22 “Brothers and fathers, listen to my defense 1 that I now 2 make to you.” 2 (When they heard 3 that he was addressing 4 them in Aramaic, 5 they became even 6 quieter.) 7 Then 8 Paul said, 3 “I am a Jew, 9 born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up 10 in this city, educated with strictness 11 under 12 Gamaliel 13 according to the law of our ancestors, 14 and was 15 zealous 16 for God just as all of you are today. 4 I 17 persecuted this Way 18 even to the point of death, 19 tying up 20 both men and women and putting 21 them in prison, 5 as both the high priest and the whole council of elders 22 can testify about me. From them 23 I also received 24 letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I was on my way 25 to make arrests there and bring 26 the prisoners 27 to Jerusalem 28 to be punished. 6 As 29 I was en route and near Damascus, 30 about noon a very bright 31 light from heaven 32 suddenly flashed 33 around me. 7 Then I 34 fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Those who were with me saw the light, but did not understand 35 the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 So I asked, 36 ‘What should I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up 37 and go to Damascus; there you will be told about everything 38 that you have been designated 39 to do.’ 11 Since I could not see because of 40 the brilliance 41 of that light, I came to Damascus led by the hand of 42 those who were with me. 12 A man named Ananias, 43 a devout man according to the law, 44 well spoken of by all the Jews who live there, 45 13 came 46 to me and stood beside me 47 and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ 48 And at that very moment 49 I looked up and saw him. 50 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors 51 has already chosen 52 you to know his will, to see 53 the Righteous One, 54 and to hear a command 55 from his mouth, 15 because you will be his witness 56 to all people 57 of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? 58 Get up, 59 be baptized, and have your sins washed away, 60 calling on his name.’ 61 17 When 62 I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 63 18 and saw the Lord 64 saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 I replied, 65 ‘Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat those in the various synagogues 66 who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of your witness 67 Stephen was shed, 68 I myself was standing nearby, approving, 69 and guarding the cloaks 70 of those who were killing him.’ 71 21 Then 72 he said to me, ‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
22 The crowd 73 was listening to him until he said this. 74 Then 75 they raised their voices and shouted, 76 “Away with this man 77 from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live!” 78 23 While they were screaming 79 and throwing off their cloaks 80 and tossing dust 81 in the air, 24 the commanding officer 82 ordered Paul 83 to be brought back into the barracks. 84 He told them 85 to interrogate Paul 86 by beating him with a lash 87 so that he could find out the reason the crowd 88 was shouting at Paul 89 in this way. 25 When they had stretched him out for the lash, 90 Paul said to the centurion 91 standing nearby, “Is it legal for you to lash a man who is a Roman citizen 92 without a proper trial?” 93 26 When the centurion 94 heard this, 95 he went to the commanding officer 96 and reported it, 97 saying, “What are you about to do? 98 For this man is a Roman citizen.” 99 27 So the commanding officer 100 came and asked 101 Paul, 102 “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” 103 He replied, 104 “Yes.” 28 The commanding officer 105 answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” 106 “But I was even 107 born a citizen,” 108 Paul replied. 109 29 Then those who were about to interrogate him stayed away 110 from him, and the commanding officer 111 was frightened when he realized that Paul 112 was 113 a Roman citizen 114 and that he had had him tied up. 115
30 The next day, because the commanding officer 116 wanted to know the true reason 117 Paul 118 was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and the whole council 119 to assemble. He then brought 120 Paul down and had him stand before them.
23 Paul looked directly 1 at the council 2 and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with a clear conscience 3 before God to this day.” 2 At that 4 the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near 5 Paul 6 to strike 7 him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! 8 Do 9 you sit there judging me according to the law, 10 and in violation of the law 11 you order me to be struck?” 4 Those standing near him 12 said, “Do you dare insult 13 God’s high priest?” 5 Paul replied, 14 “I did not realize, 15 brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about a ruler of your people.’” 16
6 Then when Paul noticed 17 that part of them were Sadducees 18 and the others Pharisees, 19 he shouted out in the council, 20 “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection 21 of the dead!” 7 When he said this, 22 an argument 23 began 24 between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.) 25 9 There was a great commotion, 26 and some experts in the law 27 from the party of the Pharisees stood up 28 and protested strongly, 29 “We find nothing wrong 30 with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 When the argument became 31 so great the commanding officer 32 feared that they would tear Paul to pieces, 33 he ordered the detachment 34 to go down, take him away from them by force, 35 and bring him into the barracks. 36
11 The following night the Lord 37 stood near 38 Paul 39 and said, “Have courage, 40 for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, 41 so you must also testify in Rome.” 42
12 When morning came, 43 the Jews formed 44 a conspiracy 45 and bound themselves with an oath 46 not to eat or drink anything 47 until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty of them who formed this conspiracy. 48 14 They 49 went 50 to the chief priests 51 and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath 52 not to partake 53 of anything until we have killed Paul. 15 So now you and the council 54 request the commanding officer 55 to bring him down to you, as if you were going to determine 56 his case 57 by conducting a more thorough inquiry. 58 We are ready to kill him 59 before he comes near this place.” 60
16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush, 61 he came and entered 62 the barracks 63 and told Paul. 17 Paul called 64 one of the centurions 65 and said, “Take this young man to the commanding officer, 66 for he has something to report to him.” 18 So the centurion 67 took him and brought him to the commanding officer 68 and said, “The prisoner Paul called 69 me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 19 The commanding officer 70 took him by the hand, withdrew privately, and asked, “What is it that you want 71 to report to me?” 20 He replied, 72 “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council 73 tomorrow, as if they were going to inquire more thoroughly about him. 21 So do not let them persuade you to do this, 74 because more than forty of them 75 are lying in ambush 76 for him. They 77 have bound themselves with an oath 78 not to eat or drink anything 79 until they have killed him, and now they are ready, waiting for you to agree to their request.” 80 22 Then the commanding officer 81 sent the young man away, directing him, 82 “Tell no one that you have reported 83 these things to me.” 23 Then 84 he summoned 85 two of the centurions 86 and said, “Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea 87 along with seventy horsemen 88 and two hundred spearmen 89 by 90 nine o’clock tonight, 91 24 and provide mounts for Paul to ride 92 so that he may be brought safely to Felix 93 the governor.” 94 25 He wrote 95 a letter that went like this: 96
26 Claudius Lysias to His Excellency Governor 97 Felix, 98 greetings. 27 This man was seized 99 by the Jews and they were about to kill him, 100 when I came up 101 with the detachment 102 and rescued him, because I had learned that he was 103 a Roman citizen. 104 28 Since I wanted to know 105 what charge they were accusing him of, 106 I brought him down to their council. 107 29 I found he 108 was accused with reference to controversial questions 109 about their law, but no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment. 110 30 When I was informed 111 there would be a plot 112 against this man, I sent him to you at once, also ordering his accusers to state their charges 113 against him before you.
31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, 114 took 115 Paul and brought him to Antipatris 116 during the night. 32 The next day they let 117 the horsemen 118 go on with him, and they returned to the barracks. 119 33 When the horsemen 120 came to Caesarea 121 and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented 122 Paul to him. 34 When the governor 123 had read 124 the letter, 125 he asked 126 what province he was from. 127 When he learned 128 that he was from Cilicia, 129 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing 130 when your accusers arrive too.” Then 131 he ordered that Paul 132 be kept under guard in Herod’s palace. 133
24 After five days the high priest Ananias 1 came down with some elders and an attorney 2 named 3 Tertullus, and they 4 brought formal charges 5 against Paul to the governor. 2 When Paul 6 had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, 7 saying, “We have experienced a lengthy time 8 of peace through your rule, 9 and reforms 10 are being made in this nation 11 through your foresight. 12 3 Most excellent Felix, 13 we acknowledge this everywhere and in every way 14 with all gratitude. 15 4 But so that I may not delay 16 you any further, I beg 17 you to hear us briefly 18 with your customary graciousness. 19 5 For we have found 20 this man to be a troublemaker, 21 one who stirs up riots 22 among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader 23 of the sect of the Nazarenes. 24 6 He 25 even tried to desecrate 26 the temple, so we arrested 27 him. 7 [[EMPTY]] 28 8 When you examine 29 him yourself, you will be able to learn from him 30 about all these things we are accusing him of doing.” 31 9 The Jews also joined in the verbal attack, 32 claiming 33 that these things were true.
10 When the governor gestured for him to speak, Paul replied, “Because I know 34 that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I confidently make my defense. 35 11 As you can verify 36 for yourself, not more than twelve days ago 37 I went up to Jerusalem 38 to worship. 12 They did not find me arguing 39 with anyone or stirring up a crowd 40 in the temple courts 41 or in the synagogues 42 or throughout the city, 43 13 nor can they prove 44 to you the things 45 they are accusing me of doing. 46 14 But I confess this to you, that I worship 47 the God of our ancestors 48 according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law 49 and that is written in the prophets. 15 I have 50 a hope in God (a hope 51 that 52 these men 53 themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 54 16 This is the reason 55 I do my best to always 56 have a clear 57 conscience toward God and toward people. 58 17 After several years 59 I came to bring to my people gifts for the poor 60 and to present offerings, 61 18 which I was doing when they found me in the temple, ritually purified, 62 without a crowd or a disturbance. 63 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia 64 who should be here before you and bring charges, 65 if they have anything against me. 20 Or these men here 66 should tell what crime 67 they found me guilty of 68 when I stood before the council, 69 21 other than 70 this one thing 71 I shouted out while I stood before 72 them: ‘I am on trial before you today concerning the resurrection of the dead.’” 73
22 Then Felix, 74 who understood the facts 75 concerning the Way 76 more accurately, 77 adjourned their hearing, 78 saying, “When Lysias the commanding officer comes down, I will decide your case.” 79 23 He ordered the centurion 80 to guard Paul, 81 but to let him have some freedom, 82 and not to prevent any of his friends 83 from meeting his needs. 84
24 Some days later, when Felix 85 arrived with his wife Drusilla, 86 who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak 87 about faith in Christ Jesus. 88 25 While Paul 89 was discussing 90 righteousness, self-control, 91 and the coming judgment, Felix 92 became 93 frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, 94 I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would give him money, 95 and for this reason he sent for Paul 96 as often as possible 97 and talked 98 with him. 27 After two years 99 had passed, Porcius Festus 100 succeeded Felix, 101 and because he wanted to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison. 102