Acts 26:5

Having knowledge of me from the first (proginwskonte me anwqen). Literally, "knowing me beforehand" (both pro and anwqen), from the beginning of Paul's public education in Jerusalem (Knowling). Cf. 2 Peter 3:17 . If they be willing to testify (ean qelwsin marturein). Condition of third class (ean and subjunctive). A neat turning of the tables on the distinguished audience about Paul's Jerusalem reputation before his conversion. After the straitest sect (thn akribestathn airesin). This is a true superlative (not elative) and one of the three (also agiwtato, Jude 1:20 , timiwtato Revelation 18:12 ; Revelation 21:11 ) superlatives in -tato in the N.T. (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 279f., 670), though common enough in the LXX and the papyri. Hairesin (choosing) is properly used here with Pharisees (Josephus, Life, 38). Religion (qrhskeia). From qrhskeuw and this from qrhsko ( James 1:26 ), old word for religious worship or discipline, common in the papyri and inscriptions (Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary) for reverent worship, not mere external ritual. In N.T. only here, James 1:26 ; Colossians 2:18 . I lived a Pharisee (ezhsa Parisaio). Emphatic position. Paul knew the rules of the Pharisees and played the game to the full ( Galatians 1:14 ; Philippians 3:5 ). The Talmud makes it plain what the life of a Pharisee was. Paul had become one of the leaders and stars of hope for his sect.