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Acts Chapter Twenty-five


Acts 25

God would have the innocence of his beloved servant proved in the face of the world. His discourse tends to this. He goes farther but his object is to give account of his conduct. His miraculous conversion is related in order to justify his subsequent career; but it is so related as to act upon the conscience of Agrippa who was acquainted with Jewish things and evidently desired to hear something of Christianity which he suspected to be the truth. Accordingly he lays hold with eagerness of the opportunity that presents itself to hear the apostle explain it. But he remains much where he was. His condition of soul opens however the mouth of Paul and he addresses himself directly and particularly to the king; who moreover evidently engrossed by the subject had called on him to speak. To Festus it was all a rhapsody.

The dignity of Paul's manner before all these governors is perfect. He addresses himself to the conscience with a forgetfulness of self that shewed a man in whom communion with God and the sense of his relationship with God carried the mind above all effect of circumstances. He was acting for God; and with a perfect deference for the position of those he addressed we see that which was morally altogether superior to them. The more humiliating his circumstances the more beauty there is in this superiority. Before the Gentiles he is a missionary from God. He is again (blessed be God!) in his right place. All that he said to the Jews was right and deserved; but why was he who had been delivered from the people subjected to their total want of conscience and their blind passions which gave no place for testimony? Nevertheless as we have seen it was to be so in order that the Jews might in every way fill up the measure of their iniquity and indeed that the blessed apostle might follow the steps of his Master.

── John DarbySynopsis of Acts


Acts 25

Chapter Contents

Paul before Festus he appeals to Caesar. (1-12) Festus confers with Agrippa respecting Paul. (13-27)

Commentary on Acts 25:1-12

(Read Acts 25:1-12)

See how restless malice is. Persecutors deem it a peculiar favour to have their malice gratified. Preaching Christ the end of the law was no offence against the law. In suffering times the prudence of the Lord's people is tried as well as their patience; they need wisdom. It becomes those who are innocent to insist upon their innocence. Paul was willing to abide by the rules of the law and to let that take its course. If he deserved death he would accept the punishment. But if none of the things whereof they accused him were true no man could deliver him unto them with justice. Paul is neither released nor condemned. It is an instance of the slow steps which Providence takes; by which we are often made ashamed both of our hopes and of our fears and are kept waiting on God.

Commentary on Acts 25:13-27

(Read Acts 25:13-27)

Agrippa had the government of Galilee. How many unjust and hasty judgments the Roman maxim verse 16 condemn! This heathen guided only by the light of nature followed law and custom exactly yet how many Christians will not follow the rules of truth justice and charity in judging their brethren! The questions about God's worship the way of salvation and the truths of the gospel may appear doubtful and without interest to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Roman speaks of Christ and of the great controversy between the Jews and the Christians. But the day is at hand when Festus and the whole world will see that all the concerns of the Roman empire were but trifles and of no consequence compared with this question of Christ's resurrection. Those who have had means of instruction and have despised them will be awfully convinced of their sin and folly. Here was a noble assembly brought together to hear the truths of the gospel though they only meant to gratify their curiosity by attending to the defence of a prisoner. Many even now attend at the places of hearing the word of God with "great pomp " and too often with no better motive than curiosity. And though ministers do not now stand as prisoners to make a defence for their lives yet numbers affect to sit in judgment upon them desirous to make them offenders for a word rather than to learn from them the truth and will of God for the salvation of their souls But the pomp of this appearance was outshone by the real glory of the poor prisoner at the bar. What was the honour of their fine appearance compared with that of Paul's wisdom and grace and holiness; his courage and constancy in suffering for Christ! It is no small mercy to have God clear up our righteousness as the light and our just dealing as the noon-day; to have nothing certain laid to our charge. And God makes even the enemies of his people to do them right.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Acts


Acts 25

Verse 4

[4] But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea and that he himself would depart shortly thither.

But Festus answered — So Festus's care to preserve the imperial privileges was the means of preserving Paul's life. By what invisible springs does God govern the world! With what silence and yet with what wisdom and energy!

Verse 5

[5] Let them therefore said he which among you are able go down with me and accuse this man if there be any wickedness in him.

Let those of you who are able — Who are best able to undertake the journey and to manage the cause.

If there be any wickedness in him — So he does not pass sentence before he hears the cause.

Verse 6

[6] And when he had tarried among them more than ten days he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.

Not more than ten days — A short space for a new governor to stay at such a city as Jerusalem. He could not with any convenience have heard and decided the cause of Paul within that time.

Verse 7

[7] And when he was come the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul which they could not prove.

Bringing many accusations — When many accusations are heaped together frequently not one of them is true.

Verse 8

[8] While he answered for himself Neither against the law of the Jews neither against the temple nor yet against Caesar have I offended any thing at all.

While he answered — To a general charge a general answer was sufficient.

Verse 9

[9] But Festus willing to do the Jews a pleasure answered Paul and said Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem and there be judged of these things before me?

Art thou willing to go up to Jerusalem — Festus could have ordered this without asking Paul. But God secretly overruled the whole that he might have an occasion of appealing to Rome.

Verse 10

[10] Then said Paul I stand at Caesar's judgment seat where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong as thou very well knowest.

I am standing at Cesar's judgment seat — For all the courts of the Roman governors were held in the name of the emperor and by commission from him.

No man can give me up — He expresses it modestly: the meaning is Thou canst not.

I appeal to Cesar — Which any Roman citizen might do before sentence was passed.

Verse 12

[12] Then Festus when he had conferred with the council answered Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.

The council — It was customary for a considerable number of persons of distinction to attend the Roman governors. These constituted a kind of council with whom they frequently advised.

Verse 13

[13] And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.

Agrippa — The son of Herod Agrippa Acts 12:1; and Bernice - His sister with whom he lived in a scandalous familiarity. This was the person whom Titus Vespasian so passionately loved that he would have made her empress had not the clamours of the Romans prevented it.

Verse 15

[15] About whom when I was at Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me desiring to have judgment against him.

Desiring judgment against him — As upon a previous conviction which they falsely pretended.

Verse 16

[16] To whom I answered It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.

It is not the custom of the Romans — How excellent a rule to condemn no one unheard! A rule which as it is common to all nations (courts of inquisition only excepted ) so it ought to direct our proceedings in all affairs not only in public but private life.

Verse 18

[18] Against whom when the accusers stood up they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:

Such things as I supposed — From their passion and vehemence.

Verse 19

[19] But had certain questions against him of their own superstition and of one Jesus which was dead whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

But had certain questions — How coldly does he mention the things of the last importance! And about one Jesus - Thus does Festus speak of Him to whom every knee shall bow! Whom Paul affirmed to be alive - And was this a doubtful question? But why O Festus didst thou doubt concerning it? Only because thou didst not search into the evidence of it. Otherwise that evidence might have opened to thee till it had grown up into full conviction; and thy illustrious prisoner have led thee into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Verse 23

[23] And on the morrow when Agrippa was come and Bernice with great pomp and was entered into the place of hearing with the chief captains and principal men of the city at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.

With the tribunes and principal men of the city — The chief officers both military and civil.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Acts


Chapter 25. The Trial Before Festus

Before Defense
Convict Beforehand

I. The Charges of the Jews

  1. Transfer to Jerusalem
  2. Ambush to Kill
  3. Negative Answer

II. Listen to Paul's Defense

  1. Done Nothing Wrong
  2. Refuse to Go to Jerusalem
  3. Appeal to Caesar

III. Before King Agrippa

  1. Jesus is Alive
  2. You See this Man
  3. Declare Innocent
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament