Acts 25:16

ESV I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him.
NIV I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.
NASB I replied to them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any person before the accused meets his accusers face to face, and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges.
CSB I answered them that it is not the Roman custom to give someone up before the accused faces the accusers and has an opportunity for a defense against the charges.
NLT I pointed out to them that Roman law does not convict people without a trial. They must be given an opportunity to confront their accusers and defend themselves.
KJV To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.

What does Acts 25:16 mean?

Paul is uniquely qualified to be the evangelist to the Gentiles. He is from the city of Tarsus on the southeast shore of modern-day Turkey. He is fluent in Greek and familiar with Greek philosophy and Roman culture (Acts 17:22–31; 24:10). His Roman citizenship has already saved him from dishonor (Acts 16:35–40). But he probably didn't realize how handy it would be in Judea. Two years prior, it saved him from being flogged in Jerusalem (Acts 22:23–29). More recently, it saved him from an assassination attempt (Acts 25:3).

When the corrupt Governor Felix was replaced by Festus, the new governor wanted to establish good relationships with the local leaders. He hadn't even settled in at his capital in Caesarea Maritima before he traveled to Jerusalem to meet with the Sanhedrin—the ruling council of the Jews (Acts 25:1). Two years prior, the Sanhedrin had tried to first kill (Acts 23:12–15) and then convict Paul of capital crimes (Acts 24:1–9). Felix knew he was innocent, but likely not wishing to send the Sanhedrin over the edge into rebellion, he kept Paul under house arrest (Acts 24:22–27). When Festus went to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin asked him to bring Paul to Jerusalem for trial; in actuality, they were going to try to kill him again (Acts 25:1–3).

Festus may not have known about the second assassination attempt, but he knew Paul was a Roman citizen and had rights even the Sanhedrin couldn't override. He told them to send representatives to Caesarea so Paul could meet his accusers. They came and gave their charges for which they had no witnesses and no evidence (Acts 25:6–8).

During the trial, Paul appealed his case to Caesar (Acts 25:10–12). This is an appeal to a higher court, in this case located in Rome. Festus must send him but has no official charges. He needs to be able to tell Caesar's court something. Fortunately, King Agrippa II has arrived to give his official welcome. Not only is Agrippa part of a long-standing family in the area—Herod the Great is his grandfather—but he's an expert in Jewish law (Acts 26:3). Festus hopes Agrippa can help.
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