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Bible Commentaries
Acts 24

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Paul Appeared Before Felix

Acts Twenty-Four

In Acts chapters 24-28 we observe Paul's captivity and the constant effort of the Jewish religious leaders to have him killed. They hated Paul so much that they constantly made false and improvable charges against him. In this chapter we see that they even brought Tertullus, an orator, to present their case against Paul before Felix.

Paul often spoke in his own defense. Much of his defense centered in the fact that he had a good conscience before God in all things that he did. His time before the various courts provides a sad picture of man's injustice! Paul had been unsuccessful in his attempts to defend himself before the Jewish leaders. He tired to explain to them that his focus had been on "the Way" and that it centered in preaching about the resurrection of Christ. He knew that he was on trial because he believed that the dead would be raised to life. The resurrection of Christ is so vital that there is no salvation without it. He never seemed to be concerned that his faith in the Christ might cost him his earthly life.

Paul taught Felix about doing right, about self-control, and about the coming judgment. "Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." Felix often sent for Paul and talked with him. The reason he did this was because he hoped that Paul would give him a bribe. Felix heard the gospel many times but we have no record that he ever became a Christian.

Verses 1-9

Paul was accused in the court of Felix Act_24:1-9 : The High Priest and the Jews knew that they had done wrong in their dealing with Paul so they wanted to get the matter settled quickly. Their interest was not in doing right but in blaming Paul! They came to Caesarea five days after Paul was brought there. A lawyer named Tertullus was brought to present their case against Paul. When Paul was brought into court Tertullus stated the case against him.

Tertullus used flattery to catch the ears of Felix. He said Felix had brought a long period of peace to the Jews and that because of him the nation was better off. He wanted Felix to think that the Jews were thankful for what he had done for them. He told Felix, "All of us are always grateful for what you have done." This was just deceitful flattery in an attempt to get Felix on their side.

Tertullus accused Paul of being a pest, plague, or troublemaker for the Jews all over the world. He was accused of sedition and of being a leader of a group called Nazarenes. "Sedition is a term of law to refer to covert conduct such as speech and organization that is deemed by the legal authority as tending toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often included subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent to lawful authority." "Nazarenes" was not a God given name for His people. Christians were so called by way of contempt and scorn. They were called Nazarenes because Jesus was from Nazareth.

The Jews accused Paul of attempting to disgrace the Temple. This was not true. Tertullus and the Jews said they arrested Paul to find out the truth of the matter. Neither was this true. They had nothing but hatred for Paul and attempted to kill him without cause.

Verses 10-18

Paul defended himself before Felix Act_24:10-18 : Felix had judged the Jewish nation for many years. He had been governor somewhere between ten and thirteen years. If the charge was true that Paul was guilty of sedition surely Felix would have heard something of him.

Paul said it was no more than twelve days ago that he went to worship in Jerusalem. He could not have stirred up so much sedition in this short time. Also out of these twelve days he was a prisoner for nine of them. He did not profane the Temple because he went there to "worship." Paul said that never once did the Jews find him arguing with anyone in the Temple, either about civil or religious matters. He said that there was no way that they could prove the charges made against him.

The Jews felt that the Lord's Way was heresy. Paul wanted it clearly understood that he still worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He believed that everyone, both good and evil, will be raised from the dead. Belief in the resurrection promoted holiness and godly living in the life of Paul. The desire of his life was simply to discharge his duty to God and to man.

Paul explained how that he had been away from Jerusalem for several years. Now he returned to bring gifts for the poor Jews that he had collected among Gentile churches. He also came to make an offering. This had to do with the Jewish vow he was helping those men keep. He was in the Temple for that ceremony when he was apprehended. He was not with a crowd, and there was no uproar.

Verses 19-23

Paul defense before Felix continued Act_24:19-23 : Paul said the Jews from Asia were the only ones that saw him in the Temple. If they had anything to say against him he felt that they should be present for this hearing. He said because those Jews were not present that Felix should ask the ones that were there exactly what evil they observed Paul doing or what they found him guilty of when he appeared before their court.

The only thing Paul was guilty of was saying that he was called into question concerning the resurrection from the dead. When Paul had mentioned the resurrection the court was thrown into confusion and division. Felix knew a lot about the Lord's Way. He said he would hear more about this matter when Lysias the chief captain came to Caesarea. Paul was kept under guard but his friends and brethren were allowed to visit and to help him.

Verses 24-27

Paul was kept under guard Act_24:24-27 : Felix and his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, went to the place where Paul was kept to hear him. Paul spoke to them concerning faith in Christ. Felix was frightened when Paul talked about righteousness, temperance (self-control), and judgment to come. He stopped Paul from speaking and told him he would hear him again when it was convenient.

Felix sent for Paul often and talked with him. He hoped Paul would offer him a bribe. He observed from Paul's own defense, that he came up to Jerusalem to bring alms and offerings. He assumed that Paul had access to money. Felix ruled for two more years and when Porcius Festus became Governor Paul was left in jail to please the Jews.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 24". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/acts-24.html. 2014.
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