A more literal rendering would be, “Therefore, indeed, Festus answered, Paul is kept in Caesarea, and he himself is about in quickness to go out” (CG).
In the previous verse, the leaders’ plot to have Paul ambushed on a journey to Jerusalem was noted by Luke. This was based upon their asking Festus to have him brought up to Jerusalem. However, Luke next records, “Therefore, indeed, Festus answered.”
The final decision on such a matter was up to the Roman authority. As Festus was the new governor at Caesarea, what he decided would settle the matter. At this time, rather than accommodate the Jews, it says, “Paul is kept in Caesarea, and he himself is about in quickness to go out.”
The intent of Festus is debated. Luke uses a present tense verb, “is kept.” Some, such as the NKJV, interpret this in the sense that Paul “should be kept at Caesarea” because he was a Roman. It was a matter which Rome had to judge, and, therefore, Caesarea was the place where Paul belonged.
Others interpret this as simply being a matter of fact, thus, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon” (NIV). In this, it is believed that it was just more expedient for them to come to Caesarea and have them attend a trial there.
It seems unlikely that Felix would have ignored informing Festus about Paul’s situation and the attempt to kill him. Thus, the first option may be correct. This also seems more likely because the Jews have asked the favor of having him brought to Jerusalem.
Further, as Festus was in Jerusalem, it would have been rather irresponsible of him to not have talked to those in the Roman garrison. During their talk, the subject of Paul’s imprisonment would have been a matter of importance. Therefore, it seems that, at least for the time being, he was aware of possible trickery on their part. Verse 9 may dispute this, though, as Festus is said to want to do the Jews a favor.
Another option is that Festus, being the new governor, simply wanted to establish the precedent that he was in charge, and by not caving to the demands of the Jews at such an early date, he was demonstrating this authority. Therefore, he would only yield to their requests when it suited his purposes.
Life application: As noted above, the verb used by Luke is present tense, “is kept.” Despite this, there are variations in translation: is being held, was at, was being kept, should be kept, to be kept, is to be kept, etc.
Such changes, though possibly correct, do not accurately identify what the Greek actually says. The job of translators is to translate. Unless the preface to a Bible notes that they take liberties with their translations, identifying what type of liberties they take, it is not really appropriate to insert guesses, biases, presuppositions, and so forth.
These things will often not make a great deal of difference, but at times, a pastor or preacher will argue over a single word – from the version he is using – to establish a doctrine, only for it to be incorrectly translated in the first place.
Therefore, as a student of the Bible, the more time you spend checking things out, the better off you will be in what you believe. Be prepared to defend what Scripture says, but if you are going to do so, it is best for you to be properly prepared.
Today, with internet access available wherever you go, you can easily check what the preacher or teacher is saying right while you are listening to him. We live in a time of great blessing concerning the ability to access information. Let us not ignore it!
Lord God, how blessed we are. We can carry a little device with us that has more information available on it than entire libraries. We no longer need shelves full of books to access important information about Your word. Help us to wisely use the technology You have favored us with at this time in history. May we be responsible with what we have available! Amen.
If you wish to view or download Pastor Charlie's completed commentaries you can access them by Clicking Here. (note- they are PDF files which require adobe software or other PDF reader program to view. PDF reader programs are usually free to download)
Wednesday, 21 February 2024 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem—while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him. Acts 25:3 Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Tuesday, 20 February 2024 Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they petitioned him, Acts 25:2 Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten”...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Monday, 19 February 2024 Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Acts 25:1 Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast....[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Sunday, 18 February 2024 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound. Acts 24:27 Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Saturday, 17 February 2024 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him. Acts 24:26 Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Friday, 16 February 2024 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” Acts 24:25 Note: You can...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Thursday, 15 February 2024 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Acts 24:24 Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Wednesday, 14 February 2024 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him. Acts 24:23 Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Tuesday, 13 February 2024 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.” Acts 24:22...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Monday, 12 February 2024 “unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’” Acts 24:21 Note: You can listen to...[ abbreviated | read entire ]