Bible: Acts 21:27-23:25

21:27 When the seven days were almost over, 1  the Jews from the province of Asia 2  who had seen him in the temple area 3  stirred up the whole crowd 4  and seized 5  him, 21:28 shouting, “Men of Israel, 6  help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, 7  and this sanctuary! 8  Furthermore 9  he has brought Greeks into the inner courts of the temple 10  and made this holy place ritually unclean! 11  21:29 (For they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him previously, and 12  they assumed Paul had brought him into the inner temple courts.) 13  21:30 The whole city was stirred up, 14  and the people rushed together. 15  They seized 16  Paul and dragged him out of the temple courts, 17  and immediately the doors were shut. 21:31 While they were trying 18  to kill him, a report 19  was sent up 20  to the commanding officer 21  of the cohort 22  that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 23  21:32 He 24  immediately took 25  soldiers and centurions 26  and ran down to the crowd. 27  When they saw 28  the commanding officer 29  and the soldiers, they stopped beating 30  Paul. 21:33 Then the commanding officer 31  came up and arrested 32  him and ordered him to be tied up with two chains; 33  he 34  then asked who he was and what 35  he had done. 21:34 But some in the crowd shouted one thing, and others something else, 36  and when the commanding officer 37  was unable 38  to find out the truth 39  because of the disturbance, 40  he ordered Paul 41  to be brought into the barracks. 42  21:35 When he came to the steps, Paul 43  had to be carried 44  by the soldiers because of the violence 45  of the mob, 21:36 for a crowd of people 46  followed them, 47  screaming, “Away with him! 21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, 48  he said 49  to the commanding officer, 50 May I say 51  something to you?” The officer 52  replied, 53 Do you know Greek? 54  21:38 Then you’re not that Egyptian who started a rebellion 55  and led the four thousand men of the ‘Assassins 56  into the wilderness 57  some time ago? 58  21:39 Paul answered, 59 I am a Jew 60  from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. 61  Please 62  allow me to speak to the people.” 21:40 When the commanding officer 63  had given him permission, 64  Paul stood 65  on the steps and gestured 66  to the people with his hand. When they had become silent, 67  he addressed 68  them in Aramaic, 69 

Paul’s Defense

22:1Brothers and fathers, listen to my defense 70  that I now 71  make to you.” 22:2 (When they heard 72  that he was addressing 73  them in Aramaic, 74  they became even 75  quieter.) 76  Then 77  Paul said, 22:3 I am a Jew, 78  born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up 79  in this city, educated with strictness 80  under 81  Gamaliel 82  according to the law of our ancestors, 83  and was 84  zealous 85  for God just as all of you are today. 22:4 I 86  persecuted this Way 87  even to the point of death, 88  tying up 89  both men and women and putting 90  them in prison, 22:5 as both the high priest and the whole council of elders 91  can testify about me. From them 92  I also received 93  letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I was on my way 94  to make arrests there and bring 95  the prisoners 96  to Jerusalem 97  to be punished. 22:6 As 98  I was en route and near Damascus, 99  about noon a very bright 100  light from heaven 101  suddenly flashed 102  around me. 22:7 Then I 103  fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 22:8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 22:9 Those who were with me saw the light, but did not understand 104  the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 22:10 So I asked, 105 What should I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up 106  and go to Damascus; there you will be told about everything 107  that you have been designated 108  to do.’ 22:11 Since I could not see because of 109  the brilliance 110  of that light, I came to Damascus led by the hand of 111  those who were with me. 22:12 A man named Ananias, 112  a devout man according to the law, 113  well spoken of by all the Jews who live there, 114  22:13 came 115  to me and stood beside me 116  and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ 117  And at that very moment 118  I looked up and saw him. 119  22:14 Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors 120  has already chosen 121  you to know his will, to see 122  the Righteous One, 123  and to hear a command 124  from his mouth, 22:15 because you will be his witness 125  to all people 126  of what you have seen and heard. 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? 127  Get up, 128  be baptized, and have your sins washed away, 129  calling on his name.’ 130  22:17 When 131  I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 132  22:18 and saw the Lord 133  saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 22:19 I replied, 134 Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat those in the various synagogues 135  who believed in you. 22:20 And when the blood of your witness 136  Stephen was shed, 137  I myself was standing nearby, approving, 138  and guarding the cloaks 139  of those who were killing him.’ 140  22:21 Then 141  he said to me, ‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’

The Roman Commander Questions Paul

22:22 The crowd 142  was listening to him until he said this. 143  Then 144  they raised their voices and shouted, 145 Away with this man 146  from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live! 147  22:23 While they were screaming 148  and throwing off their cloaks 149  and tossing dust 150  in the air, 22:24 the commanding officer 151  ordered Paul 152  to be brought back into the barracks. 153  He told them 154  to interrogate Paul 155  by beating him with a lash 156  so that he could find out the reason the crowd 157  was shouting at Paul 158  in this way. 22:25 When they had stretched him out for the lash, 159  Paul said to the centurion 160  standing nearby, “Is it legal for you to lash a man who is a Roman citizen 161  without a proper trial? 162  22:26 When the centurion 163  heard this, 164  he went to the commanding officer 165  and reported it, 166  saying, “What are you about to do? 167  For this man is a Roman citizen.” 168  22:27 So the commanding officer 169  came and asked 170  Paul, 171 Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” 172  He replied, 173 Yes.” 22:28 The commanding officer 174  answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” 175 But I was even 176  born a citizen,” 177  Paul replied. 178  22:29 Then those who were about to interrogate him stayed away 179  from him, and the commanding officer 180  was frightened when he realized that Paul 181  was 182  a Roman citizen 183  and that he had had him tied up. 184 

Paul Before the Sanhedrin

22:30 The next day, because the commanding officer 185  wanted to know the true reason 186  Paul 187  was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and the whole council 188  to assemble. He then brought 189  Paul down and had him stand before them.

23:1 Paul looked directly 190  at the council 191  and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with a clear conscience 192  before God to this day.” 23:2 At that 193  the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near 194  Paul 195  to strike 196  him on the mouth. 23:3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! 197  Do 198  you sit there judging me according to the law, 199  and in violation of the law 200  you order me to be struck?” 23:4 Those standing near him 201  said, “Do you dare insult 202  God’s high priest? 23:5 Paul replied, 203 I did not realize, 204  brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about a ruler of your people.’ 205 

23:6 Then when Paul noticed 206  that part of them were Sadducees 207  and the others Pharisees, 208  he shouted out in the council, 209 Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection 210  of the dead! 23:7 When he said this, 211  an argument 212  began 213  between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 23:8 (For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.) 214  23:9 There was a great commotion, 215  and some experts in the law 216  from the party of the Pharisees stood up 217  and protested strongly, 218 We find nothing wrong 219  with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him? 23:10 When the argument became 220  so great the commanding officer 221  feared that they would tear Paul to pieces, 222  he ordered the detachment 223  to go down, take him away from them by force, 224  and bring him into the barracks. 225 

23:11 The following night the Lord 226  stood near 227  Paul 228  and said, “Have courage, 229  for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, 230  so you must also testify in Rome.” 231 

The Plot to Kill Paul

23:12 When morning came, 232  the Jews formed 233  a conspiracy 234  and bound themselves with an oath 235  not to eat or drink anything 236  until they had killed Paul. 23:13 There were more than forty of them who formed this conspiracy. 237  23:14 They 238  went 239  to the chief priests 240  and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath 241  not to partake 242  of anything until we have killed Paul. 23:15 So now you and the council 243  request the commanding officer 244  to bring him down to you, as if you were going to determine 245  his case 246  by conducting a more thorough inquiry. 247  We are ready to kill him 248  before he comes near this place.” 249 

23:16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush, 250  he came and entered 251  the barracks 252  and told Paul. 23:17 Paul called 253  one of the centurions 254  and said, “Take this young man to the commanding officer, 255  for he has something to report to him.” 23:18 So the centurion 256  took him and brought him to the commanding officer 257  and said, “The prisoner Paul called 258  me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 23:19 The commanding officer 259  took him by the hand, withdrew privately, and asked, “What is it that you want 260  to report to me? 23:20 He replied, 261 The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council 262  tomorrow, as if they were going to inquire more thoroughly about him. 23:21 So do not let them persuade you to do this, 263  because more than forty of them 264  are lying in ambush 265  for him. They 266  have bound themselves with an oath 267  not to eat or drink anything 268  until they have killed him, and now they are ready, waiting for you to agree to their request.” 269  23:22 Then the commanding officer 270  sent the young man away, directing him, 271  “Tell no one that you have reported 272  these things to me.” 23:23 Then 273  he summoned 274  two of the centurions 275  and said, “Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea 276  along with seventy horsemen 277  and two hundred spearmen 278  by 279  nine o’clock tonight, 280  23:24 and provide mounts for Paul to ride 281  so that he may be brought safely to Felix 282  the governor.” 283  23:25 He wrote 284  a letter that went like this: 285 

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