Acts 24

Listen to Acts 24

Paul Before Felix at Caesarea

1 And 1after five days the high priest 2Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before 3the governor their case against Paul.
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, 4most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation,
3 in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.
4 But, to detain[a] you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.
5 For we have found this man a plague, 5one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of 6the sect of the Nazarenes.
6 7He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him.[b]
8 By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him."
9 The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.
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.
11 You can verify that 8it is not more than twelve days since I 9went up 10to worship in Jerusalem,
12 and 11they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city.
13 12Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me.
14 But this I confess to you, that according to 13the Way, which they call 14a sect, 15I worship 16the God of our fathers, believing everything 17laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,
15 18having 19a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be 20a resurrection 21of both the just and the unjust.
16 So I always 22take pains to have a 23clear conscience toward both God and man.
17 Now 24after several years 25I came to bring alms to 26my nation and to present 27offerings.
18 While I was doing this, they found me 28purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But 29some Jews from Asia--
19 30they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me.
20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council,
21 other than this one thing 31that 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.'"

Paul Kept in Custody

22 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of 32the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case."
23 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he 33should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that 34none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.
24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about 35faith 36in Christ Jesus.
25 And as he reasoned 37about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present. 38When I get an opportunity I will summon you."
26 At the same time he hoped 39that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him.
27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius 40Festus. And 41desiring to do the Jews a favor, 42Felix left Paul in prison.

Acts 24 Commentary

Chapter 24

The speech of Tertullus against Paul. (1-9) Paul's defence before Felix. (10-21) Felix trembles at the reasoning of Paul. (22-27)

Verses 1-9 See here the unhappiness of great men, and a great unhappiness it is, to have their services praised beyond measure, and never to be faithfully told of their faults; hereby they are hardened and encouraged in evil, like Felix. God's prophets were charged with being troublers of the land, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that he perverted the nation; the very same charges were brought against Paul. The selfish and evil passions of men urge them forward, and the graces and power of speech, too often have been used to mislead and prejudice men against the truth. How different will the characters of Paul and Felix appear at the day of judgement, from what they are represented in the speech of Tertullus! Let not Christians value the applause, or be troubled at the revilings of ungodly men, who represent the vilest of the human race almost as gods, and the excellent of the earth as pestilences and movers of sedition.

Verses 10-21 Paul gives a just account of himself, which clears him from crime, and likewise shows the true reason of the violence against him. Let us never be driven from any good way by its having an ill name. It is very comfortable, in worshipping God, to look to him as the God of our fathers, and to set up no other rule of faith or practice but the Scriptures. This shows there will be a resurrection to a final judgment. Prophets and their doctrines were to be tried by their fruits. Paul's aim was to have a conscience void of offence. His care and endeavour was to abstain from many things, and to abound in the exercises of religion at all times; both towards God. and towards man. If blamed for being more earnest in the things of God than our neighbours, what is our reply? Do we shrink from the accusation? How many in the world would rather be accused of any weakness, nay, even of wickedness, than of an earnest, fervent feeling of love to the Lord Jesus Christ, and of devotedness to his service! Can such think that He will confess them when he comes in his glory, and before the angels of God? If there is any sight pleasing to the God of our salvation, and a sight at which the angels rejoice, it is, to behold a devoted follower of the Lord, here upon earth, acknowledging that he is guilty, if it be a crime, of loving the Lord who died for him, with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. And that he will not in silence see God's word despised, or hear his name profaned; he will rather risk the ridicule and the hatred of the world, than one frown from that gracious Being whose love is better than life.

Verses 22-27 The apostle reasoned concerning the nature and obligations of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come; thus showing the oppressive judge and his profligate mistress, their need of repentance, forgiveness, and of the grace of the gospel. Justice respects our conduct in life, particularly in reference to others; temperance, the state and government of our souls, in reference to God. He who does not exercise himself in these, has neither the form nor the power of godliness, and must be overwhelmed with the Divine wrath in the day of God's appearing. A prospect of the judgment to come, is enough to make the stoutest heart to tremble. Felix trembled, but that was all. Many are startled by the word of God, who are not changed by it. Many fear the consequences of sin, yet continue in the love and practice of sin. In the affairs of our souls, delays are dangerous. Felix put off this matter to a more convenient season, but we do not find that the more convenient season ever came. Behold now is the accepted time; hear the voice of the Lord to-day. He was in haste to turn from hearing the truth. Was any business more urgent than for him to reform his conduct, or more important than the salvation of his soul! Sinners often start up like a man roused from his sleep by a loud noise, but soon sink again into their usual drowsiness. Be not deceived by occasional appearances of religion in ourselves or in others. Above all, let us not trifle with the word of God. Do we expect that as we advance in life our hearts will grow softer, or that the influence of the world will decline? Are we not at this moment in danger of being lost for ever? Now is the day of salvation; tomorrow may be too late.

Cross References 42

  • 1. [Acts 21:18, 27, with ver. 11]
  • 2. Acts 23:2
  • 3. Acts 23:24
  • 4. Acts 23:26; Luke 1:3
  • 5. See Luke 23:2
  • 6. ver. 14; Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22
  • 7. Acts 21:27-29
  • 8. See ver. 1
  • 9. Acts 8:27; John 12:20
  • 10. Acts 20:16
  • 11. [Acts 25:8]
  • 12. Acts 25:7
  • 13. ver. 22; See Acts 9:2
  • 14. ver. 5
  • 15. 2 Timothy 1:3; [Acts 27:23; Luke 1:74; Romans 1:9; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 12:28]
  • 16. See Acts 3:13; Acts 22:3
  • 17. Acts 26:22; Acts 28:23; [Romans 3:21]
  • 18. See Acts 23:6
  • 19. Titus 2:13; [Galatians 5:5]
  • 20. Luke 14:14
  • 21. See Daniel 12:2
  • 22. [1 Timothy 4:7, 15]
  • 23. 1 Corinthians 10:32; Philippians 1:10; [Jude 24]; See Acts 23:1
  • 24. [Acts 20:31]
  • 25. Romans 15:25-28, 31; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 9:1, 2, 12; [Galatians 2:10]
  • 26. Acts 26:4; Acts 28:19
  • 27. [ver. 11; Acts 20:16]
  • 28. Acts 21:26; Acts 26:21
  • 29. Acts 21:27
  • 30. See Acts 23:30
  • 31. See Acts 23:6
  • 32. ver. 14; See Acts 9:2
  • 33. [Acts 28:16]
  • 34. [Acts 27:3]
  • 35. See Acts 20:21
  • 36. Galatians 2:16; [Romans 3:24]
  • 37. [Titus 2:12, 13]
  • 38. Acts 17:32; [2 Timothy 4:2]
  • 39. [ver. 17]
  • 40. Acts 25:1; Acts 26:24
  • 41. Acts 25:9; [Acts 12:3; Mark 15:15]
  • 42. Acts 25:14; See Luke 21:12

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or weary
  • [b]. Some manuscripts add and we would have judged him according to our law. 7But the chief captain Lysias came and with great violence took him out of our hands, 8commanding his accusers to come before you.

Acts 24 Commentaries