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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT
    WORD STUDIES - ACTS 24

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    CHAPTER XXIV

    1. An orator (rhtorov). An advocate. The Jews, being little acquainted with Roman forms and laws, had to employ Roman advocates.

    3. Very worthy deeds (katorqwmatwn). From katorqow, to set upright. Hence, a success consequent on right judgment; a right action. The best texts, however, read diorqwmatwn, settings right; amendments. Thus the sentence reads, literally, obtaining much peace through thee, and amendments taking place for this nation through thy providence, we accept, etc.

    Providence (pronoiav). Forethought. Previdentia Augusti (the providence of the emperor) was a common title on the coins of the emperors.

    4. Be tedious (egkoptw). See on hindered, 1 Pet. iii. 7. The meaning is, rather, "that I may not further hinder thee, or detain thee.

    Clemency (epieikeia) See on gentle, 1 Pet. ii. 18.

    A few words (suntomwv). Lit., concisely. From suntemnw, to cut down or cut short.

    5. Pestilent fellow (loimon). Lit., a plague or pest.

    Ringleader (prwtostathn). Originally, one who stands first on the right of a line; a file-leader. Thus Thucydides says that all armies when engaging are apt to thrust outward their right wing; and adds, "The first man in the front rank (o prwtostathv) of the right wing is originally responsible for the deflection" (v., 71). Here, of course, metaphorically, as A.V. and Rev. Only here in New Testament.

    Sect (airesewv). See on heresies, 2 Pet. ii. 1.

    Nazarenes. The only passage in scripture where this term is used to denote the Christians. See on Matt. ii. 23.

    6. To profane (bebhlwsai). The word is akin to bhlov, threshold, and bainw, to step; and its fundamental idea, therefore, is that of overstepping the threshold of sacred places. The word profane is the Latin pro fanurn, in front of the sanctuary; that which is kept outside the fane because unholy.

    We laid hold. The best texts omit all after these words as far as by examining.

    8. From whom. Paul. It would refer to Lysias if the omitted passage above were retained.

    9. Assented (suneqento). But the best texts read sunepeqento, jointly set upon or assailed. So Rev., joined in the charge.

    10. The more cheerfully (euqumoteron). The best texts read the positive of the adverb, eujqumwv, cheerfully.

    14. The way. See on ch. ix. 2.

    A sect. See on verse 5. The word is commonly used in an indifferent sense, as signifying merely a school or party. So ch. xv. 5; xxviii. 29. Here, however, in a bad sense - a schisomatic sect, as in 1 Cor. xi. 19.

    Worship (latreuw). Better, as Rev., serve. See on Luke i. 74.

    God of my fathers (tw patrww Qew). A familiar classical phrase, and therefore well known to Felix. Thus Demosthenes calls Apollo the patrwov (ancestral God) of Athens. Socrates is asked (Plato, "Euthydemus," 302), "Have you an ancestral Zeus (Zeuv patrwov)? So, frequently, in the classics. Similarly, the Roman phrase, Di patrii, "the gods of the forefathers." On the Roman reverence for the ancestral religion, see note on ch. xvi. 21. The Roman's own sentiment would prepare him to respect Paul's.

    15. Allow (prosdecontai). Or, as Rev., look for. The word admits of either sense.

    16. Exercise myself (askw). Originally, to work raw material, to form: hence, to practice, exercise, discipline; and so, in ecclesiastical language, to mortify the body. Of the kindred adjective ajskhtikov, our word ascetic is a transcript.

    Void of offense (aposkopon). Lit., without stumbling; unshaken. The word is used thus in a passive sense here, as in Philip. i. 10. In 1 Corinthians x. 32, it occurs in the active sense of giving offense to others, causing them to stumble.

    18. Whereupon (en oiv). More correctly, in which (occupation); while so engaged. The best texts, however, read ejn ai=v, in which, the pronoun agreeing in gender with offerings. The sense, according to this, is, as Rev., margin, in presenting which (offerings).

    22. Deferred (anebaleto). Adjourned the case. Only here in New Testament.

    I will know the uttermost (diagnwsomai). Better, as Rev., I will determine. See on ch. xxiii. 15.

    23. Liberty (anesin). From ajnihmi, to send up; thence, to loosen, release. It is almost exactly expressed by our vulgarism, to let up. The noun here is more correctly rendered by Rev., indulgence. In all the other New Testament passages it is rendered rest, ease, or relief. See 2 Corinthians ii. 13; vii. 5; viii. 13; 2 Thess. i. 7.

    To minister (uphretein). See on officer, Matt. v. 25.

    25. Righteousness, temperance, the judgment to come. Three topics which bore directly upon the character of Felix. Tacitus says of him that he "exercised the authority of a king with the spirit of a slave; "and that, by reason of the powerful influence at his command, "he supposed he might perpetrate with impunity every kind of villainy." He had persuaded his wife Drusilla to forsake her husband and marry him. He had employed assassins to murder the high-priest Jonathan, and might well tremble at the preaching of the judgment to come. Temperance (egkrateia) is, properly, self-control; holding the passions in hand.

    Trembled (emfobov genomenov) Lit., having become in fear. Rev., better, was terrified.

    For this time (to nun econ). Or, for the present. Very literally, as to what has itself now.

    26. He hoped also (ama de kai elpizwn). A comma should be placed after thee (ver. 25), and the participle ejlpizwn, hoping, joined with answered: "Felix answered, 'Go thy way, etc.,' hoping withal that money would be given him."

    Communed (wmilei). See on talked, ch. xx. 11.

    27. Porcius Festus came into Felix's room (elabe diadocon o Fhlix Porkion Fhston). Rev., better, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. The Greek idiom is, Felix received Porcius Festus as a successor.

    To shew the Jews a pleasure (caritav kataqesqai toiv Ioudaioiv). Lit., to lay up thanks for himself with the Jews. Rev., correctly, to gain favor with the Jews.

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