Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Acts 26:17-32
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 26:17-18
vs17-18: Then the Lord let Paul know that his assignment was going to lead him into dangerous situations, but that He would repeatedly rescue Paul from these. There would be times he would have to be rescued from Jews and times he would have to be rescued from Gentiles. But Jesus was going to send him to both groups in order “to open their spiritual eyes so that they would be able to turn from darkness (ignorance, deception) to light (God’s revealed truth), and from being dominated by the authority of Satan to [call upon] God, so that they might receive forgiveness for their sins and an inheritance (allotted portion) among those who have been sanctified (holy, cleansed of sin) by faith in Jesus” (paraphrase).

Monday: Acts 26:19-20
vs19-20: Paul assured King Agrippa he did not disobey the commands Jesus gave him during that heavenly “sight.” (This was not a vision. Paul physically saw Jesus [1Co 9:1; 15:8]). First he went to the Jews—whether they lived in Damascus (Ac 9:19-25), Jerusalem (Ac 9:26-30; 22:17-21; Gal 1:18) or even in the rural countryside of Judea—and then he went to the Gentiles. Everywhere he went he announced to people that they should repent and turn to God “doing works worthy of repentance.” The term “works worthy of repentance” points to the changes in attitudes and behaviors that take place in a person who truly repents and turns to God. Paul strongly rejected the idea that anyone could earn their salvation by observing the “works of the Law” (Ro 3:20), but by this statement he makes it clear that he still expected believers to produce good works because these are the fruit of a transformed heart. When a person changes inside, the way they live changes.

Tuesday: Acts 26:21-23
vs21-23: When Paul met Jesus he did the very same things he was now telling others to do: he repented, turned to God and began doing “works worthy of repentance.” In his case, obedience meant preaching the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles (vs17-18). So, it wasn’t because he was a troublemaker that some Jews seized him in the Temple and tried to beat him to death; it was because he was doing what the Lord had told him to do. And on that occasion, just as He had promised, Jesus came to his rescue in a way which at the time seemed almost by accident. So far, no amount of opposition had been able to silence him, so Paul declared, “Until this day, I stand witnessing to both small and great, nothing beyond the things the prophets and Moses said were going to happen [in answer to these two important questions]. Whether the Messiah is to suffer [before He comes to set up God’s Kingdom on earth]; and whether He is [to be] the first [One] to proclaim light to both the Jewish people and the Gentiles by [means of] the resurrection of the dead.”

Wednesday: Acts 26:24
v24: As Paul was saying these things in his own defense, Festus suddenly interrupted him. Speaking in a loud voice he said, “Paul, you’re talking like someone who’s gone insane. All your intense study of the Jewish Scriptures has driven you mad” (paraphrase). It was probably Paul’s statement about the Messiah having been resurrected which produced such an emotional reaction from the governor. Festus was a Roman, and from his perspective, the fact that Paul was obviously convinced that a dead man named Jesus had come back to life, and claimed that he had seen Him alive was proof Paul must be crazy. His own religious and philosophical background had taught him some wild mythological tales about Jupiter and dozens of other Roman gods, but he certainly didn’t believe any of them. They were amusing. But what shocked him was the faith he saw in Paul. Here was a highly-trained, religious scholar who actually believed what he was saying. He wasn’t just rehearsing religious doctrine. You could see the earnestness in the expression on his face and the intensity in his eyes. You could even feel it. This prisoner was actually hoping to persuade a king and a governor to believe. When that realization hit him, Festus had to make a quick decision about Paul. Either Paul was right or Paul was crazy, and Festus chose to believe Paul was crazy so he wouldn’t have to change.

Thursday: Acts 26:25-26
vs25-26: Paul didn’t react in anger to this insult. He remained respectful, addressing the governor by his formal title “Most Excellent (strongest) Festus,” and then gently disagreed by saying, “I am not speaking like someone who’s insane, but I am uttering carefully-worded statements which are true and arise from a sound, rational mind” (paraphrase). Paul, then, turned his attention back to Agrippa. Throughout this entire discourse he had been speaking primarily to the Jewish king, and now we discover why: He sensed it was possible that Agrippa might come to faith in Christ. He assured the king he had hidden nothing from him and said he was convinced the king already had an extensive knowledge about Christianity because it would have been impossible to hide these events from him. Neither Jesus nor His Church had been secretive about their ministry nor their message. Nothing had been “done in a corner.”

Friday: Acts 26:27-28
vs27-28: At that point Paul began to press the king to personally respond to what he’d heard. He asked him if he believed the prophets, meaning the prophetic writings in Scripture, particularly those that speak of the coming Messiah. Then, without waiting for an answer Paul declared, “I perceive (see) that you believe!” Judging from this statement, it appears that Paul discerned that there was some amount of genuine faith present in this man (Ac 14:9). In that moment, the Holy Spirit must have been at work revealing to him the truth of what he was hearing. Amazingly, Agrippa acknowledged that he was, indeed, under conviction by saying, “If I keep listening to you a little while longer you’ll persuade me to do a Christian act (be baptized in water?)” (paraphrase).

Saturday: Acts 26:29-32
v29: Filled with compassion, and encouraged by this admission that the king’s heart had softened a bit, even if he was not yet fully convinced, Paul exclaimed, “I pray to God, whether in little or much [time], not only you but also all those who are listening to me today would become the same kind [of believer] as I am, except for these bonds.” vs30-32: After Paul spoke those words, the king, the governor, Bernice and all the guests who were sitting with them, stood up and walked away. When they had withdrawn some distance they began discussing Paul’s case and were saying to one another, “This man is doing nothing worthy of death or imprisonment.” At some point in the discussion Agrippa turned to Festus and said, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.” 


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