Acts 26:4

ESV "My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews.
NIV "The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem.
NASB So then, all Jews know my way of life since my youth, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and in Jerusalem,
CSB "All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem.
NLT As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem.
KJV My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
NKJV “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.

What does Acts 26:4 mean?

The Sanhedrin has charged Paul with serious crimes against the Jewish and Roman laws. For these, they can provide neither proof nor witnesses (Acts 25:7). Paul is giving his side of the story to Governor Festus, King Agrippa II, and the leaders of Caesarea Maritima (Acts 25:23). He uses the format of a Roman defense, which includes an introduction, an explanation and context, and the defense, itself. He is beginning the narratio, or explanation section.

A legal defense includes significant context and Paul is convinced the core issue between himself and the Sanhedrin is Jesus' resurrection. So, he can give the story of his conversion to Christianity and his ministry. He starts with his childhood. His own "nation" is the province of Cilicia, a narrow strip of land on the southeastern shore of modern-day Turkey; when he says his youth was spent among his own nation, Paul is probably referring to the Jews in Tarsus. Later, he moved to Jerusalem and trained under the famous rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). It was Gamaliel who had counseled the Sanhedrin to ignore the very early Jesus-followers, saying, "for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" (Acts 5:38–39).

The term "Jews" typically refers to Jewish leadership in a region; in this case, it means the Sanhedrin. They knew of Paul's background because he had worked closely with them. He had received their authorizations to scour the synagogues of Damascus to find and arrest Jesus-followers. If they did not recant their faith in Jesus, Paul brought them back to Jerusalem and voted for their execution (Acts 9:1–2; 26:10).

Paul goes into further detail about his Jewish bona fides in his letter to the church in Philippi: "though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless" (Philippians 3:4–6).

All of Paul's genetic predisposition and education could not reveal the truth; only Jesus could (Acts 26:13–18).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: