Acts 21:37; Acts 21:38–23:35

Paul Speaks to the People

37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, May I say something to you? And he said, Do you know Greek?


38 Are you not rthe Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out sinto the wilderness? 39 Paul replied, tI am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people. 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, umotioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in vthe Hebrew language,1 saying:

22 wBrothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.

And when they heard that he was addressing them in xthe Hebrew language,2 they became even more quiet. And he said:

yI am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated zat the feet of aGamaliel3 baccording to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, cbeing zealous for God das all of you are this day. eI persecuted fthis Way gto the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as hthe high priest and ithe whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to jthe brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

kAs I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? And I answered, Who are you, Lord? And he said to me, I am lJesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting. mNow those who were with me saw the light but did not understand4 the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, nWhat shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me, Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do. 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

12 And oone Ananias, a devout man paccording to the law, qwell spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 rcame to me, and standing by me said to me, Brother Saul, receive your sight. And sat that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, tThe God of our fathers uappointed you to know his will, vto see wthe Righteous One and xto hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for yyou will be a witness for him to everyone of what zyou have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? aRise and be baptized and bwash away your sins, ccalling on his name.

17 dWhen I had returned to Jerusalem and ewas praying in the temple, I fell into fa trance 18 and saw him saying to me, gMake haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me. 19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another hI imprisoned and ibeat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen jyour witness was being shed, kI myself was standing by and lapproving and kwatching over the garments of those who killed him. 21 And he said to me, Go, for I will send you mfar away to the Gentiles.

Paul and the Roman Tribune

22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, nAway with such a fellow from the earth! For ohe should not be allowed to live. 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into pthe barracks, saying that he should be qexamined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips,5 Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, Is it lawful for you to flog ra man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned? 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen. 27 So the tribune came and said to him, Tell me, are you a Roman citizen? And he said, Yes. 28 The tribune answered, I bought this citizenship for a large sum. Paul said, But I am a citizen by birth. 29 So those who were about sto examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also twas afraid, ufor he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that vhe had bound him.

Paul Before the Council

30 But on the next day, wdesiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.

23 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, Brothers, xI have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day. And the high priest yAnanias commanded those who stood by him zto strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, God is going to strike you, you awhitewashed bwall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet ccontrary to the law you corder me to be struck? Those who stood by said, Would you revile dGod's high priest? And Paul said, eI did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, fYou shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.

Now when Paul perceived that one part were gSadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Brothers, hI am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is iwith respect to the jhope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial. And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees ksay that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of lthe scribes of the Pharisees' party stood up and contended sharply, mWe find nothing wrong in this man. What nif a spirit or an angel spoke to him? 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into othe barracks.

11 pThe following night qthe Lord stood by him and said, rTake courage, for sas you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must ttestify also in Rome.

A Plot to Kill Paul

12 When it was day, uthe Jews made a plot and vbound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.

16 Now the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered wthe barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions and said, Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him. 18 So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, Paul xthe prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you. 19 The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, What is it that you have to tell me? 20 And he said, yThe Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. 21 But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him, who zhave bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him. And now they are ready, waiting for your consent. 22 So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, Tell no one that you have informed me of these things.

Paul Sent to Felix the Governor

23 Then he called two of the centurions and said, Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night.6 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to aFelix bthe governor. 25 And he wrote a letter to this effect:

26 Claudius Lysias, to chis Excellency the governor Felix, dgreetings. 27 eThis man was seized by the Jews and fwas about to be killed by them fwhen I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, ghaving learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And hdesiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. 29 I found that he was being accused iabout questions of their law, but jcharged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 kAnd when it was disclosed to me lthat there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, mordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.

31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 And on the next day they returned to nthe barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. 33 When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked what oprovince he was from. And when he learned pthat he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, I will give you a hearing qwhen your accusers arrive. And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod's rpraetorium.