Chapter Twenty-Six — Part One: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 04/02/2023Foundation Scriptures:
1. King Agrippa.
a. Acts 26:1 NKJV — Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself:
b. Paul politely did not speak until he was given the liberty to do so.
c. Sometimes, ancient orators stood to speak with their right hand outstretched.
d. Acts 26:2 NKJV — “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews,
e. Paul did not need a lawyer—he was well able to defend himself—and he declared himself fortunate to be given the opportunity to do so.
f. Happy (Greek makarios) – happy; blessed; fortunate.
g. Paul cheerfully embraced the opportunity to share both his story and the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
h. We should all be ready and willing, at any time, to share this wonderful message of Truth and Life.
i. 1 Peter 3:15-17 NKJV — But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
j. Acts 26:2-3 NKJV — …especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.
k. Customs (Greek ethos) – custom; manner; usage prescribed by law, institute, prescription, rite.
l. Questions (Greek zētēma) – a question; inquiry; debate.
m. Agrippa was a scholar and a proselyte to the Jewish religion; therefore, he would be more familiar with their particular laws and beliefs than the Roman governors.
n. Still, Paul pleads with Agrippa to bear with him and listen to him patiently.
2. Paul’s Testimony.
a. Acts 26:4 NKJV — “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.
b. Youth (Greek neotēs) – anyone aged from boyhood to young manhood.
c. Acts 26:5 NKJV — They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
d. Paul was born in Tarsus and was educated as a Pharisee in Jerusalem—most likely from the age of 12, in accordance with their habits and customs.
e. Out of the sects of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, the Pharisees followed the strictest doctrines and moral codes.
f. Paul was neither ignorant nor illiterate, and the Jews knew it.
g. He was a scholar, a man of learning, raised up at the feet of Gamaliel, a highly respected doctor of the Law.
h. He was trained as a Pharisee and lived as a Pharisee.
i. Not only was he well-versed in the Law and the scriptures, he lived a strictly moral life, in line with his beliefs and commitment to the Law.
j. Before he was saved, Paul lived, to the best of his ability, in the light of knowledge that he had at that time.
k. Now, Paul knew that his righteousness was by faith in Jesus Christ and not through the Law, but he brings it up because it should have spoken to his credibility where the Jews were concerned.
3. The Promise.
a. Acts 26:6 NKJV — And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.
b. Paul was not being judged for committing any sin, but for preaching Jesus Christ and that He was raised from the dead.
c. This promise was made by God to their forefathers and now it was fulfilled in Christ.
d. Psalm 16:10 AMPC — For You will not abandon me to Sheol (the place of the dead), neither will You suffer Your holy one [Holy One] to see corruption.
e. Daniel 12:2 AMPC — And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt and abhorrence.
f. John 5:28-29 AMPC — Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 And they shall come out — those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence].
g. Acts 26:7 NKJV — To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.
h. Paul’s religious beliefs were built upon this promise made by God to the fathers.
i. It was built upon the divine revelations of Jesus Christ that he received, and upon the divine grace of God in and through Jesus Christ.
j. The promise of God—given to Abraham—predated the Law and could not be annulled by it.
k. Galatians 3:17 AMPC — This is my argument: The Law, which began 430 years after the covenant [concerning the coming Messiah], does not and cannot annul the covenant previously established (ratified) by God, so as to abolish the promise and make it void.
l. Acts 26:8 NKJV — Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
m. Jeremiah 32:27 KJV — Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
n. Christ the Messiah and the promise of Heaven are two great doctrines of the Word of God.