Acts 26:12

ESV “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
NIV On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
NASB While so engaged, as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests,
CSB "I was traveling to Damascus under these circumstances with authority and a commission from the chief priests.
NLT One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests.
KJV Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,

What does Acts 26:12 mean?

Two years prior, the Sanhedrin tried to convince Governor Felix that Paul committed serious crimes against the Roman law. Felix didn't believe them, but he also didn't want to antagonize them, so he kept Paul under house arrest for the remaining two years of his term (Acts 24). When Nero called Felix to Rome to answer for his cruelty, Festus became governor, and the Sanhedrin renewed their complaints. Felix knows very little about Jewish culture and religion and has called King Agrippa II, the king's sister Bernice, and the leadership of Caesarea Maritima to hear Paul's testimony and determine if he has broken the law—Jewish or Roman (Acts 25:23–27).

Paul responds by giving his Christian testimony in the format of a legal defense. He started with his introductory address: the exordium (Acts 26:2–3) and is in the middle of his context of events: the narratio (Acts 26:4–18). He will finish with his formal defense: the argumentio (Acts 26:19–23).

Paul's context began with his Jewish bona fides: how he was raised as a strict Pharisee, devoted to the Mosaic law, and believes in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 26:4–8). After the murder of Stephen—the first Christian martyr—Paul believed he had to defend God's honor against the blasphemous Jesus-followers (Acts 7:54–60). He hunted them throughout Jerusalem and Judea, trying to get them to deny Christ or be executed (Acts 8:1–3; 26:9–11). He now explains what happened when he chased Christians far to the north in Damascus (Acts 9:1–2).

The story is well-known today. Before Paul reached Damascus, Jesus appeared to him in a bright light (Acts 9:3–9). Within days, Paul had repented of his persecution of the Jewish Messiah and accepted Jesus' commission to become what he had hated: an evangelist to "the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). Paul explains to Agrippa that he isn't on trial because he broke the Mosaic law or even because he believes in the resurrection of the dead—all Pharisees do. The Sanhedrin hates him because he believes Jesus rose from the dead.

The original account of Paul's conversion is in Acts 9:1–19.
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