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Acts 24:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And herein do I exercise myself - And this very tenet is a pledge for my good behavior; for as I believe there will be a resurrection, both of the just and unjust, and that every man shall be judged for the deeds done in the body, so I exercise myself day and night, that I may have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men.

Toward God - In entertaining no opinion contrary to his truth; and in offering no worship contrary to his dignity, purity, and excellence.

Toward men - In doing nothing to them that I would not, on a change of circumstances, they should do to me; and in withholding nothing by which I might comfort and serve them.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And herein - In this, or for this purpose.

Do I exercise myself - ἀσκῶ askōI accustom or employ myself; I make it my constant aim. Paul often appeals to his conscientiousness as the leading habit of his life. Even before his conversion he endeavored to act according to the dictates of conscience. See Acts 26:9; compare Philemon 3:5-6.

To have always a conscience … - To do what is right, so that my conscience shall never reproach me.

Void of offence - ἀπρόσκοπον aproskoponThat which is inoffensive, or which does not cause one to stumble or fall. He means that he endeavored to keep his conscience so enlightened and pure in regard to duty, and that he acted according to its dictates in such a way that his conduct should not be displeasing to God or injurious to man. To have such a conscience implies two things:

(1)That it be enlightened or properly informed in regard to truth and duty; and,

(2)That what is made known to be right should be honestly and faithfully performed. Without these two things no man can have a conscience that will be inoffensive and harmless.

Toward God - In an honest endearour to discharge the duties of public and private worship, and to do constantly what he requires believing all that he has spoken; doing all that he requires; and offering to him the service which he approves.

Toward men - In endeavoring to meet all the demands of justice and mercy; to advance their knowledge, happiness, and salvation; living so that I may look back on my life with the reflection that I have done all that I ought to have done, and all that I could do to promote the welfare of the whole human family. What a noble principle of conduct was this! How elevated and how pure! How unlike the conduct of those who live to gratify debasing sensual appetites, or for gold or honor; of those who pass their lives in such a manner as to offer the grossest offence to God and to do the most injury to man. The great and noble aim of Paul was to be pure; and no slander of his enemies, no trials, persecutions, perils, or pains of dying could take away the approving voice of conscience. Alike in his travels and in his persecutions; among friends and foes; when preaching in the synal gogue, the city, or the desert; or when defending himself before governors and kings, he had this testimony of a self-approving mind. Happy they who thus frame their lives. And happy will be the end of a life where this has been the grand object of the journey through this world.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Paul gives a just account of himself, which clears him from crime, and likewise shows the true reason of the violence against him. Let us never be driven from any good way by its having an ill name. It is very comfortable, in worshipping God, to look to him as the God of our fathers, and to set up no other rule of faith or practice but the Scriptures. This shows there will be a resurrection to a final judgment. Prophets and their doctrines were to be tried by their fruits. Paul's aim was to have a conscience void of offence. His care and endeavour was to abstain from many things, and to abound in the exercises of religion at all times; both towards God. and towards man. If blamed for being more earnest in the things of God than our neighbours, what is our reply? Do we shrink from the accusation? How many in the world would rather be accused of any weakness, nay, even of wickedness, than of an earnest, fervent feeling of love to the Lord Jesus Christ, and of devotedness to his service! Can such think that He will confess them when he comes in his glory, and before the angels of God? If there is any sight pleasing to the God of our salvation, and a sight at which the angels rejoice, it is, to behold a devoted follower of the Lord, here upon earth, acknowledging that he is guilty, if it be a crime, of loving the Lord who died for him, with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. And that he will not in silence see God's word despised, or hear his name profaned; he will rather risk the ridicule and the hatred of the world, than one frown from that gracious Being whose love is better than life.
Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 159

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 John 3:1. UL 159.1

“Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” It does not understand the principles that underlie our course of action. We must stand before God with a conscience void of offense. There are wonderful privileges for every one of us. God never places before us a requirement without giving us the power to perform it. He never asks us to take one step in advance of Him. He leads the way, and we are to follow after. Following Him, we are in no danger of going astray. Thus only can we perfect a Christian character as stewards of the grace of God. UL 159.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 120

[Compiled from various publications, and from manuscripts of large circulation.]

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 327

Inward peace and a conscience void of offense toward God will quicken and invigorate the intellect like dew distilled upon the tender plants. The will is then rightly directed and controlled, and is more decided, and yet free from perverseness. The meditations are pleasing because they are sanctified. The serenity of mind which you may possess will bless all with whom you associate. This peace and calmness will, in time, become natural, and will reflect its precious rays upon all around you, to be again reflected upon you. The more you taste this heavenly peace and quietude of mind, the more it will increase. It is an animated, living pleasure which does not throw all the moral energies into a stupor, but awakens them to increased activity. Perfect peace is an attribute of heaven which angels possess. May God help you to become a possessor of this peace. 2T 327.1

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 143

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16. OHC 143.1

In the Word of God we read that there are good and bad consciences.... Take your conscience to the Word of God, and see if your life and character are in accordance with the standard of righteousness which God has there revealed. You can then determine whether or not you have an intelligent faith, and what manner of conscience is yours. The conscience of man cannot be trusted unless it is under the influence of divine grace. Satan takes advantage of an unenlightened conscience, and thereby leads men into all manner of delusions. OHC 143.2

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