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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 24 - Verse 14
Verse 14. But this I confess, etc. The next specification in the charge of Tertullus was, Ac 24:5, that he was "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." To this, Paul replies in this and the two following verses. Of this reply we may observe,
(1.) that he does not stoop to notice the contempt implied in the use of the word Nazarenes. He was engaged in a more important business than to contend about the name which they chose to give to Christians.
(2.) He admits that he belonged to that sect or class of people. That he was a Christian he neither denied, nor was disposed to deny.
(3.) He maintains that in this way he is still worshipping the God of his fathers. Of this, the fact that he was engaged in worship in the temple, was sufficient proof.
(4.) He shows them that he believed only what was written in the law and the prophets; that this involved the main doctrine of their religion—the hope of the resurrection of the dead, Ac 24:15; and that it was his constant and earnest desire to keep a pure conscience in all things, Ac 24:16. These are the points of his defence to this second charge, and we shall see that they fully meet and dispose of the accusation.
After the way. After the manner or mode of worship.
Which they call heresy. This translation does not express to us the force of the original. We have attached to the word heresy an idea which is not conveyed by the Greek word, and now commonly understand by it, error of doctrine. In Paul's answer here, there is an explicit reference to their charge, which does not appear in our version. The charge of Tertullus was, that he was the ringleader of the sect thv airesewv of the Nazarenes, Ac 24:5. To this, Paul replies, "After the way which they call sect, (airesin, not error of doctrine, but after a way which they maintain is producing division or schism,) so worship I the God of my fathers." Paul was not ashamed to be called a follower of that sect or party among the Jewish people. Nor should we be ashamed to worship God in a mode that is called heresy or schism, if we do it in obedience to conscience and to God.
So worship I. I continue to worship. I have not departed from the characteristic of the Jewish people, the proper and public acknowledgment of the God of the Jews.
The God of my fathers. My fathers' God; Jehovah; the God whom my Jewish ancestors adored. There is something very touching in this, and fitted to find its way to the heart of a Jew. He had introduced no new object of worship, (comp. De 13:1-5;) he had not become a follower of a false or foreign God; and this fact was really a reply to their charge, that he was setting up a new sect in religion. The same thing Paul affirms of himself in 2 Ti 1:3: "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with a pure conscience."
Believing all things, etc. Particularly respecting the Messiah. So he more fully explains his meaning in his speech before king Agrippa, Ac 26:23.
In the Law and in the Prophets. Commanded in the law of Moses, and foretold by the prophets. That Paul had ever disbelieved any of these things, they could not prove; and his whole course had shown that he fully credited the sacred records. Most of his arguments in defending Christianity had been drawn from the Jewish writings.
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