Jewish Religious Leaders Accuse Paul Before Felix
(1) Five days after Paul had arrived, the high priest Ananias arrived in Caesarea with some of the Jewish elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they presented their charges against Paul before the governor.
(2) After Paul was brought in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix, saying: “Israel has enjoyed a long period of peace under your leadership, and your foresight has brought about reforms to our nation. (3) Most excellent Felix, everywhere and in every way, we acknowledge this truth with profound thankfulness. (4) But so as not to weary you any further, I ask that you be kind enough to hear us briefly. (5) We have found this man to be a dangerous troublemaker, causing riots among the Jews all over the Roman world. He is the ringleader of the Nazarene heresy (6) and even tried to desecrate the Jerusalem temple, so that is why we seized him. (7-8) By examining him you will learn the truth about these charges we bring against him.” (9) The other Jews agreed that all of Tertullus’ charges against Paul were true.
Paul’s Defense Before Felix
(10) When the governor motioned for Paul to speak, he said, “I know that you have been a judge over our nation for many years, so I am eager to defend myself before you today. (11) You can easily verify that no more than 12 days ago I arrived in Jerusalem to worship. (12) My Jewish accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in Jerusalem. (13) And they can’t prove any of the charges they are making against me today.
(14) “However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way of Jesus, which they call a heresy. I believe everything that is written in the law of Moses and by the prophets (the entire Old Testament), (15) and I have the same hope in God as these men have—that there will be a resurrection from the dead of both the righteous and the unrighteous. (16) So I try hard to always keep a clear conscience before God and man.
(17) “After being away from Jerusalem for several years (around six years, from AD 51; see Acts 18:22 to AD 57, see Acts 21:17), I came to the city to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present sacrificial offerings. (18) I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts offering sacrifices. There was no crowd of people with me, nor was I causing any trouble. (19) But there are some Jews from the Roman province of Asia (probably Ephesus) who should be standing before you today and bring charges if they have anything against me. (20) Or these who are present today need to tell you what crime they found me guilty of when I stood before the Jewish governing council (the Sanhedrin)—(21) unless it is this one thing that I shouted as I stood in their presence, ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’ ”
Paul is Imprisoned
(22) Then Felix, who was educated about the Way of Jesus, ended the trial and said, “When the commander Lysias comes from Jerusalem, I will decide your case.” (23) He ordered the military officer to keep Paul under guard, but to give him some freedom and allow his friends to take care of his personal needs.
Paul’s Message to Felix
(24) Several days later Felix came with his Jewish wife Drusilla. Felix sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about believing in Jesus Christ. (25) As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control, and God’s final judgment, Felix became afraid and said, “That’s enough! Stop! You can leave. When I find it convenient for me, I will send for you.” (26) At the same time Felix was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him often and talked with him.
Paul’s Two-Year Imprisonment in Caesarea
(27) After two years had passed (summer AD 57 to summer AD 59), Felix was succeeded as governor by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to give a favor to the Jews, he kept Paul in prison.