What does Acts 26:29 mean?
ESV: And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
NIV: Paul replied, 'Short time or long--I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.'
NASB: And Paul said, 'I would wish to God that even in a short or long time not only you, but also all who hear me this day would become such as I myself am, except for these chains.'
CSB: "I wish before God," replied Paul, "that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am--except for these chains."
NLT: Paul replied, 'Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.'
KJV: And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
Verse Commentary:
When Jesus first told Ananias that Saul, the Pharisee and attack dog of the Sanhedrin, was in Damascus and Ananias needed to see him, Ananias understandably balked. But Jesus went on to share His plan: "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name" (Acts 9:15–16). During the ensuing years, Paul did share Jesus and His offer of salvation to many Jews and Gentiles in Syria, modern-day Turkey, Macedonia, and Greece. As for suffering, he told the church in Corinth:
"[I have suffered] countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches" (2 Corinthians 11:23–28).
Now, Paul has shared Jesus' message with a king: King Agrippa II. He has explained how the worship of Jesus is a natural extension of the Jewish faith and how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures, in which Agrippa believes (Acts 26:26–27).

But Paul and Agrippa are not alone. They are in a room filled with a Roman governor, Roman military tribunes, and a mixed group of Jewish, Samaritan, and Roman city magistrates. Also there is Agrippa's sister, Bernice, with whom he has an incestuous relationship (Acts 25:23). Agrippa may intellectually understand Paul, but he can't go so far as to commit to Jesus. He deflects, saying "In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?" (Acts 26:28).

Agrippa rejects Jesus, but Paul is hopeful that others may follow. He was arrested two years prior in part for being a "ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). But he will not be ashamed of his chains (Ephesians 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:12). He will share Jesus wherever, whenever, and however he gets the chance.
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.
Accessed 4/13/2024 8:02:00 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.