|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
26:1-11 Christianity teaches us to give a reason of the hope that is in us, and also to give honour to whom honour is due, without flattery or fear of man. Agrippa was well versed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, therefore could the better judge as to the controversy about Jesus being the Messiah. Surely ministers may expect, when they preach the faith of Christ, to be heard patiently. Paul professes that he still kept to all the good in which he was first educated and trained up. See here what his religion was. He was a moralist, a man of virtue, and had not learned the arts of the crafty, covetous Pharisees; he was not chargeable with any open vice and profaneness. He was sound in the faith. He always had a holy regard for the ancient promise made of God unto the fathers, and built his hope upon it. The apostle knew very well that all this would not justify him before God, yet he knew it was for his reputation among the Jews, and an argument that he was not such a man as they represented him to be. Though he counted this but loss, that he might win Christ, yet he mentioned it when it might serve to honour Christ. See here what Paul's religion is; he has not such zeal for the ceremonial law as he had in his youth; the sacrifices and offerings appointed by that, are done away by the great Sacrifice which they typified. Of the ceremonial cleansings he makes no conscience, and thinks the Levitical priesthood is done away in the priesthood of Christ; but, as to the main principles of his religion, he is as zealous as ever. Christ and heaven, are the two great doctrines of the gospel; that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. These are the matter of the promise made unto the fathers. The temple service, or continual course of religious duties, day and night, was kept up as the profession of faith in the promise of eternal life, and in expectation of it. The prospect of eternal life should engage us to be diligent and stedfast in all religious exercises. Yet the Sadducees hated Paul for preaching the resurrection; and the other Jews joined them, because he testified that Jesus was risen, and was the promised Redeemer of Israel. Many things are thought to be beyond belief, only because the infinite nature and perfections of Him that has revealed, performed, or promised them, are overlooked. Paul acknowledged, that while he continued a Pharisee, he was a bitter enemy to Christianity. This was his character and manner of life in the beginning of his time; and there was every thing to hinder his being a Christian. Those who have been most strict in their conduct before conversion, will afterwards see abundant reason for humbling themselves, even on account of things which they then thought ought to have been done.
Verse 4. - Then from my youth up for for my youth. A.V.; from the beginning for at the first. A.V.; and at for at, A.V. and T.R. My manner of life, etc. The same testimony of a good conscience as that in Acts 23:1 and Acts 24:16. The word βίωσις occurs only here in the New Testament. But we find the phrase, τῆς ἐννόμου βιώσεως, "the manner of life according to the Law," in the Prologue to Ecclesiasticus and in Symmachus (Psalm 38:6), though not in classical Greek. The verb βιόω occurs in 1 Peter 4:2, and not infrequently in the LXX. From my youth up, which was from the beginning among my own nation, etc., having knowledge of me from the first (in ver. 5). No appeal could be stronger as to the notoriety of his whole life spent in the midst of his own people, observed and known of all. The T.R. implies that his youth was spent at Jerusalem, according to what he himself tells us in Acts 22:3. The R.T. does so less distinctly. (For St. Paul's account of his early Pharisaism, comp. Galatians 1:13, 14; Philippians 3:5, 6.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
My manner of life, from my youth,.... That is, his conduct and deportment, his behaviour among men, from the time that he was capable of performing religious exercises, and of knowing the difference between one sect and another, and of being observed and taken notice of by men:
which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem; for though he was born in Tarsus in Cilicia, he was very early brought, or sent by his parents to Jerusalem, where he had his education under Gamaliel; so that the first part of his life was spent in Jerusalem, the metropolis of Judea, and among the Jews there; the more learned and knowing part of them, Gamaliel's pupils, and the wise men and their disciples: and his course of life must be well known to them, as he says,
this know all the Jews; that had any knowledge of him, and conversation with him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4, 5. from my youth, which was at the first … at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; which knew me from the beginning—plainly showing that he received his education, even from early youth, at Jerusalem. See on Ac 22:3.
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