Accusations, Against Early Christians
Most Relevant Verses
But when her owners discovered that their hope of profit was gone, they caught hold of Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the forum (marketplace), [where trials are held]. And when they had brought them before the magistrates, they declared, These fellows are Jews and they are throwing our city into great confusion. They encourage the practice of customs which it is unlawful for us Romans to accept or observe!
Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous -- " with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.
So they [secretly] instigated and instructed men to say, We have heard this man speak, using slanderous and abusive and blasphemous language against Moses and God. [Thus] they incited the people as well as the elders and the scribes, and they came upon Stephen and arrested him and took him before the council (Sanhedrin). And they brought forward false witnesses who asserted, This man never stops making statements against this sacred place and the Law [of Moses];read more.
For we have heard him say that this Jesus the Nazarene will tear down and destroy this place, and will alter the institutions and usages which Moses transmitted to us.
Now upon hearing these things, they [the Jews] were cut to the heart and infuriated, and they ground their teeth against [Stephen]. But he, full of the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory (the splendor and majesty) of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand; And he said, Look! I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at God's right hand!read more.
But they raised a great shout and put their hands over their ears and rushed together upon him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him, and the witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit!
But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia (most of Greece), the Jews unitedly made an attack upon Paul and brought him before the judge's seat, Declaring, This fellow is advising and inducing and inciting people to worship God in violation of the Law [of Rome and of Moses]. But when Paul was about to open his mouth to reply, Gallio said to the Jews, If it were a matter of some misdemeanor or villainy, O Jews, I should have cause to bear with you and listen;read more.
But since it is merely a question [of doctrine] about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I decline to be a judge of such matters and I have no intention of trying such cases. And he drove them away from the judgment seat. Then they [the Greeks] all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.
Now after an interval of some days, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus [to welcome him and wish him well]. And while they remained there for many days, Festus acquainted the king with Paul's case, telling him, There is a man left a prisoner in chains by Felix; And when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me about him, petitioning for a judicial hearing and condemnation of him.read more.
But I replied to them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up freely any man for punishment before the accused had met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to defend himself concerning the charge brought against him. So when they came here together, I did not delay, but on the morrow took my place on the judgment seat and ordered that the man be brought before me. [But] when the accusers stood up, they brought forward no accusation [in his case] of any such misconduct as I was expecting. Instead they had some points of controversy with him about their own religion or superstition and concerning one Jesus, Who had died but Whom Paul kept asserting [over and over] to be alive. And I, being puzzled to know how to make inquiries into such questions, asked whether he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and there be tried regarding them. But when Paul had appealed to have his case retained for examination and decision by the emperor, I ordered that he be detained until I could send him to Caesar. Then Agrippa said to Festus, I also desire to hear the man myself. Tomorrow, [Festus] replied, you shall hear him. So the next day Agrippa and Bernice approached with great display, and they went into the audience hall accompanied by the military commandants and the prominent citizens of the city. At the order of Festus Paul was brought in. Then Festus said, King Agrippa and all the men present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people came to me and complained, both at Jerusalem and here, insisting and shouting that he ought not to live any longer. But I found nothing that he had done deserving of death. Still, as he himself appealed to the emperor, I determined to send him to Rome. [However] I have nothing in particular and definite to write to my lord concerning him. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after [further] examination has been made, I may have something to put in writing. For it seems to me senseless and absurd to send a prisoner and not state the accusations against him.
Now the apostles (special messengers) and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard [with astonishment] that the Gentiles (heathen) also had received and accepted and welcomed the Word of God [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God]. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party [certain Jewish Christians] found fault with him [separating themselves from him in a hostile spirit, opposing and disputing and contending with him], Saying, Why did you go to uncircumcised men and [even] eat with them?
But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.
Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God -- "that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].