Acts 23:1

1 Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”

Acts 23:1 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 23:1

And Paul earnestly beholding the council
Fastening his eyes upon them, looking wistly and intently at them, and thereby discovering a modest cheerfulness, and a becoming boldness, confidence, and intrepidity, as being not conscious of any guilt, and well assured of the goodness of his cause:

said, men and brethren;
see ( Acts 22:1 ) .

I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day;
not only from the time of his conversion, but throughout the whole of his life; for though, strictly speaking, there is no good conscience but what is awakened by the Spirit of God, and is unprincipled by his grace, and is purged from sin by the blood of Christ; in which sense he could only have a good conscience, since he believed in Christ; yet whereas in his state of unregeneracy, and even while he was a blasphemer, and persecutor, he did not act contrary to the dictates of his conscience, but according to them, in which his view was to the glory of God, and the honour of his law; he therefore says he lived before God, or unto God, in all good conscience, though an erroneous and mistaken one; he thought he ought to do what he did; and what he did, he did with a zeal for God though it was not according to knowledge: besides, the apostle has here respect to his outward moral conversation, which, before and after conversion, was very strict, and even blameless, at least unblemished before men; nobody could charge him with any notorious crime, though he did not live without sin in the sight of the omniscient God.

Acts 23:1 In-Context

1 Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”
2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth.
3 But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”
4 Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?”
5 “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’ ”

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Greek Sanhedrin; also in 23:6, 15, 20, 28 .