paul. 
  • Most of us follow our conscience as we follow a wheelbarrow. We push it in front of us in the direction we want to go. —Billy Graham.
  • The disease of an evil conscience is beyond the practice of all physicians of all the countries of the world. —William Ewart Gladstone
  • Many electronic fire alarms have an internal switch triggered by a beam of light. As long as light is received unbroken by the photo-sensitive receiver, the detector is quiet. But if smoke or moisture or an insect obstructs the beam for even a split second, the alarm sounds. Our conscience resembles such an alarm. When sin obstructs our connection with the light of God's Spirit, the conscience signals us that there's life-threatening danger. —A.D. Sterner,
  • Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Consensus asks the question: Is it popular? Conscience asks: Is it right? —Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Conscience is a small voice deep down inside where the acoustics are generally poor.
  • Never trust a person with a hardened conscience.
  • A gash in the conscience may disfigure the soul forever.
  • A good conscience is the looking glass of heaven.
  • Nothing is harder to bear than a guilty conscience.
  • For some, conscience is the fear of being found out.
  • Conscience is a still small voice—when it calls, often the line is busy.
  • A quiet conscience sleeps during thunder and lightning.
  • A guilty conscience needs no accusing.
  • Someone should invent an amplifier for the voice of conscience.
  • The longest distance for humans is from the head to the heart.
  • Conscience does not get its guidance from a Gallup poll.
  • A sanctified conscience is the holy whisper of God in the soul.
  • An imperfect conscience needs a perfect Guide.
  • The “little voice inside” used to be our conscience—now it’s a pocket radio.
  • Have convictions but be sure your convictions are convictions and not prejudices.
  • A bad conscience has a good memory.
  • Conscience and the Holy Spirit are the two great prosecutors of the souls.
  • A clear conscience can only be destroyed by its owner.
  • Conscience is that thing that hurts when everything else feels good.
  • Better to lose a good coat than a bad conscience.
  • Conscience should always go to truth for instructions.
  • Many persons tune out the voice of conscience when money begins to talk.
  • When you listen to your conscience does it sometimes seem you are in the company of a total stranger?
  • In the courtroom of our conscience, we call only witnesses for the defense.
  • Conscience is what tells you it is wrong the moment after you have perpetrated it.
  • A man of integrity will listen to conscience.
  • Cultivate a clear conscience; it may be the best friend you will ever have.
  • When you have a fight with your conscience and get licked, you win.
  • Many people have a bad memory to thank for their consciences.
  • Feeding your conscience with excuses is like giving sleeping pills to your watchdog.
  • It is your conscience that tells you that your instinct could be wrong.
  • Conscience is like a piano—if you only use it once a year, you probably will not notice it is out of tune.
  • The best tranquilizer is a clear conscience.
  • Conscience is what makes a small boy tell his dad before his sister does.
  • What your conscience says is more important than what your neighbors say.
  • Make sure your opinion of others is not their opinion of you.
  • A conscience is like a buzzing bee—it can make you uneasy without ever stinging you.
  • An evil conscience cannot be cured by medication.
  • Some people say they have become broad-minded when they have only stretched their consciences.
  • Conscience is like a sundial—when the truth of God shines upon it, it points the right way.
  • Conscience gets a lot of credit that belongs to cold feet.
  • Happy is the man who renounces anything that places a strain upon his conscience.
  • Beware of the rubber conscience and the concrete heart.
  • Conscience doesn’t necessarily keep us from doing what we shouldn’t; it just keeps us from enjoying it.
  • So long as your conscience isn’t ashamed to acknowledge you as a friend, don’t give a rap for your enemies.
  • A clear conscience is the softest pillow.
  • Conscience is not only the greatest preacher who ever lived, he’s the best friend you’ve ever had.
  • A conscience is something that hurts us when everything else feels terrific.
  • The reason most people have a clean conscience is that they never use it.
  • A good conscience is a continual Christmas. —Benjamin Franklin
  • There’s no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. —French proverb
  • Conscience: that still small voice that makes you still smaller.—Billy Graham
  • The best tranquilizer is a good conscience.
  • What the world needs is an amplifier for the still, small voice.
  • Conscience is something inside that bothers you when nothing outside does.

A Clear Conscience

Genesis 20-22; Matthew 6:19-34

I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. —Acts 24:16

After Ffyona Campbell became famous as the first woman to walk around the world, her joy was short-lived. Despite the adulation she received, something troubled her. Guilt overtook her and pushed her to the brink of a nervous breakdown.

What was bothering her? “I shouldn’t be remembered as the first woman to walk around the world,” she finally admitted. “I cheated.” During her worldwide trek, she broke the guidelines of the Guinness Book of World Records by riding in a truck part of the way. To clear her conscience, she called her sponsor and confessed her deception.

God has given each of us a conscience that brings guilt when we do wrong. In Romans, Paul describes our conscience as “accusing or else excusing [us]” (2:15). For the obedient follower of Christ, care of the conscience is an important way of maintaining a moral compass despite moral imperfection. Confessing sin, turning from it, and making restitution should be a way of life (1 John 1:9; Lev. 6:2-5).

Paul modeled a well-maintained conscience, saying, “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16 NIV). Through confession and repentance, he kept short accounts with God. Is sin bothering you? Follow Paul’s example. Strive for a clear conscience. By Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

If God’s Word guides your conscience,
let your conscience be your guide.

Adjust Your Conscience

I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. —Acts 24:16

Built into our nature is an internal judicial system, the conscience, that commends us when we do right and condemns us when we do wrong. But this vital monitor of morality does not say the same thing to everyone. In some cultures vengeful killing is seen as honorable. In others, a person is still considered good even when he betrays a friend.

A story from The Philadelphia Inquirer illustrates this problem. A 12-year-old boy was caught stealing a watch. He told police that previously he had shoplifted a gift for his mother, and he felt he had to do the same for his dad. Although troubled about slighting his father, he had no qualms about stealing.

Because of sin, conscience is unreliable and needs a continual adjustment. This begins with a right relationship to God through faith in Jesus Christ. He paid sin’s penalty, and now our hearts are “sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Heb. 10:22). But this does not make conscience obsolete. As we study the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit puts our inner monitor on a frequency that brings us in tune with the words, deeds, and attitudes of the Lord Jesus.

“Let your conscience be your guide” is valid only if God’s Word is guiding your conscience. By Dennis J. DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Conscience is like a sundial:
when the truth of God shines on it,
it points in the right direction.

Clear Conscience - People do not grow in the Lord when they are hampered by guilt. They do not minister effectively if they struggle with it. This is why a clear conscience between God and men is important to the exhorter. His goal is to be transparent in order to have an inroad in helping other struggling believers or reaching people for Christ. Paul repeatedly spoke of having a clear conscience and was transparent in his ministry.

Acts 24:16 A Cleansed Conscience

By David H. Roper

Read: Romans 2:12-16

I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. —Acts 24:16

The much-loved children’s story Pinocchio is about a wooden puppet whose nose grows long when he tells a lie. His friend Jiminy Cricket chirps, “Let your conscience be your guide.” Pinocchio follows his advice, repents, and returns to Geppetto his creator, where he is given a heart of flesh and is freed from his strings.

There’s a principle in this story for God’s children. If we don’t listen to that voice deep down inside that tells us what we should and should not do, we live in bondage. But a cleansed conscience brings freedom.

Some people have no strong basis for making godly decisions. Their conscience is weak, and they can be easily swayed by the behavior of others. Then there are those whose conscience is defiled. The standard by which they measure good and evil is corrupted, polluted, and impure (Titus 1:15). But saddest of all are those who have a “seared” conscience (1 Timothy 4:2). They have resisted that inner voice for so long that they no longer hear what it has to say.

But you ask, “How can we have a cleansed conscience?” We must repent of our sin and return to our Creator. We must ask Him to conform our desires and behavior to His Word and then be careful to obey it. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

There is a treasure you can own
That's greater than a crown or throne;
This treasure is a conscience clear
That brings the sweetest peace and cheer.

Conscience is a trustworthy compass when God's Word is your true north.

Acts 24:16; Ephesians 4:31-32 The Pain Machine

By Dennis Fisher

I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. —Acts 24:16

Dr. Paul Brand, who served as a medical missionary in India, told about lepers who had terrible deformities because their nerve endings could not feel pain. It didn’t hurt when they stepped in a fire or cut their finger with a knife, so they left their wounds untended. This led to infection and deformity.

Dr. Brand constructed a machine that would beep when it came in contact with fire or sharp objects. It signaled the warnings of injury in the absence of pain. Soon machines were attached to the patients’ fingers and feet. That worked well until they wanted to play basketball. They took the machines off, and often became injured again without knowing it.

Like physical pain to our bodies, our conscience alerts us to spiritual harm. But habitual and unrepentant sin can numb the conscience (1 Tim. 4:1-3). To keep a clear conscience, we need to respond to the pain of appropriate guilt by confession (1 John 1:9), repentance (Acts 26:20), and restitution to others (Luke 19:8). Paul could say with confidence, “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16). Like him, we should not grow numb to God’s painful reminder of sin but allow it to produce in us godly character. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

My conscience must be well-informed
From God’s own sacred Word,
For conscience may be much deformed
When standards pure are spurned.

A clear conscience is a soft pillow.

Acts 24:17  "Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings;

NET  Acts 24:17 After several years I came to bring to my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings,

GNT  Acts 24:17 δι᾽ ἐτῶν δὲ πλειόνων ἐλεημοσύνας ποιήσων εἰς τὸ ἔθνος μου παρεγενόμην καὶ προσφοράς,

NLT  Acts 24:17 "After several years away, I returned to Jerusalem with money to aid my people and to offer sacrifices to God.

KJV  Acts 24:17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.

ESV  Acts 24:17 Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings.

CSB  Acts 24:17 After many years, I came to bring charitable gifts and offerings to my nation,

NIV  Acts 24:17 "After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.

NKJ  Acts 24:17 "Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation,

NRS  Acts 24:17 Now after some years I came to bring alms to my nation and to offer sacrifices.

YLT  Acts 24:17 'And after many years I came, about to do kind acts to my nation, and offerings,


Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings - The alms for the saints in Jerusalem are described in 1 Cor 16:1-4; 2 Cor 8; 2 Cor 9:1-15; Ro 15:26. 

Alms (charity) (1654)(eleemosune from eleemon = merciful from eleos = mercy, kindness, compassion) signifies mercy or pity particularly in giving alms.

Offering is the very word used in Acts 21:26 of the offerings or sacrifices made by Paul for the four brethren and himself. 

Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice (phosphora) was offered (prosphero) for each one of them.

Offering (4376)(phosphora from pros = before + phero = bring) literally is "a bringing before" and thus describes the act of offering or a bringing to and metonymically to that which is offered (a gift, a present).

Toussaint points out that "This is the only time in Acts Paul's goal of bringing an offering to Jerusalem from the Gentile churches is mentioned. Luke did not stress this because it was not a major factor in his argument. However, it was most important to Paul as is evidenced by his frequent allusions to it in his epistles (Rom. 15:25-28; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:13-14; 9:12-13; Gal. 2:10). What did Paul mean when he said he went to Jerusalem... to present offerings? Perhaps he meant he "entered the temple to present offerings" (cf. Acts 24:18). But more probably he meant he offered thank offerings for God's blessings on his ministry. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Related Resources: 

Acts 24:18  in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without any crowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from Asia--

NET  Acts 24:18 which I was doing when they found me in the temple, ritually purified, without a crowd or a disturbance.

GNT  Acts 24:18 ἐν αἷς εὗρόν με ἡγνισμένον ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ οὐ μετὰ ὄχλου οὐδὲ μετὰ θορύβου,

NLT  Acts 24:18 My accusers saw me in the Temple as I was completing a purification ceremony. There was no crowd around me and no rioting.

KJV  Acts 24:18 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

ESV  Acts 24:18 While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia--

CSB  Acts 24:18 and while I was doing this, some Jews from Asia found me ritually purified in the temple, without a crowd and without any uproar.

NIV  Acts 24:18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance.

NKJ  Acts 24:18 "in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult.

NRS  Acts 24:18 While I was doing this, they found me in the temple, completing the rite of purification, without any crowd or disturbance.

YLT  Acts 24:18 in which certain Jews from Asia did find me purified in the temple, not with multitude, nor with tumult,


In which they found (heurisko) me occupied in the temple (hieron) - In other words while he was making the aforementioned offering. Luke alludes to this in Acts 21:27 writing "When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him."

Having been purified, without any crowd or uproar But there were some Jews from Asia - The point is that he was "in the temple, ritually purified, without a crowd or a disturbance." (NET) Purified is in the perfect tense describing him in the state of purification.   

Having been purified (48)(hagnizo from hagnos = freedom from defilement; see hagios = saint) in the literal sense refers to ceremonial washings and purifications undertaken to purify oneself from ritual defilement. In the context of this ceremonial purification the idea was withdrawal from the profane (common) and dedication to God, thereby making one ceremonially ready. This sense is seen in the OT uses in the Septuagint (LXX), where hagnizo was used of the the Nazirites who took upon themselves a temporary or a life-long vow to abstain from wine and all kinds of intoxicating drink, from every defilement and from shaving the head. Luke seems to make allusion to a similar Nazirite-like practice by Paul in Acts 21:24, 26, 24:18. Hagnizo basically denotes a removal of that which disqualifies one for acceptable worship, resulting in a condition of purity and chastity.

Larkin on Paul's purification - he was ceremonially clean, at least concluding his purification on his return from Gentile lands (Acts 21:26-27+). 

Without any crowd or uproar - Paul again affirms that he was the instigator of any uproar. Paul in essence states he was orderly and did not instigate an unlawful assembly. In fact it was the Jews from Asia who instigated the tumult as described by Luke writing that "among the crowd (OF JEWS) some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he (COMMANDER CLAUDIUS LYSIAS) could not find out the facts because of the uproar (thorubos), he ordered him to be brought into the barracks." (Acts 21:34+) If anyone should have been on trial for instigating a potential riot it would have been the Jews from Asia! 

Uproar (2351)(thorubos from throeo - to be troubled, disturbed) describes a clamor, noisy tumult, state of commotion and noise and confusion, with potential for a riotLouw-Nida adds thorubos is "disorderly behavior of people in violent opposition to authority."  

All uses of thorubos - Matt. 26:5; Matt. 27:24; Mk. 5:38; Mk. 14:2; Acts 20:1; Acts 21:34; Acts 24:18

Acts 24:19  who ought to have been present before you and to make accusation, if they should have anything against me.

NET  Acts 24:19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia who should be here before you and bring charges, if they have anything against me.

GNT  Acts 24:19 τινὲς δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἀσίας Ἰουδαῖοι, οὓς ἔδει ἐπὶ σοῦ παρεῖναι καὶ κατηγορεῖν εἴ τι ἔχοιεν πρὸς ἐμέ.

NLT  Acts 24:19 But some Jews from the province of Asia were there-- and they ought to be here to bring charges if they have anything against me!

KJV  Acts 24:19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.

ESV  Acts 24:19 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me.

CSB  Acts 24:19  It is they who ought to be here before you to bring charges, if they have anything against me.

NIV  Acts 24:19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me.

NKJ  Acts 24:19 "They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me.

NRS  Acts 24:19 But there were some Jews from Asia-- they ought to be here before you to make an accusation, if they have anything against me.

YLT  Acts 24:19 whom it behoveth to be present before thee, and to accuse, if they had anything against me,


Paul makes a crucial point in his defense regarding what would have been the most life-threatening accusation (Romans did not like riots!). Where are the witnesses? It's difficult to convict anyone of a crime when there are no witnesses! The Roman laws declared that before a verdict could be rendered, the accuser were to appear before the accused. And even after their accusation, the accused had the right of presenting a defense. (Appian Roman History: Civil Wars 3.54) In Acts 25:16+ Paul shows that he knows the Roman law declaring 

“I answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges.

Who ought (dei = obligated) to have been present (pareimi) before you and to make accusation - In other words, it is the Jews from Asia who should have been making the accusation. 

Longenecker points out that ""Roman law imposed heavy penalties upon accusers who abandoned their charges (destitutio), and the disappearance of accusers often meant the withdrawal of a charge. Their absence, therefore, suggested that they had nothing against him that would stand up in a Roman court of law." (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

To make accusation (present tense)(2723) see notes above on kategoreo

If they should have anything against me - The Asian Jews were not present but Paul's implication is even if they were, they had no case against him. In fact the Asiatic Jews are never heard from again in Acts! Clearly there is no case in a Roman court.

Robertson says the "IF" clause describes "A condition of the fourth class or undetermined with less likelihood of being determined." 

Furneaux adds that “The accusers who were present had not witnessed the alleged offence: those who could have given evidence at first-hand were not present.”

ILLUSTRATION - I read about the preacher that had on his desk a special book labeled “Complaints of members against one another.” When one of his people called to tell him the faults of another he would say, “Well, here’s my complaint book. I’ll write down what you say, and you can sign it. Then when I have to take up the matter officially I shall know what I may expect you to testify to.” The sight of the open book and the ready pen had its effect, ‘Oh, no, I couldn’t sign anything like that!” and no entry was made. The preacher said he kept the book for forty years, opened it probably a thousand times, and never wrote a line in it. (Jack Andrews Expository Studies – Understanding Acts

Acts 24:20  "Or else let these men themselves tell what misdeed they found when I stood before the Council,

NET  Acts 24:20 Or these men here should tell what crime they found me guilty of when I stood before the council,

GNT  Acts 24:20 ἢ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι εἰπάτωσαν τί εὗρον ἀδίκημα στάντος μου ἐπὶ τοῦ συνεδρίου,

NLT  Acts 24:20 Ask these men here what crime the Jewish high council found me guilty of,

KJV  Acts 24:20 Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council,

ESV  Acts 24:20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council,

CSB  Acts 24:20 Either let these men here state what wrongdoing they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin,

NIV  Acts 24:20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin--

NKJ  Acts 24:20 "Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council,

NRS  Acts 24:20 Or let these men here tell what crime they had found when I stood before the council,

YLT  Acts 24:20 or let these same say if they found any unrighteousness in me in my standing before the sanhedrim,


Or else let these men themselves tell what misdeed they found (heuriskowhen I stood before the Council (sunedrion) - In other words since the Asiatic Jews are not present, then the Jews who were present needed to present their accusations against Paul. But the fact is that even the accusers present could not testify that the Council (Sanhedrin) had found him guilty before that body. In the next verse he explains why - for they got into a shouting match concerning the truth of the resurrection from dead! 

Misdeed (92)(adikema from a = without + dike = justice) describes an injustice, a crime or criminal act. In classical Greek adikēma primarily denotes an intentional wrong, or that which is acquired by wrong. 

Acts 24:21  other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, 'For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.'"

NET  Acts 24:21 other than this one thing I shouted out while I stood before them: 'I am on trial before you today concerning the resurrection of the dead.'"

GNT  Acts 24:21 ἢ περὶ μιᾶς ταύτης φωνῆς ἧς ἐκέκραξα ἐν αὐτοῖς ἑστὼς ὅτι Περὶ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν ἐγὼ κρίνομαι σήμερον ἐφ᾽ ὑμῶν.

NLT  Acts 24:21 except for the one time I shouted out, 'I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!'"

KJV  Acts 24:21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.

ESV  Acts 24:21 other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: 'It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.'"

CSB  Acts 24:21 or about this one statement I cried out while standing among them, 'Today I am being judged before you concerning the resurrection of the dead.'"

NIV  Acts 24:21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: 'It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.' "

NKJ  Acts 24:21 "unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them,`Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.'"

NRS  Acts 24:21 unless it was this one sentence that I called out while standing before them, 'It is about the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.'"

YLT  Acts 24:21 except concerning this one voice, in which I cried, standing among them -- Concerning a rising again of the dead I am judged to-day by you.'


And what is fascinating to note is the fact that the "witnesses" (the members of the Sanhedrin who had traveled from Jerusalem) are present and they had heard this declaration (which had enraged them), but now they are mute. They know this is a Roman court, not a Jewish religious court, and their disagreement with Paul's theology held no influence in this legal setting. And besides, Paul had stated nothing heretical, for even the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead. Of course the Pharisees would not have agreed with Paul that the hope he describes finds its fulfillment in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. But notice carefully that Paul has not even mentioned the Name of Jesus Christ. In fact it is apparently Felix himself who after the trial is adjourned seeks to heart Paul "speak about faith in Christ Jesus." (Acts 24:24+). 

Other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them - Recall that before the Sanhedrin Luke records...

But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out (krazo in imperfect tense = again and again) in the Council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!” (Acts 23:6+)

Shouted (2896)(krazo) refers to a loud cry or vociferation, and is a strong word expressing deep emotion. Krazo is one of those onomatopoeic words, the very pronunciation of which imitates the hoarse cry of the raven (listen), and can be an inarticulate and brutish sound or an exclamation of fear or pain.

McGee - He tells Felix again that the real issue is the Resurrection. The Resurrection is the very heart of the gospel message. Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again on the third day. In fact, I think of Christianity as an arch supported by two pillars. One pillar is the death of Christ and the other pillar is the resurrection of Christ. Without one or the other the arch would fall.

Wiersbe - Do we detect a bit of holy sarcasm in Paul’s closing statement? We might paraphrase it, “If I have done anything evil, it is probably this: I reminded the Jewish council of our great Jewish doctrine of the Resurrection.” (BEC)

For the resurrection (anastasis) of the dead I am on trial before you today - Paul sums up his defense by saying that the reason the Jews want him tried is because of his belief in the resurrection. This is essentially the same statement Paul made before the Sanhedrin in Acts 23:6+. In Acts 24:15+ Paul referred to this as "a hope in God...that there shall certainly be a resurrection." The resurrection of the dead is the believer's hope, that after we die and Jesus returns there will be a resurrection of the righteous and we will receive our glorified bodies. 

Resurrection in Acts - Acts 1:22+; Acts 2:31+; Acts 4:2+; Acts 4:33+; Acts 17:18+; Acts 17:32+; Acts 23:6+; Acts 23:8+; Acts 24:15+; Acts 24:21+; Acts 26:23+

Trial (2919)(krino) primarily signifies to distinguish, to decide between in the sense of considering two or more things and reaching a decision as one would in a trial.

THOUGHT - "Paul's introduction of the resurrection issue is not only good legal-defense strategy but also good evangelism. To speak of the final accounting before God and the eternal destiny that flows from it is to point out one of the certainties of human existence. Many may run from it, following alternate paths of personal eschatology--reincarnation or immediate annihilation. But all will have to face judgment. The resurrection of Jesus--proof of coming judgment, promise of eternal salvation--must be at the heart of all "good news" preaching (17:30-31; 26:23; Lk 24:46-47)." (Larkin)

Related Resources:

Acts 24:22  But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case."

NET  Acts 24:22 Then Felix, who understood the facts concerning the Way more accurately, adjourned their hearing, saying, "When Lysias the commanding officer comes down, I will decide your case."

GNT  Acts 24:22 Ἀνεβάλετο δὲ αὐτοὺς ὁ Φῆλιξ, ἀκριβέστερον εἰδὼς τὰ περὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ εἴπας, Ὅταν Λυσίας ὁ χιλίαρχος καταβῇ, διαγνώσομαι τὰ καθ᾽ ὑμᾶς·

NLT  Acts 24:22 At that point Felix, who was quite familiar with the Way, adjourned the hearing and said, "Wait until Lysias, the garrison commander, arrives. Then I will decide the case."

KJV  Acts 24:22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

ESV  Acts 24:22 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case."

CSB  Acts 24:22 Since Felix was accurately informed about the Way, he adjourned the hearing, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case."

NIV  Acts 24:22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. "When Lysias the commander comes," he said, "I will decide your case."

NKJ  Acts 24:22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case."

NRS  Acts 24:22 But Felix, who was rather well informed about the Way, adjourned the hearing with the comment, "When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case."

YLT  Acts 24:22 And having heard these things, Felix delayed them -- having known more exactly of the things concerning the way -- saying, 'When Lysias the chief captain may come down, I will know fully the things concerning you;'

  • having a more exact knowledge about the Way Ac 24:10,24 26:3 
  • When Lysias the commander comes down: Ac 24:7 18:20 25:26 De 19:18 
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


To adjourn is to announce a suspension of proceedings to another time or place. The prosecution had stated its case and rested. The defense had refuted the accusations and challenged the prosecution on the lack of facts and a lack of witnesses and Paul rested his case.

But Felix, having a more exact (akribos) knowledge about the Way More exact or more accurate than who or what? In context probably more accurate than the Jews in general but specifically the members of the Sanhedrin who were in the courtroom and through Tertullus were bringing the case against Paul for being a leader of the Way. If they had really had exact knowledge about the Way, they would not have persecuted the leader of the Way! Felix a pagan ruler knew more accurately about Christianity than the so-called religious leaders! How did Felix acquire this information? Luke does not say but we know that Philip the Evangelist lived in Caesarea and that there was a church in the city, so presumably from one or both of these sources. Drusila as a Jewess may have obtained some true knowledge of the way. 

Robertson adds one other possibility - It is wholly possible that Felix knew of the decision of Gallio in Corinth that Christianity was a religio licita as a form of Judaism. As a Roman official he knew perfectly well that the Sanhedrin with the help of Tertullus had failed utterly to make out a case against Paul. He could have released Paul and probably would have done so but for fear of offending the Jews whose ruler he was and the hope that Paul (cf “alms” in Acts 24:17) might offer him bribes for his liberty.

Larkin - Luke gives two reasons that Felix delays his verdict: his thorough acquaintance with Christianity and his desire to hear the testimony of Claudius Lycias, the only independent witness to any civil disturbances. Whether from Drusilla or from his decadelong tenure in Palestine, Felix knew "the Way," the opposition to it from the Jewish leaders-and increasingly from the people--and the potential for civil unrest that its very presence seemed to create....Felix protects himself from further civil unrest sparked by Paul's being at large and does the Sanhedrin a favor. And providentially, in protective custody Paul is kept from the hands of Jews intent on his death. (IVP Commentary)

Put them off - Adjourned the case is the idea. The verb put off (only here) is anaballo which means to throw or toss up, to put back or off, and in middle voice as in this passage to put off from one and so to delay, to adjourn.

THOUGHT - "PUT OFF" may have been a harbinger of what Felix would do in Acts 24:25 where he in effect "put off" listening to the Gospel that would have brought him salvation! Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” A better quote is to replace "can" with "should!"  It was good advice for Felix and for all of us. Beloved, the tragic irony of Franklin's quote is that while he was even close friends with the great evangelist George Whitefield, Franklin in effect seemed to have "Put off" receiving Jesus as his Savior. Most sources today (see this fascinating assessment of Franklin) think that Franklin was what we would call a "Deist" one who believed there was a God (Who had Created everything) but that He was not a God Who was really in control. (CAVEAT/DISCLAIMER: GIVEN THE FACT THAT FRANKLIN'S SISTER WAS AN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN AND WHITEFIELD WAS HIS CLOSE FRIEND DON'T BE SHOCKED IF WE MEET BEN IN HEAVEN!) Many of the founding fathers were "Deists"! 

The Way - see notes above.

Saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down (katabaino) I will decide your case - Your case is literally "the things according to you" where "you" is in the plural indicating the case between Paul and the Sanhedrin. Recall that Jerusalem is elevated so whenever one is described as coming from Jerusalem, he is described as "coming down." Felix adjourned the case without a decision under a plausible pretext, that he required the presence of Lysias in person. However, Lysias had already said that Paul was innocent and was never summoned to Caesarea, so far as we know. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, Lysias could have thrown some light on the riot, if he had any. This will be an interesting conversation to have with Paul in Heaven! 

Commander (5506)(chiliarchos from chikioi = a thousand + archo = to rule) is transliterated as chiliarch, literally a commander of a thousand. is used to indicate the commander of the Roman garrison in Jerusalem (Acts 21:33)

Chiliarchos in Acts - 

Acts 21:31; Acts 21:32; Acts 21:33; Acts 21:37; Acts 22:24; Acts 22:26; Acts 22:27; Acts 22:28; Acts 22:29; Acts 23:10; Acts 23:15; Acts 23:17; Acts 23:18; Acts 23:19; Acts 23:22; Acts 24:7; Acts 24:22; Acts 25:23

Decide (1231)(diaginosko from dia = intensives meaning + ginosko = to know) means to decide or determine by a thorough investigation. It was a legal technical term for carrying out a judicial inquiry and thoroughly examining or inquiring. The idea of diaginosko is to know accurately or thoroughly (the prefix dia-- often conveys the sense of thoroughly). Only here and Acts 23:15  and in the Septuagint in Num. 33:56; Deut. 2:7; Deut. 8:2; Prov. 14:33.

Acts 24:23  Then he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him.

NET  Acts 24:23 He ordered the centurion to guard Paul, but to let him have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from meeting his needs.

GNT  Acts 24:23 διαταξάμενος τῷ ἑκατοντάρχῃ τηρεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ἔχειν τε ἄνεσιν καὶ μηδένα κωλύειν τῶν ἰδίων αὐτοῦ ὑπηρετεῖν αὐτῷ.

NLT  Acts 24:23 He ordered an officer to keep Paul in custody but to give him some freedom and allow his friends to visit him and take care of his needs.

KJV  Acts 24:23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.

ESV  Acts 24:23 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.

CSB  Acts 24:23 He ordered that the centurion keep Paul under guard, though he could have some freedom, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from serving him.

NIV  Acts 24:23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.

NKJ  Acts 24:23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.

NRS  Acts 24:23 Then he ordered the centurion to keep him in custody, but to let him have some liberty and not to prevent any of his friends from taking care of his needs.

YLT  Acts 24:23 having given also a direction to the centurion to keep Paul, to let him also have liberty, and to forbid none of his own friends to minister or to come near to him.

  • yet have some freedom Ac 24:26 27:3 28:16,31 Pr 16:7 
  • his friends Ac 21:8-14 
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Then he gave orders (diatasso) to the centurion (Hekatontarches) for him to be kept in custody  - The point is that Paul would be In freed from bonds and thus have liberty. 

Kept in custody  (5083)(tereo from teros - guard) means to keep an eye on, to keep something in view, of guarding Paul. 

And yet have some freedom - KJV rendering "And should have indulgence." Later in Sidon another centurion named "Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care." (Acts 27:3+).

Alexander Maclaren wrote, “The indulgence given to Paul, in his light confinement, only showed how clearly Felix knew himself to be doing wrong, but small alleviations do not patch up a great injustice.”

Freedom (425)(anesis from aniemi = loose, let up, hold back ~ relaxing or release) refers to relaxing of custodial control and thus giving one some liberty as in the present passage. Anesis can also refer to relief from somethin onerous or troublesome,

Gilbrant Anesis has three basic meanings in classical literature. (1) It denotes the “loosening” or “releasing” of something (like strings); (2) metaphorically it means “a releasing” from guilt, “a remission”; (3) it refers to “relaxation” or even “recreation” (see Liddell-Scott). The Septuagint records anesis six times. Second Chronicles of the canonical writings speaks of Athaliah’s being released or permitted to leave the temple before she was killed (23:15). The apocryphal 1 Esdras tells of God’s granting “release and permission” to return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian Exile (4:62; cf. Sirach 15:20, “permission,” RSV). Anesis occurs five times in the New Testament. It functions in a wide variety of contexts. Paul spoke of a “rest” in his spirit (2 Corinthians 2:13) and a physical “rest” of the body (2 Corinthians 7:5). Of particular interest is the eschatological “rest” that Paul envisioned as awaiting the believer at the return of Christ. Here such “rest” is juxtaposed against present suffering, hardship, and persecution (2 Th 1:4ff.; cf. 2 Cor 8:13). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

(2 Th. 1:7) (GOD WILL) give relief (anesis) to you who are afflicted (thlibo) and to us as well when (Second Coming) the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

Anesis -  ease(1), freedom(1), relief(1), rest(2). Acts 24:23; 2 Co. 2:13; 2 Co. 7:5; 2 Co. 8:13; 2 Th. 1:7

Wiersbe - Felix saw to it that Paul was comfortably cared for while at the same time safely guarded. “Liberty” in Acts 24:23 means that he was not put in the common jail or kept in close confinement. He had limited freedom in the palace, chained to a soldier. (The guards were changed every six hours, a perfect captive congregation!) (BEC)

And not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him - Felix would not forbid Paul's friends from taking care of his needs, clearly an example of favor toward Paul, sadly a "favor" that seems to have been lifted by Porcius Festus (Acts 24:27). 

Who would have been some of Paul's friends? One major figure would have been Philip who was mentioned as first coming to Caesarea in Acts 8:40+. He is again mentioned about 20 years later in Acts 21 (below) implying that he had remained and ministered in this city. In Acts 21 we read of others who would have likely been among the friends who could minister to Paul in prison...

When we (LUKE IS WITH PAUL AT THIS TIME) had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and after greeting the brethren, we stayed with them for a day. 8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea (BY THE SEA), and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven (Acts 6:3-5+), we stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. 10 As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” 12 When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents (THE IMPLICATION IS THAT THESE WERE MEMBERS OF A CHURCH IN CAESAREA) began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:7-12+)

Comment - It is fascinating that Philip, his daughters and the local residents witnessed before their very eyes the fulfillment of Agabus' prophecy! 

Prevent (hinder, forbid) (2967)(koluo from kólos = docked, lopped, clipped, kolazo = curtail) means to cut off, to cut short, to weaken and generally to hinder, to prevent, to restrain or to forbid by word or act. The idea is to cause something not to happen. Koluo can describe the keeping back of something from someone (Acts 10:47+ referring to the Holy Spirit).

Koluo in Acts -

Matt. 19:14; Mk. 9:38; Mk. 9:39; Mk. 10:14; Lk. 6:29; Lk. 9:49; Lk. 9:50; Lk. 11:52; Lk. 18:16; Lk. 23:2; Acts 8:36; Acts 10:47; Acts 11:17; Acts 16:6; Acts 24:23; Acts 27:43; Rom. 1:13; 1 Co. 14:39; 1 Thess. 2:16; 1 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 7:23; 2 Pet. 2:16; 3 Jn. 1:10

To hinder means to make slow or difficult the progress of something by interfering in some way with the activity or progress thereof. In short koluo means to make it difficult for someone to do something or for something to happen. Festus did just the opposite, surely reflecting the sovereign power of God working even in pagans (cf Pr 21:1, cf Isa 44:28 Cyrus prophesied 150 years before Cyrus lived that God would use use this pagan Persian king to gather the faithful remnant of Israel back to the Land. History is HIS-story!)

Ministering (present tense)(5256)(hupereteo from huperetes = an attendant or assistant <> hupo = under + eretes = a rower ~ subordinate) means to do service. It can describe the grueling work of a rower, then to do service on board the ship and simply render service or assistance as in the present passage. I would even venture some of the friends brought Paul some of his favorite Jewish dishes! 

Acts 24:24  But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.

NET  Acts 24:24 Some days later, when Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.

GNT  Acts 24:24 Μετὰ δὲ ἡμέρας τινὰς παραγενόμενος ὁ Φῆλιξ σὺν Δρουσίλλῃ τῇ ἰδίᾳ γυναικὶ οὔσῃ Ἰουδαίᾳ μετεπέμψατο τὸν Παῦλον καὶ ἤκουσεν αὐτοῦ περὶ τῆς εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν πίστεως.

NLT  Acts 24:24 A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus.

KJV  Acts 24:24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

ESV  Acts 24:24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.

CSB  Acts 24:24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus.

NIV  Acts 24:24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.

NKJ  Acts 24:24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

NRS  Acts 24:24 Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus.

YLT  Acts 24:24 And after certain days, Felix having come with Drusilla his wife, being a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith toward Christ,

  • sent for Paul and heard him: Ac 26:22 Mk 6:20 Lu 19:3 23:8 
  • speak about faith in Christ Jesus: Ac 16:31 20:21 Ga 2:16,20 3:2 1Jn 5:1 Jude 1:3 Rev 14:12 
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Paul before Felix and Drusilla


THOUGHT - The lesson for all of us is clear - God's delays may lead to human disappointments, but remember that His delays may also lead to divine appointments, for His delays always have a higher purpose for our good and His glory. We need to learn to be patient. In this case His delay resulted in an appointment to proclaim the Gospel to Felix and Drusilla. (And notice this is a partial fulfillment of Jesus' prophetic promise - Mt 10:18-20, Mk 13:9)

But some days later - Luke does not say how many days. Other occurrences of “some days” in Acts appear to designate a length of time shorter than a month (Acts 9:19; 10:48; 16:12).

Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess - As noted above the fact that Felix's wife was a Jewess may explain why he had a more exact knowledge of the Way (and see the interesting dictionary notes on Drusilla - she must have been quite enticing especially to King Aziz!). 

Dictionary articles on Drusilla

Fausset - The fair but loose (EUPHEMISM) daughter of Herod Agrippa I and Cypros (Acts 12); sister of Herod Agrippa II; married to Azizus, king of Emesa, on his becoming a Jew; seduced by Felix, procurator of Judea, through Simon the Cyprian sorcerer (Josephus, Ant. 20:7, section 2). Present at Paul's hearing before Felix at Caesarea. By Felix she had a son, Agrippa, who perished with his mother in the Vesuvian eruption, under Titus.

Holman - Wife of Felix, the Roman governor of Judea who heard Paul's case. Drusilla was a Jew and listened to Paul's arguments with her husband (Acts 24:24 ). She was the youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I. She had been engaged to Antiochus Ephiphanes of Commagene, but he refused to become a Jew. King Aziz of Emesa did agree to be circumcised, and they were married. Atomos, a magician from Cyprus, helped Felix win Drusilla away from her husband. Apparently, her son Agrippa died when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. She may have also died in this disaster.

Robertson on Drusilla - Felix had induced her to leave her former husband Aziz, King of Emesa.  She was one of three daughters of Herod Agrippa I (Drusilla, Mariamne, Bernice). Her father murdered James, her great-uncle Herod Antipas slew John the Baptist, her great-grandfather (Herod the Great) killed the babes of Bethlehem. Perhaps the mention of Drusilla as “his own wife” is to show that it was not a formal trial on this occasion. Page thinks that she was responsible for the interview because of her curiosity to hear Paul.

Larkin - Drusilla, one of the three daughters of Agrippa I (Acts 12:1-23+), was born A.D. 38 and promised at a young age to Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus king of Commagene, if he would become a Jewish proselyte (Josephus Antiquities 19.354355; Josephus Antiquities 20.139, 140). He refused to do so. So after the death of Agrippa I (A.D. 44), Drusilla's brother Agrippa II (Acts 25:13--26:32+) gave her in marriage to Azizus, king of Emesa, a small domain on the Orontes. Azizus did consent to be circumcised. Enter Felix, whom Tacitus said indulged in "every kind of barbarity and lust" (Histories 5.9). Captivated by Drusilla's beauty, he wooed her away from Azizus with the aid of a Cyprian Jew named Atomus, who pretended to be a magician. Drusilla married Felix as much to escape the enmity of her sister Bernice, who abused her because of her beauty, as in response to his amorous spell (Josephus Jewish Antiquities 20.139-44). Felix was thrice married (Suetonius Claudius 28). This Drusilla replaced another Drusilla, granddaughter of Antony and Cleopatra. The couple would have been known to some in Luke's Roman audience, since they repaired to Rome after Felix was removed from his procuratorship in A.D. 59. (IVP Commentary)

Related Resources:

And sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus - Don't miss this - this reprobate couple (Drusilla and Felix) actually want to hear the Gospel and God allows it to happen. No one is so dissolute that they are too far from the Gospel which can save them from the guttermost to the uttermost (apparently this did not happen with Drusilla and Felix as far as Luke relates). As God is sovereign remember that although they send for Paul, God either inspired the invitation or allowed it. Either way it is Felix and Drusilla's day of grace to hear about salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. And we know that Paul would not have described an "easy believism" but would have clearly explained that, yes, while faith alone saves a person's soul from Hell and guarantees Heaven, that faith is never alone but is always shown to be genuine saving faith by subsequent actions (see Swindoll's thoughts below) including a transformed life for " if anyone is in Christ, he is a new (kainos means "brand new" never seen before) creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor 5:17).  

Someone has said that hen Paul talked to Felix and Drusilla, enslaved royalty was addressing royal slaves.

Send for (3343)(metapempo from metá = after + pémpō =  to send, dispatch) means to send after or for, to summon to oneself. Summon means to ask to come and so to invite to come. All 8 uses are in Acts - Acts 10:5; Acts 10:22; Acts 10:29; Acts 11:13; Acts 20:1; Acts 24:24; Acts 24:26; Acts 25:3. 

Faith (4102)(pistis) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.

Swindoll says pistis "implies both knowledge and action. One may receive knowledge of a certain truth and may even offer verbal agreement, but “trust” or “confidence” is not said to be present until one’s behavior reflects that truth."

Acts 24:25  But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you."

NET  Acts 24:25 While Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, I will send for you."

GNT  Acts 24:25 διαλεγομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ περὶ δικαιοσύνης καὶ ἐγκρατείας καὶ τοῦ κρίματος τοῦ μέλλοντος, ἔμφοβος γενόμενος ὁ Φῆλιξ ἀπεκρίθη, Τὸ νῦν ἔχον πορεύου, καιρὸν δὲ μεταλαβὼν μετακαλέσομαί σε,

NLT  Acts 24:25 As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. "Go away for now," he replied. "When it is more convenient, I'll call for you again."

KJV  Acts 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

ESV  Acts 24:25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you."

CSB  Acts 24:25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, "Leave for now, but when I find time I'll call for you."

NIV  Acts 24:25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you."

NKJ  Acts 24:25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you."

NRS  Acts 24:25 And as he discussed justice, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity, I will send for you."

YLT  Acts 24:25 and he reasoning concerning righteousness, and temperance, and the judgment that is about to be, Felix, having become afraid, answered, 'For the present be going, and having got time, I will call for thee;'

  • as he was discussing: Ac 17:2 1Sa 12:7 Isa 1:18 41:21 Ro 12:1 1Pe 3:15 
  • righteousness: Ac 24:15,26 2Sa 23:3 Job 29:14 Ps 11:7 45:7 58:1,2 72:2 82:1-4 Pr 16:12 Ec 3:16 Isa 1:21 16:5 61:8 Jer 22:3,15-17 Eze 45:9 Da 4:27 Ho 10:4,12 Am 5:24 6:12  Joh 16:8 1Jn 3:7,10 
  • self-control: Pr 31:3-5 Ec 10:16,17 Isa 28:6,7 Da 5:1-4,30 Ho 7:5 Mk 6:18-24 Ga 5:23 Tit 2:11,12 1Pe 4:4 2Pe 1:6 
  • the judgment to come Ac 10:42 17:13 Ps 50:3,4 Ec 3:17 5:8 11:9 12:14 Da 12:2 Mt 25:31-46 Ro 2:16 14:12 1Co 4:5 2Co 5:10 2Th 1:7-10 2Ti 4:1 Heb 6:2 9:27 1Pe 4:5 Rev 20:11-15 
  • Felix became frightened: Ac 2:37 9:6 16:29 1Ki 21:27 2Ki 22:19 Ezr 10:3,9 Ps 99:1 119:120 Isa 32:11 66:2 Jer 23:29 Hab 3:16 Ro 3:19,20 1Co 14:24,25 Ga 3:22 Heb 4:1,12 12:21 Jas 2:19 
  • Go away for the present: Ac 16:30-34 26:28 1Ki 22:26,27 Pr 1:24-32 Jer 37:17-21 38:14-28 Mt 14:5-10 22:5 25:1-10 
  • when I find time I will summon you.": Ac 17:32 Pr 6:4,5 Isa 55:6 Hag 1:2 Lu 13:24,25 17:26-29 2Co 6:2 Heb 3:7,8,13 4:11 Jas 4:13,14 
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


John G. Butler wrote, “There was absolutely no compromise in his message. Paul did not fear the one who had the keys to prison; he feared the One who had the keys to heaven.” Proverb 29:25 says "The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted." Paul feared man so little because he feared God so much --- A good pattern to imitate (1 Cor 11:1+). 

Larkin writes "Don't call me, I'll call you" is not only a way to dismiss telemarketers and door-to-door solicitors. Modern-day Felixes treat the gospel with the same indifference. Paul's trial witness before Felix at Caesarea helps us understand the reasons for and the hazards of putting off saying yes to Jesus. (IVP Commentary)

But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come - The verb discussing conveys more than just speaking but is used of speaking to someone in order to convince them by reasoning. Paul was seeking to convince Felix and Drusilla of the truth the absolute necessity of placing one's faith in Christ Jesus. Paul preached a "Three Point Sermon" and they hit the target of Felix's heart! 

Marvin Vincent notes that these are "Three topics which bore directly upon the character of Felix. Tacitus says of him that he “exercised the authority of a king with the spirit of a slave;” and that, by reason of the powerful influence at his command, “he supposed he might perpetrate with impunity every kind of villany.” He had persuaded his wife Drusilla to forsake her husband and marry him. He had employed assassins to murder the high-priest Jonathan, and might well tremble at the preaching of the judgment to come. Temperance ( ἐγκράτεια ) is, properly, self-control; holding the passions in hand.

Discussing (1256)(dialegomai from diá = denoting transition or separation + légo = speak) means to engage in an interchange of speech. To reason as one might do using thoughtful arguments to persuade another. To carry on a reasoned discussion as Paul did with the Jews (interestingly each time in the synagogue)  in Thessalonica (Acts 17:2), in Athens (Acts 17:17), in Corinth (Acts 18:4) and in Ephesus (Acts 18:19). Some sources even consider dialegomai to be a technical term for Paul's teaching in the synagogues. 

As Steven Cole says "The verb translated “discussing” means “to reason with.” Paul didn’t bypass their minds and go for heartwarming stories. He appealed through their minds to their consciences. The gospel should make people think, convicting their consciences, leading to a rational decision to trust in Christ. An emotional appeal that bypasses the mind may get decisions, but they will be flimsy, at best." (Sermon)

Dialegomai is a major verb in Acts (here are all NT uses) - Mk. 9:34; Acts 17:2; Acts 17:17; Acts 18:4; Acts 18:19; Acts 19:8; Acts 19:9; Acts 20:7; Acts 20:9; Acts 24:12; Acts 24:25; Heb. 12:5; Jude 1:9

Self-control would "blasted" both Drusilla and Felix for their lives of self-focus were the anti-thesis of self-control!

Self Control (temperance)(1466)(egkrateia from en = in + kratos = dominion, mastery, power to rule <> the stem krat- speaks of power or lordship) means literally dominion within. The idea is holding oneself in or the ability to take a grip of oneself. It is self-control proceeding out from within oneself, but not by oneself, and for the believer is only possible by depending on the power of the indwelling Spirit (cf "fruit" - Gal 5:23). This meaning is similar to our modern expression "Get a grip" which speaks of the ability to get a grip on oneself. As discussed below this virtue was highly regarded by the great secular Greek writers such as Aristotle. Egkrateia has reference to restraining passions and appetites. It points to the inner power to control one's own desires and appetites, and in context is a fruit of "true knowledge" (epignosis). As with meekness, however, this grace (self control) does not apply to God, Who does not need to restrain Himself for everything He does is perfectly righteous. In His incarnation Christ was the epitome of self-control. He was never tempted or tricked into doing or saying anything that was not consistent with His Father’s will and His own divine nature. Egkrateia refers to self-control especially in the area of one's sexuality (although it by no means is restricted to sexual desire) and the loss of sexual self–control leads to the opposite effect which is immorality and impurity. For example we find idea in secular Greek writings like Xenophon (Mem.i.2, 1) speaking of Socrates, who was (egkratestatosmost temperate as to sexual pleasures and pleasures of the appetite.

In discussing righteousness Paul describes God's moral "ruler" or "straight-edge" by which He assesses all deeds and of course with such a perfect straight-edge EVERYONE'S life looks crooked (Ro 3:10+) and in need of some way to rectify the situation. Of course there is only one solution and that is belief in the only One Who was perfectly righteous, Christ Jesus (the "Righteous Branch" - Jer 23:5, Isaiah 53:11+) so that His perfect righteousness might be reckoned (imputed) to the believing sinner's "spiritual bank account." (Ro 4:13+, Ro 4:22+). (See  Why does Christ's righteousness need to be imputed to us?)

Righteousness (1343)(dikaiosune from dikaios = being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified being or in accordance with what God requires) is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense dikaiosune conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm and in Biblical terms the "standard" is God and His perfect, holy character. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God. Dikaiosune is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. Righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through Christ (Click here to read Pastor Ray Pritchard's interesting analysis of righteousness in the Gospel of Matthew).

Dikaiosune in Acts - Acts 10:35; Acts 13:10; Acts 17:31; Acts 24:25; 

Undoubtedly what Paul was discussing with Felix one could receive this righteousness only by belief in the Gospel "for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, for in it (THE GOSPEL) the righteousness (dikaiosune) of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Ro 1:16-17+

The judgment to come - Literally "the judgment, the one coming (imminently)" - Earlier in his defense Paul had told Felix that "there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked." (Acts 24:15+) And here in discussing the judgment he undoubtedly would have elaborated on those two resurrections and two eternal destinies, Heaven or Hell. Presumably this is when Felix became jittery!

In Acts 17 Paul had discussed judgment declaring to the Athenians

“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31+)

John Phillips - What were a few fleeting years of sin and self-indulgence compared with the eternity of woe that awaited the unrepentant? The great white throne lay ahead (Read Rev 20:11-15+, Hebrews 9:27+). There was no escape, except by way of Calvary (Heb 2:3+). They might be able to flout and manipulate, scorn or evade the judgment of men, but there awaited them the judgment of God. There remained the Supreme Court of the universe and Jesus, Who must be faced—if not as Savior, then certainly as Judge (Jn 5:22, 2 Ti 4:1+).” (Exploring Acts)

Luke's record of Paul's "topics" calls to mind Jesus' words regarding the Holy Spirit...

“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. (Jn 16:8-16)

I like Larkin's comment that "The couple, indeed, need to understand God's standard, their accountability and the reality of a final reckoning. In brief, they must face the bad news of their lost spiritual condition before they can grasp and embrace the good news." (Ibid)

THOUGHT - In an age when the majority view all moral values as relative, the Christian witness needs to find a way to speak of God's righteousness again in such a way that it raises a standard for all. In a time when sin is viewed as alternative lifestyles, psychosocial dysfunctions, addictions or even disease, the gospel witness needs to find a way to speak meaningfully of responsible moral self-control. In an age of anxiety when humans know "something is wrong," though they have rejected the moral categories--absolutes, sin and guilt--that would enable them to know "someone is wrong," the Christian witness must learn how to declare a judgment to come in terms that make sense. Unless this happens, repentance will be impossible and the salvation rescue will appear unnecessary and hence irrelevant.  (Larkin)

Robertson - Paul turned the tables completely around and expounded “the faith in Christ Jesus” as it applied to Felix and Drusilla and discoursed (dialegomenou autou genitive absolute) concerning “righteousness” (dikaiosunēs) which they did not possess, “self-control” or temperance (egkrateias) which they did not exhibit, and “the judgment to come” (tou krimatos tou mellontos) which was certain to overtake them. Felix was brought under conviction, but apparently not Drusilla. Like another Herodias her resentment was to be feared 

ILLUSTRATION Hugh Latimer the English Reformer, preached often before King Henry VIII of England. On one occasion Latimer offended the king with his bold message. So he was commanded to preach the following weekend and make an apology. On the next Sunday, after reading his text, Latimer addressed himself with these words:

“Hugh Latimer, dost thou know before whom thou art this day to speak? To the high and mighty monarch, the king’s most excellent majesty, who can take away thy life if thou offendest; therefore, take heed that thou speakest not a word that may displease; but then consider well, Hugh, dost thou not know from whence thou comest; upon whose message thou art sent? Even by the great and mighty God! Who is all-present, and who beholdeth all thy ways, and is able to cast thy soul in hell! Therefore, take care that thou deliverest thy message faithfully.”

Hugh Latimer then proceeded to give the same sermon he had preached the week before—this time with more fire and urgency! That is the kind of preacher the Apostle Paul was! When opportunity knocks we need to take advantage of that opportunity (Jack Andrews Expository Studies – Understanding Acts)

J Vernon McGee - Paul reasoned with him of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. This makes a very good sermon, by the way. Righteousness here is, I think, the righteousness of the Law, which man cannot attain. In other words, the Law reveals that man is a sinner, and he cannot even present a legal righteousness that would be acceptable to God. A sinner must have a standing of legal righteousness before God and he cannot provide it for himself. So God provides it for him in Christ Jesus. That is the “robe” of righteousness which comes down like a garment over those who put their trust in Christ. That is the righteousness “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Rom. 3:22). Paul reasoned with this man about the righteousness of the Law which he could not meet and the righteousness which Christ provides the sinner who puts his trust in Him. Then Paul talked of temperance, which is self-control. Felix was a man mastered by passion and cruelty. These two, Felix and Drusilla, great sinners, living in sin, did not know what real freedom was. Then Paul spoke about the judgment to come, which is the final judgment at the Great White Throne of Revelation 20:11–15.
Friend, today your sins are either on you or they are on Christ. If your sins are on Christ, if you have put your trust in Him, then He paid the penalty for your sins over nineteen hundred years ago. They do not lie ahead of you for judgment in the future. But if your sins today are still on you, then there is yet a judgment to come. People don’t like to hear about judgment to come.
Felix and Drusilla did not like to hear about it either. But if your sins are not on Christ, that is, if you have not trusted Him as your Savior, then you are going to come up for judgment. You can close this book right now, but that doesn’t alter a thing. You cannot escape the fact that you are coming up for judgment.
Very few preachers touch on this subject. Those who still teach the Bible are the only ones who mention it at all, and most preachers soft-pedal it. I received a letter from a college professor in Virginia who wrote, “I listened to you and I was about ready to tune you out when I found out you were a hell-fire and damnation preacher. But I noticed that you didn’t handle it in a crude way, and then I noticed that you did offer salvation; so I continued to listen to you.” Hell-fire and damnation is a pretty good subject if it is used to lead one to Christ, friend. But it should never be used alone without the message of salvation which we have in Christ Jesus.


Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you." - Why did Felix become frightened? Because the Holy Spirit took Paul's words and convicted him of "sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8-11)! And as a result Felix became terrified, which indeed he should have been! But he did act on his fear but procrastinated. This is one of the saddest passages in the Bible. "When I find time!" Felix the prototype of all procrastinators through the ages. He did not have ears to hear the truth. He did not realize that the danger he was in. Only a couple of years before this meeting with Felix Paul wrote these words that Felix desperately needed to hear (and heed! - cf James 1:22-24+).

for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”– (2 Cor 6:2) See "THOUGHT" about Felix putting off until tomorrow what he should have done today!

THOUGHT - Frightened but not repentant, not begging for God's hand of mercy. Terrified but not trusting. How different the reaction of Felix was when compared to the frightened reaction of the hearers of another powerful sermon given by Jonathan Edwards entitled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." One participant recorded that "The crying and weeping became so loud that Edwards was forced to discontinue the sermon." As Josh Moody writes "On this day in history, Jonathan Edwards started a sermon that he did not finish. (ED: ONE MIGHT SAY FELIX HAD A SIMILAR REACTION BRINGING PAUL'S SERMON TO AN ABRUPT END!) Such was the impact of his preaching that the people listening shrieked and cried out, and the crying and weeping became so loud that Edwards was forced to discontinue the sermon. Instead, the pastors went down among the people and prayed with them in groups. Many came to a saving knowledge of Christ that day." (Read Josh Moody's complete description)

Proverbs 27:1 - Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. 

Luke makes no mention of Drusilla's reaction. 

Toussaint comments on Felix's frightened state - Well he should, for his marriage to Drusilla was his third and he had to break up another marriage to secure her. His regime was marked by injustices that contrasted with the righteousness of God. And he was a man grossly lacking in self-control. (Ibid)

Frightened (terrified) (1719)(emphobos from en = in + phobos = fear) literally means "in fear" and then alarmed, startled, terrified, thrown into fear, very afraid. All five uses are associated in some way with supernatural manifestations. Used in 5 verses - Of the women at Jesus' tomb "were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground" when they saw two men suddenly stand near them in dazzling apparel. (Lk 24:4,5) Of the 11 disciples who were frightened when Jesus suddenly stood in the room as the 2 on the road to Emmaus were relating what had occurred (Lk 24:33-36). Of Cornelius reaction to the angel. Of the reaction of Felix fearful reaction as Paul "was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come." (Acts 24:25) Felix's reaction was not misplaced and one wanders if this man ever bowed the knee to Jesus and was saved? Finally In the Revelation (probably at the middle of the seven years of Daniel's seventieth week) there was a great earthquake in Jerusalem killing 7000 and leaving the "rest terrified." (Rev 11:13+).There are no uses in the Septuagint. 

THOUGHT - Have you ever shared the Gospel? I hope you have - it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, one you won't have in Heaven! But I assume most of you reading have shared the Good News. I often begin by asking "Where would you go if you died today?" (I do this primarily when I know I will only have a short time and may never see the person again in this life). When they say "I suppose I would go to Heaven" (as most do), I ask why? And the answer varies, so I tell them about Christ, that H is Name is not a "curse word" but is the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life through Whom one will ever be allowed to enter Heaven (Jn 14:6, Mt 7:13,14+, Acts 4:12+). For most of the hearers this is the "flash point" and you can watch their eyes expressing either anger or in some cases fear, but sadly often looking down at their watch and saying like Felix "I've got to be somewhere soon." Yeah, right! Why not be honest and say I don't want to hear about your narrow minded Christianity and the Man called Jesus Who is God and off they go. But as Paul did with Felix and Drusilla, you like a faithful farmer, have planted some good Gospel seed, so if it germinates or does not germinate, it is not about the quality of your presentation but about the character of their heart. 

And when I find time - KJV = "When I have a convenient season." The word for time is kairos which is also translated "opportune time," or "opportunity." From the following verse, it is clear that Felix was given other "seasons" or "opportunities" but this Greek god (Kairos was name of god in mythology) is fickle and one never knows when "he" has paid his last visit. And so a good policy when one is presented with a "Gospel opportunity" is to remember the old saying that "Opportunity only knocks once!" or "Opportunity is fleeting!" 

McGee astutely observes that "A sinner will never have “a convenient season” to hear the gospel. This man Felix already knew something about the gospel, or “the Way,” which is synonymous with what we today call Christianity or the Christian faith. I personally would like to see the name “the Way” restored because Christianity, as it is used today, is a most abused word and has lost its real meaning. I heard a man, actually a good preacher, say the other day that we live in a Christian nation. My friend, we don’t live in a Christian nation! This country is not Christian by any stretch of the imagination. We have a lot of church members, but the number of real Christians composes a small minority today....Some Bible teachers caption this section “Paul’s Defense Before Felix.” I disagree with that. Paul was not defending himself here. What he was doing in this second appearance before Felix was witnessing to him, trying to win this man for Christ....It has been proven out in the history of the human family for nineteen hundred years that folk can keep postponing making a decision for Christ until they come to the place where they cannot make a decision for Him at all. That is the reason that most decisions for Christ are made by young people—we ought to try to reach young people for Christ. Also this is the reason a person need not think that because he is getting older he is becoming smarter. Older people just become more hardened to the gospel.

Steven Cole on when I find time - When your body is in pain, it’s a warning that something is wrong. If you dull the pain with drugs without fixing the root problem, you may be in for more serious trouble later. It’s like the warning lights on the dashboard of your car. When they go off, you need to find out what the problem is and fix it. Continuing to ignore the warnings can destroy your engine. It is the same way spiritually. God may use His Word, the preaching of the Word, or someone’s godly words or behavior to prick your conscience. You can pay attention to the warnings and take appropriate action, or you can ignore the warnings by making up excuses and pretending that the problems don’t exist. Felix should have allowed his fear to drive him to ask, “What must I do to be saved?” Instead, he blocked out the warning and missed his opportunity for salvation. Every week, we all face opportunities for spiritual advance. There is the opportunity to set your alarm a few minutes early to get up and spend time with the Lord. Or, you can sack in and miss that opportunity. There is the opportunity to read some spiritually enriching Christian books that will change your life. Or, you can sit mesmerized in front of TV shows that pollute your mind with filthy humor, which the Bible plainly commands us to avoid (Eph. 5:3). There is the opportunity to get your finances in order as a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted to you, and to give generously to His cause. Or, you can squander those resources on American junk. There is the opportunity to meet with other believers to grow in your faith. Or, you can forsake assembling together with the saints. There is the opportunity to talk to a lost person about the Savior. Or, you can busy yourself with less important things. With Paul, will you seize present opportunities for spiritual advance or, with Felix, will you make up excuses and miss those opportunities? (Sermon)

Spurgeon - Thou sayest, ‘Another time.’ How knowest thou that thou wilt ever feel again as thou feelest now? This morning, perhaps a voice is saying in thy heart, ‘Prepare to meet thy God.’ Tomorrow that voice will be hushed. The gaieties of the ball-room and the theatre will put out that voice that warns thee now, and perhaps thou wilt never hear it again. Men all have their warnings, and all men who perish have had a last warning. Perhaps this is your last warning.”  God today is pulling the reigns tight to check you from your lust; perhaps, if to-day you spurn the bit, and rush madly on, he will throw the reigns upon your back, saying, ‘Let him alone;’ and then it is a dark steeple-chase between hell and earth, and you will run it in mad confusion, never thinking of a hell till you find yourself past warning, past repentance, past faith, past hope.”


Charles Swindoll quips "Note Felix’s key phrase, the battle cry of the procrastinator: “when I find time.”

Will summon (3333)(metakaleo from metá =  change of place or condition + kaléo = to call) means to call from one place to another. In the middle voice (reflexive) the idea Felix would personally summon Paul to himself. Used twice in the Septuagint (Lxx) Hosea 11:1, 2. Summon implies the exercise of authority and the sense of a demand, not just a suggestion.

Metakaleo - called(1), invite(1), invited(1), summon(1). Acts 7:14; Acts 10:32; Acts 20:17; Acts 24:25

Larkin insightfully writes "Felix uses procrastination to stay in control of his own destiny. He will determine when and to what extent these matters are considered in the future. How often does fear hide behind a busy schedule? How many have fooled themselves into thinking that by not deciding they have truly "kept all the options open" and at a convenient time in the future they will give the claims of Christ the serious attention they deserve? Actually indecision is a decision--a choice to remain where we are, outside God's saving grace, with the condemnation of the judgment to come our only prospect (Jn 3:18, 36). (IVP Commentary)

Felix the Prototypical Procrastinator - Procrastination:  to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done; to put off doing something until later; to keep delaying something that must be done. A procrastinator is a person that puts off tomorrow what needs to be done today

Wikipedia Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished by a certain deadline.[1] It could be further stated as a habitual or intentional delay of starting or finishing a task despite knowing it might have negative consequences.[2] It is a common human experience involving delay in everyday chores or even putting off salient tasks such as attending an appointment, submitting a job report or academic assignment, or broaching a stressful issue with a partner. 

Jack Andrews - Having an emotional experience at church is not what saves a person. Being under conviction is not salvation!

Felix was under conviction and was terrified. Felix responded wrongly—he procrastinated—he put off for tomorrow what he could have and should have done right then! When God is dealing with your soul it is then the time to get right—we should not procrastinate. We should not say to ourselves that I will go home and think about it—I will take care of that later!

Edward Young said, “Procrastination is the thief of time.”

An English proverb states: One of these days is none of these days.

Warren Wiersbe wrote, “It is not enough for a person to know the facts about Christ, or to have an emotional response to a message. He or she must willingly repent of sin and trust the Savior... The governor’s mind was enlightened, his emotions were stirred, but his will would not yield. He tried to gain the world, but, as far as we know, he lost his soul. He procrastinated himself into hell.”

That is one of Satan’s most effective tools to use on men and women! Clarence Macartney told a story about a meeting in hell. Satan called his four leading demons together and commanded them to think up a new lie that would trap more souls. One demon said, “I have it! I’ll go to earth and tell people there is no God.” Satan said, “It will never work, people can look around them and see that there is a God.” The second demon suggested, “I’ll go and tell them there is no heaven!” Satan rejected that idea, “Everybody knows there is life after death and they want to go to heaven.” A third demon said, “Let’s tell them there is no hell!” The devil said, “No, conscience tells them their sins will be judged. We need a better lie than that.” Finally, the fourth demon said, “I think I’ve solved your problem. I’ll go to earth and tell everybody that there is no hurry.” This saying pleased Satan! (The Jack Andrews Expository Studies – Understanding Acts - Volume 6)

The word used for that destroyer of souls is

ILLUSTRATION - Dr. George Truitt, a great preacher in the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, told this story.  It was at the celebration of his fiftieth anniversary that a lawyer friend, who was not a Christian, came to him.  He said, “George, you and I came here to Dallas at the same time.  You were a young preacher and I was a young lawyer.  I must confess that when I first heard you, I was moved a great deal by your sermons.  Very frankly, there were nights when I couldn't sleep.  As the years wore on, the day came when I could listen to you and enjoy hearing you.  Your message didn't disturb me at all.  And you're a much greater preacher today then you were at the beginning.”  The lawyer laughed it off.  He did not realize how tragic it was, for he procrastinated about making a decision for Christ and became dull and hardened to the truth. Procrastination means more rejection of Christ and progressive hardening to any sensitivity in spiritual matters. BEWARE OF PUTTING OFF THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU WILL EVER MAKE AND REMEMBER THAT IF YOU PUT IT OFF YOU ARE ACTUALLY MAKING A DECISION. SO DON'T DECEIVE YOURSELF! 

Charles Swindoll  - Wait No More

Even though Felix gave Paul a hearing, he failed to act on the message that had been pricking his conscience. History shows that his attitude toward Paul and spiritual things continued to harden. As far as we can tell, Felix died in his sins.

Procrastination never pays. The more you believe there is no hurry, the less concern you have for the consequences of inaction. God sent His Holy Spirit, in part, to bring fear, to make lost people aware of their guilt before their Creator. The experience of Felix—and countless procrastinators throughout history—highlights a couple of lingering lessons.

First, delay hardens the heart against the edge of the sword of the Spirit. The truth of God never dulls, never loses its edge; still, the heart can grow callous so the sword no longer causes discomfort. It’s possible to become a scholarly authority on Scripture and lose the ability to be affected by the Word of God. Failing to heed its warnings and delaying necessary responses create this insensitivity. And it’s deadly! Would-be saints go to their graves without concern for what comes later. Even those who believe can harden their hearts, sometimes becoming shining-knight examples of Christianity on the outside yet completely corrupt within.

Don’t put off important decisions, especially when confronted by Scripture and convicted by the Holy Spirit. Heed your concerns when they first upset your conscience. Take them to God and let Him do whatever is necessary to settle the issue.

Second, delay distracts the mind with less important issues. Felix came face to face with his sin and his need for Christ, but he backed away and put off the necessary decision. He then became interested in advancing his personal agenda, increasing his power, and making money. There was suddenly a materialistic motivation for this whole religious discussion. He met with Paul for two years. He interacted personally with the most articulate spokesman for Jesus Christ in the first century—for two years! Imagine the dialogues they must have had. Yet he maintained a consistent preoccupation with the horizontal realm.

This is unbelievably common in religious circles: intellectual discussions, materialistic motivation, horizontal preoccupation. People feel good about raising money for good causes, discussing deep subjects, and pleasing people, yet they never plan to say, “Before God, I am guilty. I open my life. I bow before Him. I ask Him to do radical things in my life, my home, my business, and my social contacts, because I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

One day will be your last to heed the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have not, don’t delay. There is a heaven. There is a hell. And there is a hurry. (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Acts 24:10-26 A Born Atheist?

By Vernon C. Grounds

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? —Hebrews 2:3

All of us have an innate sense of God’s existence (Rom. 1:18-21). But some may suppress that deep-down awareness of God and may even convince themselves that He is not real—until a moment of crisis.

Novelist Eric Ambler was making a World War II documentary in Italy, The Battle of San Pietro, when exploding shells knocked him to the ground and he thought he might die. In his autobiography he wrote, “My unconscious mind chose to play a nasty trick on me. I heard myself saying, ‘Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.’” Unhurt, he resolved never to reveal that momentary abandonment of his unbelief.

Such a flash of insight is a gift of grace that can cause the long-suppressed truth to become conscious trust in God. But Ambler refused to let that spark of faith become a steady flame that would illuminate the darkness of his unbelieving soul with redemptive truth.

Felix, the governor of Judea, put off a decision for Christ until “a convenient time” (Acts 24:25). But convenient times have a way of eluding us. We all need to commit ourselves into the hand of God, not just at death but in life. It starts by accepting the gift of salvation by faith in His Son.

If you haven’t trusted Christ as Savior, do it today. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Almost persuaded now to believe;
Almost persuaded Christ to receive:
Seems now some soul to say, “Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
Some more convenient day on Thee I’ll call.”

You can’t repent too soon, because you don’t know how soon it may be too late.

Acts 24:26  At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him.

NET  Acts 24:26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would give him money, and for this reason he sent for Paul as often as possible and talked with him.

GNT  Acts 24:26 ἅμα καὶ ἐλπίζων ὅτι χρήματα δοθήσεται αὐτῷ ὑπὸ τοῦ Παύλου· διὸ καὶ πυκνότερον αὐτὸν μεταπεμπόμενος ὡμίλει αὐτῷ.

NLT  Acts 24:26 He also hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him quite often and talked with him.

KJV  Acts 24:26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.

ESV  Acts 24:26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him.

CSB  Acts 24:26 At the same time he was also hoping that money would be given to him by Paul. For this reason he sent for him quite often and conversed with him.

NIV  Acts 24:26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

NKJ  Acts 24:26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.

NRS  Acts 24:26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him.

YLT  Acts 24:26 and at the same time also hoping that money shall be given to him by Paul, that he may release him, therefore, also sending for him the oftener, he was conversing with him;

  • he was hoping that money Ac 24:2,3 Ex 23:8 De 16:19 1Sa 8:3 12:3 2Ch 19:7 Job 15:34 Ps 26:9,10 Pr 17:8,23 19:6 29:4 Isa 1:23 33:15 56:11 Eze 22:27 Eze 33:31 Ho 4:18 12:7,8 Am 2:6,7 Mic 3:11 7:3 1Co 6:9 Eph 5:5,6 1Ti 6:9,10 2Pe 2:3,14,15 
  • therefore he also used to send for him quite often Ac 24:24 
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul - This is one of those few uses of "hope" in the NT where the word does not have the spiritual meaning of absolute certainty of future good, a hope sure. LIke I like to say Biblical hope is not like the world's hope, for ours is a "hope sure," not a "hope so!" Felix's hope was only a "hope so." "The duplicity and greed of Felix is seen in his desire to be bribed by Paul." (Toussaint)

This is an amazing passage! It portrays in a microcosm the choices of all of mankind, either the eternal or the temporal. Have your pick! No middle ground! Sadly Felix seems to (at least at this time) reject the eternal, the free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus (Ro 6:23+) in lieu of love for the temporal, the possession of filthy lucre (shameful gain) rather than eternal life! One is reminded of the warning by the apostle John

Do not love (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For (hinge word - term of explanation) all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but (Dramatic term of contrast!) the one who does (present tense - as one's lifestyle = direction, not perfection - the latter is called "glorification"!) the will of God lives forever (NOTE: THE "DOING" DOES NOT SAVE THAT PERSON, BUT SIMPLY SHOWS THAT PERSON IS SAVED AND HAS THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO ENABLES THE DOING!).  (1Jn 2:15-17+)

James has a similar warning...

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4+)

Robertson - Paul had mentioned the “alms” (Acts 24:17) and that excited the avarice of Felix for “money” (chrēmata). Roman law demanded exile and confiscation for a magistrate who accepted bribes, but it was lax in the provinces. Felix had doubtless received them before. Josephus (Ant. XX. 8, 9) represents Felix as greedy for money.

Was hoping (present tense = continually hoping)(1679)(elpizo) means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. To express desire for some good with the expectation of obtaining it. This use of "hope" is one of the few examples of hope with the sense of "hope so" rather than "hope sure" (as are most of the NT uses where "hope" is the absolute assurance that God will do good to us in the future). And so the only other use of elpizo in Acts conveys the idea of a "hope sure" as Paul is making his defense before King Agrippa...

And now I am standing trial for the hope (noun = elpis) of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope (verb - elpizo) to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope (noun = elpis), O King, I am being accused by Jews. (Acts 26:6-7+)

Money (5536)(chrema from chráomai = to use, need) describes a thing one uses and thus refers to money (Acts 4:37, 8:18, 20, 24:26). In Mk 10:23 and Lk 18:24 chrema refers to wealth, possessions or riches in Jesus' warning that it is hard for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God (or get saved, because they have little sense of their eternal poverty and need in light of their temporal riches. Their possessions "possess" them!). Friberg adds that chrema refers to "what has been acquired to meet one's needs," but for Felix it would be better stated as what he desired to meet his greeds!

All NT uses of chrema - Mk. 10:23; Lk. 18:24; Acts 4:37; Acts 8:18; Acts 8:20; Acts 24:26

Robertson on Felix's hope of receiving a bribe - Paul kept on not offering a bribe, but Felix continued to have hopes (present tense  elpizōn), kept on sending for him (present tense — metapempomenos), and kept on communing (imperfect active hōmilei from homileō old word as in Acts 20:11; Luke 24:14, which see, only N.T. examples of this word). But he was doomed to disappointment. He was never terrified again. 

Therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him - So apparently Felix did summon Paul after being frightened by the truth of the Gospel, but the main purpose was for temporal and not eternal gain. Felix is like all men who fix their eyes on the temporal and fail to see the eternal. Will we see Felix in Heaven? Only God knows. One thing is certain that Felix clearly had exposure to the Gospel ("the kingdom of God has come near") that few in the history of the world have had. And sadly if he did not receive the truth so as to be saved, his punishment will be worse than even those who committed the horrible sins in Sodom and Gomorrah as Jesus warned (and He is warning you if you are reading these notes and have not genuinely believed in Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation -- the only alternative is eternal punishment!)

But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 “I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.  13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. (Luke 10:10-13+)

Felix's exposure to the Gospel reminds me of Benjamin Franklin's friendship with one of the greatest evangelists of the 1700's George Whitefield (this was discussed above). Talk about exposure to the Gospel! And yet by all accounts (as noted above) Franklin remained a deist (See "The Strange Case of Dr. Franklin and and Mr Whitefield")

Send for (present tense = continually sending for Paul)(3343) See discussion above on metapempo

Converse (3656)(homileo from hómilos = a multitude, a crowd or company - English homiletics = art of preaching) means to be in company with,  and by implication to converse, commune, talk. Used only 4x in NT - Lk. 24:14; Lk. 24:15; Acts 20:11; Acts 24:26

Larkin comments "Following common provincial administrative practice, he demands gold--seeks a bribe--from Paul in exchange for his release (Josephus Jewish Antiquities 20.215; Jewish Wars 2.273). He is evidently willing to trade hope of life eternal later for hope of money now (24:15, 26). Jesus warned of the unevenness of such a trade (Lk 9:25; compare 8:14). Felix's desire for glory led him to trade the approval of fellow human beings for justice. He left office under a cloud. A Jewish delegation's complaint to the emperor about his ruthless suppression of a dispute between Jews and Gentiles in Caesarea led to his removal (Josephus Jewish Antiquities 20.182; Jewish Wars 2.266-70).  As he leaves, he curries the Jews' favor by leaving Paul in prison. Paul's plight, clearly a miscarriage of justice and unworthy of a Roman citizen, nevertheless continues to provide the protection that is needed if Paul is ever to experience the divine promise--witness in Rome. Felix's profligate life warns us all not to let sex, money or power put us into a "don't call me, I'll call you" stance toward the gospel." (IVP Commentary)

ILLUSTRATION - Cole - In one of his plays, Shakespeare describes a dying man calling on God. He makes the narrator say, “I, to comfort him, bid him he should not think of God. I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet” (in Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture [Baker], Acts 13-End, p. 293). That is the way the world thinks: Don’t trouble yourself with God until you’re at death’s door. But God’s way is very different: “Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Cor. 6:2+). (Ibid)

Acts 24:27  But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned.

NET  Acts 24:27 After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because he wanted to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

GNT  Acts 24:27 Διετίας δὲ πληρωθείσης ἔλαβεν διάδοχον ὁ Φῆλιξ Πόρκιον Φῆστον, θέλων τε χάριτα καταθέσθαι τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ὁ Φῆλιξ κατέλιπε τὸν Παῦλον δεδεμένον.

NLT  Acts 24:27 After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison.

KJV  Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

ESV  Acts 24:27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

CSB  Acts 24:27 After two years had passed, Felix received a successor, Porcius Festus, and because he wished to do a favor for the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison.

NIV  Acts 24:27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

NKJ  Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

NRS  Acts 24:27 After two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and since he wanted to grant the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

YLT  Acts 24:27 and two years having been fulfilled, Felix received a successor, Porcius Festus; Felix also willing to lay a favour on the Jews, left Paul bound.

  • after two years had passed  Ac 28:30 
  • Porcius Festus: Ac 25:1 26:24,25,32 
  • wishing to do the Jews a favor  Ac 12:3 25:9,14 Ex 23:2 Pr 29:25 Mk 15:15 Lu 23:24,25 Ga 1:10 
  • Acts 24 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But after two years had passed - Felix's charade with Paul went on for 2 years. Did he every hear the Gospel again? Luke simply does not tell us. Jesus knew this confinement in Caesarea would be a long period and is undoubtedly one of the reasons He personally appeared to encourage Him (Acts 23:11+). At least Paul had "liberty" and his friends had access to him for these two years, so this could have been much worse (as it was about to become)! 

Jack Andrews - For two years the governor’s ruling on the case was withheld. I don’t believe Lysias forgot how to get to Caesarea from Jerusalem—I just think Felix never called for him to come. (Ibid)

Robertson writes "So Paul lingered on in prison in Caesarea, waiting for the second hearing under Felix which never came. Caesarea now became the compulsory headquarters of Paul for two years. With all his travels Paul spent several years each at Tarsus, Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, though not as a prisoner unless that was true part of the time at Ephesus for which there is some evidence though not of a convincing kind. We do not know that Luke remained in Caesarea all this time. In all probability he came and went with frequent visits with Philip the Evangelist. 

Guzik writes that "In a way, people like Felix and Pilate are the guiltiest of those who reject Jesus Christ. They know what is right but refuse to do right purely out of the fear of man. They have an eternally fatal lack of courage."

Had passed (had completed) (4137)(pleroo) means to fill full and so the translation could be rendered "when two years were fulfilled." 

Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus - Literally "received as successor." Porcius Festus was put into the government of Judea in the sixth or seventh year of Nero (see article below).  He died about two years afterwards, and was succeeded by Albinus. See video of Paul before Festus.

Robertson has an interesting apparently historical note - Luke does not tell why Felix “received” a successor. The explanation is that during these two years the Jews and the Gentiles had an open fight in the market-place in Caesarea. Felix put the soldiers on the mob and many Jews were killed. The Jews made formal complaint to the Emperor with the result that Felix was recalled and Porcius Festus sent in his stead....We know very little about this man. He is usually considered a worthier man than Felix, but Paul fared no better at his hands and he exhibits the same insincerity and eagerness to please the Jews. Josephus (Ant. XX. 8, 9) says that “Porcius Festus was sent as a successor to Felix.” The precise year when this change occurred is not clear. Albinus succeeded Festus by a.d. 62, so that it is probable that Festus came a.d. 58 (or 59). Death cut short his career in a couple of years though he did more than Felix to rid the country of robbers and sicarii. Some scholars argue for an earlier date for the recall of Felix. Nero became Emperor Oct. 13, a.d. 54. Poppaea, his Jewish mistress and finally wife, may have had something to do with the recall of Felix at the request of the Jews.

And wishing (thelo) to do the Jews a favor - Luke explains the reason for his different treatment of Paul. Literally "to lay up thanks for himself with the Jews." Favor is charis our great word for grace, but here reduced to almost a profane usage of a man seeking to curry favor with Paul's accusers!

Wishing to do...favor - Better "Wishing to gain favor" where "do" or "gain" is the verb katatithemi (see below).

Do (gain) (2698)(katatithemi from kata = down + tithemi = place, put, lay) means literally to place down (Jesus' body in the tomb) and so the make a deposit, and in Acts 24:27 and Acts 25:9 to "deposit" a favor or do something to win a favor. Both uses in Acts are middle voice indicating to "lay up for oneself" (to deposit). Katatithemi is a banking figure. Used only 3 times, and below are the other two NT uses. 3x in the Septuagint - 1 Chr. 21:27; Est. 3:13; Ps. 41:8

Mark 15:46 Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid (katatithemi) Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. (ED: This was the best "banking deposit" every made!)

Acts 25:9+  But Festus, wishing to do (katatithemi) the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?”

Gilbrant on katatithemi - Homer used katatithēmi in both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Here the meanings were “put down, lay down, place down,” etc. Other classical references carry the meaning of “to deposit, lay aside for oneself.” (Ibid)

Felix left Paul imprisoned - Felix was what we would call a "people pleaser!"

Constable writes “The apostle had become a political pawn in the will of God.”  (Acts 24 Commentary)

Left (2641)(kataleipo from kata = intensifies meaning of + leipo = to leave behind, forsake) literally means to leave behind or leave a person remaining, in this case in a prison cell. Presumably Felix revoked Paul's privileges of liberty that Felix had granted him. The use of kataleipo suggest that Felix basically neglected Paul with a distinct sense of disregard. This period could not have been easy for a man like the apostle Paul. 

NET Note on Porcius Festis -  Porcius Festus was the procurator of Palestine who succeeded Felix; neither the beginning nor the end of his rule (at his death) can be determined with certainty, although he appears to have died in office after about two years. Nero recalled Felix in A.D. 57 or 58, and Festus was appointed to his vacant office in A.D. 57, 58, or 59. According to Josephus Antiquities 20.8.9-10; Josephus Wars 2.14.1), his administration was better than that of his predecessor Felix or his successor Albinus, but Luke in Acts portrays him in a less favorable light: He was willing to sacrifice Paul to court Jewish favor by taking him to Jerusalem for trial (Acts 25:9), regardless of Paul's guilt or innocence. The one characteristic for which Festus was noted is that he dealt harshly with those who disturbed the peace.

Related Resources:

Jack Andrews - Years ago in a small town in Indiana a man made a balloon ride with a huge helium balloon. The basket in which he ascended was attached to the balloon with three ropes. As the man soared up into the air the people saw him cut one of these ropes. They shouted for him not to cut the second rope, but in a moment they saw him cut that rope. They shouted again, “Don’t cut the last rope!” But in a moment the man cut the last rope and came plummeting down to his death. This was his way of suicide. Every time someone turns Christ down they are cutting one of the ropes. Someday without knowing it he or she will cut the last rope. Their last opportunity will be gone and they will go down to death and hell.

Have you truly heard the gospel message and come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Are you a procrastinator? Do you put off for tomorrow what you need to do today?

Who was Porcius Festus? - Answer: Porcius Festus was a Roman procurator, succeeding Antonius Felix somewhere between AD 55 and 60. History describes him as fair and reasonable—much more so than Felix or Festus’ successor, Albinus. In the Bible Porcius Festus is known for sending Paul to Rome to stand trial under Emperor Nero.

the events leading to Paul’s meeting with Porcius Festus are filled with danger. In Acts 21, Paul returns from a missionary journey. He visits James (Jesus’ brother), the leader of the church in Jerusalem, and pays the fee of men who had taken a Nazarite vow (Acts 21:17–26). Less than a week later, Paul is spotted in the temple by devout Asian Jews who condemned his work spreading the gospel. Because of a misunderstanding, they falsely accuse Paul of bringing a Gentile into the temple, and they have Paul arrested. Paul gives his defense to the Jews in Acts 22:1–21, but it’s not received well, and the mob turns ugly. The Roman tribune (commander above a centurion) protects Paul from the mob by hurrying him into the barracks and orders Paul to be flogged. Paul reveals he is a Roman citizen by birth (Acts 22:22–29), which causes the tribune to call off the flogging. The tribune later allows Paul to give his testimony before the Jewish council, including the high priest, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, who promptly get into a fight about whether Paul is actually guilty of anything. Tempers flare so high that the tribune again extricates Paul back to the army barracks (Acts 23:1–11). The next day, Paul’s nephew warns the tribune that forty men have vowed to murder Paul, so the tribune sends Paul with two hundred soldiers as guards to Felix, the governor in Caesarea (Acts 22:12–22).

The tribune is still curious as to why the Jewish leaders want Paul dead, and he requests Felix uncover the truth. The high priest, some elders, and a hired spokesman arrive in Caesarea five days later to present their case before Felix, but the Jews from Asia are absent, and the governor delays a decision until the tribune can arrive—or until Paul offers a sufficient bribe. The bribe never comes, and Felix leaves Paul in custody for two years (Acts 24).

Festus succeeds Felix as governor, and Paul’s pending case is one of his first concerns. The Jewish leadership meet Festus in Jerusalem and ask that he bring Paul from Caesarea—their purpose was to ambush Paul and kill him on the way. Festus hasn’t even been to his new home yet, and he invites Paul’s accusers to go with him to Caesarea and get things squared away. Festus could see the charges against the apostle were specious but, wanting to have a good relationship with his new people, asks Paul to go to Jerusalem and stand trial. This would give benefit Festus in two ways: he would get on the good side of the Jewish leadership, and he could move the venue of the trial so he wouldn’t have to deal with it. Paul politely tells Festus that, as Caesar’s representative, Festus needs to either make a fair decision or let him make his case before Caesar. After conferring with his advisors, Festus agrees to send Paul to Caesar (Acts 25:1—12).

Before Paul can leave for Rome, King Herod Agrippa II and his sister/lover Bernice come to visit Festus. The new governor isn’t as knowledgeable about the Jewish religion as Felix, whose wife was Jewish, had been. But, in his attempt to repair Rome’s relationship with the Jews, Porcius Festus still wants to understand why the Jews are trying to kill Paul. He also knows it’s absurd to send a man to trial in Rome with no official charges, so he asks Agrippa for advice (Acts 25:13–27).

Paul gives his testimony to King Agrippa. Unlike Felix, who wanted a bribe, or Festus, who doesn’t understand much of what’s going on, Agrippa immediately judges that Paul is completely innocent of any official wrongdoing. He tells Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar” (Acts 26:32).

Despite Paul’s innocence and Festus’ lack of any real charge, Paul had appealed to Caesar, and Festus must send him. Once in Rome, Paul spends two years under house arrest, chained to a guard, but he is finally in the city where he had longed to be for years (Romans 15:23). And while there he has the opportunity to write the epistles Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

Josephus had favorable things to say about Porcius Festus. He recorded that at the time Festus took his position, Sicarii bandits were roaming the countryside, plundering and burning villages. They also mingled into crowds of worshipers and killed people with short, curved swords. Festus learned an imposter had gone to the Sicarii, promising them deliverance from their hardships. The imposter led the bandits to the wilderness where Festus’ forces killed the imposter and his followers.

Paul’s case was not the only time Festus allowed Jews to appeal to Caesar. King Agrippa built a dining area in his palace that, because of the elevation, looked down onto the actions taking place in the temple. In response to this, and to the guard post that also overlooked the temple, the Jews built up the western wall of the temple’s inner court. Agrippa ordered the wall down, and Festus agreed, but then acquiesced to the Jews’ counterproposal that they be allowed to petition Nero about the matter. When the Jews returned with a ruling in their favor (all but the two who had been retained as hostages by Nero’s wife), Festus agreed to let the wall stand.

In a way, Porcius Festus was to Paul what Pontius Pilate was to Jesus. He valued peace with the Jews more than justice and, despite determining his prisoner was innocent, sent him to judgment. In his quest for political control, Festus dismissed Paul’s situation as a “dispute . . . about their own religion” (Acts 25:19). At one point when Paul was speaking before Agrippa, “Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. ‘You are out of your mind, Paul!’ he shouted. ‘Your great learning is driving you insane’” (Acts 26:24). Festus was governor for only two or three years before he died. He was succeeded by Albinus.