What does Acts 25:19 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.
NASB: but they simply had some points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive.
CSB: Instead they had some disagreements with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, a dead man Paul claimed to be alive.
NLT: Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive.
KJV: But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
NKJV: but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
Verse Commentary:
C. S. Lewis, in On the Reading of Old Books, explained how seemingly monumental differences over an issue in one culture would barely be noticed by those of a different culture. This was the case for Greek and Roman leaders when faced with Judaism and Christianity in the first century. The Roman Empire did not allow the practice of a religion it had not specifically sanctioned. Judaism was sanctioned, even though the religion was considered nearly atheistic since it had no images of its God. Until the Khobar Rebellion of AD 150, Christianity was thought to be a sect under Judaism—not much different from the Pharisees or the Essenes. The only identifying marker seemed to be that Christians claimed a man named Jesus rose from the dead.

This confusion has protected Paul. When the Jewish leadership of the synagogue wished to persecute him and his new church in Corinth, the proconsul Gallio responded, "If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things" (Acts 18:14–15). When the Jews in Jerusalem tried to kill Paul, the tribune wrote to the governor, "I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment" (Acts 23:29).

Festus, the new governor, has the same problem. The Sanhedrin's reaction to Paul's belief that Jesus rose from the dead seems grossly out of proportion. It has nothing to do with their unfounded accusations that he desecrated the temple, started riots, or leads a cult (Acts 24:5–6). Festus now asks for help from King Agrippa II who is an expert in Jewish culture (Acts 26:3). What did Paul do wrong?
Verse Context:
Acts 25:13–22 relates how the new governor, Festus, draws King Agrippa II into his conundrum. Festus wants to be on good terms with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, but they want to try Paul for crimes that are obviously baseless. While Festus ponders what to do, Paul appeals his case to Caesar (Acts 25:1–12). But Festus can't send Paul to Rome without formal charges. Agrippa is intrigued and agrees to hear what Paul has to say.
Chapter Summary:
In Acts 25, the new governor, Festus, must clean up Felix's mess. He tries to ingratiate himself with the Sanhedrin but when they ask him to bring Paul to Jerusalem for trial, he refuses. The Sanhedrin agrees to come to Caesarea Maritima, instead, to present their accusations. Festus quickly realizes they don't have a case. Yet when he hesitates to dismiss the charges, Paul appeals the case to a higher court. Festus then invites King Agrippa II, the king's sister Bernice, and the city leaders to hear Paul and determine how to justify Paul's presence before Caesar.
Chapter Context:
When Felix is called back to Rome to answer for his cruelty, he leaves a bit of a mess. Paul is still under house arrest without charges (Acts 24). When the new governor Festus refuses to exonerate him, Paul appeals to a higher court. Paul is a Roman citizen, so Festus must send him. Yet he still has no formal charges. After inviting King Agrippa II and the city leaders to hear Paul's testimony, they realize Paul has done nothing wrong and should have been released. Paul and Luke survive a harrowing sea voyage but finally arrive at Rome (Acts 27—29).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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