Paul before Felix
24 Five days later, the high priest Ananias came down [from Jerusalem to Caesarea] with some elders and an attorney named Tertullus [acting as spokesman and counsel]. They presented to the governor their [formal] charges against Paul. 2 After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began the complaint [against him], saying to the governor:
“Since through you we have attained great peace, and since by your foresight reforms are being carried out for this nation, 3 in every way and in every place, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with all gratitude. 4 But so that I do not weary you further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing. 5 For we have found this man to be a public menace and one who [a]instigates dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the [heretical] [b]sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, but we took him into custody [c][and we intended to judge him by our Law, 7 but Lysias the commander came, and with great force took him out of our hands, 8 and ordered his accusers to come before you.] By interrogating him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to determine [the truth about] these things with which we charge him.” 9 The Jews also joined in the attack, declaring and insisting that these things were so.
10 When the governor nodded for him to speak, Paul answered,
“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I make my defense cheerfully and with good courage. 11 As you can easily verify, it has been no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor elsewhere in the city did they find me carrying on a discussion or disputing with anybody or causing a crowd to gather. 13 Nor can they present evidence to you to prove what they now bring against me. 14 But I confess this to you, that according to [d]the Way, which they call a [divisive and heretical] sect, I do worship and serve the God of our fathers, [confidently] believing everything that is in accordance with the Law [of Moses] and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having [the same] hope in God which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of [the dead], both of the righteous and of the wicked. 16 In view of this, I also do my best and strive always to have a clear conscience before God and before men. 17 Now after several years I came [to Jerusalem] to bring to my people charitable contributions and offerings. 18 They found me in the temple presenting these offerings, after I had undergone [the rites of] purification, without any crowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor], 19 who ought to have been here before you to present their charges, if they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men tell what crime they found [me guilty of] when I stood before the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), 21 other than for this one statement which I had shouted out as I stood among them, ‘For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.’”
22 But Felix, having a rather accurate understanding about the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 Then he ordered the centurion to keep Paul in custody, but to let him have some freedom, and [he told the centurion] not to stop any of his friends from providing for his needs.
24 Several days later Felix came with his wife [e]Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him talk about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control [honorable behavior, personal integrity], and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I find [a convenient] time I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was also hoping to get money from Paul [as a bribe]; so he continued to send for him quite often and talked with him. 27 But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded [in office] by [f]Porcius Festus; and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned.
- Acts 24:5 Inciting rebellion was a serious crime under Roman law.
- Acts 24:5 The Romans had forbidden the establishment of any new religion.
- Acts 24:6 Early mss do not contain the remainder of v 6, v 7, nor the first part of v 8.
- Acts 24:14 See note 9:2. Paul was probably referring to Jesus Himself.
- Acts 24:24 Youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I.
- Acts 24:27 Festus served about two years as governor (procurator). He was regarded as a fairly capable governor, superior to both his predecessor and his successor.