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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

Acts 24

 

 

Verses 1-9

Five days later. Five days after Paul had escaped from Jerusalem. Roman justice moved swiftly. The deep hatred of the Jewish leaders is shown by the fact that the High Priest himself comes, with some elders [who were part of the Council]. A lawyer named Tertullas. He may not have been a Jew. He was a lawyer skilled in Roman law, and would be more able to present the case in the best way. In Acts 24:2-4, Tertullus says flattering things about Felix to try to get an "upper hand" in the case. [He praises Felix for keeping peace and making needed reforms for the good of the country. The real truth is that Felix was so severe and cruel that he "fanned the flames of rebellion." He used the "armed terrorists" to assassinate Jonathan the high priest, and he made the occasional uprisings of the people become permanent rebellion. He helped bring on the bloody conflict which ended in Jerusalem being destroyed.] The party of the Nazarenes. The Jews used this name for the Christians for hundreds of years, but not in a good sense. This was the real charge against Paul. He was a Christian leader. They were trying to show that Paul preached a religion which was illegal under Roman law (see Acts 18:13 and note). But they first charge Paul with starting riots (which was not true), because Felix was proud of the way he kept the peace. He also tried to defile the temple. Paul is charged with: (1) starting riots; (2) preaching an illegal religion; (3) defiling the temple. The Jewish Law passed the death penalty for defiling the temple, and the Romans usually allowed them to carry it out. And we arrested him. Tertullus shows this as a legal action of the Council, when it was actually the action of the mob. But the commander Lysias came in. He did not come and take Paul with great violence (see Acts 21:32), nor did they have any intention of trying Paul by their law (see Acts 21:31). The Jews Joined in. They said all of it was true, when they knew it wasn't.

* Some MSS add and wanted to judge him according to our law. 7But the commander, Lysias, came and with the use of much force snatched him from our hands 8and ordered his accusers to come before you.


Verses 10-21

Paul said. Roman law condemned no one without allowing them to speak in their own defence. I know that you. The frequent turnover of Roman Governors makes Paul's statement accurate. Felix had been governor for from six to ten years at this time. Felix had first-hand knowledge of the people of Judea. It was no more than twelve days ago. It would be easy to find out the facts. The first day was when Paul met with James and the church elders; the second he entered the vow with the others; the seventh he was grabbed in the temple; the eighth he was tried by the Council; the eleventh he was sent to Felix; and the thirteenth he stands before this court. Nor did they find me. He had done nothing to agitate the people. In fact, he had been doing things to promote peace and harmony. I do admit this. He worships God by following the Way of Christ. Which they say is false. The language implies that Paul sees Christianity, not as a sect [false way] of Judaism, but as the fulfillment of God's promise to the ancestors (Acts 13:32). It is Judaism transformed into a Perfect Way, which supersedes Judaism. But I also believe. By becoming a Christian, he had not "turned traitor" to the faith of the fathers, as they claimed. I have the same hope In God. The common hope of Judaism (but not the Sadducees) and Christianity was that all the dead will be raised. Therefore, Paul was not preaching something new and illegal. And so I do my best always. Paul lived his life to honor God! This should free him of such suspicion that motivated these false charges. After being away from Jerusalem. His motives in coming were good. To take some money. Donations from the Gentile Christians (see Romans 15:25-31; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9). To offer sacrifices. The ordinary sacrifices of the Law. He was in the temple to do this when he was grabbed. But some Jews. They knew there had been no crowd and no disorder with Paul in the temple. They were the ones who accused him, yet none of them seemed to be at the court. They themselves ought to come. Roman custom required the accusers to face the accused. The High Priest and the members of the Council were not the ones who had accused Paul. Or let these men here. The Council had not really found him guilty (Acts 23:9). Except for the one thing. This was the real "crime" which the High Priest and his fellow Sadducees were accusing Paul of.


Verse 22-23

Then Felix. He understood both Jewish hatred and the Christian Way. He wants to hear what Lysias has to say, before he will decide. He ordered the officer. Two reasons caused him to keep Paul in custody: (1) He did not like to offend the Jews; (2) He hoped Paul and the Christians would pay him to release Paul.


Verses 24-27

After some days. Drusilla was the daughter of that Herod who died at Caesarea (Acts 12:23), sister of Bernice (Acts 25:23). She had been married at age fourteen to Azizus, king of Emeza; and because of her unhappy marriage, Felix had been able to "steal her away" and make her his own wife. Her father's strange death may have had something to do with her interest in Paul and Christianity. But as Paul went on discussing. They may have expected him to argue doctrinal differences between the Law and the Way. Instead, he speaks of holy living and the coming Judgment. Felix made no attempt to live a holy life, or to control his passions. Felix was afraid. He is not resentful, but even though he is deeply stirred by all Paul is saying, he is not willing to think about it or respond to it. Many doom themselves by waiting. "Not to Acts, is to act!" He was hoping. He hoped Paul would buy his freedom. After two years had passed. Ramsay dates this autumn of 59 A.D. Luke's Gospel may have been written at this time with Paul's help.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 24:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/acts-24.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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