Acts 24

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,1 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 aGamaliel2 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 understand3 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,4 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.1 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.

Paul Before Felix at Caesarea

24 And safter five days the high priest tAnanias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before uthe governor their case against Paul. And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying:

Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, vmost excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. But, to detain1 you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. For we have found this man a plague, wone who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of xthe sect of the Nazarenes. yHe even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him.2 By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.

The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.

10 And when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied:

Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. 11 You can verify that zit is not more than twelve days since I awent up bto worship in Jerusalem, 12 and cthey did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. 13 dNeither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to ethe Way, which they call fa sect, gI worship hthe God of our fathers, believing everything ilaid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15 jhaving ka hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be la resurrection mof both the just and the unjust. 16 So I always ntake pains to have a oclear conscience toward both God and man. 17 Now pafter several years qI came to bring alms to rmy nation and to present sofferings. 18 While I was doing this, they found me tpurified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But usome Jews from Asia 19 vthey ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21 other than this one thing wthat I cried out while standing among them: It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.

Paul Kept in Custody

22 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of xthe Way, put them off, saying, When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case. 23 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he yshould be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that znone of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.

24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about afaith bin Christ Jesus. 25 And as he reasoned cabout righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, Go away for the present. dWhen I get an opportunity I will summon you. 26 At the same time he hoped ethat money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius fFestus. And gdesiring to do the Jews a favor, hFelix left Paul in prison.

Paul Appeals to Caesar

25 Now three days after Festus had arrived in ithe province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews jlaid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul1 that he summon him to Jerusalembecause kthey were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. So, said he, let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.

After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on lthe tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him mthat they could not prove. Paul argued in his defense, Neither nagainst othe law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor pagainst Caesar have I committed any offense. But Festus, qwishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me? 10 But Paul said, I am standing before Caesar's rtribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. 11 If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. sI appeal to Caesar. 12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.

Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice

13 Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. 14 And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, tThere is a man left prisoner by Felix, 15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case uagainst him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16 vI answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone wbefore the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17 xSo when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on ythe tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. 18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. 19 Rather they zhad certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about aa certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20 Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I basked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21 But cwhen Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of dthe emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar. 22 Then eAgrippa said to Festus, I would like to hear the man myself. Tomorrow, said he, you will hear him.

23 So on the next day fAgrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 And Festus said, King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom gthe whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, hshouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that ihe had done nothing deserving death. And jas he himself appealed to kthe emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. 27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.

Paul's Defense Before Agrippa

26 So lAgrippa said to Paul, You have permission to speak for yourself. Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today magainst all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the ncustoms and ocontroversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

pMy manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among qmy own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that raccording to the strictest sparty of our treligion I have lived as ua Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in vthe promise made by God to our fathers, wto which xour twelve tribes hope to yattain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope zI am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought aincredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

bI myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of cJesus of Nazareth. 10 dAnd I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority efrom the chief priests, but fwhen they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And gI punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them hblaspheme, and iin raging fury against them I jpersecuted them even to foreign cities.

Paul Tells of His Conversion

12 In this connection kI journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me lin the Hebrew language,1 Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads. 15 And I said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and mstand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, nto appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 odelivering you from your people and from the Gentilespto whom I qam sending you 18 rto open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from sthe power of Satan to God, that they may receive tforgiveness of sins and ua place among those who are sanctified vby faith in me.

19 Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to wthe heavenly vision, 20 but declared first xto those in Damascus, ythen in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also zto the Gentiles, that they should arepent and bturn to God, performing deeds cin keeping with their repentance. 21 For this reason dthe Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 eTo this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so fI stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what gthe prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 hthat the Christ imust suffer and that, jby being the first kto rise from the dead, lhe would proclaim mlight both to our people and to the Gentiles.

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, nyou are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind. 25 But Paul said, I am not out of my mind, omost excellent Festus, but I am speaking ptrue and qrational words. 26 For rthe king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe. 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, In a short time would you persuade me to be sa Christian?2 29 And Paul said, Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day tmight become such as I amexcept for uthese chains.

30 Then the king rose, and vthe governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, wThis man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment. 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, xThis man could have been set yfree if he had not appealed zto Caesar.