Acts 26 Paul testifies before king Agrippa
Gene R. Cook
"There are things we can do that will help us to consistently have the Spirit of the Lord in our homes, especially during scripture reading time. And if we have that Spirit, both the parents and children can be touched, blessed, and changed-and each family member can be strengthened every day we read the words of the Lord together...If you use spiritual examples from your own life, you will invite the Spirit into your home and will help bring about the conversion of all present.
"We see a classic example of this principle-and its power-in Paul's testimony to King Agrippa." (Searching the Scriptures: Bringing Power to Your Personal and Family Study, 204-9, emphasis added)
Acts 26:5 after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee
" [Paul] defended himself as 'a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee' (Acts 23:6) and called the Pharisees the 'strictest' party in Judaism (Acts 26:5, NKJB). Recent committee translations agree on that term, which means 'most exact' or 'most careful' in this context. The Mishnah, the Jewish law written down about A.D. 200, preserves the thinking of the Pharisees, whose fundamental tradition was, 'Be deliberate in judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence around the Law.' Thus, Paul walked in the path of his father and of the fathers of his people, who sought to protect the Mosaic code, which was the central 'Law.' Josephus, a young Pharisee who lived at the time of Paul, explains, 'The Pharisees had passed on to the people certain regulations handed down by former generations and not recorded in the Laws of Moses.' The Mishnah summarizes these rules about rules, condensing and compacting them into some eight hundred pages in the standard English translation...For Jesus Christ, the process had gone too far, as he accused the Pharisees of cluttering the meaning of God's greatest commandments: 'Ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups, and many other such like things ye do. . . . Ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition' (Mark 7:8-9)." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul, 22 - 23.)
Howard W. Hunter
"The main characteristics of the Pharisees were their legalism and their legalistic inflexibility. They were known for their strict accuracy in the interpretation of the law and their scrupulous adherence to living the law in every minute detail. . . .
"Paul was a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, and he was educated by Gamaliel, a Pharisee. On three different occasions he declared himself to be a member of the sect. . . . This training as a Pharisee made him an extremist in his devotion to the Jewish law, which answers the question as to why he was such a zealous persecutor of the Christians prior to his experience on Damascus Road." ("Paul: Persecutor Becomes a Follower", LDS Church News, 1991, 06/29/91)
Acts 26:6-8 I...am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers
Bruce R. McConkie
"An eternal inheritance in an eternal promised land was the hope of Israel. Paul, who found himself persecuted and in chains 'for the hope of Israel' (Acts 28:20), said to King Agrippa: 'I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope [in a day yet future] to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?' (Acts 26:6-8.)
"The hope of Israel, from olden days and through all her generations, was that the house and people and nation of Israel would be eternal, that through the resurrection they would inherit their promised land forever. (Acts 23:6; 24:15, 21.) Abraham, Israel's father, was promised the land of Canaan for himself and his posterity forever (Gen. 12:1-10), but during his lifetime Abraham never actually received his inheritance. (Acts 7.) The hope of Israel was that Abraham and his posterity would yet enter into their promised inheritance.
"David kept Israel in remembrance of their future hope by saying: 'Evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.' (Ps. 37:9-11.) Our Lord renewed this same promise during his mortal ministry. (Matt. 5:5.) Isaiah recorded the words of the Lord Jehovah, 'Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.' (Isa. 26:19.)
"The Lord set Ezekiel 'down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,' and had him foretell in detail relative to the resurrection. 'Son of man,' the Lord then said to him, 'these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.' (Ezek. 37:1-14.)
"Paul said of Abraham and the prophets that they 'looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God,' but that 'These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they meek a country,... a better country, that is, an heavenly.' (Heb. 11:8-16.)
"The triumph and hope of Israel is yet future. In part it will be realized during the millennial era, but the final inheritance, the fulfillment of the hope in the eternal sense, will come after this earth becomes a celestial sphere, for in that day 'the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it.' (D. & C. 88:17.)" (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., 367.)
Acts 26:8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
"...as Paul testified of the resurrection, Festus interrupted him and 'said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad' (Acts 26:24).
"As the above passages illustrate, the doctrine of the resurrection, concerning which the prophets have taught and testified, is simply not congruent with the learning and the philosophies of the world. The resurrection is something to which the world cannot relate empirically; it has to be understood by faith and by the Holy Ghost. Consequently it is not readily accepted or believed in the world. Paul's magnificent statement about the resurrection recorded in 1 Cor. 15 apparently was written to convince the intellectuals of his day, those who trusted in reason, that the resurrection was logical, scriptural, and necessary. He said that his knowledge of the resurrection came by revelation but that the doctrine was reasonable even so. The testimony of the scriptures and of the Holy Spirit is that the resurrection of Jesus, and eventually of all mankind, is literal, historical, and factual truth. It really did happen to Jesus, it has already happened to many, and it will yet happen to many more." (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible!, 199.)
"To be able to accept the message of Paul in those days that God really had raised the dead, for Christ had been raised from the dead and had appeared to him, was harder, possibly, to believe than the message of the prophet of this dispensation.
"...Now the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that the Father and the Son appeared to him when he was a mere lad, not quite fifteen, and the thing that he could not understand was the prejudice that that statement aroused in the minds of leaders of men and leaders of religion, for he was a boy of no great pretense, just a farmer's boy without education, and he said he could understand, but he said he felt as he imagined Paul felt. He knew that he had seen a light. He knew that he had heard the voices of these two Personages, God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. And he said he knew that God knew it, and he dared not deny it because he knew that by so doing he would come under condemnation before God.
"Does it seem any more incredible today to believe that the God of heaven and his Son Jesus Christ who was resurrected from the grave should appear to man here upon this earth than to believe that Christ was resurrected?" (Conference Report, April 1956, Third Day-Morning Meeting 96.)
Acts 26:9 I verily thought...I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus
"The reader of the book of Acts is left to ponder why Paul, who earlier had sought 'to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus' (Acts 26:9), received so great a blessing in a seemingly unsolicited way. Paul's experience can reasonably be seen as an outgrowth of his premortal life. Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: 'Truly, as the scripture saith, 'the gifts and calling of God are without repentance' (Romans 11:29), meaning the Lord takes a Paul, an Alma, or a Matthew, as he chooses, because that called servant was prepared and foreordained from the premortal eternities to perform the labors to which the call extends. Manifestly all such do repent and make themselves worthy in all respects for the divine labor that is then theirs.'
"Concerning the connection between the premortal existence and the divine allocation of spiritual gifts, Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote, 'Each mortal is 'endowed' genetically, environmentally, but also premortally.' In this respect, Paul joined other valiant sons and daughters of God as a beneficiary, in the mortal sphere, of righteous choices made in the premortal councils." (Robert C. Freeman, The Apostle Paul, His Life and His Testimony: The 23d Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 37.)
Acts 26:12-19 Paul's third recitation of his conversion
None of the three versions of Paul's conversion experience are exactly the same (compare Acts 9:3-18, Acts 22:6-16, and Acts 26:12-19). Does this mean there are significant discrepancies which detract from the reality of his vision? In this last account, Paul tells of his calling to be 'a minister and a witness' to the Gentiles (v. 16-18). This precious morsel was not recorded in earlier versions. Do we have need to worry about these differences?
"Critics love to dwell on supposed inconsistencies in Joseph Smith's spontaneous accounts of his first vision. But people normally give shorter and longer accounts of their own vivid experiences when retelling them more than once. Joseph Smith was cautious about public explanations of his sacred experiences until the Church grew strong and could properly publicize what God had given him. Thus, his most detailed first vision account came after several others-when he began his formal history.
"This, too, parallels Paul's experience. His most detailed account of the vision on the road to Damascus is the last of several recorded. (See Acts 26:9-20.) And this is the only known instance in which he related the detail about the glorified Savior prophesying Paul's work among the Gentiles. (See Acts 26:16-18.) Why would Paul include this previously unmentioned detail only on that occasion? Probably because he was speaking to a Gentile audience, rather than to a group of Jewish Christians. Both Paul and Joseph Smith had reasons for delaying full details of their visions until the proper time and place." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Parallel Prophets: Paul and Joseph Smith," Ensign, Apr. 1985, 12)
"On at least four different occasions, Joseph Smith either wrote or dictated to scribes accounts of his sacred experience of 1820...The four surviving recitals of this theophany were prepared or rendered through different scribes, at different times, from a different perspective, for different purposes and to different audiences. It is not surprising, therefore, that each of them emphasizes different aspects of his experience...In an important way, the existence of these different accounts helps support the integrity of the Latter-day Saint Prophet. It indicates that Joseph did not deliberately create a memorized version which he related to everyone. In the legal profession, attorneys and judges recognize that if a witness repeats an incident by using precisely the same language, the court might challenge the validity of such a statement.
"...Like Paul, Joseph Smith did not relate all the details of his profound experience of 1820 at any one time. When Paul found that his Gentile ministry was in question, he recalled (years after his vision) how the Lord had outlined his mission to the non-Jewish nations at the time of his first vision." (Milton V. Backman Jr., "Joseph Smith's Recitals of the First Vision," Ensign, Jan. 1985, 8)
Acts 26:13-14 I saw in the way a light from heaven...I heard a voice speaking unto me
"I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise." (JS-Hist 1:24)
Acts 26:14 it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks
We must remember that the King James Version of the Bible was written in 17th century English. Hence, the meaning of certain phrases requires some explanation. 'To kick against the pricks' is an expression meaning to persecute the Church (see DC 121:38). That it was 'hard for [Saul]' doesn't mean that he lacked the tendency or the natural ability, but that his efforts were hard on him in ways he did not yet understand. In essence, Saul's efforts were destroying himself more than they were destroying the Church.
"At his first vision, Paul was told that it was hard for him 'to kick against the pricks' (Acts 26:14), the last word referring to the sharp jab of the pointed stick against which balky animals fought. So Paul was resisting spiritual impressions prior to his Damascus vision. He had heard Stephen's testimony before his death: 'Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God' (Acts 7:56). Saul was prepared not by the mere mechanics of emotional reversal, but by the direct example of Stephen's vision. Not yet digesting the significance of what he had seen, Paul continued 'breathing out threatenings and slaughter' (Acts 9:1)." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul, 26 - 27.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"I often wondered just what this meant. I found one authority who offered this:
' . . Those who kick at the goad, that stifle and smother the convictions of conscience, that rebel against God's truths laws, that quarrel with His providences, that persecute and oppose His ministers, because they reprove them . . . and fly in the face of their reprovers, they kick against the pricks, and will have a great deal to answer for.' (Commentaries by Henry M. Scott.)
"A goad is defined as a spear or a sharp pointed stick used to sting or prig. The burro who kicks the sharp instrument with which he is being prodded is kicking at the pricks. His retaliation does little damage to the sharp stick or to him who wields it but brings distress to the foot that kicks it.
"I well remember in my youth a neighbor who moved about some days on crutches. He was evasive when asked the cause of his misfortune, but an ear witness told me, as he chuckled: 'John stubbed his toe on a chair in the night and in his quick, fierce anger, he kicked the chair and broke his toe.' The rocking chair rocked on and on, and perhaps smiled at the stupidity of man." (Conference Report, April 1955, p. 94.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"In this figure of speech is captured the essence of rebellion against God; we can only hurt ourselves. If one is pricked by a goad and angered by the pain, he may foolishly strike out at the source of irritation, only to suffer even more." (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 305.)
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Oh, how we need in this day and time men and women who will stand up for decency and truth and honesty and virtue and law and order and all of the other good qualities on which our society is founded. . . .
"Now, I want to say to you, and I say it with a plea in my heart, get involved. Get involved on the side of righteousness and truth and decency and sobriety and virtue. You, and others like you, are the great hope of this world. God bless you to speak up for truth and decency. I love these marvelous words of Paul to Agrippa when he recounted his experience on the way to Damascus. The Lord spoke unto him and said, when he had fallen to the ground:
'But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness. . . .
'To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. . . .' (Acts 26:16, 18.)
"I wish every young man and woman in this church would read and reread those marvelous words from the 26th chapter of Acts-the words of the Lord to Paul who became probably the greatest missionary who ever walked the earth. . . .
"The problem with most of us is that we are afraid. We want to do the right thing, but we are troubled by fears and we sit back and the world drifts about us." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 129)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Jesus said, 'Rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee . . . to make thee a minister and a witness, . . . To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.' (Acts 26:16, 18.)
"This is the business of the Church-to open the vision of men to eternal verities and to prompt them to take a stand for equity and decency, for virtue, sobriety, and goodness." (Be Thou an Example, 17.)
Acts 26:19 O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision
Howard W. Hunter
"There are some who see but do not believe. One needs to be only a bystander to see, but to believe, one must accept wholeheartedly and commit himself to his belief. This requires faith and repentance of old ways. Paul had been raised in the belief his family had held for generations. He had been trained in that faith, and it is fair to say that he understood it, but it was not until that day on Damascus Road when Jesus spoke to him that the object of his life was changed. There are persons in every church who see, but some do not believe. Because they have been raised in the beliefs of their fathers, their minds are closed, and they are satisfied to continue. We wonder why it took Paul so long to see the light and why he so vigorously opposed the teachings of the Savior. The answer is apparent. He was born into a certain belief and followed it until it became a habit. He had a preconceived idea of the law which closed his mind to the truth until that event on Damascus Road." (LDS Church News, 1995, 08/12/95)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Once Paul understood about Jesus' being the Messiah and overcame his narrow and pharisaical view of things, he became an earnest and most effective witness for the Savior; then he had to contend with the same narrowness in his audiences. No wonder Paul preached with such great vigor about how Moses had spoken of the coming of the Messiah and the Christ-'That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.' (Acts 26:23.)
"Paul saw, again and again, how to most Jews Jesus of Nazareth was a 'stumbling block.' Later in his ministry, he saw a dual form of rejection: to most Greeks, Jesus was 'foolishness.' (1 Corinthians 1:23.) Only the meek-then and now-have ears to hear and eyes to see and the courage to receive 'repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.'" (Meek and Lowly, 36.)
Acts 26:20 they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance
Paul, the great champion of the doctrine of grace, taught that the investigator must show 'works meet for repentance.' Therefore, his doctrine is not at odds with that of James but confirms what he taught, 'a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works' (James 2:18). Latter-day revelation gives a third witness, 'All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized...and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church' (DC 20:37, emphasis added).
Acts 26:24 much learning doth make thee mad
Church leaders uniformly encourage us to better ourselves through education. Yet, some have done just as Festus indicated; they have become confused and extremist from their 'much learning.' Harold B. Lee taught of "the reason for mental and spiritual turmoil...in those who have advanced degrees in their higher learning in secular fields but have neglected spiritual nourishment...The insinuation of Festus suggests what higher education could do to a frustrated man, with but a smattering of unrelated bits of information with no unifying philosophy. Psychologists today tell us that one such, without a belief in either God or the Devil, 'like a blocked body of water turns back upon itself, collecting scum, refuse, and silt, so the soul turns back upon itself and collects instinctive, dark forebodings,' (Peace of Soul) which makes of his days and nights torture-chambers of discontent." (Conference Report, April 1958, Afternoon Meeting 135 - 136.)
For members of the Church, the challenge is to learn from the 'best books words of wisdom' (DC 88:118) without succumbing to the wisdom of the world. Otherwise, we might find ourselves judged by Nephi who taught, 'O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish' (2 Ne 9:28).
Had Paul gone mad from much learning? Was Festus right? Or had Festus, according to Satan's classic pattern, used a true principle to falsely charge a servant of God?
Neal A. Maxwell
"As always, the adversary manages to have it both ways. Educated and articulate Paul, learned by worldly standards, gave a great discourse before King Agrippa, yet Agrippa turned Paul's learning against that prophet by saying, 'Much learning doth make thee mad' (Acts 26:24).
"Prophets can be dismissed or discounted in many ways. If their faults can be focused upon, their message can be dismissed. Or, if they can be labeled, they need not be listened to (winebibber, Sabbath breaker, unlearned, ignorant, and so forth). Or, if they can be denigrated in some other way, their message can be discounted." (Sermons Not Spoken, 46.)
Acts 26:26 this thing was not done in a corner
Ezra Taft Benson
"I think of the words of the Apostle Paul, as he stood before King Agrippa making his defense-Paul, a persecutor of the Saints, converted to Christianity through a glorious manifestation. And there as he stood before King Agrippa in chains, the king permitted him to make his own defense.
"I remember that as he made his defense, outlining the mission of Christ, referring to this thing called Christianity, he said in substance, to the king, 'Surely, King, you must have heard of this new movement, for this thing [has not been] done in a corner' (see Acts 26:26). How well that applies to Mormonism today. Yes, persecutions have come in the past. Our people have endured much. I think of the Prophet in Liberty Jail. I think of the brethren who were shot down by mobs. I think of the missionaries and the persecutions that met them.
"No, this thing has not been 'done in a corner.' The hand of God has been directing His Church and His people. And so it will be in the future." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 451.)
Ezra Taft Benson
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, founded and directed by a prophet of God, has been before the world for nearly a century and a half. It has met mob violence, persecution, drivings, and deception by wicked men, and prejudice and misunderstandings by many people throughout the world. Yet, in spite of widespread opposition, ambassadors of truth have carried, from the very beginning, and are today carrying to the world the all-important message of the restored church as directed by Joseph Smith the Prophet.
"Paraphrasing the words of Apostle Paul, this thing has not been done in a corner. (See Acts 26:26.)
"The world has generally revered the ancient dead prophets and rejected the living ones. It was so with Joseph Smith. Truth is often on the scaffold, error on the throne. But time is on the side of truth, for truth is eternal. The message of Mormonism is a world message. It is the truth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a world organization." (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, 40.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"As I have gone about the world, I have had opportunity for interviews with representatives of the media. This is always a worrisome undertaking because one never knows what will be asked. These reporters are men and women of great capacity, who know how to ask questions that come at you like a javelin. It is not exactly an enjoyable experience, but it represents an opportunity to tell the world something of our story. As Paul said to Festus and Agrippa, 'This thing was not done in a corner' (Acts 26:26).
"We have something that this world needs to hear about, and these interviews afford an opportunity to give voice to that. ("This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner," Ensign, November 1996, p. 48.)
Acts 26:28 Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian
Harold B. Lee
"We were back East a short time ago and a good bishop made an interesting comment about what he called the saddest words that he knows of a man in high station. He read from the words in the days of the Apostle Paul when Paul before King Agrippa had borne his powerful testimony of his conversion. King Agrippa's reply was, 'Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.' (Acts 26:28.) Then the bishop said, 'The king knew the truth but he lacked the courage to do that which would be required; and he could only say then, 'Almost thou persuadest,' almost persuaded under certain circumstances to do the thing the Lord would want him to do.'
"And then he characterized some things that he discovered in his own ward in a short but powerful sermon. 'In response to the Master, `Come . . . follow me' (Mark 10:21), some members almost,' he said, 'but not quite, say, `thou persuadest me almost to be honest but I need extra help to pass a test.' You young people in the choir might think of that.
"'Almost thou persuadest me to keep the Sabbath day holy, but it's fun to play ball on Sunday.
"Almost thou persuadest me to love my neighbor, but he is a rascal; to be tolerant of others' views, but they are dead wrong; to be kind to sister, but she hit me first; to go home teaching but it's so cold and damp outside tonight; to pay tithes and offerings, but we do need a new color TV set; to find the owner of a lost watch, but no one returned the watch I lost; to pass the Sacrament, but I've graduated from the deacons now, almost thou persuadest me to be reverent, but I had to tell my pal about my date last night; almost thou persuadest me to attend stake leadership meeting, but I know more than the leader on that subject, so why should I go. Thou persuadest me almost to go to Sacrament meeting but there is going to be such an uninteresting speaker tonight. Almost! Almost! Almost! but not quite, not able quite to reach." (Conference Report, April 1964, Afternoon Meeting 24.)
Acts 26:32 this man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar
By this saying, one might think that Paul made a mistake when he appealed to Caesar. After two years of imprisonment, Agrippa seems willing to let him go. Did Paul make a mistake in appealing to Caesar?
It is doubtful that Agrippa really would have let him go. Besides, the Lord's plan was to have his most vocal apostle testify before the greatest political authority on the earth. Paul had been told, 'Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome' (Acts 23:11). The Lord's plan for Paul was to testify in Rome. Paul knew it, and this is why he appealed to Caesar-not because he was trying to free himself. Paul was comfortable to suffer for Christ's name as 'the prisoner of Jesus Christ' (Eph 3:1).