Witness Before Kings and Rulers

As a Roman citizen, Paul could not be bound or imprisoned without a trial, and he is about to go before King Agrippa. Agrippa and Bernice were the great grandchildren of Herod the Great, the king who ruled when Jesus was born. Festus was the procurator or governor of Judea.

Getting Started
If you were called before your dean of students or your college president to give a defense of your actions as a Christian on campus, how would you feel? What would be running through your mind?

  1. Read Acts 25:23–27. Observe verses 23–24 carefully, and try to picture what this scene must have looked like. What feeling was this pomp intended to convey to a person who is brought before the king and queen for interrogation?
  2. Why is Paul appearing before them [verses 24–27]? According to verse 27 how long has Paul been waiting in jail? What would you be feeling at this point if you were Paul?
  3. Now read chapter 26:1–23. In verses 2–3 how does Paul start his defense? Why do you think he does it this way?
  4. In verses 4–14 Paul tells his story. What are his major points? What does he emphasize about Jesus’s commands to him in verses 16–18?
  5. To what does Paul appeal in verses 19–23? How does he summarize the gospel? In verse 24, how does Festus respond? Why? How does Paul respond? Why do you think Paul asks King Agrippa if he believes in the prophets?
  6. In verse 28, King Agrippa answers Paul’s question with a question of his own. What feeling was Agrippa expressing? What do you see about Paul’s passion for and vision for the gospel in his heartfelt statement in verse 29? How does this compare with your passion for the gospel?
  7. Note the rulers’ conversation in verses 30–32. How had they been affected by Paul’s presentation?
  8. Go back over Paul’s speech and summarize some of the things that Paul does to share effectively with the king, Bernice and the governor. [He affirms the king (verses 2–3), shares his own conversion story (verses 4–19), describes his calling and assures the king of his good motives (verses 16–19), explains the gospel clearly (verse 23) and appeals to the king to believe (verses 26–29).]

In Closing
What do you learn here about tailoring your message to the situation? About boldness, clarity and respect? About the power of your story? Spend some time praying for opportunities for you to share the gospel boldly with those around you. Remember, God is in control; he is sovereign and powerful!

“Witnesses to Jesus” Bible Studies are available at Acts Bible Study.

Many thanks to those who gave their time to the writing and editing of these studies: the InterVarsity® staff authors (mentioned with each study); Kathy Burrows (design); Jeff Yourison (layout editor); and Shelley Soceka and Judy Yourison (proofreaders).—Bob Grahmann, editor

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