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Acts 24 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)

Bring on the Barristers

24 After five days, Ananias the high priest came down to Caesarea with some of the elders, and with a barrister named Tertullus. They told the governor what they had against Paul. Paul was summoned, and Tertullus began his speech of accusation.

‘Most excellent Felix! We are enjoying great peace because of you! Through your wise foresight and planning things have greatly improved for this people. We welcome it in every way, in every place, and with every feeling of gratitude. But, so as not to keep you waiting any longer, I beg you, of your forbearance, to listen to us briefly.

‘We find this fellow to be a public nuisance. He stirs up civil strife among all the Jews, all over the world. He is a ringleader in the sect of the Nazoreans. He even tried to defile the Temple! But we caught him. If you examine him yourself you will be able to find out about all these things of which we’re accusing him.’

The Jews added their voices to this speech, agreeing that it was just as had been said.

A Defence of the Hope

10 The governor motioned to Paul to speak.

‘I understand that you have been governor of this nation for several years’, he began, ‘and therefore I am all the more pleased to make my defence before you. 11 You will be able to discover that it is not more than twelve days since I came up to worship at Jerusalem. 12 They didn’t find me disputing with anybody in the Temple; nor was I stirring up a crowd, either in the synagogues or elsewhere in the city. 13 They can provide no proof of any of the charges they are now bringing against me.

14 ‘But this much I will confess to you: that it is true that I do worship the God of my ancestors according to the Way which they call a “sect”. I believe everything which is written in the law and the prophets, 15 and I hold to the hope in God, for which they also long, that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 For that reason I make it my settled aim always to have a clear conscience before God and all people.

17 ‘For several years I have been collecting alms and offerings to bring to my nation. 18 That was the business I was engaged in when they found me purified in the Temple, without any crowds and without any riot. 19 There were some Jews from Asia there; they are the ones who should appear before you and bring any accusations against me that they may have. 20 Or let these people themselves say what wrong they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin – 21 unless it is about this one thing, which I shouted out as I was standing among them: “It’s because of the resurrection of the dead that I am being judged before you today.” ’

Felix Calms (and Slows) Things Down

22 Felix was quite well informed about the Way. He adjourned the hearing.

‘When Lysias the tribune comes down,’ he said, ‘then I will make my decision about your business.’

23 He told the centurion to keep Paul under guard, to allow him some freedom, and not to stop any of his companions from looking after him.

24 After some days, Felix came with Drusilla his wife, who was Jewish. They sent for Paul and listened to him speaking about faith in the Messiah Jesus. 25 As he talked about justice, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid.

‘That’s quite enough for now,’ he said. ‘You can go. When I get a good opportunity I’ll call for you again another time.’

26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would give him money, and so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. 27 After two years Felix handed over the reins of office to Porcius Festus. He wanted to do the Jews a favour, and so he left Paul in prison.

New Testament for Everyone (NTE)

Scripture quotations from The New Testament for Everyone are copyright © Nicholas Thomas Wright 2011.

Acts 24 New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s Trial Before Felix

24 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

“We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. [7] [a] By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin— 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”

22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.

24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 24:7 Some manuscripts include here him, and we would have judged him in accordance with our law. But the commander Lysias came and took him from us with much violence, ordering his accusers to come before you.
New International Version (NIV)

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