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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT
    WORD STUDIES - ACTS 26

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    CHAPTER XXVI

    2. Happy (makarion). See on blessed, Matt. v. 3.

    Answer (apologeisqai). See on 1 Pet. iii. 15.

    3. Expert (gnwsthn). Lit., a knower.

    Questions (zhthmatwn). See on ch. xv. 2.

    4. My manner of life, etc. The repeated articles give additional precision to the statement: "the manner of life, that which was from my youth; that which was from the beginning."

    6. For the hope (ep elpidi). Lit., "on the ground of the hope."

    Made of God. The article clearly defines what promise, "the one, namely, made of God."

    7. Twelve tribes (dwdekafulon). Only here in New Testament. A collective term, embracing the tribes as a whole. Meyer renders our twelve-tribe-stock.

    Instantly (en ekteneia). Only here in New Testament. Lit., in intensity. See on fervently, 1 Pet. i. 22. Compare more earnestly, Luke xxii. 44; without ceasing, Acts xii. 5; fervent, 1 Pet. iv. 8. See, also, on instantly and instant, Luke vii. 4; xxiii. 23.

    Serving. Compare ch. xxiv. 14; and see on Luke i. 74.

    Come (katanthsai). Lit., to arrive at, as if at a goal. Compare ch. xvi. 1; xviii. 19; xxv. 13, etc. Rev. attain.

    8. That God should raise the dead (ei o Qeov nekrouv egeirei). Much better, as Rev., if God raises the dead. He does not put it as a supposition, but as a fact: if God raises the dead, as you admit that he has the power to do, and as your own writings tell you that he has done.

    10. Saints (twn agiwn). Lit., the holy ones. Paul did not call the Christians by this name when addressing the Jews, for this would have enraged them; but before Agrippa he uses the word without fear of giving offense. On this word agiov, holy, which occurs over two hundred times in the New Testament, it is to be noted how the writers of the Greek scriptures, both in the New Testament and, what is more remarkable, in the Septuagint, bring it out from the background in which it was left by classical writers, and give preference to it over words which, in pagan usage, represented conceptions of mere externality in religion. Even in the Old Testament, where externality is emphasized, agiov is the standard word for holy. 28 Gave my voice (kathnegka yhfon). Lit., laid down my vote. See on counteth, Luke xiv. 28. Some suppose that Paul here refers to casting his vote as a member of the Sanhedrim; in which case he must have been married and the father of a family. But this there is no reason for believing (compare 1 Cor. vii. 7, 8); and the phrase may be taken as expressing merely moral assent and approval.

    12. Whereupon (en oiv). See on ch. xxiv. 18. Better, on which errand; in which affairs of persecution.

    13. Above the brightness of the sun. Peculiar to this third account of Paul's conversion. The other peculiarities are: the falling of his companions to the ground along with himself; the voice addressing him in Hebrew; and the words, "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

    14. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Or, goads. The sharp goad carried in the ploughman's hand, against which the oxen kick on being pricked. The metaphor, though not found in Jewish writings, was common in Greek and Roman writings. Thus, Euripides ("Bacchae," 791): "Being enraged, I would kick against the goads, a mortal against a God." Plautus ("Truculentus, 4, 2, 55): "If you strike the goads with your fists, you hurt your hands more than the goads." "Who knows whether at that moment the operation of ploughing might not be going on within sight of the road along which the persecutor was traveling? (Howson, "Metaphors of St. Paul").

    16. Have I appeared (wfqhn). See on Luke xxii. 43.

    To make (proceirisasqai). Better, as Rev., appoint. See on ch. iii. 20. A minister and a witness. See on Matt. v. 25; Acts i. 22.

    17. The people. The Jews.

    22. Help of God (epikouriav thv para tou Qeou). Lit., "help that is from God." The article defines the nature of the help more sharply than A.V. The word for help originally meant alliance.

    23. That Christ should suffer (ei paqhtov o Cristov). Rather, if or whether the Messiah is liable to suffering. He expresses himself in a problematic form, because it was the point of debate among the Jews whether a suffering Messiah was to be believed in. They believed in a triumphant Messiah, and the doctrine of his sufferings was an obstacle to their receiving him as Messiah. Note the article, "the Christ," and see on Matt. i. 1.

    24. Much learning doth make thee mad (ta polla se grammata eiv manian peritrepei). The A.V. omits the article with much learning: "the much knowledge" with which thou art busied. Rev., "thy much learning." Doth make thee mad: literally, is turning thee to madness.

    25. Speak forth (apofqeggomai). See on ch. ii. 4.

    28. Almost thou persuadest (en oligw me peiqeiv). Lit., in a little thou persuadest. The rendering almost must be rejected, being without sufficient authority. The phrase, in a little, is adverbial, and means in brief; summarily. We may supply pains or talk. "With little pains, or with a few words." The words are ironical, and the sense is, "You are trying to persuade me offhand to be a Christian." Thou persuadest (peiqeiv) is rather, thou art for persuading; thou attemptest to persuade; a force which both the present and the imperfect sometimes have. 29

    29. Almost and altogether (en oligw kai en megalw). 30 Lit., in little and in great; i.e., with little or with great pains.

    Were (genesqai). Better, as Rev., might become. Agrippa's word, "to become a Christian," is repeated.

    Except these bonds. An exquisite touch of Christian courtesy.

    30. The king, the governor, Bernice. Mentioned in the order of their rank.

    31. Doeth. Referring, not to Paul's past conduct, but to the general character of his life.

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