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Acts chapter 24

New International Version

1 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: 'We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.
5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 7 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.'
9 The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.
10 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. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
17 After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin-- 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: 'It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.''
22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. 'When Lysias the commander comes,' he said, 'I will decide your case.' 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.
24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, 'That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.' 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.
27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.
English Standard Version

1 And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul. 2 And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation,
3 in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. 4 But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. 5 For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. 7 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.”
9 The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.
10 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.
11 You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, 12 and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. 17 Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings. 18 While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia— 19 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21 other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’”
22 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.
24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” 26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
King James Version

1 And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul. 2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, 3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. 4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. 5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: 6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. 7 But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, 8 Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him. 9 And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.
10 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: 11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: 13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: 15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. 17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings. 18 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult. 19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me. 20 Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council, 21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.
22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. 23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. 24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. 26 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. 27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought charges against Paul to the governor.
2 After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began accusing him, saying to the governor, 'Since we have attained great peace through you, and since reforms are being carried out for this nation by your foresight, 3 we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. 4 But, that I may not weary you further, I beg you to grant us a brief hearing, by your kindness. 5 For we have found this man a public menace and one who stirs up dissensions among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 And he even tried to desecrate the temple, so indeed we arrested him. 7 8 By interrogating him yourself concerning all these matters, you will be able to ascertain the things of which we are accusing him.' 9 The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so.
10 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, 11 since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And neither in the temple did they find me carrying on a discussion with anyone or causing a riot, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city itself. 13 Nor can they prove to you the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But I confess this to you, that in accordance with the Way, which they call a sect, I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 In view of this I also do my best to maintain a blameless conscience both before God and before other people, always. 17 Now after several years I came to bring charitable gifts to my nation and to present offerings, 18 in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without any crowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from Asia— 19 who ought to have been present before you and to have been bringing charges, if they should have anything against me. 20 Or else have these men themselves declare what violation they discovered when I stood before the Council, 21 other than in regard to this one declaration which I shouted while standing among them, ‘For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today!’?'
22 But Felix, having quite accurate knowledge about the Way, adjourned them, saying, 'When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.' 23 He gave orders to the centurion for Paul to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from providing for his needs.
24 Now some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla his wife, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and responded, 'Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, I will summon you.' 26 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. 27 But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul imprisoned.
New Living Translation

1 Five days later Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some of the Jewish elders and the lawyer Tertullus, to present their case against Paul to the governor.
2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against Paul in the following address to the governor: 'You have provided a long period of peace for us Jews and with foresight have enacted reforms for us. 3 For all of this, Your Excellency, we are very grateful to you. 4 But I don't want to bore you, so please give me your attention for only a moment. 5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker who is constantly stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes. 6 Furthermore, he was trying to desecrate the Temple when we arrested him. 7 8 You can find out the truth of our accusations by examining him yourself.' 9 Then the other Jews chimed in, declaring that everything Tertullus said was true.
10 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. 11 You can quickly discover that I arrived in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago to worship at the Temple. 12 My accusers never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring up a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city. 13 These men cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing.
14 'But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets. 15 I have the same hope in God that these men have, that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.
17 'After several years away, I returned to Jerusalem with money to aid my people and to offer sacrifices to God. 18 My accusers saw me in the Temple as I was completing a purification ceremony. There was no crowd around me and no rioting. 19 But some Jews from the province of Asia were there--and they ought to be here to bring charges if they have anything against me! 20 Ask these men here what crime the Jewish high council found me guilty of, 21 except for the one time I shouted out, 'I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!''
22 At that point Felix, who was quite familiar with the Way, adjourned the hearing and said, 'Wait until Lysias, the garrison commander, arrives. Then I will decide the case.' 23 He ordered an officer to keep Paul in custody but to give him some freedom and allow his friends to visit him and take care of his needs.
24 A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. 'Go away for now,' he replied. 'When it is more convenient, I'll call for you again.' 26 He also hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him quite often and talked with him.
27 After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Five days later Ananias the high priest came down with some elders and a lawyer named Tertullus. These men presented their case against Paul to the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus began to accuse him and said, "We enjoy great peace because of you, and reforms are taking place for the benefit of this nation because of your foresight. 3 We acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with utmost gratitude. 4 But, so that I will not burden you any further, I request that you would be kind enough to give us a brief hearing. 5 For we have found this man to be a plague, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the Roman world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, and so we apprehended him. By examining him yourself you will be able to discern the truth about these charges we are bringing against him." 7 8 9 The Jews also joined in the attack, alleging that these things were true.
10 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. 11 You can verify for yourself that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem. 12 They didn't find me arguing with anyone or causing a disturbance among the crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or anywhere in the city. 13 Neither can they prove the charges they are now making against me. 14 But I admit this to you: I worship the God of my ancestors according to the Way, which they call a sect, believing everything that is in accordance with the law and written in the prophets. 15 I have a hope in God, which these men themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection, both of the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 I always strive to have a clear conscience toward God and men. 17 After many years, I came to bring charitable gifts and offerings to my people. 18 While I was doing this, some Jews from Asia found me ritually purified in the temple, without a crowd and without any uproar. 19 It is they who ought to be here before you to bring charges, if they have anything against me. 20 Or let these men here state what wrongdoing they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin, 21 other than this one statement I shouted while standing among them, 'Today I am on trial before you concerning the resurrection of the dead.' "
22 Since Felix was well informed about the Way, he adjourned the hearing, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case." 23 He ordered that the centurion keep Paul under guard, though he could have some freedom, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from meeting his needs.
24 Several days later, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, "Leave for now, but when I have an opportunity I'll call for you." 26 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.
27 After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor, he left Paul in prison.

What does Acts chapter 24 mean?

Acts 24 recounts Paul's trial before Governor Felix in Caesarea Maritima. Paul returned to Jerusalem after his third missionary journey to accusations he taught Jewish Christians they did not have to circumcise their sons (Acts 21:20–21). This is false: he only teaches this to Gentiles as even Jewish Jesus-followers do not have to follow the Mosaic law. While at the temple to perform a ceremony to prove his devotion to Judaism, Paul is again falsely accused, this time of bringing a Gentile into the temple (Acts 21:27–29). The Roman army tribune has spent three days trying to determine if Paul broke a Roman law, a Jewish law, or just has a different way of expressing his religion. After getting nowhere and facing a conspiracy by the Sanhedrin to assassinate Paul (Acts 23:12–15), the tribune has sent him to the governor.

In Acts 24:1–9, Paul's accusers arrive and present their case. The high priest Ananias and a few elders from the Sanhedrin allow the lawyer Tertullus to speak as Roman courts have specific protocols. Tertullus gives the customary flattery—despite the fact Felix is a horrible person—and accuses Paul of being a menace, a cult leader, and an attempted desecrater of a religious structure, which under Roman law was punishable by death. The high priest and other witnesses attest to the charges.

In Acts 24:10–21, Paul makes his defense. He points out he's only been in Jerusalem for about a week—hardly enough time to organize a revolution. As he did before the Sanhedrin, Paul largely ignores the surface charges and gets to the heart of the matter: he's there because he believes in the resurrection of the dead. He then points out that the men who originally accused him of desecrating the temple aren't even present.

Acts 24:22–27 records Felix's response. He knows about Christianity and their belief in resurrection, so he's not concerned about the doctrinal spat. He tells the group he will wait for the tribune to arrive and give his testimony. Until then, Paul is held under a relatively casual form of house arrest. But the tribune never arrives. Felix would just as soon keep the peace with the Sanhedrin if Paul isn't going to be coerced into paying for his freedom. So, Felix keeps Paul in custody until he is relieved two years later by Porcius Festus.

When Festus takes office, he is almost immediately beset by the Sanhedrin who want Paul convicted. Festus invites them to Caesarea where they repeat their accusations and Paul repeats his defense. This time, however, frustrated by the politics and mindful that Jesus has told him he will go to Rome (Acts 23:11), Paul appeals his case to Caesar. Since Paul is a Roman citizen, Festus has no choice but to honor his request. Before he leaves, however, Paul can witness to Agrippa II, fulfilling Jesus' promise to Ananias that Paul would bear His name before kings (Acts 9:15; 25—26).