24 The high priest Ananias came north to Caesarea five days later, accompanied by some elders and an attorney named Tertullus. They explained their case to Felix without Paul present. 2 When Paul was brought in, Tertullus launched into an accusation.
Tertullus: Most Excellent Felix, through your esteemed leadership we have enjoyed a long and happy peace. Your foresight in governance has brought many reforms for the people I represent. 3 We always and everywhere welcome every thought of you with high and deep gratitude. 4 But knowing how busy you are and how limited your time must be, I beg you to hear us briefly present our case to you with the legendary graciousness for which you are known everywhere.
5 Here are the facts: this man is a disease to the body politic. He agitates trouble in Jewish communities throughout our empire as a ringleader of the heretical sect known as the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, so we seized him. [Our aim was to try him by the Jewish law, 7 but Commandant Lysias interfered and removed this man from our control. 8 Because of his meddling, you are now forced to hear those making the accusation.][a] You will find, through your own examination, that everything we say of Paul is true.
9 The Jewish opponents present added their vigorous testimony in support of the lawyer’s opening statement. 10 The governor didn’t say anything, but he motioned for Paul to speak.
Paul: I am happy now to make my defense to you, sir, knowing that you have been a judge over this nation for many years. 11 Just 12 days ago, I went up to Jerusalem to worship, as you can easily verify. 12 I wasn’t arguing with anyone in the temple. I wasn’t stirring up a crowd in any of the synagogues. I wasn’t disturbing the peace of the city in any way. They did not find me doing these things in Jerusalem, 13 nor can they prove that I have done any of the things of which they have accused me. 14 But I can make this confession: I believe everything established by the Law and written in the Prophets, and I worship the God of our ancestors according to the Way, which they call a heretical sect.
15 Here is my crime: I have a hope in God that there will be a resurrection of both the just and unjust, which my opponents also share. 16 Because of this hope, I always do my best to live with a clear conscience toward God and all people. 17 I have been away for several years, so recently I brought gifts for the poor of my nation and offered sacrifices. 18 When they found me, I was not disturbing anyone, nor was I gathering a crowd. No, I was quietly completing the rite of purification. Some Jews from Asia are the ones who started the disturbance— 19 and if they have an accusation, they should be here to make it. 20 If these men here have some crime they have found me guilty of when I stood before their council, they should present it. 21 Perhaps my crime is that I spoke this one sentence in my testimony before them: “I am on trial here today because I have hope that the dead are raised.”
22 Felix was quite knowledgeable about the Way. He adjourned the preliminary hearing.
Felix: When Lysias the commandant comes to Caesarea, I will decide your case.
23 He then ordered the officer to keep Paul in custody, but to permit him some freedom and to allow any of his friends to take care of his needs.
24 A few days later, Felix sent for Paul and gave him an opportunity to speak about faith in the Anointed One. Felix was accompanied by his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. 25 As Paul spoke of justice, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became fearful.
Felix: That’s enough for now. When I have time, I will send for you again.
26 They had a number of conversations of this sort; but Felix actually was hoping that, by having frequent contact with him, Paul might offer him a bribe. 27 As a favor to the Jews, he did nothing to resolve the case and left Paul in prison for two years. Then Felix completed his assignment as governor, and Porcius Festus succeeded him.
- 24:6-8 Some early manuscripts omit this portion.