The Paul And Felix Story In the Bible

A Roman commander found out that a group of Jews planned to kill the Apostle Paul. To protect Paul he sent him to Caesarea to stand trial before Felix the governor.

Paul planted many churches throughout the Middle East. He wrote a good portion of the New Testament. Yet he also experienced some occasions one might refer to as “failures.”

Why is this important to us? Because in our Christian walk, we also experience occasions we might refer to as failures. So be encouraged as we take a look at the story of Paul and Felix.

I will hear your case myself when your accusers arrive,” the governor told him. Then the governor ordered him kept in the prison at Herod’s headquarters. Acts 23:35

Five days after Felix said those words the accusers of Paul arrived in Caesarea to present their case. They addressed the governor and brought the following charges against Paul.

  • We have found this man to be a troublemaker who is constantly stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world.
  • He is a ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes.
  • He was trying to desecrate the Temple when we arrested him. Acts 24:5-7

They also told Felix that he could find out the truth of their accusations by examining Paul himself. So the governor allowed Paul to offer a defense. He said the following.

My accusers never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring up a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city. These men cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing. Acts 24:12-13

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Paul Boldly Proclaimed the Gospel

The apostle didn’t try to hide the truth or shy away from who he believed in and what he stood for. In fact, he compared himself with his Jewish accusers.

I have the same hope in God that these men have, that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous. Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people. Acts 24:15-16

After Paul finished speaking, Felix decided to adjourn the hearing and wait to make his decision about the case. 

He instructed that Paul be kept in custody. He give him some freedom and allowed his friends to visit him and take care of his needs. It seemed that Felix was intrigued by Paul.

A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus. Acts 24:24

The apostle Paul took full advantage of the opportunities given by Felix to speak the gospel to him. Conviction of the Holy Spirit brought the governor to a breaking point.

As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.” Acts 24:25

Felix Ended the Conversation with Paul

At that moment Felix ended the conversation. Conviction will always bring a person to a decision. They will either choose reception or rejection.

History doesn’t tell us if Felix ever accepted the Lord or if he was even interested in receiving Him. We know and I’m sure Paul knew what motivated Felix to continually meet with him.

He also hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him quite often and talked with him. Acts 24:26

Maybe Felix sought a bribe from Paul because of something the apostle said during his defense.

After several years away, I returned to Jerusalem with money to aid my people and to offer sacrifices to God. Acts 24:17

Paul wasn’t concerned about the reason Felix continued to meet with him. He used each occasion to tell the governor and everyone with him the truths of the gospel. 

Did Paul fail in His Ministry to Felix?

I don’t see how we could call Paul a failure in his attempt to win Felix to the Lord. To our knowledge, he did what he could in the time frame he had.

Paul didn’t give up on Felix after a week or a month. No, he persistently ministered to him for 2 years. He didn’t allow any discouragement to set in and stop him.

In fact, Paul understood a simple principle that all of us should take to heart. He wrote it in his first letter to the Corinthian Church.

Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:5-6

Watering and Planting

Paul and Felix

We don’t know if the apostle was planting or watering. But we do know that Paul witnessed to Felix and trusted the Lord for the governor’s spiritual growth.

God declared through the prophet Isaiah that we are his witnesses. But we tend to declare success or failure according to the outcome. Witnesses though don’t convict, they tell what they know.

So when God uses you in leading someone to the Lord, it’s ok to rejoice. Because you won’t be rejoicing alone. Listen to what Jesus said at the end of His parable of the lost coin.

“There is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” Luke 15:10

If you feel you have failed in leading someone to the Lord, you haven’t. You have either planted the gospel in a person’s life or watered it. Watering can also come by praying for that person.

Lord, thank you for your encouraging Word. Often we forget how important our role is in leading others to Jesus. When we plant and water the seed, help us to trust you for its growth.

Check out some other posts written on chapters in the Book of Acts

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