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Summary: Felix immediately perceived that there was no case against Paul. The only count in the indictment with any truth to it was the one naming Paul “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.” The procurator knew that the Christian movement had not been....

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June 22, 2016

Acts of the Apostles

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson: IV.F.3: Paul Imprisoned (24:22-27)

Acts 24:22-27 (KJV)

22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.

24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.

27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

Commentary

22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

Felix immediately perceived that there was no case against Paul. The only count in the indictment with any truth to it was the one naming Paul “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.” The procurator knew that the Christian movement had not been declared an illegal religion by the Romans. Therefore, he had no right to force Paul to justify himself for having embraced the Christian faith or to explain its doctrines.

When Paul gave his rebuttal to the charges against him his main point was that the only issue between him and his accusers was a theological one that should never have come to this court. The governor (Felix) may well have agreed with him on this point but the case had come to court and for various reasons he was unwilling to give an early verdict. Instead he simply adjourned the case. One reason for delaying the verdict appears later in verse 26, but here Luke mentions that Felix had “more perfect knowledge of [1]that way”; that is to say, “He had complete and accurate knowledge of the facts about the Way”: somewhere, somehow, Felix (means “happy”) had acquired accurate knowledge about Christianity. This statement gives the impression that he was sympathetic toward the Christians—or at least had no desire to see them treated unjustly by the Jews—without wanting, to offend the Jews by setting Paul free. In any event it shows that this Roman, with a good grasp of the facts, found himself unable to condemn the apostle, and he didn’t want to pass a verdict, for the verdict would surely have been one of acquittal. Felix then, knew the facts about Christianity and Jesus, but it is not enough for a person to know the facts about Christ, or to have an emotional response to a message. He or she must willingly repent of sin and trust the Savior. “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:40; NKJV).


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