Acts 26:8

ESV Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
NIV Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
NASB Why is it considered incredible among you people if God raises the dead?
CSB Why do any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
NLT Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead?
KJV Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
NKJV Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?

What does Acts 26:8 mean?

Paul is addressing a large audience in Caesarea Maritima (Acts 25:23). King Agrippa II, great-grandson of Herod the Great, understands the culture, religion, and law of the Jews (Acts 26:2–3). Governor Festus has only been in the territory a few weeks and only knows that his predecessor, Felix, was corrupt and cruel. Festus is a fair ruler and wishes a better relationship with the Jewish leadership. The military tribunes are likely Romans. The civil leaders are probably a mix of Roman, Jewish, and Samaritan.

Of these, those Jews who follow the teachings of the Pharisees believe in the resurrection of the dead; those who are more Greek in their worldview are probably annihilationists: they believe the soul and spirit cease to exist at death.

Paul is explaining that the reason the Sanhedrin hates him has nothing to do with the charges they've brought against him. He did not stir up riots, defile the temple, or teach the Jews to abandon the Mosaic law (Acts 24:5–6). His issue with the Sadducees, who make up the bulk of the Sanhedrin, is that he believes in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6–8). His issue with the Pharisees is that he believes Jesus of Nazareth has already been raised. This proves that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, come to take the sin of the world and reconcile His followers to God.

Jesus as savior is inconvenient to the Sanhedrin's plans. They wish to be rid of the Romans, but they do not want to lose power. Even losing Jews to Christianity has weakened their hold. Paul, once the persecutor of the church (Acts 8:1–3; 9:1–2), now dedicates his life to drawing others to faith in Jesus. That is a betrayal the Sanhedrin cannot bear.
What is the Gospel?
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