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Acts…Lesson 13: Paul on Trial

Memory Verse: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” Acts 26:28

Daily Bible Readings: Acts 25; Acts 26; Acts 27; Acts 28; Isaiah 55; 1 Corinthians 3

Scripture Reading: Acts 25:1-12


We might think that Paul is spending two wasted years in prison during the period that is covered in this lesson. But, from another perspective, he accomplishes an important ministry during this time period. He brings Christ’s name before two governors and a king, just as he was commanded to do in Acts 9:15.

Governor Felix has been called back to Rome (about A.D. 59) for a job not so well done. Governor Festus has been appointed in his place. In Paul’s defense before Governor Festus, the Governor had offered that Paul go to trial in Jerusalem before the Jews. Paul turned that offer down. It would have ended in a guilty verdict by the Sanhedrin court in Jerusalem and they would have put Paul to death on the grounds that he was a heretic. And so Paul appeals to Caesar. It was the right of every Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar, to have his case heard before the emperor himself.

King Agrippa II makes a visit to Caesarea to pay his respects to the new Governor. Festus is trying to figure out what crime Paul should be charged with and asks Agrippa to hear Paul’s case. Agrippa says he would be happy to listen to Paul.

King Agrippa’s full name is King Herod Agrippa II. The King is part of the Herod dynasty. There was Herod the Great at the time of the birth of Jesus. He was followed by Herod Antipas (the Herod that Jesus called a fox). Next was Herod Agrippa I (who put James to death and had died a violent death in Acts 12). Herod Agrippa II is the great-grandson of Herod the Great. It’s a powerful dynasty. King Herod Agrippa II was sinful. He was wealthy and had high status. It is said that he had a sinful relationship with his sister Bernice.

Agrippa is making a visit with his sister Bernice to Governor Festus to pay his respects to the new Governor. He’s interested in the case of Paul because he is a Jew. All the Herod’s were Jews and were constantly playing two sides. They were Jews, but they were loyal to the Roman Empire.

Paul knows that everyone, small and great, needs to hear the message of salvation. We must become humble before the greatness of God and recognize our need for Him. Paul challenged King Agrippa to hear that message and to change his life. King Agrippa needed to humble himself. He needed to start protecting the poor and weak of his province by making right judgments. Agrippa needed to see the world through God’s eyes and not through the Emperor’s eyes.

Lesson Questions:

Acts 25:1-26:32. Paul Before Governor Festus and King Agrippa and Bernice

  1. Why did Festus ask for help from King Agrippa with Paul’s case? Acts 25:13, 26-27.
  2. Why do you think King Agrippa wanted to hear Paul? Acts 25:22; Luke 9:9; 23:8.
  3. Why do you think Paul shared the testimony of his conversion with the King and the Governor? Acts 26:9-20.
  4. Do you think Paul’s message to King Agrippa and Festus convicted them of the need to change? Acts 26:24-29; John 10:20; 1 Corinthians 14:23.
  5. What was the meaning of Paul’s statement that, this thing was not done in a corner” in Acts 26:26?

Acts 27:1-28:15. Paul Journeys to Rome

  1. Why do you think Paul is allowed to visit friends in the town of Sidon? Acts 27:3.
  2. On what basis did Paul make the statements he made about the safety of their trip to Rome in Acts 27:9-10 and in Acts 27:21-26?
  3. God had promised to save those on the ship, but what were they to do to help? Acts 27:33-38. How does that relate to us in our Christian walk today?

Acts 28:16-31. Paul in Rome

  1. In Acts 28:20, Paul said to the Jews in Rome that came to visit that it was because of the hope of Israel that he was bound in chains. What did he mean by this statement? Acts 26:6-7; Jeremiah 14:8, 17:13.
  2. Had the Jews in Rome heard about the dispute over whether Jesus was the Messiah? Acts 28:22. How did Paul approach them with the message of the Messiah? Acts 28:23.

Question for thought:

Why did God allow His servant Paul to suffer, especially to bring him to an island where he would have gladly gone, if asked? Isaiah 55:8-9; 1 Corinthians 3:19-21.