Acts 26:1 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

Introductory Thoughts

Paul testified that he was one of the most religious people that ever lived. When defending himself before the religious leaders of his day, he said that he “lived a Pharisee” “after the most straitest sect” of his religion. He “profited in the Jews’ religion above many” of his equals (Galatians 1:14). Paul’s devotion to his religion was so striking that many heard of his “conversation [lifestyle] in time past in the Jews’ religion” (Galatians 1:13). If any individual could have had confidence in his religious efforts, it would have been the apostle Paul (Philippians 3:4-6). After all, he was blameless “touching the righteousness which is in the law” (Philippians 3:6). However, in spite of his religious fervor and devotion, the apostle Paul was lost and on his way to hell until he trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour (Philippians 3:7-11). Paul later considered his earlier “service to God” to be nothing more than dung.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Read Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee was proud of what he did and did not do. The publican was willing to admit that he had sinned and depended on God’s mercy to clear his guilt. This again proves that works can never save (Titus 3:5-7; Ephesians 2:8-9).
• (For everyone): What are some religious credentials of which Paul could boast (Philippians 3:4-6)? Why did these credentials fall short of satisfying Paul’s needs?
• What are some religious credentials that people most often boast of today (i.e., baptism, church membership, tithing)? How do each of these fall short of giving man what he truly needs?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to help you rely on His Son rather than upon your religion.
• Ask the Lord to open the eyes of those trusting in their religion for salvation.