The Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 26

Paul, in the presence of Agrippa, declares his life from his childhood, 1-11; and how miraculously he was converted and called to his apostleship, 12-23. Festus charges him with being mad, to which he answers modestly, 24-27. Agrippa is almost persuaded to be a Christian, 28-30. The whole company pronounces him innocent, 31, 32.

1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You are permitted to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched forth the hand and answered for himself.

2 "I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, 3 Especially because I know you to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews. Therefore, I implore you to hear me patiently.

4 "My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know, 5 Who knew me from the beginning (if they would testify), that after the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 To which promise our twelve tribes, assiduously serving God day and night, hope to come, for which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?

9 "I truly thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, 10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem. And many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests. And when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme, and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

12 "Upon which, as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 At mid-day, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven surpassing the brightness of the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' 15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said, 'I am Jesus whom you persecute. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things in which I will appear to you, 17 Delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom now I send you, 18 To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith that is in me.'

19 "Upon which, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 But declared first to those of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, 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 caught me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 Having therefore obtained help from God, I continue to this day, testifying both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said should come: 23 That Christ should suffer, and that he first by the resurrection of the dead should proclaim light to the people and to the Gentiles."

24 And as he was thus speaking for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are beside yourself. Excessive learning makes you insane." 25 But he said, "I am not insane, most noble Festus, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. 26 For the king knows of these things, before whom also I speak freely. For I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him, 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, "You almost persuade me to be a Christian." 29 And Paul said, "I wish to God that not only you, but also all who hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds."

30 And when he had said this, the king rose, along with the governor, Bernice, and those who sat with them. 31 And when they had gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, "This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds." 32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, "This man might have been set at liberty if he had not appealed to Caesar."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Acts, Chapter 26[➚]


[v.12-18] - Reference, Acts 9:1-20. In verses 16-18, Paul is elaborating more on the commission given to him by Christ.