Bible Study of Acts: Lesson 21 - Paul's Trials Before Roman Rulers (Acts 24-26)

Bible Study of Acts – Lesson 21


Paul’s Trials Before Roman Rulers (Acts 24-26)


Introduction

Welcome to Lesson 21 of your Bible Study of Acts.  In this lesson we’re going to take a closer look at Acts 24 – 26 and Paul’s trials before Governor Felix and King Agrippa, both of whom were Roman rulers.

Background

At this point it is important to review where we are in the Acts story.  You may recall that Paul arrived in Jerusalem after having spent three years in Ephesus on his final missionary endeavor (Acts 21:17).

Shortly thereafter, Paul got into a bit of a jam with his Jewish countrymen such that the Roman authorities were required to intervened on his behalf before a riot exploded (Acts 21:27-40).

Not to be denied, Paul’s enemies plotted to take his life. However, once again the Roman authorities intervened shipping Paul to Caesarea and handing him over to Governor Felix so he could stand trial (Acts 23:12-35).

Read Acts 24:1-9

  1. Who are the Jewish leaders present at Paul’s trial before Governor Felix?  What is the significance of having such men of high standing present?
  2. What are the accusations that are leveled against Paul (24:5-6)?  NOTE: The term “dissension” (24:5) is pretty much an accusation of stirring up revolution against the Roman Empire?
  3. What does Paul say in his defense?

Transition Between Trials

The narrative tells us that Governor Felix delayed in deciding on Paul’s case.  He kept Paul in custody for two years waiting for a bribe from Paul (24:26-27).  Felix was succeeded by Festus who reopened Paul’s case and wanted to try Paul’s case in Jerusalem (as a favor to the Jews) (25:9).  Paul knew the dangers of going back to where his enemies had plotted for his life.  He then appealed to have his case sent to Cesar himself, in Rome (25:11).

When King Agrippa was visiting, Governor Festus placed Paul’s case before him.  He mentioned how the chief priests end elders wanted Paul condemned, how he had brought them together for a trial and how he had requested for the trial to be held in Jerusalem.  At this point, King Agrippa decided he wanted to speak to Paul directly and order the apostle to be brought before him.

Read Acts 25:23-27

  1. What is the reason that Governor Festus gives for bringing Paul before the King and the king’s gentlemen?

Read Acts 26:1-6

  1. What was Paul like before he met Christ?  (26:4-5, 9-11)

Read 26:12-20

  1. Why would Paul share his conversion story as a defense for his trial?
  2. What did Jesus say to Paul during his conversion (26:16-18).  NOTE:  The other conversion stories do not have this detail.
  3. Modern persecution is very rare for American Christians though Christians in other nations may experience mild to severe forms.  How do you experience opposition in your context?  What defense do you provide those who oppose you or the Christian faith?
  4. What can you learn from Paul’s trials that would be a useful example for your Christian faith and walk?
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