Acts 24:22
And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Having more perfect knowledge of that way . . .—Better, of the way. (See Note on Acts 9:2.) The comparative implies a reference to an average standard. Felix was too well-informed to yield any answer to the declamatory statements of Tertullus. He saw that the prisoner was no common Sicarius, or leader of sedition. He knew something as to the life of the sect of Nazarenes. That knowledge may well have been acquired either at Jerusalem, which the procurator would naturally visit at the great festivals and other occasions, or at Cæsarea, where, as we know, Philip the Evangelist had, some twenty-five years before, founded a Christian community, which included among its members Cornelius and other Roman soldiers, or even, we may add, in the imperial capital itself. His wife Drusilla, also, the daughter of Herod Agrippa I., may have contributed something to his knowledge.

I will know the uttermost of your matter.—Leaving the general attack on the “way” of the Nazarenes, or Christians, Felix proposes to inquire into the actual circumstances of the case brought before him. It is remarkable that this adjournment leads to an indefinite postponement. Possibly the accusers felt that they had fired their last shot in the speech of Tertullus, and, seeing that that had failed, thought that the judge had made up his mind against them, and withdrew from the prosecution. The detention of the prisoner under such circumstances was only too common an incident in the provincial administration of justice in the Roman empire, as it has since been in other corrupt or ill-governed states.

Acts 24:22-23. When Felix heard these things — Namely, the orator’s accusation and the prisoner’s defence; having more perfect knowledge of that way Ακριβεστερον ειδως τα περι της οδου, having known more perfectly the things concerning the way, namely, the way of worship, mentioned by Paul, (Acts 24:14,) or a more perfect knowledge of Jesus and his disciples than had been given him by the high-priest, the elders, and their orator; and knowing it not to be so mischievous a thing as these accusers suggested; he deferred them — This seems to be that interpretation of the clause which best accords with the original. Beza, Grotius, and many others, however, take the meaning of the clause to be, that Felix “would take an opportunity of being more particularly informed of this sect, and of its aspect on the public tranquillity; and that when Lysias should come down and give him an account of what he had observed concerning it, as well as of the circumstances attending Paul’s apprehension, &c., he would determine the affair.” “But it seems to me evident,” says Dr. Whitby, “that the original words cannot admit of this explication, namely, that Felix deferred them that he might have a more exact knowledge of Christianity; but that, having his residence at Cesarea, where Cornelius the centurion and his friends were converted, where Philip the evangelist dwelt, and where there were many disciples, (Acts 21:8; Acts 21:16,) he had thus become acquainted with the way of Christianity.” But though Felix did not find any crime proved against Paul, yet he did not acquit him, because he was afraid of displeasing the Jews. Being, however, fully convinced (as it is evident he was) of his innocence, he ordered that he should not be confined too closely; but that his acquaintance should be allowed to visit him, or minister unto him; a liberty which we may be sure the brethren of Cesarea made good use of during his long imprisonment in that city.24:22-27 The apostle reasoned concerning the nature and obligations of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come; thus showing the oppressive judge and his profligate mistress, their need of repentance, forgiveness, and of the grace of the gospel. Justice respects our conduct in life, particularly in reference to others; temperance, the state and government of our souls, in reference to God. He who does not exercise himself in these, has neither the form nor the power of godliness, and must be overwhelmed with the Divine wrath in the day of God's appearing. A prospect of the judgment to come, is enough to make the stoutest heart to tremble. Felix trembled, but that was all. Many are startled by the word of God, who are not changed by it. Many fear the consequences of sin, yet continue in the love and practice of sin. In the affairs of our souls, delays are dangerous. Felix put off this matter to a more convenient season, but we do not find that the more convenient season ever came. Behold now is the accepted time; hear the voice of the Lord to-day. He was in haste to turn from hearing the truth. Was any business more urgent than for him to reform his conduct, or more important than the salvation of his soul! Sinners often start up like a man roused from his sleep by a loud noise, but soon sink again into their usual drowsiness. Be not deceived by occasional appearances of religion in ourselves or in others. Above all, let us not trifle with the word of God. Do we expect that as we advance in life our hearts will grow softer, or that the influence of the world will decline? Are we not at this moment in danger of being lost for ever? Now is the day of salvation; tomorrow may be too late.Having more perfect knowledge of that way - Our translation of this verse is very obscure, and critics are divided about the proper interpretation of the original. Many (Erasmus, Luther, Michaelis, Morus, etc.) render it, "Although he had a more perfect knowledge of the Christian doctrine than Paul's accusers had, yet he deferred the hearing of the cause until Lysias had come down." They observe that he might have obtained this knowledge not only from the letter of Lysias, but from public rumour, as there were doubtless Christians at Caesarea. They suppose that he deferred the cause either with the hope of receiving a bribe from Paul (compare Acts 24:26), or to gratify the Jews with his being longer detained as a prisoner. Others, among whom are Beza, Grotius, Rosenmuller, and Doddridge, suppose that it should be rendered, "He deferred them, and said, after I have been more accurately informed concerning this way, when Lysias has come down, I will hear the cause." This is doubtless the true interpretation of the passage, and it is rendered more probable by the fact that Felix sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith of Christ Acts 24:24, evidently with the design to make himself better acquainted with the charges against him, and the nature of his belief.

Of that way - Of the Christian religion. This expression is repeatedly used by Luke to denote the Christian doctrine. See the notes on Acts 9:2.

He deferred them - He put them off; he postponed the decision of the case; he adjourned the trial.

When Lysias ... - Lysias had been acquainted with the excitement and its causes, and Felix regarded him as an important witness in regard to the true nature of the charges against Paul.

I will know the uttermost ... - I shall be fully informed, and prepared to decide the cause.

22, 23. having more perfect knowledge of that—"the"

way—(See on [2106]Ac 19:23; and [2107]Ac 24:14).

When Lysias … shall come … I will how, &c.—Felix might have dismissed the case as a tissue of unsupported charges. But if from his interest in the matter he really wished to have the presence of Lysias and others involved, a brief delay was not unworthy of him as a judge. Certainly, so far as recorded, neither Lysias nor any other parties appeared again in the case. Ac 24:23, however, seems to show that at that time his prepossessions in favor of Paul were strong.

Some understand by that way:

1. The custom or manner of the priests to calumniate Paul; or:

2. The religion of Moses, and how and in what it differed from the religion of Christ: either of which Felix might know, and by either of them conclude Paul to be innocent. But:

3. By that way, as frequently in this book, Acts 9:2, and Acts 22:4, is meant the Christian religion itself, which Felix, not only from Paul’s apology, and Lysias’s account of the whole matter, but by divers other means, (it having made so great a noise in the world), could not be ignorant of.

Some read, he deferred them till he could have a more perfect knowledge of that way, and till Lysias, the chief captain, should come down. For there being two things laid to Paul’s charge;

1. His evil opinions in matters of religion; and:

2. His causing a sedition: as to the first, Felix would not determine it till he had had better information about those things which St. Paul was accused for to hold. As to the latter, it being matter of fact, which Lysias was present at, he would hear his testimony or evidence, looking upon him as one indifferent and unconcerned between them. And when Felix heard these things,.... Which were said on both sides, both by plaintiff and defendant, the charges brought against Paul, and his answer to them, as a judge ought to do:

having more perfect knowledge of that way; the Christian religion, which the Jews called heresy, and Paul had embraced; the sense is, either that he had a more perfect knowledge of it than he had before; and by what Paul had said, he saw that it was not contrary to the law, nor had any tendency to promote sedition and tumult; or rather, when he should have more perfect knowledge of this new way, called the sect of the Nazarenes, he would determine this cause, and not before: wherefore

he deferred them; put them off to longer time, and would make no decision in favour of one side or the other:

and said, when Lysias the chief captain shall come from Jerusalem to Caesarea,

I will know the uttermost of your matters: as for the way, or religion of the Christians, he proposed doubtless to consult other persons; and as for the profanation of the temple, and especially about stirring up of sedition, he would inquire of Lysias about that; and when he had got full information of these particulars, then he promised them to bring things to an issue, and finish the cause.

{5} And when Felix heard these things, having more {n} perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

(5) The judge suspends his sentence because the matter is doubtful.

(n) Felix could not judge whether he had done wickedly in the matter of his religion or not until he had a better understanding of the way which Paul professed: and as for other matters with regard to the charge of sedition, he considers it good to defer it until he hears Lysias, and therefore he gives Paul somewhat more liberty.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 24:22. With the frank challenge to his accusers (Acts 24:20-21) Paul closes his speech. But Felix, who declares that he wished still to institute a further examination of the matter with the assistance of Lysias, decides for the present on an adjournment: ἀνεβάλετο αὐτούς, ampliavit eos (both parties). He pronounced until further investigation the non liquet (Cic. Cluent. 28, Brisson. formul.), and for the time being adjourned the settlement of the accusation. See on the judicial term ἀναβάλλεσθαι (Dem. 1042 ult.), Wetstein, and Kypke, II. p. 123 f.

ἀκριβέστερον εἰδὼς τὰ περὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ] The only correct interpretation is: because he knew more exactly what referred to Christianity (Acts 24:14). As Felix had been procurator for more than six years, and as Christianity was diffused everywhere in Judaea, even in Caesarea itself, it was natural that he should have an ἀκριβέστερον knowledge of the circumstances of that religion than was given to him in the present discussion; therefore he considered it the most fitting course to leave the matter still in suspense. In doing so he prudently satisfied, on the one hand, his regard for the favour of the Jews (comp. Acts 24:27) by not giving Paul his liberty; while, on the other hand, he satisfied his better intelligence about Christianity, by which, notwithstanding his badness in other respects, he felt himself precluded from pleasing the Jews and condemning the apostle. This connection, which in essentials the Vulgate, Chrysostom, Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Wolf, and others (comp. Bengel: “consilia dilatoria, tuta mundo in rebus divinis”) have expressed, has been often mistaken. Beza and Grotius, followed by Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, and Ewald, regard ἀκριβέστερονὁδοῦ as part of the speech of Felix: “Ubi exactius didicero, quid sit de hac secta, et ubi Lysias venerit, causam illam terminabo” (Grotius). But so late a bringing in of the εἰπών is entirely without precedent in the N.T. (see also Bornemann, and Rosenmüller, Repert. II. p. 281 f.). Michaelis and Morus resolve εἰδώς by quamquam; notwithstanding his better knowledge of Christianity, Felix did not release Paul. But this resolution is the less suggested by the relation of the participle to the verb, as afterwards, Acts 24:23, the specially mild treatment of the apostle is expressly stated. According to de Wette (comp. Wetstein), the sense is: “As he needed no further hearing of the accused, and it was only necessary now to hear the tribune.” But the reference to the tribune is only to be regarded as a welcome pretext and evasion; an actual hearing of Lysias would have been reported in the sequel of the history. Lastly, Kuinoel erroneously renders: when he had inquired more exactly, which εἰδώς does not mean.

τὰ καθʼ ὑμᾶς] your matters, not: your misdeeds (so Böttger, Beitr. II. p. 12, as a threat to the Jews), as if it were τὰ καθʼ ὑμῶν. On διαγνώσ., comp. Acts 23:15.Acts 24:22. ἀνεβάλετο: ampliavit eos, a technical expression, only here in N. T., the judges were wont to say Amplius in cases where it was not possible to pass at once a judgment of condemnation or acquittal before further inquiry, Cic., In Verr., i., 29.—ἀκριβ.: “having more exact knowledge concerning the Way” than to be deceived by the misrepresentation of the Jews; he may have learnt some details of the Christian sect during his years of office from his wife Drusilla, or possibly during his residence in Cæsarea, where there was a Christian community and the home of Philip the Evangelist, and where Cornelius had been converted. This knowledge, the writer indicates, was the real reason: the reason which Felix alleged was that he required the evidence of Lysias in person. Wendt, Zöckler, Bethge, Nösgen take the words to mean that the address of Paul had offended Felix’s more accurate knowledge, and on this account he put off any decision. On the comparative see Blass, Gram., p. 139.—τὰ περὶ: characteristic of Luke and Paul, see p. 481.—διαγ. τὰ καθʼ ὑμᾶς: “I will determine your matter,” R.V., cf. Acts 25:21, and see above on Acts 23:15. τὰ καθʼ ὑμᾶς: probably refers to both accusers and accused. On τὰ before κατά characteristic of Luke see instance in Moulton and Geden, and Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ, p. 38.22–27. Adjournment of the cause. Felix’s treatment of St Paul

22. having more perfect knowledge of that way] Better “the way,” i.e. the Christian religion, for which this soon became the accepted name. See on Acts 9:2. Felix was more likely to understand something of the relations between Judaism and Christianity, because he had a Jewish wife, Drusilla, daughter of Herod Agrippa I., one who had been brought by her position into connexion with the movements of the time.

For those introductory words of this verse represented in A.V. by “when he heard these things,” there is no Greek in the oldest MSS. Read (with Rev. Ver.) “But Felix, having, &c.”

When Lysias the chief captain shall come down] There had been nothing said in the letter of Lysias, so far as we have it, about his coming to Cæsarea, but no doubt he went often between Jerusalem and the residence of the governor. The language of this verse gives some support to the genuineness of Acts 24:7. (See note there.)

I will know the uttermost of your matter] Better, “I will determine.” Cp. Acts 23:15.Acts 24:22. Ἀνεβάλετο, he deferred them) Dilatory measures are the safe ones for the world in the case of Divine things.—ἀκριβέστερον, more accurately) Through these governors accurate knowledge of Christianity was carried to Rome.Verse 22. - But Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way, deferred them, saying for and whoa Felix heard these things having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, A.V. and T.R.; determine for know the uttermost of, A.V. Having more exact knowledge, etc. At Caesarea, Felix must have seen and heard something of Christianity. The conversion of Cornelius with his household and friends, men belonging to the dominant Roman power; the work of Philip the evangelist, residing probably for some years at Caesarea, and working among Romans as well as Jews, must have given Felix some knowledge of "the Way." He would learn something, too, both of Judaism and Christianity from Drusilla, his wife (ver. 24, note). When Lysias... shall come (see vers. 7, 8, and note). I will determine (διαγνώσομαι); see above, Acts 23:15, where the verb is in the active voice, and is rendered in the R.V. "to judge." The idea of the word is "to know with discrimination;" and this is the sense it has in medical writers, who use it very frequently; as e.g. Galen says, Πρῶτον γὰρ διαγνῶναι χρὴ τί ποτέ ἐστὶ πάθος (quoted by Hobart). Hence the "diagnosis" of an illness (Acts 23:15). Deferred (ἀνεβάλετο)

Adjourned the case. Only here in New Testament.

I will know the uttermost (διαγνώσομαι)

Better, as Rev., I will determine. See on Acts 23:15.

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