Daily Devotion Text

August 11, 2022

Acts 26

By gracepoint In Acts, Devotion Text with Comments Off on Acts 26


Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.


Commentary for Chapters 1-20






“It was a dramatic moment when the holy and humble apostle of Jesus Christ stood before this representative of the worldly, ambitious, morally corrupt family of the Herods, who for generation after generation had set themselves in opposition to truth and righteousness.  ‘Their founder, Herod the Great’, wrote R.B. Rackham, ‘had tried to destroy the infant Jesus.  His son Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, beheaded John the Baptist, and won from the Lord the title of “fox”. His grandson Agrippa I slew James the son of Zebedee with the sword.  Now we see Paul brought before Agrippa’s son.’ […] But Paul was not in the least intimidated.” [1]

vv.4-8: “Saul must have been a familiar figure in Jerusalem when as a young man he sat at the feet of Rabbi Gamaliel (22:3).  He is likely to have gained a reputation for scholarship, righteousness and religious zeal.  Many Palestinian Jews still alive knew how he had lived as a child, first in Tarsus, then in Jerusalem.  More than that, they had known him personally and could testify from their own experience that he had belonged to the strictest party in Judaism, that of the Pharisees (4-5).  It was surely anomalous, therefore, that he should now be on trial for his hope in God’s promise to the fathers, which he and they shared, namely that God would send his Messiah (foretold and foreshadowed in the Old Testament) to rescue and redeem his people.”[2]

v.14: It is hard for you to kick against the goads. “This proverb appears often in classical writings.  Daniel Fuller explains that it was ‘often used by the Greeks to express the futility of striving against fate or against the gods, and its meaning to Paul on the Damascus road was that it was now futile for him to try any longer to work against Christ as it would be for an ox to kick against the plowman’s goad.’” [3]

vv.14-15: “Surely, when the heavenly voice declared, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ at least two truths must have registered instantly in Saul’s consciousness.  The first is that the crucified Jesus was alive and had thus been vindicated, and the second that the Jesus who identified himself so closely with the Christians that to persecute them was to persecute him, must regard them as being peculiarly his own people.” [4]

v.17: “…I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles (17).  A similar promise of ‘rescue’ was made to Jeremiah.  This did not guarantee immunity to suffering.  On the contrary, it was part of the vocation of prophets and apostles to endure suffering (cf. 9:16).  But it did mean that their testimony would not be silenced until their God-appointed work was done.” [5] 

v.18: “The promise of forgiveness was part of the apostolic gospel from the beginning.  So was belonging to the Messianic people (2:40-41, 47).  For the new life in Christ and the new community of Christ always go together.  What was specially significant in Christ’s commissioning of Paul was that the Gentiles were to be granted a full and equal share with the Jews in the privileges of those sanctified by faith in Christ, that is, the holy people of God.” [6]

vv.14-18: “In this passage Paul insists that the center of his whole message is the resurrection.  His witness is not of someone who has lived and died but of One who is gloriously present and alive for evermore.  For Paul every day is Easter Day.” [7]

“It is not so much what is actually said in this passage which is interesting as the atmosphere which the reader can feel behind it.  Paul was a prisoner.  At that very moment he was wearing his fetters, as he himself makes clear.  And yet the impression given unmistakably is that he is the dominating personality in the scene.  Festus does not speak to him as a criminal.  No doubt he knew Paul’s record as a trained rabbi… Agrippa, listening to Paul, is more on trial that Paul is.  And the end of the matter is that a rather bewildered company cannot see any real reason why Paul should be tried in Rome or anywhere else.  Paul has in him a power which raises him head and shoulders above all others in any company.  The word used for the power of God in Greek is dunamis; it is the word from which dynamite comes.  The man who has the Risen Christ at his side need fear no one.” [8]

“As for the trial before Agrippa, Paul was not overawed by the show of pomp and power which marked that occasion, or by the assembly of notable personages in court. […] But Paul made no attempt to ingratiate himself with the authorities.  He wanted the king’s salvation, not his favour.  So he did not stop with the story of his own conversion; he was concerned for Agrippa’s conversion too.  Three times, therefore, Luke has Paul repeating the elements of the gospel in the king’s hearing. […] Each time Paul thus repeated the gospel in court, he was in fact preaching it to the court. […] Jesus had warned his disciples that they would be ‘brought before kings and governors’ on account of his name, and had promised that on such occasions he would give them ‘words and wisdom,’ Jesus had also told Ananias (who had presumably passed the information on) that Paul was his ‘chosen instrument’ to carry his name ‘before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel’ (9:15).  These predictions had come true, and Paul had not failed.” [9]

vv.26-27: “This challenge is for Agrippa to compare what the prophets foretold with what happened in Christ.  The king is in a dilemma.  As an expert on the Jewish Scriptures, he knows what Paul is speaking about.  But he cannot afford to make connections between what he knows and what Paul is saying because then he will have to make a decision about Christianity.  He therefore brushes off the challenge with an evasive comment…” [10]

Bible Text

Acts 26:1-32 (ESV)

1 So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

2 “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4 “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

9 “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.”

25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” 29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”

30 Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Go Deeper

Acts 26:12-23

  • Underline the gospel proclamation in these verses.

Acts 26:18-20

  • Reflect on vv. 18-20. What is the heavenly vision I have received, and what has been my response to this calling?

Acts 26:24-32

  • Recount and consider the various responses to Apostle Paul’s testimony and the presentation of the gospel. Have I personally encountered some of these responses?

Acts 26:28-29

  • Reflect on Apostle Paul’s wish in vv. 28-29 and his boldness to declare it to all. Is it my wish toward everyone I meet—young or old, wealthy or poor—that they become Christian? How does this compare with my wishes for the people in my life?

[1] Stott, The Message of Acts, The Bible Speaks Today Series, 370.

[2] Stott, The Message of Acts, The Bible Speaks Today Series, 370-371.

[3] Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series, 593.

[4] Stott, The Message of Acts, The Bible Speaks Today Series, 372.

[5] Stott, The Message of Acts, The Bible Speaks Today Series, 373.

[6] Stott, The Message of Acts, The Bible Speaks Today Series, 374.

[7] Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed., 177.

[8] Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed., 180.

[9] Stott, The Message of Acts, The Bible Speaks Today Series, 379.

[10] Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series, 594.


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