Acts 24:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 24:26, NIV: "At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him."

Acts 24:26, ESV: "At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him."

Acts 24:26, KJV: "He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him."

Acts 24:26, NASB: "At the same time he was also hoping that money would be given to him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and talk with him."

Acts 24:26, NLT: "He also hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him quite often and talked with him."

Acts 24:26, CSB: "At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would offer him money. So he sent for him quite often and conversed with him."

What does Acts 24:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

God is using Felix's greed to expose him to Jesus' offer of forgiveness and salvation. Felix is holding Paul under house arrest with no legal reason. The charges the Sanhedrin accused him of are baseless, and Felix knows it. But the Sanhedrin is powerful, and Felix, who is otherwise known to use any violence necessary to squash a riot, would rather hold Paul than risk a rebellion (Acts 24:5–21, 27).

Felix's concern will be mitigated if Paul offers him sufficient compensation. So Felix regularly calls Paul to "talk." Strangely enough, Paul takes the opportunity to talk—about Jesus, sin, righteousness, and the judgment Felix will face if he doesn't repent (Acts 24:24–25). Felix, who stole his wife from another and is known for being licentious and cruel, listens long enough to become convicted and then sends Paul away. This goes on for two years.

Paul is trying to get to Rome (Romans 15:24–26). Jesus has told him he will go to Rome (Acts 23:11). Eventually, Paul will claim the right to appeal his case to Caesar (Acts 25:10–12), and he will go to Rome. For now, however, Paul is content to wait on God's timing. Unlike Rebekah and Jacob (Genesis 27), he is faithful with the ministry he is given in the moment. Felix may not come to Christ, but the soldiers, administrators, and servants are also listening. Paul's friends can visit him (Acts 24:23), so he is able to encourage Philip and the church in Caesarea (Acts 21:8). Luke is most likely taking the opportunity to interview the apostles for work on his Gospel. The time is not wasted.

Many cultures, even in the modern world, normalize bribes. This is when an official or officer accepts money or a service in exchange for a favor. God told the Israelites, "And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right" (Exodus 23:8) and "You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous" (Deuteronomy 16:19).

Bribes paid by the guilty to buy an innocent verdict are sinful. Bribes demanded by authorities at airports and road checkpoints show their corruption, not the victims'. It's unclear which category Felix thinks Paul falls under. And yet, Paul has already told Felix, "I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man" (Acts 24:16). Living two years under house arrest isn't enough to tempt him to cheapen himself before Felix's eyes.