« AnteriorContinuar »
21. For these causes the Jews caught me in the the Jews seized" me in the
repentance. For this cause 21 temple, and went about to kill me.
temple, and assayed to kill
me. Having therefore obtain- 22 22. Having therefore obtained help of God, I con- ed the help that is from God, tinue unto this day, witnessing both to small and I stand unto this day testifying
both to small and great, saying great, saying none other things than those ? which the nothing but what the prophets
and Moses did say should prophets and 3 Moses did say should come :
come: how that the Christ 23 23. 4 That Christ should suffer, and 5 that he should must suffer, and how that
he first by the resurrection of be the first that should rise from the dead, and should the dead should proclaim light show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
both to the people and to the
Gentiles. 1 Acts 21: 30, 31. ? Luke 24: 27, 44. Acts 24: 14; 28:23. Rom. 3:21. 3 John 5:46. Luke 24: 26, 46.
51 Cor. 15:20. Col. 1:18. Rev. 1; 5. 6 Luke 2: 32.
works which are the natural fruit of true repentance. The fruit is the proof of the tree. Paul was the apostle of faith indeed, but not of a dead faith. Nothing is more practical than the true preaching of true faith; a faith that takes Jesus as our teacher and guide and example as well as our Saviour. - P.
21. For these causes. Not because he had done wrong, but (1) because he called on these Jews to repent. He troubled their consciences. (2) Especially because he delivered the message to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. The unpardonable sin of Paul in the eyes of the Jews was that he had preached a free Gospel to the Gentiles. – Rev. Com. The Jews caught me in the temple (chap. 21: 26-31). This which took place over two years before, and was the occasion of his present imprisonment.
22. Having therefore obtained help of God. The Greek noun for “ help” is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. It implies the kind of assistance which one friend or ally gives to another of inferior power. – Plumptre. I continue unto this day. Never without divine protection had he stood alive before that brilliant court and King Agrippa. Had not the invincible guards of the great King stood around him these past years, that frail life of his would have been long since sacrificed. The memories of Lystra and the rain of cruel stones, the persecutions of Philippi, of Corinth, and of Berea, the danger in the theatre of Ephesus, and the later deadly perils he had escaped at Jerusalem (see also 2 Cor. 4:7-12 and 11:23-27), prompted this expression of sure trust, of calm, unruffled confidence. - Schaff. Witnessing. Bearing testimony to the truths of the Gospel revealed to him and experienced by him. To small and great. The poor, the ignorant, the obscure, the despised, as well as to kings and princes, to the rich and honored. He had thus stood on Mars' Hill at Athens; he had borne testimony before the wise men of Greece; he had declared the same Gospel before Felix, Festus, and now before Agrippa; he offered salvation to all. — Barnes. It is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Christianity that, as regards the future life, it ignores all present class distinctions. This was a glorious onlook for the slave, and for all the heavy-laden, sorely-tried sons and daughters of men, and one that urged individual generosity and self-denial, while it forbade discontent and repining. -Schaff. Saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come. It was not a new religion he taught, but the fulfilling of the old. He rejected the traditions the elders had added to the law and the prophets, but he was in exact agreement with the Word of God. Out of the Old Testament he showed that the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ were in exact accordance with the predictions and types of Moses and the prophets.
23. That Christ should suffer. That Christ was liable to suffering. St. Paul does not refer to the prophetic announcement or the historical reality of the fact of Christ's suffering, but to the idea of the Messiah as passible and subject to suffering, being in accordance with the testimony of the prophets. — Alford. This was in general disbelieved by the Jews; they believed in a triumphant and victorious Messiah, and the sufferings of Jesus were a great obstacle to their receiving him as the Messiah. - Gloag. And that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light. The Rev. Ver. gives a better representation of the original, thus, and how that he first by the resurrection of the dead should proclaim. Christ was the first fruits of them that sleep. His resurrection was an earnest of the general resurrection. Thus life and immortality were brought to light. Cambridge Bible. Moses and the prophets foretold, not directly the resurrection of Christ, but that the Messiah should bring light to the Gentiles (Gen. 22:18; Isa. 42:6, 7; 60: 1-3), and the resurrection was one of the means by which he did it. His resurrection proclaimed that there was existence beyond the grave, and that God had sent Jesus to bris
24. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said And as he thus, made his 24
defence, Festus saith with a with a loud voice, Paul, I thou art beside thyself ; loud voice, 'Paul, thou art
mad; thy much learning doth much learning doth make thee mad.
turn thee to madness. But 25 25. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus : Paul saith, I am not mad,
most excellent Festus; but but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
speak forth words of truth 26. For the king knoweth of these things, before and soberness. For the king 26
knoweth of these things, unto whom also I speak freely : for I am persuaded that whom also I speak freely : for
I am persuaded that none of none of these things are hidden from him ; for this
these things is hidden from thing was not done in a corner.
him; for this hath not been
men to heaven. Unto the people. The Jews. Christ was to be the Saviour of all, both Jews and Gentiles.
THE Two VIEWS OF Christ. Ancient art represents Christ in two aspects, one as old and sad, bowed down; the other young, beautiful, triumphant. This is but a representation of the Scripture descriptions of him. (1) On the one hand as “a root out of dry ground," “no form nor comeliness in him," “his visage was so marred more than any man” (Isa. 52:14; 53:1-5). (2) On the other hand he was to be triumphant, to bring light to the Gentiles, "anointed with the oil of gladness” (Ps. 45:7). “ The wonderful, the prince of peace” (Isa. 9:6). “Exalted and extolled very high” (Isa. 52:13). “Divine” (Dan. 9:9, 10). “Victorious” (Dan. 7: 27; see Isa. 52:7). The Jews liked to look only on the princely, victorious, glorious Messiah. But the suffering was the means by which he attained it. And the calling of the Gentiles was necessary to the full triumph of the Jews. They sought the end but rejected the means. — P.
III. Festus and Paul. — Vers. 24, 25. 24. Paul, thou art beside thyself. When the eloquent and impassioned apostle came to this part of his defence, and dwelt at length with intense fervor on the resurrection of a Man whom Festus' predecessor Pilate had crucified, and the Roman heard him discourse with marvellous and winning eloquence — as without doubt Paul did here - on the wondrous results which this stupendous fact, the resurrection of a crucified malefactor, would surely accomplish in all parts of the great world known or unknown to the Romans, he could contain himself no longer, but interrupted him, crying out loudly, “ Paul, thou art beside thyself!” - Schaff. Much learning doth make thee mad. Paul would be known as a distinguished scholar and an eloquent teacher among the Christians, and no doubt the speech which he now made would impress Festus with a high idea of his learning and eloquence, for scholarship manifests itself in all the sayings and manners of him who has it. -- Gloag. The tenants of a mad-house often think all others deranged but themselves; but there is no madness so great, no delirium so awful as to neglect the eternal interest of the soul for the sake of the poor pleasures and honors which this life can give. - Barnes. He is the madman who calls Christ Lord, Lord, and does not the things which he says ; who professes to be seeking a heavenly home, and never sets forth one foot towards it. - Vaughn.
25. Most noble Festus. The reply of Paul is unsurpassed as a model of Christian courtesy and self-command. - Hackett. This missionary is faithful, but he is never harsh. In the polite, respectful address of the Christian apostle to the Roman magistrate lies a principle that is permanent, precious, practical. — Arnot. If great and good men who meet with rude and insolent treatment in the defence of the Gospel would learn to behave with such moderation, it would be a great accession of strength to the Christian cause. — Doddridge. I am not mad,... but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. From Festus' standpoint, that of worldliness, the words of Paul were the fancies of a crazy, unbalanced brain; but from Paul's standpoint, that of eternal life and spiritual life, they were simply true and earnest. This difference in the point of view is one reason why so many are indifferent to religion and eternal life. They do not see things as they are. — P.
IV. Agrippa and Paul. - Vers. 26–29. 26. For the king. That is, Agrippa, to whom Paul now turns as one whose training would enable him to understand and receive these truths. None of these things are hidden from him. That is, what he had been quoting from the Hebrew sacred Scriptures, as foretold about the Messiah; and the hopes and expectations of the Jews; and also the facts which were the fulfilment of these prophe. cies and hopes, i.e., the history of the life and works of Jesus, of his death and resurrection, of the marvellous gifts of Pentecost, and the preaching of the Gospel since Jesus had been crucified. For this thing was not done in a corner. The death of Christ and his resur
27. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I done in a corner. King A-27
grippa, believest thou the know that thou believest.
prophets? I know that thou 28. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou
believest. And Agrippa said 28
unto Paul, With but little persuadest me to be a Christian.
persuasion thou wouldest sain
make me a Christian. And 20 29. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only p.
Paul said, I would to God, thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both that whether with little or
with much, not thou only, but almost, and altogether such as I am, except these also all that hear me this day, bonds.
might become such as I am, except these bonds.
rection were events which took place, not in some obscure corner of Judea, but in Jerusalem itself during the paschal week, at a time of more than ordinary publicity. And so also Paul's former life as a Pharisee and a persecutor, and his sudden conversion to Christianity, were facts which were well known. - Gloag:
27. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? It is their writings which foretell these events of which I am speaking, and which have had their fulfilment in the history of Jesus of Nazareth. --- Cambridge Bible. The inference is, that if he believed the prophets, he must see that Jesus was the Christ, the King of Israel. I know that thou believest. The apostle answers his own question, for he is sure that Agrippa would not have given a different answer, seeing how anxious all his family were, in spite of their relations with Rome, to be accepted of the Jewish nation. St. Paul does not imply by his words any conviction about the character of Agrippa's faith in the Scriptures. – Cambridge Bible. Agrippa's was a dead, not a living faith. But intellectually, he accepted the Jewish Scriptures as true.
28. Then Agrippa. He did not answer the question, but changed the subject. — Cook. Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. At the cost of giving up a familiar and impressive text, it must be admitted that the Greek words cannot possibly bear the meaning which is thus put upon them. The words run literally, In or with, a little thou persuadest me; and this may be completed by, “ with little speech,” “ with little labor," or "little evi. dence,” or “in little time.” So, in Eph. 3: 3, we have precisely the same phrase rendered " in few words.” Agrippa's words, accordingly, are the expression, not of a half-belief, but of a cynical sneer. Thou art trying to make a Christian of me with very few words, on very slender grounds, would be the nearest paraphrase of his derisive answer tó St. Paul's appeal. — Alford.
There are three leading interpretations :
(1) Some (Chrysostom, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Grotius, Du Veil, Bengel, Ewald, Stier) render them, as in our English version, “ Almost thou persuadest me.” (Schaff, in his Popular Commentary on Acts, retains this translation. — P.)
(2) Others (Ecumenius, Olshausen, Baumgarten, Meyer, Lechler, Alford) render the clause, “ With little labor, or with few words, persuadest thou me to become a Christian ! ” As if he had said, Do you think to persuade me with such reasonings as these?
(3) Others (Calvin, Wetstein, Kuincel, Neander, De Wette, Lange, Robinson, Hackett, Conybeare) render the clause, “ In a little time thou persuadest me"; which may either be understood as spoken in earnest, “If thou go on speaking as thou art doing, thou wilt soon persuade me to become a Christian " (in which case the meaning does not greatly differ from that of the present English version, almost); or in irony, “Thinkest thou to persuade me in a little time?” --- Gloag.
The answer of Agrippa to Paul has been variously rendered as the language of sincere conviction, bitter irony, or courtly jest. The general opinion of recent critics concurs with Meyer that the words were uttered in irony or jest. Alford, Eadie, Lange, Abbott, Plumptre, Schaft, Bloomfield, Hackett, and Taylor substantially agree with Meyer. The Rev. Ver. is decidedly in favor of Meyer's view, “With but little persuasion thou wouldst fain make me a Christian.” — Meyer's Com., note by Am. Ed. We rather think that Paul's speech had made a deep impression upon the king, but that he was unwilling to show this before Festus and the nobles of Cesarea; and that the words were spoken to conceal his feelings, as if he had said, Certainly there is some little truth in what you have said. —- Gloag. Irony here seems utterly out of place, and simply inconceivable. To win that perishing soul, he made a last brave attempt in his reply (see ver. 29). That earnest, loving appeal never surely would have been made to one who could dismiss with cruel, scornful sarcasm such a defence as had been spoken that day by the prisoner Paul in the Cesarean judgment-hall. -- Schafs.
29. I would to God. I pray to God; I earnestly desire it of God. This shows (1) Paul's intense desire that Agrippa, and all who heard him, might be saved; (2) his steady 30. And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat And the king rose up, and 30
the governor, and Bernice, with them:
and they that sat with them: 31. And when they were gone aside, they talked and when they had withdrawn, 31
they spake one to another, between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing saying, This man doeth noth
ing worthy of death or of worthy of death or of bonds.
bonds. And Agrippa said un- 32 32. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man to Festus, This man might
have been set at liberty, if he might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed | had not appealed unto Esar. unto Cæsar.
and constant belief that none but God could incline men to become altogether Christians. – Barnes. This has been called “ a burst of eloquence.” It seems almost sacrilege to use the term. It was eloquent simply because it was the natural expression of a heart longing for the salvation of those before him. — P. Were both almost, and altogether. (1) This is the natural rendering if we adopt the translation of our authorized version in ver. 28. (2) If we adopt the Rev. Ver. of ver. 28, then Paul's answer is, “I would that you were persuaded, whether with little trouble or with great difficulty." (3) If Agrippa's words are to be rendered, “Truly, in a short time thou wilt make me a Christian,” Paul replies, “I pray God that in a longer or shorter time (sooner or later) he would make you such as I am." (4) Alford and Prof. Riddle suppose that Paul takes up the words of Agrippa in a sense slightly different from that in which Agrippa used them, to give point to his reply: “I could pray God that both in little and in great measure (i.e., in everything), not only thou," etc. This is, on the whole, the simplest sense, most in accordance with the usages of the Greek. - Riddle. Such as I am, except these bonds. The chains he had upon him while he was speaking. “I would not have you like me in my privations, or like me in my sufferings : but I would have you like me in my faith, like me in my hope, and like me in my joy!” — Vaughn.
EXCEPT THESE BONDS. I. Paul the prisoner had much more than the brilliant assemblage before him. (1) They had worldly wealth; he had treasures in heaven, spiritual riches. (2) They had honor and applause from men; he had the approval of God. (3) They had luxury and sensual delights; he had joys, and peace, and delights beyond their highest dreams. (4) They had worldly crowns; he had a crown of glory in the heavens. (5) They had hearts of unrest, and consciences ill at ease; he was abiding in perfect peace as a child of God. (6) They had a Roman tyrant for their master, whom they feared; he had the blessed Jesus whom he loved. (7) Their possessions would last but a little time; his forever and ever. II. Like Paul we wish all men to have the blessings of our religion “save these bonds”: (1) the bonds of ignorance; (2) the bonds of imperfection; (3) the bonds of our old nature; (4) the bonds of error and mistakes.
V. The Vindication. - Vers. 30–32. 30. The king rose up, etc. They arose in the order of their rank. Verily, we need not long remain in uncertainty who at that moment was the greatest in the palace! Even when he returned to his lonely dungeon, he left the field as conqueror. - Van Osterzee.
31. This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. The result of this trial was (1) a complete vindication of Paul before the world. (2) Festus no doubt wrote such a favorable view of the prisoner's case as eventually brought about his acquittal and freedom from his first Roman imprisonment. (3) It certainly procured him kindly treatment after his arrival in the capital (he was allowed to dwell in his own hired house and even to receive large numbers of friends and pupils there, chap. 28: 17-23, 30, 31). (4) From this time a kindly feeling seems to have sprung up in the king's heart towards that strange Nazarene sect which he tells us himself he once almost was persuaded to join. Stier, in his Words of the Apostles, calls attention to the fact of this Agrippa at the outbreak of the great Jewish war, some eight or nine years after the scene at Cesarea, protecting the Christians, giving them succor, and receiving them kindly into his territory. --- Schaff.
32. This man might have been set at liberty. It is well that his appeal to Cæsar prevented this; for, (1) if the apostle had been liberated, he would have been exposed, and probably fallen a victim, to the malice of the Jews. — Cook. (2) He could not have gone so easily to Rome, and under such favorable circumstances, and have been enabled to teach for two years there protected by the Roman government. — P. (3) The very circumstances of his arrival as an imperial prisoner, probably from their publicity, assisted him in his work of telling out his Master's message; so all things worked together for the glory of God. - Schaff. his name.
LIBRARY REFERENCES. Vaughn's Church of the First Days, Lect. 8; Monday Club Sermons for 1877, p. 396; Farrar, chap. 42; Conybeare and Howson; Taylor, chap. 23; Arnot's Church in the House; Sermons by Emmons, vol. 2, on ver. 26; by H. W. Beecher, vol. 2, on ver. 19.
PRACTICAL. 1. Ver. 19. God opens wide the gates of salvation, and presses us to enter; but the decision must be made by us.
2. Those who obey the heavenly vision have entered upon the duties and the joys of the Christian life.
3. Ver. 20. As soon as we know Christ we should seek to lead others to believe on
4. Vers. 20, 23. Paul's teaching, as ours should be, was both practical and doctrinal for the two are joined in eternal wedlock.
5. Ver. 20. The first duty of sinners is to repent.
8. Ver. 24. Christian earnestness and spiritual life often seem to the worldling to be the height of madness.
9. There is no madness so great, no delirium so awful, as to neglect the eternal interest of the soul for the sake of the poor pleasures and honors which this life can give. - Barnes.
10. Ver. 25. A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion. — Bacon.
11. Ver. 27. There is a faith in the Bible that is dead, and leaves men's hearts unchanged.
12. Ver. 28. There are many who are almost Christians, who imagine that a little more persuasion will bring them into the kingdom, who yet perish just outside the walls of Zion.
13. Christians desire others to be Christians, only better and happier Christians than themselves, – like them “save these bonds” of remaining sins and imperfections.
14. Ver. 32. The events which kept Paul a prisoner, were yet overruled to the furtherance of the Gospel, and the work Paul desired to do.
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS. The STEPS TO THE LESSON are very short. A simple review of the scene, with the place, the speaker, the audience, and the address of Paul as far as presented in the last lesson.
We may take for our SUBJECT, — DIFFERENT WAYS OF TREATING God's INVITATIONS TO SERVE HIM.
1. PAUL's Ways (vers. 19-23). (1) The way of obedience. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. We can emphasize here the fact that while we can do nothing without God; he has done his part, and we cannot be saved unless we do our part. “Thus," says Dr. Wm. M. Taylor, “in a very solemn sense, God has placed our everlasting destiny in our own choice. If we receive life from Christ, it is because we will to come to him; and if we die eternally, it is because we will to die.” (2) The way of work for Christ. Paul, immediately after finding Christ himself, began to labor for the salvation of others. Note the range of places where he preached. (3) Paul's teachings, both practical and doctrinal. In many classes it may be well to dwell somewhat on these, - on repentance, and its fruits, and on the suffering and risen Christ, as giving the light our souls need.
NOTE persecution for preachiug the truth; dependence of God's help.
II. FESTUS' WAY (vers. 24, 25). He disobeyed because it seemed from his standpoint to be madness to be à Christian. What in Festus' circumstances would lead him to this opinion; his parentage, his education; his worldly riches and honors, his sins and bad habits, etc. But in reality he was mad and Paul was reasonable.
AGRIPPA'S WAY (vers. 26–29). Note that Agrippa had knowledge of religious things, and believed the Bible, and yet he was not a Christian, and rejected Christ. His faith was a dead faith.
Illustration. On the state-house grounds at Columbia, S. C., is an iron tree, an almost perfect imitation of the palmetto. The long, thin leaves of iron, life-like even to the hairlike fibres of the twigs and branches, wave tremulously in every zephyr, and the whole tree, painted artistically, has so close a resemblance to the real tree as to deceive the acutest observer at the distance of five rods. - Journal of Chemistry. Contrast this with a living, growing, fruit-bearing tree.