What does Acts 26:25 mean?
ESV: But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.
NIV: I am not insane, most excellent Festus,' Paul replied. 'What I am saying is true and reasonable.
NASB: But Paul *said, 'I am not insane, most excellent Festus; on the contrary, I am speaking out with truthful and rational words.
CSB: But Paul replied, "I'm not out of my mind, most excellent Festus. On the contrary, I'm speaking words of truth and good judgment.
NLT: But Paul replied, 'I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth.
KJV: But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
NKJV: But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.
Verse Commentary:
Governor Festus thinks Paul is crazy. Paul has been explaining how his life changed when he met Jesus. He had been raised as a strict Pharisee and violently persecuted the church. But when he met Jesus, he applied that same fervor to the propagation of Jesus' message of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. Paul also alluded to the prophecy of the Messiah given in the Jewish Scriptures, knowing that his other primary audience member, King Agrippa II, would understand (Acts 26:2–24).

Festus does not understand. Though he is a fair ruler and wants good relationships with Jewish leadership, he has only been in the territory for a few weeks. He doesn't understand the Jewish religion or culture. If he thinks anything about Christianity, he perceives it as a sect of Judaism, one which the Sanhedrin hates. None of what Paul is saying makes sense to him.

"Rational" is from the Greek root word sōphrosynē which means "soundness of mind, or sobriety." Paul is not insane; he is speaking logically. "True" is from the Greek root word alētheia. It can refer to objective or subjective truth, but also refers to the accurate view of God, along with humanity's responsibility to Him as Creator and Lord.

Agrippa understands what Paul is saying, at least intellectually. He can see how Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecy. He understands his responsibility to God. But he doesn't want it. He's in an incestuous relationship with his sister. He's from a long line of rulers who understand Judaism and follow it superficially. Yet this family line unanimously refuses to submit to God. God promised Paul would share Jesus' message to kings, but He never said the kings would accept (Acts 9:15).
Verse Context:
Acts 26:24–32 records Governor Felix and King Agrippa II reacting to Paul's testimony. He has just finished giving account of how he accepted Christ and dedicated his life to spreading the gospel. Festus thinks Paul has gone insane. Agrippa understands Jesus' fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, but he can't accept the personal implications. What they all agree on, however, is that Paul shouldn't be imprisoned. If he hadn't appealed to Caesar, he should have been freed.
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.
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