1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You are permitted to speak in behalf of yourself."
B C -1-6. Introduction. D 9-23. Statement. C 25-29. Conclusion.
C g -1-3. Appeal to Agrippa's knowledge. h 4,5. Paul's life. h 6,7. Paul's hope. g 8. Appeal to Agrippa's reason.
Then Paul stretched forth the hand (with chains), and was making his defense:
2 I reckon myself blessed, king Agrippa, because I am about to answer for myself this day before you concerning all the things (bringing everything out in the open) whereof I am accused by the Jews (Kenites. Agrippa was appointed by the Romans to reign over Judea. He was fairly well versed in the Word of God, and he like to hear about Christianity.):
3 Especially because I know you being an expert in all customs and questions which are according to the Jews (Agrippa was well informed of the religions): wherefore I beseech you to hear me patiently.
4 My manner of life from my youth, which was from the beginning among my own nation (Tarsus) at Jerusalem, know all Jews;
5 Knowing me before from the beginning, if they be willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our form of worship I lived a Pharisee. (Strictest of believers. They knew exactly who he was. Paul was educated by the best, and he was zealous. The Pharisees believed in resurrection. The Sadducees, who had Paul arrested, did not believe in resurrection. Friends, all flesh bodies die. To reach the goal of eternal life there must be a resurrection of the soul.)
6 And now I stand and am judged upon [the ground of] the hope of the promise made of God, to our fathers: (Hope for the Messiah. Ps. 22)
7 To which promise our twelve tribes (Gr. dodekaphulon. This single word to denote the whole 12 tribes shows that Paul regarded them as one. To him there were no "lost" tribes as fondly imagined today), in intensity serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. (Sadducees, but basically the Kenites. This is one promise from God you want to claim. It was reaching for this goal that caused Paul to be accused by the Sadducees. What is the promise?)
8 Why is it judged a thing incredible with you, if God raises dead persons? (Why should it be considered it a crime to believe in life after death of the flesh? It shouldn't be a crime to claim God's promises!)
D E 9. Opposition. F i 10,11. Persecution. Jerusalem, &c. k 12. Persecution. Damascus. G 13-15. Jesus the Persecuted. H 16-. Stand. J -16. Witness. K l 17. The People and the GENTILES. m 18. Light. E 19. Obedience. F k 20-. Preaching. Damascus. i -20. Preaching. Jerusalem, &c. G 21. Paul the persecuted. H 22-. Continue. J -22-23-. Witness. K m -23-. Light. l -23. The People and the Gentiles.
9 I therefore indeed thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. (Before Paul's conversion, he was as zealous against Christians as he was for them, after his conversion.)
10 Which thing I did also in Jerusalem: and many of the saints (Christians) did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote (the pebble used for voting) against them. (He testified against them. Paul is admitting his sins against Christians.)
11 And punishing (tortured) them oft throughout every synagogue, I was compelling them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly maddened against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. (Terrible things are done in the name of religion. We see it often, today. Those who ignore God's Word for the traditions of men aren't going to reach the goal. Only those who love and serve God will reach the Goal.)
12 In which [circumstances] as I was going to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, (The chief priests appointed by the Romans gave Paul the authority to persecute Christians in the name of religion. They know him. He was one of them, of that belief, and was against the thing he taught now. This is not a crime.)
13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. (Do you think Paul volunteered? Was there an alter there? Have you known there was more to God's Word than what you were being told? Have you asked questions and no one had the answers? Or, told just believe? That's a cop-out. All answers are in God's Word. You have to dig them out. Scholars should not be lazy. God doesn't like lazy people.)
14 And when we were all fallen down to the earth, I heard a voice saying to me, in the Hebrew dialect, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.' (figuratively, divine impulse. Saul, later named Paul, was persecuting Christ and Christians. Paul might as well taken his shoe off and kicked a cactus. The prick is the pointed part of a compass utilized to draw a perfect circle. If you kick against the prick, you knock the circle out of whack. Paul was knocking God's plan out of whack, and it had to stop. Wisely, Paul is documenting resurrection is very real. They all knew Jesus had been crucified. Now Jesus is speaking to Paul. How? Jesus resurrected, after the crucifixion.)
15 And I said, "Who art You, Lord?' And He said, "I am Jesus whom you persecute.
16 But rise, and stand upon your feet:
for I was seen by you for this purpose, to appoint you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and of those things in the which I will appear to you; (Paul would go on to write most of the New Testament. Paul was a witness that Jesus Christ resurrected. He called to be a minister of the good news. You too may resurrect into eternal life, If you believe on Jesus.)
17 Delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send (Gr. apostello) you,
18 To open their eyes, that they may turn them from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a part among the sanctified by faith that is towards Me.' (Do you mean Satan has power? You had better believe Satan has power. And, his power will "eat your lunch", if you don't have and use the power of God. Know your enemy. Know the weapons you have at your disposal to fight your enemy. Oder Satan and evil out of your life in the name and power of Jesus Christ.)
19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was obedient to the heavenly vision:
20 But showed to them at Damascus first,
and to them of Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.
21 For these causes the Jews (Kenites) caught me in the temple, and were attempting to kill me.
22 Having therefore obtained help from God, I stand until this day, witnessing both to
small and great, saying nothing except the things which the prophets and Moses spoke should come:
23 If the Messiah destined to suffer, and that He should be the first by a resurrection of the dead, and
should proclaim light to the people, and to the Gentiles."
C L n 24. Festus interposes. o 25. Paul's reply. M 26. Agrippa's knowledge challenged. M 27. Agrippa's belief challenged. L n 28. Agrippa's interposes. o 29. Paul's reply.
24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice (To Festus the resurrection of dead persons was as much beyond the range of possibility as it is to myriads today. "Modern views" have relegated the resurrection, as the hope of the believer, to the background), "Paul, you are mad; much learning does turn you to madness."
25 But he said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
26 For the king knows concerning these things, before whom I speak, using boldness also: for I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice; for this thing was not done in a corner.
27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Briefly you persuaded me to be a Christian." (In a little, i.e. in short. Paul, carried away by his subject, ceases to be the advocate for the prisoner and has become the advocate for God. Agrippa perceives it, and intervenes with ..."To put it briefly , you are persuading me to become a Christian." There is no ground for supposing that Agrippa was "almost persuaded")
29 And Paul said, "I could wish to God, that not only you, but all also that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether (in little and in great. He takes up Agrippa's word with a higher meaning) such as I am, except these bonds."
30 And when he had thus spoken (all the texts omit), the king rose up, (Paul's appeal had taken the case out of the hands of Festus; so this was not a court of justice, but an inquiry to please Agrippa, and to enable Festus to make his report to the Emperer. Agrippa was the chairman and so gave the signal for closing the inquiry, probably afraid lest ant more such searching questions should be put to him.) and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
31 And when they were gone aside, they talked to one another, saying, "This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds."
32 Then said Agrippa to Festus, "This man should have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed to Caesar."