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1 Then Agrippa said vnto Paul, Thou art permitted to speake for thy selfe. Then Paul stretched foorth the hand, and answered for himselfe,

2 I thinke my selfe happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answere for my selfe this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Iewes:

3 Especially, because I know thee to be expert in all customes and questions which are among the Iewes: wherefore I beseech thee to heare mee patiently.

4 My maner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine owne nation at Hierusalem, know all the Iewes,

5 Which knew me from the beginning, (if they would testifie) that after the most straitest sect of our religion, I liued a Pharisee.

6 And now I stand, and am iudged for the hope of the promise made of God vnto our fathers:

7 Vnto which promise our twelue tribes instantly seruing God day and night, hope to come: For which hopes sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Iewes.

8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

9 I verily thought with my selfe, that I ought to doe many things contrary to the name of Iesus of Nazareth:

10 Which thing I also did in Hierusalem, and many of the Saints did I shut vp in prison, hauing receiued authoritie from the chiefe Priests, and when they were put to death, I gaue my voyce against them.

11 And I punished them oft in euery Synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme, and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them euen vnto strange cities.

12 Whereupon, as I went to Damascus, with authoritie and commission from the chiefe Priests:

13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heauen, aboue the brightnes of the Sunne, shining round about mee, and them which iourneyed with me.

14 And when wee were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking vnto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kicke against the prickes.

15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And hee said, I am Iesus whom thou persecutest.

16 But rise, and stand vpon thy feete, for I haue appeared vnto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witnesse, both of these things which thou hast seene, & of those things in the which I will appeare vnto thee,

17 Deliuering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, vnto whom now I send thee,

18 To open their eyes, and to turne them from darknesse to light, and from the power of Satan vnto God, that they may receiue forgiuenesse of sinnes, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient vnto the heauenly vision:

20 But shewed first vnto them of Damascus, and at Hierusalem, and thorowout all the coasts of Iudea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turne to God, and do works meete for repentance.

21 For these causes the Iewes caught mee in the Temple, and went about to kill me.

22 Hauing therefore obteined helpe of God, I continue vnto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things then those which the Prophets and Moses did say should come:

23 That Christ should suffer, and that hee should be the first that should rise from the dead, & should shew light vnto the people, and to the Gentiles.

24 And as hee thus spake for himselfe, Festus saide with a lowd voyce, Paul, thou art beside thy selfe, much learning doeth make thee mad.

25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speake foorth the words of trueth and sobernesse.

26 For the King knoweth of these things, before whom also I speake freely: for I am perswaded, that none of these things are hidden from him, for this thing was not done in a corner.

27 King Agrippa, beleeuest thou the Prophets? I know that thou beleeuest.

28 Then Agrippa saide vnto Paul, Almost thou perswadest mee to bee a Christian.

29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not onely thou, but also all that heare mee this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

30 And when hee had thus spoken, the king rose vp, and the gouernour, and Bernice, & they that sate with them.

31 And when they were gone aside, they talked betweene themselues, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death, or of bonds.

32 Then said Agrippa vnto Festus, This man might haue bene set at libertie, if he had not appealed vnto Cesar.

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Commentary for Acts 26

Paul's defence before Agrippa. (1-11) His conversion and preaching to the Gentiles. (12-23) Festus and Agrippa convinced of Paul's innocence. (24-32)1-11 Christianity teaches us to give a reason of the hope that is in us, and also to give honour to whom honour is due, without flattery or fear of man. Agrippa was well versed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, therefore could the better judge as to the controversy about Jesus being the Messiah. Surely ministers may expect, when they preach the faith of Christ, to be heard patiently. Paul professes that he still kept to all the good in which he was first educated and trained up. See here what his religion was. He was a moralist, a man of virtue, and had not learned the arts of the crafty, covetous Pharisees; he was not chargeable with any open vice and profaneness. He was sound in the faith. He always had a holy regard for the ancient promise made of God unto the fathers, and built his hope upon it. The apostle knew very well that all this would not justify him before God, yet he knew it was for his reputation among the Jews, and an argument that he was not such a man as they represented him to be. Though he counted this but loss, that he might win Christ, yet he mentioned it when it might serve to honour Christ. See here what Paul's religion is; he has not such zeal for the ceremonial law as he had in his youth; the sacrifices and offerings appointed by that, are done away by the great Sacrifice which they typified. Of the ceremonial cleansings he makes no conscience, and thinks the Levitical priesthood is done away in the priesthood of Christ; but, as to the main principles of his religion, he is as zealous as ever. Christ and heaven, are the two great doctrines of the gospel; that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. These are the matter of the promise made unto the fathers. The temple service, or continual course of religious duties, day and night, was kept up as the profession of faith in the promise of eternal life, and in expectation of it. The prospect of eternal life should engage us to be diligent and stedfast in all religious exercises. Yet the Sadducees hated Paul for preaching the resurrection; and the other Jews joined them, because he testified that Jesus was risen, and was the promised Redeemer of Israel. Many things are thought to be beyond belief, only because the infinite nature and perfections of Him that has revealed, performed, or promised them, are overlooked. Paul acknowledged, that while he continued a Pharisee, he was a bitter enemy to Christianity. This was his character and manner of life in the beginning of his time; and there was every thing to hinder his being a Christian. Those who have been most strict in their conduct before conversion, will afterwards see abundant reason for humbling themselves, even on account of things which they then thought ought to have been done.

12-23 Paul was made a Christian by Divine power; by a revelation of Christ both to him and in him; when in the full career of his sin. He was made a minister by Divine authority: the same Jesus who appeared to him in that glorious light, ordered him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. A world that sits in darkness must be enlightened; those must be brought to know the things that belong to their everlasting peace, who are yet ignorant of them. A world that lies in wickedness must be sanctified and reformed; it is not enough for them to have their eyes opened, they must have their hearts renewed; not enough to be turned from darkness to light, but they must be turned from the power of Satan unto God. All who are turned from sin to God, are not only pardoned, but have a grant of a rich inheritance. The forgiveness of sins makes way for this. None can be happy who are not holy; and to be saints in heaven we must be first saints on earth. We are made holy, and saved by faith in Christ; by which we rely upon Christ as the Lord our Righteousness, and give up ourselves to him as the Lord our Ruler; by this we receive the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. The cross of Christ was a stumbling-block to the Jews, and they were in a rage at Paul's preaching the fulfilling of the Old Testament predictions. Christ should be the first that should rise from the dead; the Head or principal One. Also, it was foretold by the prophets, that the Gentiles should be brought to the knowledge of God by the Messiah; and what in this could the Jews justly be displeased at? Thus the true convert can give a reason of his hope, and a good account of the change manifest in him. Yet for going about and calling on men thus to repent and to be converted, vast numbers have been blamed and persecuted.

24-32 It becomes us, on all occasions, to speak the words of truth and soberness, and then we need not be troubled at the unjust censures of men. Active and laborious followers of the gospel often have been despised as dreamers or madmen, for believing such doctrines and such wonderful facts; and for attesting that the same faith and diligence, and an experience like their own, are necessary to all men, whatever their rank, in order to their salvation. But apostles and prophets, and the Son of God himself, were exposed to this charge; and none need be moved thereby, when Divine grace has made them wise unto salvation. Agrippa saw a great deal of reason for Christianity. His understanding and judgment were for the time convinced, but his heart was not changed. And his conduct and temper were widely different from the humility and spirituality of the gospel. Many are almost persuaded to be religious, who are not quite persuaded; they are under strong convictions of their duty, and of the excellence of the ways of God, yet do not pursue their convictions. Paul urged that it was the concern of every one to become a true Christian; that there is grace enough in Christ for all. He expressed his full conviction of the truth of the gospel, the absolute necessity of faith in Christ in order to salvation. Such salvation from such bondage, the gospel of Christ offers to the Gentiles; to a lost world. Yet it is with much difficulty that any person can be persuaded he needs a work of grace on his heart, like that which was needful for the conversion of the Gentiles. Let us beware of fatal hesitation in our own conduct; and recollect how far the being almost persuaded to be a Christian, is from being altogether such a one as every true believer is.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Acts 26

  • Steve morrow
    ACTS 26:19 whereupon o king Agrippa I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision --26:20-- but showed first unto them of Damascus and at Jerusalem and throughout all the coasts of Judea and then to the gentiles that they should repent and turn to GOD and do works meet for repentance
  • Steve morrow
    ACTS 26:25 but he said I am not mad most noble festus but speak forth the words of truth and soberness PROVERBS 8:20 I LEAD IN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE MIDST OF THE PATHS OF JUDGEMENT PROVERBS 12:17 he that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness but a false witness deceit PSALM 119:144 the righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting give me understanding and I shall live
  • A disciple
    Anne; you say it! Whatever is in our heart, whatever grace, whatever truth, whatever real knowledge and experience in God; will be reflected clearly for all to see: and so the Holy Spirit in us will THEN indeed be able to convict and convince men, by the truth in us. Lip service and salesmanship doesn't fool anyone but those who have no discernment. Stage-playing is a cunning art of the devil.
  • Anne
    Paul took this opportunity to give his testimony about his salvation and ministry. This he did with such conviction that King Agrippa confessed that he almost persuaded him to become a Christian. We should take every opportunity to testify of our salvation and the goodness of God.
  • Bruce
    Barbara:Yes,They were sticks with points on him to keep the cattle going in the right direction. That's what the Spirit does, like Irene said .
  • Irene123
    "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks". Means God's convicting 'darts' in your heart for wrong doing

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