What does Acts 26:19 mean?
ESV: “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
NIV: So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.
NASB: For that reason, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision,
CSB: "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
NLT: And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven.
KJV: Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Verse Commentary:
The Sanhedrin accused Paul of leading a cult, desecrating a religious structure, and starting riots (Acts 24:5–6). After a cursory investigation, Governor Felix determined Paul was innocent, but kept him under house arrest to placate the Jewish leaders (Acts 24:27). Two years later, when Festus replaced Felix, the Sanhedrin asked Festus to reopen the case. Festus, too, realized Paul was innocent, but while trying to appease the Sanhedrin without annulling Paul's rights as a Roman citizen, he waffled too long, and Paul appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:1–12). Now, Festus must send Paul's case to Rome, but he has no charges to send.

Festus has decided to ask King Agrippa II for help. The great-grandson of Herod the Great, Agrippa has much more experience with Jewish customs and religion. He's intrigued by the case, and Festus invites him, the king's sister/lover Bernice, and the leaders of Caesarea Maritima to hear Paul's side of the story in hopes they can find something Festus can tell Caesar (Acts 25:23–27).

Paul's testimony adheres to the traditional Roman courtroom. His exordium, or introductory address, included a polite, sincere, but not overly flattering, greeting to Agrippa (Acts 26:2–3). The narratio, or context of events, began with a description of Paul's childhood training as a Pharisee and time spent persecuting Christians before transitioning into his conversion to Christianity (Acts 26:4–18). Now, he begins his argumentio, or formal defense. He explains how Jesus gave him a commission in a "heavenly vision" which he faithfully fulfills by spreading the offer of forgiveness through repentance to the Jews and the Gentiles, an offer promised by Moses and the other Old Testament prophets (Acts 26:20–23).

The "heavenly vision" is likely a combination of Paul's initial meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–9), further instruction Paul received over the years directly following (Galatians 1:15–18), and Jesus' words Paul received while in a trance when he returned to Jerusalem (Acts 22:17–21). Jesus warned Paul that the Jews in Jerusalem would not accept his message; he needed to go out into the world and preach to the Gentiles. It is largely because of Paul's relationship with Gentile believers that he is on trial now (Acts 21:27–36).
Verse Context:
Acts 26:12–23 is Paul's testimony to King Agrippa II, Governor Festus, and the leaders of Caesarea Maritima, of how he started following Jesus. The audience wants to determine if Paul broke a law. Paul wants to offer reconciliation with God. Paul describes how he met Jesus on his way to persecute Christians in Damascus and accepted Jesus' commission to spread His offer of forgiveness to Jews and Gentiles. It is for this reason that the Sanhedrin wants him dead, not because he committed a crime. Paul's conversion is recorded in Acts 9:1–19.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 26 records Paul's testimony before the noblemen of Caesarea Maritima, as well as their reactions. He explains that Jewish leaders want him dead because he once persecuted the church, but now believes Jesus rose from the dead and has been spreading that message. Governor Festus thinks Paul has gone mad. King Agrippa II, however, finds his story compelling. They realize that had Paul not appealed to a higher Roman court, they could have let him go.
Chapter Context:
After being held in custody for two years and, again, hassled by the Sanhedrin who want to kill him, Paul appeals his case to Caesar (Acts 25:7–12). Before he travels to Rome, however, Governor Festus has Paul give his testimony before King Agrippa II and the noblemen of Caesarea Maritima (Act 25:23–27). When Paul is finished, they realize they should have set him free before he appealed to Caesar (Acts 26:30–32). But he must go to Rome, surviving a violent storm and a shipwreck along the way (Acts 27—28).
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.
Accessed 4/18/2024 6:30:24 PM
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