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Acts 23:1

    Acts 23:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brothers, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And Paul, looking stedfastly on the council, said, Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And Paul, looking fixedly at the Sanhedrin, said, My brothers, my life has been upright before God till this day.

    Webster's Revision

    And Paul, looking stedfastly on the council, said, Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day.

    World English Bible

    Paul, looking steadfastly at the council, said, "Brothers, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day."

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And Paul, looking stedfastly on the council, said, Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 23:1

    I have lived in all good conscience - Some people seem to have been unnecessarily stumbled with this expression. What does the apostle mean by it? Why, that, while he was a Jew, he was one from principle of conscience; that what he did, while he continued Jew, he did from the same principle; that, when God opened his eyes to see the nature of Christianity, he became a Christian, because God persuaded his conscience that it was right for him to become one; that, in a word, he was sincere through the whole course of his religious life, and his conduct had borne the most unequivocal proofs of it. The apostle means, therefore, that there was no part of his life in which he acted as a dishonest or hypocritical man; and that he was now as fully determined to maintain his profession of Christianity as he ever was to maintain that of Judaism, previously to his acquaintance with the Christian religion.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 23:1

    And Paul, earnestly beholding - ἀτενίσας atenisas. Fixing his eyes intently on the council. The word denotes "a fixed and earnest gazing; a close observation." See Luke 4:20. Compare the notes on Acts 3:4. Paul would naturally look with a keen and attentive observation on the council. He was arraigned before them, and he would naturally observe the appearance, and endeavor to ascertain the character of his judges. Besides, it was by this council that he had been formerly commissioned to persecute the Christians, Acts 9:1-2. He had not seen them since that commission was given. He would naturally, therefore, regard them with an attentive eye. The result shows, also, that he looked at them to see what was the character of the men there assembled, and what was the proportion of Pharisees and Sadducees, Acts 23:6.

    The council - Greek: the Sanhedrin, Acts 22:30. It was the great council, composed of seventy elders, to whom was entrusted the affairs of the nation. See the notes on Matthew 1:4.

    Men and brethren - Greek: "Men, brethren"; the usual form of beginning an address among the Jews. See Acts 2:29. He addressed them still as his brethren.

    I have lived in all good conscience - I have conducted myself so as to maintain a good conscience. I have done what I believed to be right. This was a bold declaration, after the tumult, and charges, and accusations of the previous day Acts 22; and yet it was strictly true. His persecutions of the Christians had been conducted conscientiously, Acts 26:9, "I verily thought with myself," says he, "that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth." Of his conscientiousness and fidelity in their service they could bear witness. Of his conscientiousness since, he could make a similar declaration. He doubtless meant to say that as he had been conscientious in persecution, so he had been in his conversion and in his subsequent course. And as they knew that his former life had been with a good conscience, they ought to presume that he had maintained the same character still. This was a remarkably bold appeal to be made by an accused man, and it shows the strong consciousness which Paul had of his innocence. What would have been the drift of his discourse in proving this we can only Conjecture. He was interrupted Acts 23:2; but there can be no doubt that he would have pursued such a course of argument as would tend to establish his innocence.

    Before God - Greek: to God - τῷ Θεῷ tō Theō. He had lived to God, or with reference to his commands, so as to keep a conscience pure in his sight. The same principle of conduct he states more at length in Acts 24:16; "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men."

    Until this day - Including the time before his conversion to Christianity, and after. In both conditions he was conscientious; in one, conscientious in persecution and error, though he deemed it to be right; in the other, conscientious in the truth. The mere fact that a man is conscientious does not prove that he is right or innocent. See the note on John 16:2.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 23:1

    23:1 And Paul earnestly beholding the council - Professing a clear conscience by his very countenance; and likewise waiting to see whether any of them was minded to ask him any question, said, I have lived in all good conscience before God till this day - He speaks chiefly of the time since he became a Christian. For none questioned him concerning what he had been before. And yet even in his unconverted state, although he was in an error, yet he had acted from conscience, before God - Whatever men may think or say of me.