Trial before Felix. 1Five days later the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an advocate, a certain Tertullus, and they presented formal charges against Paul to the governor. 2When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Since we have attained much peace through you, and reforms have been accomplished in this nation through your provident care, 3we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all gratitude. 4But in order not to detain you further, I ask you to give us a brief hearing with your customary graciousness. 5a We found this man to be a pest; he creates dissension among Jews all over the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazoreans.* 6He even tried to desecrate our temple, but we arrested him.b 7* 8If you examine him you will be able to learn from him for yourself about everything of which we are accusing him.” 9The Jews also joined in the attack and asserted that these things were so.
10* Then the governor motioned to him to speak and Paul replied, “I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years and so I am pleased to make my defense before you. 11As you can verify, not more than twelve days have passed since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor anywhere in the city did they find me arguing with anyone or instigating a riot among the people. 13Nor can they prove to you the accusations they are now making against me. 14But this I do admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our ancestors and I believe everything that is in accordance with the law and written in the prophets.c 15I have the same hope in God as they themselves have that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous.d 16Because of this, I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and man.e 17After many years, I came to bring alms for my nation and offerings.f 18While I was so engaged, they found me, after my purification, in the temple without a crowd or disturbance.g 19But some Jews from the province of Asia, who should be here before you to make whatever accusation they might have against me— 20or let these men themselves state what crime they discovered when I stood before the Sanhedrin, 21unless it was my one outcry as I stood among them, that ‘I am on trial before you today for the resurrection of the dead.’”h
22Then Felix, who was accurately informed about the Way, postponed the trial, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I shall decide your case.” 23He gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from caring for his needs.
Captivity in Caesarea. 24* Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He had Paul summoned and listened to him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25But as he spoke about righteousness and self-restraint and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “You may go for now; when I find an opportunity I shall summon you again.” 26At the same time he hoped that a bribe would be offered him by Paul, and so he sent for him very often and conversed with him.
27Two years passed and Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. Wishing to ingratiate himself with the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison.*
* [24:5] Nazoreans: that is, followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
* [24:7] The Western text has added here a verse (really 6b–8a) that is not found in the best Greek manuscripts. It reads, “and would have judged him according to our own law, but the cohort commander Lysias came and violently took him out of our hands and ordered his accusers to come before you.”
* [24:10–21] Whereas the advocate Tertullus referred to Paul’s activities on his missionary journeys, the apostle narrowed the charges down to the riot connected with the incident in the temple (see Acts 21:27–30; 24:17–20). In his defense, Paul stresses the continuity between Christianity and Judaism.
* [24:24, 25] The way of Christian discipleship greatly disquiets Felix, who has entered into an adulterous marriage with Drusilla, daughter of Herod Agrippa I. This marriage provides the background for the topics Paul speaks about and about which Felix does not want to hear.
* [24:27] Very little is known of Porcius Festus who was a procurator of Judea from A.D. 60 to 62.
d. [24:15] Dn 12:2; Jn 5:28–29.
f. [24:17] Rom 15:25–26; Gal 2:10.