Acts 26:5 Commentary

Act 26:5 They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

In Acts 26:5 the word “foreknowledge” is used in reference to man’s foreknowledge. In this instance the foreknowledge is said to be “from the first” (NKJV) or “from the beginning” (KJV). It should be obvious to any neutral observer that if this verse were speaking of God’s foreknowledge “from the beginning” that this verse would be used as a prooftext for eternal foreknowledge of all things. Lessor uses of the word “foreknowledge” are already used for such prooftexts (such as Acts 2:23).

In this case, the context of the phrase is limited to Paul’s life among the Jews. The Jews had a familiarity with Paul earlier in Paul’s life. “From the beginning” is an idiomatic way of saying “since very early in my life”. This shows the flexibility of language and how context gives limits to otherwise seemingly limitless phrases. Phrases do not stand alone, but require context to understand.

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