Acts 24:10

ESV 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.
NIV When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: 'I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense.
NASB And when the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: 'Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense,
CSB When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied, "Because I know you have been a judge of this nation for many years, I am glad to offer my defense in what concerns me.
NLT The governor then motioned for Paul to speak. Paul said, 'I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I gladly present my defense before you.
KJV Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:

What does Acts 24:10 mean?

Paul is on trial before Governor Felix. Tertullus, the spokesman for the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem, started his opening statement in the traditional Roman way: by flattering the judge and promising to be brief (Acts 24:2–4). He accused Paul of being "a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). The Sanhedrin also claims they arrested Paul because he tried to desecrate the temple (Acts 24:6).

The charges are unfounded. The first charge, that of being a menace, is too vague to address. The next two depend on the context. Paul never started riots, although others did when ministry threatened their demonic sources of income (Acts 16:16–24; 19:23–41). Paul's words did cause several arguments among Jewish communities, but it's not against the law for Jews to argue about their own religion, as the proconsul of Achaia judged (Acts 18:12–15). The final charge, of trying to desecrate the temple is false, and the only reason the Romans—not the Jews—arrested Paul is because the Jews tried to kill Paul (Acts 21:27–36).

Paul also proceeds according to the tradition of Roman courts, but he manages to be respectful to the governor without the flattery. This man, Felix, is so corrupt and violent that in two years he will be removed from office by Nero. Paul explains that Christianity isn't a threat to Judaism, that his initial accusers aren't even there, and that the Jewish leaders have nothing to charge him with (Acts 24:11–21).

When Jesus called Ananias in Damascus to find Saul, the persecutor of the church, He told Ananias, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). Since that time, Paul has shared Jesus' offer of salvation to many Jews and Gentiles, the proconsul of Cyprus (Acts 13:6–12), and a group of Athenian philosophers (Acts 17:22–31). Although Paul wasn't there at the time, Jesus promised the disciples they would stand before governors (Matthew 10:18). Now, Paul gives a very brief explanation of his belief in the resurrection of the dead to Felix, the governor of Judea and Samaria.
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