Acts 26:19-32 (web)

Paul's Hearing by Agrippa
Part III

26:19 "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 
26:20 but declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, 
and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles,
that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance. 
26:21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple, and tried to kill me. 
26:22 Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, 
I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, 
saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would happen, 
26:23 how the Christ must suffer, and how, by the resurrection of the dead, 
he would be first to proclaim light both to these people and to the Gentiles." 

26:24 As he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice,
"Paul, you are crazy! Your great learning is driving you insane!" 
26:25 But he said, "I am not crazy, most excellent Festus, 
but boldly declare words of truth and reasonableness. 
26:26 For the king knows of these things, to whom also I speak freely.
For I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him,
for this has not been done in a corner
26:27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe." 
26:28 Agrippa said to Paul, 
"With a little persuasion are you trying to make me a Christian?" 
26:29 Paul said, "I pray to God, that whether with little or with much, not only you,
but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these bonds." 
26:30 The king rose up with the governor, and Bernice, and those who sat with them. 
26:31 When they had withdrawn, they spoke one to another, 
saying, "This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds." 
26:32 Agrippa said to Festus, 
"This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar." 


In contrast to his testimony to Felix and Festus we see here Paul placing greater emphasis on his calling and on the Word of God. For he was speaking to a Jew who was more prepared to hear the message from such a perspective.

vs 20 Antinominan theology relegates "repentance" to simply a change of ideas, whereas the Biblical concept of repentance we see here involves a change of behavior. Antinomian theology dominates modern American Christianity in which the gospel is preached irrespective of one's behavior and those who preached repentance in the same manner as Jesus and his apostles are often slanderously accused of legalism. For those who call themselves "Christian", but continue to live a lifestyle of sin I exhort you to repent and change your behavior. 

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10
Therefore:  "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-- unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5

vs 23 The Jews persecuted him not simply for his preaching of the gospel. For the other apostles also preached the gospel, but were not treated with such hostility as Paul. Rather it was because of his association with Gentiles that most enraged the Jews. But Paul pointed out that the scriptures did indeed include Gentiles in God's plan of salvation. But many Jews were too elitist and racist to accept such a concept even though the scriptures teach it.

vs 24-28 All this is foolishness to Festus, the Gentile, which is consistent with 1Cor 1:18  "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." And 1Cor 1:23 "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness" But Agrippa doesn't view this as foolish. In fact he's almost persuaded to become a Christian. Significant as an apologetic point is the phrase "this thing was not done in a corner" The Christian faith is based upon historic facts done not in secret but rather publicly. Peter had pointed this out in Acts 2 when speaking to the crowd of Jews gather for the international event of Pentecost saying, "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know." Acts 2:22 As such given the public nature of its claims and its subjection to skepticism and persecution at the time, it's very difficult to imagine such accounts being fabricated. For who would have believed things which they knew for a fact were false? Thus the gospel is reasonable for reasonable people.

vs 29 is an interesting challenge to Christians. Do you feel that your faith in Christ and your practice of the Christian life is of a quality that you would like to see reflected in others? Do you want others to become like you in such areas of faith and lifestyle? That's what Paul had in mind. He says

1Cor 11:1 " Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."
Php 3:17  "Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you."
 But isn't such a stand contrary to "humility"? Biblical Humility is not the same as low self esteem. Biblical humility is based upon an honest self-esteem and a clear conscience. And saving faith is a confident faith. (Rom 4:20,21; Heb 3:14)

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jan 28,2022