Acts 25:8

ESV Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.”
NIV Then Paul made his defense: 'I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.'
NASB while Paul said in his own defense, 'I have not done anything wrong either against the Law of the Jews, or against the temple, or against Caesar.'
CSB Then Paul made his defense: "Neither against the Jewish law, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned in any way."
NLT Paul denied the charges. 'I am not guilty of any crime against the Jewish laws or the Temple or the Roman government,' he said.
KJV While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.

What does Acts 25:8 mean?

Two years prior, Paul stood before Governor Felix as members of the Sanhedrin and their lawyer presented evidence that Paul broke the Jewish and Roman laws (Acts 24:1–9). Now, he stands before the new governor—Festus—addressing the same charges.

The charge against "the law of the Jews" is explained in Acts 21:20–21. Years before, after Paul's first missionary journey with Barnabas, they returned home to Syrian Antioch to find the church had been infiltrated by "Judaizers"—Jewish Christians who taught that Gentiles had to follow the Mosaic law to follow the Jewish Messiah. Paul knew their real issue was if they ate with the Gentile church members, the Jews of the synagogue would find them unclean and refuse to associate with them (Galatians 6:12–13). Paul and Barnabas took the matter to the church in Jerusalem where James—the half-brother of Jesus—Peter, and the elders all agreed: Gentile Christians should refrain from eating blood and sexual immorality, but they didn't have to become Jews (Acts 15:1–29). When Paul returned to Jerusalem after his third missionary journey, unknown people had spread rumors that he taught that Jewish Christians should not obey the Mosaic law. There's no evidence because it didn't happen.

The claim that he sinned "against the temple" supposedly occurred shortly after he arrived in Jerusalem. He had come with several Gentiles who wanted to bring support from their churches to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). Paul walked around Jerusalem with Trophimus, a friend from the province of Asia in modern southwest Turkey. Later, Jews from the same province saw Paul in the temple and assumed Trophimus was with him (Acts 21:27–36). It was against the Mosaic law to bring a non-proselyte Gentile into the temple, and was a capital offense against the Roman law to desecrate a religious structure. It doesn't seem to matter that Trophimus was not with Paul; the Sanhedrin digs up the same charge again.

The charge "against Caesar" relates to the claim that Paul "stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world" (Acts 24:5). It is true that Paul had been the target of several riots, including the one that occurred after the charge that he brought Trophimus into the temple (Acts 21:30). But the only incident he deliberately caused occurred within the Sanhedrin. When he realized they weren't going to listen to him, he proclaimed "I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial" (Acts 23:6). The Sadducees, who didn't believe in the resurrection of the dead, and the Pharisees, who did, started bickering (Acts 23:1–10).

Festus now understands the charges are baseless. Later, he will tell King Agrippa II, "When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive" (Acts 25:18–19). But Festus refuses to take accountability for the verdict. He asks Paul if he will agree to the Sanhedrin's request to hold a trial in Jerusalem (Acts 25:9), possibly not knowing they plan to kill Paul during his travels (Acts 25:3). Paul knows of their previous assassination plot (Acts 23:16), however, and takes the only action he can: he appeals his case to Caesar (Acts 25:11–12). Before long, he is on his way to Rome.
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