Acts 26:9

ESV “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
NIV I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
NASB So I thought to myself that I had to act in strong opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
CSB In fact, I myself was convinced that it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
NLT I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.
KJV I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

What does Acts 26:9 mean?

The Sanhedrin has a grudge against Paul, and he is explaining their reasons to King Agrippa II. They claim he started riots, defiled the temple, and leads a cult (Acts 24:5–6). In truth, they're upset he betrayed them by preaching that Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 24:21).

Paul's words are an understatement, but he elaborates in the following verses. Paul was present at the murder of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:54–60), of which he approved. Immediately after, he volunteered to be the Sanhedrin's attack dog, first hunting Jesus-followers in Jerusalem, and then all over, as far as Damascus in Syria (Acts 8:1–3; 9:1–2). Paul goes on to say he punished them in the synagogues, he imprisoned them, and if they refused to deny Christ, he voted they be put to death (Acts 26:10–11).

This past gives Paul insight into the motivation of the Jewish leadership. Most Sanhedrin members are Sadducees. This sect does not believe in the resurrection of the dead: they're annihilationists. Yet they live and work with Pharisees, who do believe in the resurrection. Even so, the deeper issue isn't resurrection itself, but that Jesus rose from the dead. The Sanhedrin has ample evidence this occurred; the guards of the tomb came to them and told them what happened. Instead of listening, they bribed the guards to claim they fell asleep, which was a capital offense (Matthew 28:11–15). Jesus ascended to heaven from Mount Olivet, within sight of the temple (Acts 1:9–12). Many priests did accept Jesus' resurrection (Acts 6:7). Those who didn't have no excuse other than fear of losing their respected positions.

"Name" is from the Greek root word onoma. It doesn't merely mean the sounds or letters used to identify someone. It represents their character and reputation. In Jesus' case, His "name" means His sovereignty, power, authority, and deity. Paul's early zeal, as he would learn later, opposed His own God.
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