Bible: Acts 21-26

Paul’s Journey to Jerusalem

21:1 After 1  we 2  tore ourselves away 3  from them, we put out to sea, 4  and sailing a straight course, 5  we came to Cos, 6  on the next day to Rhodes, 7  and from there to Patara. 8  21:2 We found 9  a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, 10  went aboard, 11  and put out to sea. 12  21:3 After we sighted Cyprus 13  and left it behind on our port side, 14  we sailed on to Syria and put in 15  at Tyre, 16  because the ship was to unload its cargo there. 21:4 After we located 17  the disciples, we stayed there 18  seven days. They repeatedly told 19  Paul through the Spirit 20  not to set foot 21  in Jerusalem. 22  21:5 When 23  our time was over, 24  we left and went on our way. All of them, with their wives and children, accompanied 25  us outside of the city. After 26  kneeling down on the beach and praying, 27  21:6 we said farewell 28  to one another. 29  Then 30  we went aboard the ship, and they returned to their own homes. 31  21:7 We continued the voyage from Tyre 32  and arrived at Ptolemais, 33  and when we had greeted the brothers, we stayed with them for one day. 21:8 On the next day we left 34  and came to Caesarea, 35  and entered 36  the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, 37  and stayed with him. 21:9 (He had four unmarried 38  daughters who prophesied.) 39 

21:10 While we remained there for a number of days, 40  a prophet named Agabus 41  came down from Judea. 21:11 He came 42  to us, took 43  Paul’s belt, 44  tied 45  his own hands and feet with it, 46  and said, “The Holy Spirit says this: ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man whose belt this is, and will hand him over 47  to the Gentiles.’ 21:12 When we heard this, both we and the local people 48  begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 21:13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking 49  my heart? For I am ready not only to be tied up, 50  but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 21:14 Because he could not be persuaded, 51  we said no more except, 52 The Lord’s will be done.” 53 

21:15 After these days we got ready 54  and started up 55  to Jerusalem. 21:16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea 56  came along with us too, and brought us to the house 57  of Mnason of Cyprus, a disciple from the earliest times, 58  with whom we were to stay. 21:17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly. 59  21:18 The next day Paul went in with us to see James, and all the elders were there. 60  21:19 When Paul 61  had greeted them, he began to explain 62  in detail 63  what God 64  had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 21:20 When they heard this, they praised 65  God. Then they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews 66  there are who have believed, and they are all ardent observers 67  of the law. 68  21:21 They have been informed about you – that you teach all the Jews now living 69  among the Gentiles to abandon 70  Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children 71  or live 72  according to our customs. 21:22 What then should we do? They will no doubt 73  hear that you have come. 21:23 So do what 74  we tell you: We have four men 75  who have taken 76  a vow; 77  21:24 take them and purify 78  yourself along with them and pay their expenses, 79  so that they may have their heads shaved. 80  Then 81  everyone will know there is nothing in what they have been told 82  about you, but that you yourself live in conformity with 83  the law. 84  21:25 But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided 85  that they should avoid 86  meat that has been sacrificed to idols 87  and blood and what has been strangled 88  and sexual immorality.” 21:26 Then Paul took the men the next day, 89  and after he had purified himself 90  along with them, he went to the temple and gave notice 91  of the completion of the days of purification, 92  when 93  the sacrifice would be offered for each 94  of them. 21:27 When the seven days were almost over, 95  the Jews from the province of Asia 96  who had seen him in the temple area 97  stirred up the whole crowd 98  and seized 99  him, 21:28 shouting, “Men of Israel, 100  help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, 101  and this sanctuary! 102  Furthermore 103  he has brought Greeks into the inner courts of the temple 104  and made this holy place ritually unclean! 105  21:29 (For they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him previously, and 106  they assumed Paul had brought him into the inner temple courts.) 107  21:30 The whole city was stirred up, 108  and the people rushed together. 109  They seized 110  Paul and dragged him out of the temple courts, 111  and immediately the doors were shut. 21:31 While they were trying 112  to kill him, a report 113  was sent up 114  to the commanding officer 115  of the cohort 116  that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 117  21:32 He 118  immediately took 119  soldiers and centurions 120  and ran down to the crowd. 121  When they saw 122  the commanding officer 123  and the soldiers, they stopped beating 124  Paul. 21:33 Then the commanding officer 125  came up and arrested 126  him and ordered him to be tied up with two chains; 127  he 128  then asked who he was and what 129  he had done. 21:34 But some in the crowd shouted one thing, and others something else, 130  and when the commanding officer 131  was unable 132  to find out the truth 133  because of the disturbance, 134  he ordered Paul 135  to be brought into the barracks. 136  21:35 When he came to the steps, Paul 137  had to be carried 138  by the soldiers because of the violence 139  of the mob, 21:36 for a crowd of people 140  followed them, 141  screaming, “Away with him! 21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, 142  he said 143  to the commanding officer, 144 May I say 145  something to you?” The officer 146  replied, 147 Do you know Greek? 148  21:38 Then you’re not that Egyptian who started a rebellion 149  and led the four thousand men of the ‘Assassins 150  into the wilderness 151  some time ago? 152  21:39 Paul answered, 153 I am a Jew 154  from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. 155  Please 156  allow me to speak to the people.” 21:40 When the commanding officer 157  had given him permission, 158  Paul stood 159  on the steps and gestured 160  to the people with his hand. When they had become silent, 161  he addressed 162  them in Aramaic, 163 

Paul’s Defense

22:1Brothers and fathers, listen to my defense 164  that I now 165  make to you.” 22:2 (When they heard 166  that he was addressing 167  them in Aramaic, 168  they became even 169  quieter.) 170  Then 171  Paul said, 22:3 I am a Jew, 172  born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up 173  in this city, educated with strictness 174  under 175  Gamaliel 176  according to the law of our ancestors, 177  and was 178  zealous 179  for God just as all of you are today. 22:4 I 180  persecuted this Way 181  even to the point of death, 182  tying up 183  both men and women and putting 184  them in prison, 22:5 as both the high priest and the whole council of elders 185  can testify about me. From them 186  I also received 187  letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I was on my way 188  to make arrests there and bring 189  the prisoners 190  to Jerusalem 191  to be punished. 22:6 As 192  I was en route and near Damascus, 193  about noon a very bright 194  light from heaven 195  suddenly flashed 196  around me. 22:7 Then I 197  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 198  the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 22:10 So I asked, 199 What should I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up 200  and go to Damascus; there you will be told about everything 201  that you have been designated 202  to do.’ 22:11 Since I could not see because of 203  the brilliance 204  of that light, I came to Damascus led by the hand of 205  those who were with me. 22:12 A man named Ananias, 206  a devout man according to the law, 207  well spoken of by all the Jews who live there, 208  22:13 came 209  to me and stood beside me 210  and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ 211  And at that very moment 212  I looked up and saw him. 213  22:14 Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors 214  has already chosen 215  you to know his will, to see 216  the Righteous One, 217  and to hear a command 218  from his mouth, 22:15 because you will be his witness 219  to all people 220  of what you have seen and heard. 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? 221  Get up, 222  be baptized, and have your sins washed away, 223  calling on his name.’ 224  22:17 When 225  I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 226  22:18 and saw the Lord 227  saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 22:19 I replied, 228 Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat those in the various synagogues 229  who believed in you. 22:20 And when the blood of your witness 230  Stephen was shed, 231  I myself was standing nearby, approving, 232  and guarding the cloaks 233  of those who were killing him.’ 234  22:21 Then 235  he said to me, ‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’

The Roman Commander Questions Paul

22:22 The crowd 236  was listening to him until he said this. 237  Then 238  they raised their voices and shouted, 239 Away with this man 240  from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live! 241  22:23 While they were screaming 242  and throwing off their cloaks 243  and tossing dust 244  in the air, 22:24 the commanding officer 245  ordered Paul 246  to be brought back into the barracks. 247  He told them 248  to interrogate Paul 249  by beating him with a lash 250  so that he could find out the reason the crowd 251  was shouting at Paul 252  in this way. 22:25 When they had stretched him out for the lash, 253  Paul said to the centurion 254  standing nearby, “Is it legal for you to lash a man who is a Roman citizen 255  without a proper trial? 256  22:26 When the centurion 257  heard this, 258  he went to the commanding officer 259  and reported it, 260  saying, “What are you about to do? 261  For this man is a Roman citizen.” 262  22:27 So the commanding officer 263  came and asked 264  Paul, 265 Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” 266  He replied, 267 Yes.” 22:28 The commanding officer 268  answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” 269 But I was even 270  born a citizen,” 271  Paul replied. 272  22:29 Then those who were about to interrogate him stayed away 273  from him, and the commanding officer 274  was frightened when he realized that Paul 275  was 276  a Roman citizen 277  and that he had had him tied up. 278 

Paul Before the Sanhedrin

22:30 The next day, because the commanding officer 279  wanted to know the true reason 280  Paul 281  was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and the whole council 282  to assemble. He then brought 283  Paul down and had him stand before them.

23:1 Paul looked directly 284  at the council 285  and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with a clear conscience 286  before God to this day.” 23:2 At that 287  the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near 288  Paul 289  to strike 290  him on the mouth. 23:3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! 291  Do 292  you sit there judging me according to the law, 293  and in violation of the law 294  you order me to be struck?” 23:4 Those standing near him 295  said, “Do you dare insult 296  God’s high priest? 23:5 Paul replied, 297 I did not realize, 298  brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about a ruler of your people.’ 299 

23:6 Then when Paul noticed 300  that part of them were Sadducees 301  and the others Pharisees, 302  he shouted out in the council, 303 Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection 304  of the dead! 23:7 When he said this, 305  an argument 306  began 307  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.) 308  23:9 There was a great commotion, 309  and some experts in the law 310  from the party of the Pharisees stood up 311  and protested strongly, 312 We find nothing wrong 313  with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him? 23:10 When the argument became 314  so great the commanding officer 315  feared that they would tear Paul to pieces, 316  he ordered the detachment 317  to go down, take him away from them by force, 318  and bring him into the barracks. 319 

23:11 The following night the Lord 320  stood near 321  Paul 322  and said, “Have courage, 323  for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, 324  so you must also testify in Rome.” 325 

The Plot to Kill Paul

23:12 When morning came, 326  the Jews formed 327  a conspiracy 328  and bound themselves with an oath 329  not to eat or drink anything 330  until they had killed Paul. 23:13 There were more than forty of them who formed this conspiracy. 331  23:14 They 332  went 333  to the chief priests 334  and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath 335  not to partake 336  of anything until we have killed Paul. 23:15 So now you and the council 337  request the commanding officer 338  to bring him down to you, as if you were going to determine 339  his case 340  by conducting a more thorough inquiry. 341  We are ready to kill him 342  before he comes near this place.” 343 

23:16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush, 344  he came and entered 345  the barracks 346  and told Paul. 23:17 Paul called 347  one of the centurions 348  and said, “Take this young man to the commanding officer, 349  for he has something to report to him.” 23:18 So the centurion 350  took him and brought him to the commanding officer 351  and said, “The prisoner Paul called 352  me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 23:19 The commanding officer 353  took him by the hand, withdrew privately, and asked, “What is it that you want 354  to report to me? 23:20 He replied, 355 The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council 356  tomorrow, as if they were going to inquire more thoroughly about him. 23:21 So do not let them persuade you to do this, 357  because more than forty of them 358  are lying in ambush 359  for him. They 360  have bound themselves with an oath 361  not to eat or drink anything 362  until they have killed him, and now they are ready, waiting for you to agree to their request.” 363  23:22 Then the commanding officer 364  sent the young man away, directing him, 365  “Tell no one that you have reported 366  these things to me.” 23:23 Then 367  he summoned 368  two of the centurions 369  and said, “Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea 370  along with seventy horsemen 371  and two hundred spearmen 372  by 373  nine o’clock tonight, 374  23:24 and provide mounts for Paul to ride 375  so that he may be brought safely to Felix 376  the governor.” 377  23:25 He wrote 378  a letter that went like this: 379 

23:26 Claudius Lysias to His Excellency Governor 380  Felix, 381  greetings. 23:27 This man was seized 382  by the Jews and they were about to kill him, 383  when I came up 384  with the detachment 385  and rescued him, because I had learned that he was 386  a Roman citizen. 387  23:28 Since I wanted to know 388  what charge they were accusing him of, 389  I brought him down to their council. 390  23:29 I found he 391  was accused with reference to controversial questions 392  about their law, but no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment. 393  23:30 When I was informed 394  there would be a plot 395  against this man, I sent him to you at once, also ordering his accusers to state their charges 396  against him before you.

23:31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, 397  took 398  Paul and brought him to Antipatris 399  during the night. 23:32 The next day they let 400  the horsemen 401  go on with him, and they returned to the barracks. 402  23:33 When the horsemen 403  came to Caesarea 404  and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented 405  Paul to him. 23:34 When the governor 406  had read 407  the letter, 408  he asked 409  what province he was from. 410  When he learned 411  that he was from Cilicia, 412  23:35 he said, “I will give you a hearing 413  when your accusers arrive too.” Then 414  he ordered that Paul 415  be kept under guard in Herod’s palace. 416 

The Accusations Against Paul

24:1 After five days the high priest Ananias 417  came down with some elders and an attorney 418  named 419  Tertullus, and they 420  brought formal charges 421  against Paul to the governor. 24:2 When Paul 422  had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, 423  saying, “We have experienced a lengthy time 424  of peace through your rule, 425  and reforms 426  are being made in this nation 427  through your foresight. 428  24:3 Most excellent Felix, 429  we acknowledge this everywhere and in every way 430  with all gratitude. 431  24:4 But so that I may not delay 432  you any further, I beg 433  you to hear us briefly 434  with your customary graciousness. 435  24:5 For we have found 436  this man to be a troublemaker, 437  one who stirs up riots 438  among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader 439  of the sect of the Nazarenes. 440  24:6 He 441  even tried to desecrate 442  the temple, so we arrested 443  him. 24:7 [[EMPTY]] 444  24:8 When you examine 445  him yourself, you will be able to learn from him 446  about all these things we are accusing him of doing.” 447  24:9 The Jews also joined in the verbal attack, 448  claiming 449  that these things were true.

Paul’s Defense Before Felix

24:10 When the governor gestured for him to speak, Paul replied, “Because I know 450  that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I confidently make my defense. 451  24:11 As you can verify 452  for yourself, not more than twelve days ago 453  I went up to Jerusalem 454  to worship. 24:12 They did not find me arguing 455  with anyone or stirring up a crowd 456  in the temple courts 457  or in the synagogues 458  or throughout the city, 459  24:13 nor can they prove 460  to you the things 461  they are accusing me of doing. 462  24:14 But I confess this to you, that I worship 463  the God of our ancestors 464  according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law 465  and that is written in the prophets. 24:15 I have 466  a hope in God (a hope 467  that 468  these men 469  themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 470  24:16 This is the reason 471  I do my best to always 472  have a clear 473  conscience toward God and toward people. 474  24:17 After several years 475  I came to bring to my people gifts for the poor 476  and to present offerings, 477  24:18 which I was doing when they found me in the temple, ritually purified, 478  without a crowd or a disturbance. 479  24:19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia 480  who should be here before you and bring charges, 481  if they have anything against me. 24:20 Or these men here 482  should tell what crime 483  they found me guilty of 484  when I stood before the council, 485  24:21 other than 486  this one thing 487  I shouted out while I stood before 488  them: ‘I am on trial before you today concerning the resurrection of the dead.’ 489 

24:22 Then Felix, 490  who understood the facts 491  concerning the Way 492  more accurately, 493  adjourned their hearing, 494  saying, “When Lysias the commanding officer comes down, I will decide your case.” 495  24:23 He ordered the centurion 496  to guard Paul, 497  but to let him have some freedom, 498  and not to prevent any of his friends 499  from meeting his needs. 500 

Paul Speaks Repeatedly to Felix

24:24 Some days later, when Felix 501  arrived with his wife Drusilla, 502  who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak 503  about faith in Christ Jesus. 504  24:25 While Paul 505  was discussing 506  righteousness, self-control, 507  and the coming judgment, Felix 508  became 509  frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, 510  I will send for you.” 24:26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would give him money, 511  and for this reason he sent for Paul 512  as often as possible 513  and talked 514  with him. 24:27 After two years 515  had passed, Porcius Festus 516  succeeded Felix, 517  and because he wanted to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison. 518 

Paul Appeals to Caesar

25:1 Now 519  three days after Festus 520  arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem 521  from Caesarea. 522  25:2 So the chief priests and the most prominent men 523  of the Jews brought formal charges 524  against Paul to him. 25:3 Requesting him to do them a favor against Paul, 525  they urged Festus 526  to summon him to Jerusalem, planning an ambush 527  to kill him along the way. 25:4 Then Festus 528  replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, 529  and he himself intended to go there 530  shortly. 25:5 So,” he said, “let your leaders 531  go down there 532  with me, and if this man has done anything wrong, 533  they may bring charges 534  against him.”

25:6 After Festus 535  had stayed 536  not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, 537  and the next day he sat 538  on the judgment seat 539  and ordered Paul to be brought. 25:7 When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, 540  bringing many serious 541  charges that they were not able to prove. 542  25:8 Paul said in his defense, 543 I have committed no offense 544  against the Jewish law 545  or against the temple or against Caesar.” 546  25:9 But Festus, 547  wanting to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried 548  before me there on these charges? 549  25:10 Paul replied, 550 I am standing before Caesar’s 551  judgment seat, 552  where I should be tried. 553  I have done nothing wrong 554  to the Jews, as you also know very well. 555  25:11 If then I am in the wrong 556  and have done anything that deserves death, I am not trying to escape dying, 557  but if not one of their charges against me is true, 558  no one can hand me over to them. 559  I appeal to Caesar! 560  25:12 Then, after conferring with his council, 561  Festus 562  replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; 563  to Caesar 564  you will go! 565 

Festus Asks King Agrippa for Advice

25:13 After several days had passed, King Agrippa 566  and Bernice arrived at Caesarea 567  to pay their respects 568  to Festus. 569  25:14 While 570  they were staying there many days, Festus 571  explained Paul’s case to the king to get his opinion, 572  saying, “There is a man left here as a prisoner by Felix. 25:15 When I was in Jerusalem, 573  the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed 574  me about him, 575  asking for a sentence of condemnation 576  against him. 25:16 I answered them 577  that it was not the custom of the Romans to hand over anyone 578  before the accused had met his accusers face to face 579  and had been given 580  an opportunity to make a defense against the accusation. 581  25:17 So after they came back here with me, 582  I did not postpone the case, 583  but the next day I sat 584  on the judgment seat 585  and ordered the man to be brought. 25:18 When his accusers stood up, they did not charge 586  him with any of the evil deeds I had suspected. 587  25:19 Rather they had several points of disagreement 588  with him about their own religion 589  and about a man named Jesus 590  who was dead, whom Paul claimed 591  to be alive. 25:20 Because I was at a loss 592  how I could investigate these matters, 593  I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried 594  there on these charges. 595  25:21 But when Paul appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, 596  I ordered him to be kept under guard until I could send him to Caesar.” 597  25:22 Agrippa 598  said to Festus, 599 I would also like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he replied, 600 you will hear him.”

Paul Before King Agrippa and Bernice

25:23 So the next day Agrippa 601  and Bernice came with great pomp 602  and entered the audience hall, 603  along with the senior military officers 604  and the prominent men of the city. When Festus 605  gave the order, 606  Paul was brought in. 25:24 Then Festus 607  said, “King Agrippa, 608  and all you who are present here with us, you see this man about whom the entire Jewish populace 609  petitioned 610  me both in Jerusalem 611  and here, 612  shouting loudly 613  that he ought not to live any longer. 25:25 But I found that he had done nothing that deserved death, 614  and when he appealed 615  to His Majesty the Emperor, 616  I decided to send him. 617  25:26 But I have nothing definite 618  to write to my lord 619  about him. 620  Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, 621  so that after this preliminary hearing 622  I may have something to write. 25:27 For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without clearly indicating 623  the charges against him.”

Paul Offers His Defense

26:1 So Agrippa 624  said to Paul, “You have permission 625  to speak for yourself.” Then Paul held out his hand 626  and began his defense: 627 

26:2Regarding all the things I have been accused of by the Jews, King Agrippa, 628  I consider myself fortunate that I am about to make my defense before you today, 26:3 because you are especially 629  familiar with all the customs and controversial issues 630  of the Jews. Therefore I ask 631  you to listen to me patiently. 26:4 Now all the Jews know the way I lived 632  from my youth, spending my life from the beginning among my own people 633  and in Jerusalem. 634  26:5 They know, 635  because they have known 636  me from time past, 637  if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party 638  of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 639  26:6 And now I stand here on trial 640  because of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, 641  26:7 a promise 642  that our twelve tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve God 643  night and day. Concerning this hope the Jews are accusing me, 644  Your Majesty! 645  26:8 Why do you people 646  think 647  it is unbelievable 648  that 649  God raises the dead? 26:9 Of course, 650  I myself was convinced 651  that it was necessary to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. 26:10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem: Not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons by the authority I received 652  from the chief priests, but I also cast my vote 653  against them when they were sentenced to death. 654  26:11 I punished 655  them often in all the synagogues 656  and tried to force 657  them to blaspheme. Because I was so furiously enraged 658  at them, I went to persecute 659  them even in foreign cities.

26:12While doing this very thing, 660  as I was going 661  to Damascus with authority and complete power 662  from the chief priests, 26:13 about noon along the road, Your Majesty, 663  I saw a light from heaven, 664  brighter than the sun, shining everywhere around 665  me and those traveling with me. 26:14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 666 Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are hurting yourself 667  by kicking against the goads.’ 668  26:15 So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord replied, 669 I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 26:16 But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason, to designate you in advance 670  as a servant and witness 671  to the things 672  you have seen 673  and to the things in which I will appear to you. 26:17 I will rescue 674  you from your own people 675  and from the Gentiles, to whom 676  I am sending you 26:18 to open their eyes so that they turn 677  from darkness to light and from the power 678  of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share 679  among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

26:19Therefore, King Agrippa, 680  I was not disobedient 681  to the heavenly 682  vision, 26:20 but I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, 683  and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, 684  performing deeds consistent with 685  repentance. 26:21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple courts 686  and were trying to kill me. 26:22 I have experienced 687  help from God to this day, and so I stand testifying to both small and great, saying nothing except 688  what the prophets and Moses said 689  was going to happen: 26:23 that 690  the Christ 691  was to suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, to proclaim light both to our people 692  and to the Gentiles.” 693 

26:24 As Paul 694  was saying these things in his defense, Festus 695  exclaimed loudly, “You have lost your mind, 696  Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane! 26:25 But Paul replied, 697 I have not lost my mind, most excellent Festus, 698  but am speaking 699  true and rational 700  words. 26:26 For the king knows about these things, and I am speaking freely 701  to him, 702  because I cannot believe 703  that any of these things has escaped his notice, 704  for this was not done in a corner. 705  26:27 Do you believe the prophets, 706  King Agrippa? 707  I know that you believe.” 26:28 Agrippa 708  said to Paul, “In such a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian? 709  26:29 Paul replied, “I pray to God that whether in a short or a long time 710  not only you but also all those who are listening to me today could become such as I am, except for these chains.” 711 

26:30 So the king got up, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them, 26:31 and as they were leaving they said to one another, 712 This man is not doing anything deserving 713  death or imprisonment.” 26:32 Agrippa 714  said to Festus, 715 This man could have been released 716  if he had not appealed to Caesar.” 717 

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