Summary of Acts 26:1-23:
Agrippa asks Paul to speak. Paul recounts his background, having been born a Jew and lived as a Pharisee, and states he is on trial because of his hope in God’s promises and his belief in how God raises the dead. Paul admits he persecuted Christians jealously until Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and commissioned him to teach the gospel to the Gentiles.
Paul obeyed his vision, saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen regarding Christ.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 4: Acts 26:1-23
9a) Paul emphasizes that all know how religious he is since he used to be a Pharisee, and he’s on trial today because of his hope in what God has promised (Jesus) and his belief in how God raises the dead. He recounts his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and how he has been faithful to what Jesus told him to do — carry the Good News to the Gentiles. He is saying exactly what the Prophets and Moses have said.
b) Faith, fearlessness, passion, self-control
10) Part Personal Question. My answer: God’s lifework is for Paul to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. Paul was faithful and was richly rewarded. I can be too.
11) Personal Question. My answer: Doubt. Whether my goals are God’s goals.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 4: Acts 26:1-23
I love when history crosses the path of the Bible that can be proven.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 26, Day 4: Acts 26:1-23
Paul stood before the man whose great-grandfather had tried to kill Jesus as a baby; his grandfather had John the Baptist beheaded; his father had martyred the first apostle, James. Agrippa’s family history made him unlikely to receive Paul warmly.
Though he was a prisoner, Paul was happy to speak before Agrippa. First, because he was pleased to have the evidence of his case examined closely by the highest officials, but also because he was pleased to preach the gospel to kings and rulers.
In the auditorium in the city of Caesarea Paul spoke to Festus, Agrippa, Bernice, commanders of the Roman Legion, and all the prominent men of Caesarea (Acts 25:23).
This was a partial fulfillment of what the Lord promised Paul at his conversion: Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15)
Paul was born in Tarsus, several hundred miles from Jerusalem. Yet at a relatively young age he came to live at Jerusalem.
Not only was Paul a faithful Jew, but was known as a faithful man among the Jews, living according to the strictest sect of the Pharisees.
Paul’s trust in Jesus was an outgrowth of his trust in the hope of the promise made by God.
It should be especially easy for Agrippa to believe that God raises the dead, given some clear statements in the Old Testament (such as Job 19:25-27), the nature of God, and the intuitive grasp of the eternal among mankind.
Before his conversion, Paul believed he must persecute the followers of Jesus. Some he imprisoned, some he killed, and some he forced to renounce Jesus.
Paul later speaks of the great regret he had over his prior life as a persecutor (1 Corinthians 15:9, 1 Timothy 1:15). Perhaps the fact that he compelled them to blaspheme weighed especially on his conscience.
Paul having a vote implies that Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin, having a vote against Christians who were tried before the Sanhedrin (as Stephen was in Acts 7).
If Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin, it also means that at that time he was married, because it was required for all members of the Sanhedrin. Since as a Christian, he was single (1 Corinthians 7:7-9), it may mean that Paul’s wife either died or deserted him when he became a Christian.
This is Paul’s fullest account yet of his experience on the Damascus Road. He first noted that he went on his mission of hate and persecution with the authority and commission of the same religious leaders who now accused him. What hypocrites!
“Kick against the goads” is a proverb in use at the time that meant “you are only hurting yourself.” A goad was a sharp tool farmers used to control their oxen hooked to a plow.
Paul repeats the words from Acts 9:3-6.
As Jesus spoke, Paul understood that Jesus was alive, not dead. He understood that Jesus reigned in glory instead of being damned in shame. He realized that in persecuting the followers of Jesus he persecuted Jesus, and in persecuting Jesus he fought against the God of his fathers.
Paul had to repent – make a transformation of mind leading to transformed action – instantly. Paul lived a moral life, so he didn’t have to repent of immorality – but of misguided religious zeal and wrong ideas about God.
His eyes were not yet opened physically, but Jesus sent him to open the eyes of others (both Jews and Gentiles).
Jesus then told Paul of four results that would come from the opening of the eyes:
- Being turned from the darkness to the light.
- Being turned from the power of Satan to God.
- To receive forgiveness of sins.
- To receive an inheritance among God’s people.
Christians are sanctified (set apart from sin and self), and they are sanctified by faith in Jesus (not by works or spiritual achievement, but by their connection of love and trust to Jesus).
One can’t turn to God unless they do repent – and actions will confirm true repentance.
It was only because he sought to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles that the Jews seized him and tried to kill him.
The three main points to Paul’s preaching:
- Jesus’ death,
- Jesus’ resurrection,
- The preaching of this good news to the whole world