Acts chapter 24

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

10And 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, 11since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12And 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. 13Nor can they prove to you the things of which they now accuse me. 14But 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; 15having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16In view of this I also do my best to maintain a blameless conscience both before God and before other people, always. 17Now after several years I came to bring charitable gifts to my nation and to present offerings, 18in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without any crowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from Asia— 19who ought to have been present before you and to have been bringing charges, if they should have anything against me. 20Or else have these men themselves declare what violation they discovered when I stood before the Council, 21other 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!’?'
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

New King James Version

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).
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