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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 24



Verse 1

An orator ( ῥήτορος )

An advocate. The Jews, being little acquainted with Roman forms and laws, had to employ Roman advocates.

Verse 3

Very worthy deeds ( κατορθωμάτων )

From κατορθόω , to set upright. Hence, a success consequent on right judgment; a right action. The best texts, however, read διορθωμάτων , settings right; amendments. Thus the sentence reads, literally, obtaining much peace through thee, and amendments taking place for this nation through thy providence, we accept, etc.

Providence ( προνοίας )

Forethought. Providentia Augusti (the providence of the emperor ) was a common title on the coins of the emperors.

Verse 4

Be tedious ( ἐγκόπτω )

See on hindered, 1 Peter 3:7. The meaning is, rather, “that I may not further hinder thee, or detain thee.

Clemency ( ἐπιεικείᾳ )

See on gentle, 1 Peter 2:18.

A few words ( συντόμως )

Lit., concisely. From συντέμνω to cut down or cut short.

Verse 5

Pestilent fellow ( λοιμὸν )

Lit., a plague or pest.

Ringleader ( πρωτοστάτην )

Originally, one who stands first on the right of a line; a file-leader. Thus Thucydides says that all armies when engaging are apt to thrust outward their right wing; and adds, “The first man in the front rank ( ὁ πρωτοστάτης ) of the right wing is originally responsible for the deflection” (v., 71). Here, of course, metaphorically, as A. V. and Rev. Only here in New Testament.

Sect ( εἱρέσεως )

See on heresies, 2 Peter 2:1.


The only passage in scripture where this term is used to denote the Christians. See on Matthew 2:23.

Verse 6

To profane ( βεβηλῶσαι )

The word is akin to βηλός , threshold, and βαίνω , to step; and its fundamental idea, therefore, is that of overstepping the threshold of sacred places. The word profane is the Latin pro fanum, in front of the sanctuary; that which is kept outside the fane because unholy.

We laid hold

The best texts omit all after these words as far as by examining.

Verse 8

From whom

Paul. It would refer to Lysias if the omitted passage above were retained.

Verse 9

Assented ( συνέθεντο )

But the best texts read συνεπέθεντο , jointly set upon or assailed. So Rev., joined in the charge.

Verse 10

The more cheerfully ( εὐθυμότερον )

The best texts read the positive of the adverb, εὐθύμως , cheerfully.

Verse 14

The way

See on Acts 9:2.

A sect

See on Acts 24:5. The word is commonly used in an indifferent sense, as signifying merely a school or party. So Acts 15:5; Acts 28:22. Here, however, in a bad sense - schismatic sect, as in 1 Corinthians 11:19.

Worship ( λατρεύω )

Better, as Rev., serve. See on Luke 1:74.

God of my fathers ( τῷ πατρώῳ Θεῷ )

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.

Verse 15

Allow ( προσδέχονται )

Or, as Rev., look for. The word admits of either sense.

Verse 16

Exercise myself ( ἀσκῶ )

Originally, to work raw material, to form: hence, to practise, exercise, discipline; and so, in ecclesiastical language, to mortify the body. Of the kindred adjective ἀσκητικός our word ascetic is a transcript.

Void of offence ( ἀπτόσκοπον )

Lit., without stumbling; unshaken. The word is used thus in a passive sense here, as in Philemon 1:10. In 1 Corinthians 10:32, it occurs in the active sense of giving offence to others, or causing them to stumble.

Verse 18

Whereupon ( ἐν οἷς )

More correctly, in which (occupation); while so engaged. The best texts, however, read ἐν αἷς , in which, the pronoun agreeing in gender with offerings. The sense, according to this, is, as Rev., margin, in presenting which (offerings )i1.

Verse 22

Deferred ( ἀνεβάλετο )

Adjourned the case. Only here in New Testament.

I will know the uttermost ( διαγνώσομαι )

Better, as Rev., I will determine. See on Acts 23:15.

Verse 23

Liberty ( ἄνεσιν )

From ἀνίημι , to send up; thence, to loosen, release. It is almost exactly expressed by our vulgarism, to let up. The noun here is more correctly rendered by Rev., indulgence. In all the other New Testament passages it is rendered rest, ease, or relief. See 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7.

To minister ( ὑπηρετεῖν )

See on officer, Matthew 5:25.

Verse 25

Righteousness, temperance, the judgment to come

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.

Trembled ( ἔμφοβος γενόμενος )

Lit., having become in fear. Rev., better, was terrified.

For this time ( τὸ νῦν ἔχον )

Or, for the present. Very literally, as to what has itself now.

Verse 26

He hoped also ( ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἐλπίζων )

A comma should be placed after thee (Acts 24:25), and the participle ἐλπίζων , hoping, joined with answered: “Felix answered, 'Go thy way, etc.,' hoping withal that money would be given him.”

Communed ( ὡμίλει )

See on talked, Acts 20:11.

Verse 27

Porcius Festus came into Felix's room ( ἔλαβε διάδοχον ὁ Φῆλιξ Πόρκιον Φἤστον )

Rev., better, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. The Greek idiom is, Felix received Porcius Featus as a successor.

To shew the Jews a pleasure ( χάριτας καταθέσθαι τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις )

Lit., to lay up thanks for himself with the Jews. Rev., correctly, to gain favor with the Jews.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 24:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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