The Book of Acts: Acts 23:1 to 26:32: Paul at Caesarea, continued

III. Paul Before Festus and Agrippa, 25:13 to 26:32
A. Occasion, 25:13-22
1. Who came to visit Caesar’s new representative, Festus, at Caesarea?
a. Who was Agrippa? Where was he king? What was his character and reputation?
b. Who was Bernice? What relation was she to Agrippa? What was her character and reputation?
c. What was the attitude of Agrippa towards the Jews and the Jewish religion? Did this have anything to do with Festus’ subsequently seeking his advice?
2. Whose case does Festus broach to Agrippa?
a. Why was Festus concerned about this case? Was he truly interested in justice?
b. Does he give a true account of his part in the case of Paul?
1) Does the account of vss. 15 and 16 agree with that of vss. 3, 4?
2) Does Festus’ account in vss. 19 and 20 agree with vs. 9?
c. What evidently troubled Festus the most, even though he referred to it as a matter of Jewish superstition? vs.19.
3. What is Agrippa’s reaction? vs.22.
a. Was this a matter of curiosity?
b. Was Agrippa intending merely to help Festus?
c. Did Agrippa see a possibility of ingratiating himself with the Jews?
B. The Hearing Begins, 25:23 to 26:1
1. Who were present at this hearing?
2. Why is the “great pomp” mentioned by Luke?
3. Festus’ introduction:
a. Had all the multitude of the Jews dealt with Festus about Paul?
b. Does Festus give a correct account in vs. 25?
c. With what problem is Festus confronted, vs. 26?
d. How does Festus condemn himself in vs. 27?
4. After this introduction, who become the chief characters in this scene?
C. Paul’s Defense, 26:1-32
1. Introduction, 1-3
a. What is meant by “Paul stretched forth the hand”?
b. Why is Paul glad to answer before Agrippa?
c. Did Paul really expect justice from Agrippa?
d. What is the difference between Paul
e. S speech here and his earlier defense before Felix and Festus?
2. Paul’s reference to his early life:
a. Why does Paul begin here?
b. Why does he want to connect his present circumstances with his earlier life and religion?
1) Would it make any difference whether Paul was a Pharisee or a Sadducee?
2) Did the Pharisees have, or claim to have, the hope of the promise made unto the fathers?
3) What was that hope of the promise?
c. In what sense is it true that Paul is accused by the Jews for the sake of that hope?
d. Why does Paul follow this claim by a reference to the resurrection of the dead?
3. Paul’s former persecutions, vss. 9-11
a. Why does Paul mention his persecution of the church?
1) Is this merely to lead up to his conversion?
2) Is it to show that he understands the attitude of his accusers, since he was once one of them?
3) Is it in order to show that his doctrine is not of his own making?
b. Do you think it was difficult for Paul to refer to this part of his life?
c. What was his purpose in persecuting the disciples?
4. His conversion on the way to Damascus, 12-18:
a. Where else do you find an account of his conversion?
b. What differences can you point out between this and other accounts?
c. Upon what especially does Paul enlarge in this account of his conversion? vss. 16-18
d. Explain the details in this commission of vss. 16-18. What do the various expressions mean?
5. Paul’s obedience to this commission, 19-21:
a. What is the main point in this section?
b. Had Paul forsaken and opposed his own people, or had he preached to them first?
c. In connection with his gospel had Paul opposed the law, or had he preached the law in the true sense?
d. What does Paul state as the cause of the Jews’ opposition to him?
6. Summary of his gospel, 22-23:
a. What is the main thrust of Paul’s contention in this section? Why does he emphasize this?
b. Does this stand in connection with the fact that he is speaking before Agrippa?
c. Is this probably only a summary of Paul’s defense, so that we may assume that especially this last part was filled in with detailed quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures?
7. Outcome of the hearing, 24-32:
a. What is Festus’ reaction? Was Paul charged with madness by others too? Cf. II Cor. 5:13
b. How does Paul reply to Festus? What is meant by “truth and soberness”?
c. To whom does Paul especially appeal now?
1) Did Agrippa believe the prophets? What is meant here?
2) To what knowledge of Agrippa, in connection with the knowledge of the prophets, does Paul here appeal?
3) What is Agrippa’s reaction?
a) Was he almost convinced?
b) Is his reaction correctly expressed in the hymn, “Almost Persuaded”?
c) Was this a piece of cynical sarcasm by Agrippa?
d) Was it his way of saying he would not be maneuvered into expressing himself by Paul?
d. How does Paul close his defense, vs. 29?
1) What does this show of Paul’s motivation?
2) Is he interested merely I his personal liberty, or was he all this time concerned about preaching the gospel?
e. Agrippa’s private conclusion:
1) What is the conclusion of both Agrippa and Festus? Is Paul guilty of anything at all?
2) Did Festus now have anything to write to Rome?
3) What then is the conclusion as to the whole matter of Paul’s case, according to the testimony of all who heard him?
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 4 May 1959