Bible: Acts 21:40-22:21

21:40 When the commanding officer 1  had given him permission, 2  Paul stood 3  on the steps and gestured 4  to the people with his hand. When they had become silent, 5  he addressed 6  them in Aramaic, 7 

Paul’s Defense

22:1Brothers and fathers, listen to my defense 8  that I now 9  make to you.” 22:2 (When they heard 10  that he was addressing 11  them in Aramaic, 12  they became even 13  quieter.) 14  Then 15  Paul said, 22:3 I am a Jew, 16  born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up 17  in this city, educated with strictness 18  under 19  Gamaliel 20  according to the law of our ancestors, 21  and was 22  zealous 23  for God just as all of you are today. 22:4 I 24  persecuted this Way 25  even to the point of death, 26  tying up 27  both men and women and putting 28  them in prison, 22:5 as both the high priest and the whole council of elders 29  can testify about me. From them 30  I also received 31  letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I was on my way 32  to make arrests there and bring 33  the prisoners 34  to Jerusalem 35  to be punished. 22:6 As 36  I was en route and near Damascus, 37  about noon a very bright 38  light from heaven 39  suddenly flashed 40  around me. 22:7 Then I 41  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 42  the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 22:10 So I asked, 43 What should I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up 44  and go to Damascus; there you will be told about everything 45  that you have been designated 46  to do.’ 22:11 Since I could not see because of 47  the brilliance 48  of that light, I came to Damascus led by the hand of 49  those who were with me. 22:12 A man named Ananias, 50  a devout man according to the law, 51  well spoken of by all the Jews who live there, 52  22:13 came 53  to me and stood beside me 54  and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ 55  And at that very moment 56  I looked up and saw him. 57  22:14 Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors 58  has already chosen 59  you to know his will, to see 60  the Righteous One, 61  and to hear a command 62  from his mouth, 22:15 because you will be his witness 63  to all people 64  of what you have seen and heard. 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? 65  Get up, 66  be baptized, and have your sins washed away, 67  calling on his name.’ 68  22:17 When 69  I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 70  22:18 and saw the Lord 71  saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 22:19 I replied, 72 Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat those in the various synagogues 73  who believed in you. 22:20 And when the blood of your witness 74  Stephen was shed, 75  I myself was standing nearby, approving, 76  and guarding the cloaks 77  of those who were killing him.’ 78  22:21 Then 79  he said to me, ‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’

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