Acts 25: The Final Verdict

When Festus arrived in Caesarea to assume governorship, what do you think he was told about Paul, if anything?

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Acts 25:1 Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem.
King James
Acts 25:1 Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

Why would Festus have gone to Jerusalem just three days after arriving in Caesarea?

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Acts 25:1 Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem.
King James
Acts 25:1 Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

Since Paul continued to be imprisoned in Caesarea, what concerns about him would the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem have had?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 25:2 There the high priest and Jewish leaders brought accusations against Paul
25:3 and asked for his transfer to Jerusalem, planning to ambush and kill him on the way.
King James
Acts 25:2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
25:3 And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.

After two years, why would the Jewish leaders still want Paul killed?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 25:2 There the high priest and Jewish leaders brought accusations against Paul
25:3 and asked for his transfer to Jerusalem, planning to ambush and kill him on the way.
King James
Acts 25:2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
25:3 And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.

Why might Festus have refused the request to transfer Paul to Jerusalem?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 25:2 There the high priest and Jewish leaders brought accusations against Paul
25:3 and asked for his transfer to Jerusalem, planning to ambush and kill him on the way.
25:4 “No,” Festus said, “I’m about to return to Caesarea, so there’s no need to bring him here.
25:5 Those who have an accusation can go with me. If he has done anything wrong, they can bring charges there.”
King James
Acts 25:2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
25:3 And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
25:4 But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
25:5 Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.

Who do you think went to Caesarea to again accuse Paul?

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Acts 25:6 More than ten days later, Festus left Jerusalem. In Caesarea the next day, he ordered Paul to be brought for trial before the court.
King James
Acts 25:6 And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.

Why couldn’t the Jews present proof to support their accusations?

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Acts 25:7 After Paul appeared, the Jews from Jerusalem stood and presented many harsh accusations, but not with any proof.
King James
Acts 25:7 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.

In ancient times, the accused were often considered guilty unless their innocence could be proven. How do you view the impact of Paul’s claim of innocence?

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Acts 25:8 “I am guilty of no crime,” Paul said, “not against the Temple, the Jews, or Caesar. In no way have I harmed anyone.”
King James
Acts 25:8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.

Why did Festus give Paul the choice for a change of venue?

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Acts 25:9 Wanting to please the Jews, Festus said, “Would you like to go to Jerusalem and have me judge your case there?”
King James
Acts 25:9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?

Why do you think Paul refused the opportunity for his case to be heard in Jerusalem?

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Acts 25:10 “No,” Paul said, “I now stand in Caesar’s court where I ought to be judged. I’ve done no wrong to the Jews, as you know very well.
25:11 If I were guilty of any crime worthy of death, I would accept such punishment. But if their accusations are false, no man has the authority to turn me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
King James
Acts 25:10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
25:11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

If Paul had been turned over to the Jewish authorities, what might have happened? Why would he think appealing to Caesar would be any better?

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Acts 23:15 So you of the Sanhedrin ask for the captain to bring Paul before you tomorrow—as if you want to hear his story and ask questions concerning him. We will set an ambush to kill him on the way.”
25:2 There the high priest and Jewish leaders brought accusations against Paul
25:3 and asked for his transfer to Jerusalem, planning to ambush and kill him on the way.
25:11 If I were guilty of any crime worthy of death, I would accept such punishment. But if their accusations are false, no man has the authority to turn me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
King James
Acts 23:15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
25:2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
25:3 And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
25:11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

How might Festus and his advisors have felt about their decision to send Paul to Caesar? Did they think it was to Paul’s benefit or harm?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 25:12 After conferring with his advisors in the court, Festus said, “You’ve appealed to Caesar. Unto Caesar you will go.”
King James
Acts 25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.

After the Roman court made judgment, why would Festus want to bring up the issue with Herod Agrippa II a good while later?

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Acts 25:13 A few days later, King Herod Agrippa II arrived in Caesarea with his sister, Bernice, so he could personally welcome Festus to his new position.
25:14 When they had been there a good while, Festus mentioned Paul’s case. “One man remains in prison,” he said, “whose judgment was left to me by Felix.
King James
Acts 25:13 And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.
25:14 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix.

When the Jews brought their accusations against Paul, what did Festus expect their evidence to be?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 25:15 When I was in Jerusalem, Jewish leaders and priests presented accusations concerning him, wanting me to judge him guilty.
25:16 I told them that Roman law will not allow a sentence of death until after a man has met his accusers face-to-face and has an opportunity to defend himself against the charges.
25:17 After they arrived here, I convened my court and summoned him to appear.
25:18 When the Jews stood to accuse him, they said nothing like what I expected.
King James
Acts 25:15 About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
25:16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
25:17 Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
25:18 Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed.

Why might we think Festus had heard Paul’s story about Jesus’ appearance on the way to Damascus?

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Acts 25:19 They presented arguments concerning their religion and something about a man named Jesus, who they say is dead but Paul insists is alive.
King James
Acts 25:19 But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

Why would knowing that Paul had refused trial in Jerusalem be of interest to Agrippa?

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Acts 25:20 I didn’t know how to judge who was right, so I asked if he would go to Jerusalem, where I would hear the case.
25:21 Paul said no, exercising his right to have his case heard in Rome, so I commanded him to be held until he could be escorted to appear before Caesar.”
King James
Acts 25:20 And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
25:21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.

With the Roman court’s decision already made, why would Agrippa have wanted to hear Paul?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 25:22 “I would like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said. “Then you can hear him tomorrow,” Festus said.
King James
Acts 25:22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.

Considering the fanfare and all the people who were present with Agrippa at the hearing, how many new people do you think heard Paul’s story?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 25:23 The next day, Agrippa and Bernice arrived with great fanfare and entered the courtroom with military officers and city leaders. Then Festus summoned Paul to appear.
King James
Acts 25:23 And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus’ commandment Paul was brought forth.

What was the nature of Festus’s introduction of Paul? Was he presented as a criminal? Why or why not?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 25:24 “King Agrippa and most noble guests,” Festus said, “many Jews have entreated me concerning the man before you, both here and at Jerusalem, claiming that he should be put to death.
25:25 I found no justification for his execution. Since he appealed to Caesar, I have decided to send him to Rome.”
King James
Acts 25:24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
25:25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.

Why was Festus interested in what King Agrippa thought about Paul?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 25:26 “I must describe his case to the Emperor, so I present him for your examination, King Agrippa, so I might have some idea what to write.
25:27 Sending him without specifying the charges against him makes no sense.”
King James
Acts 25:26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
25:27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.