Acts 26

Paul's Testimony to Agrippa

Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out [his] hand [and] began his defense: “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today to defend myself against all the accusations of [the] Jews, especially [since] you are acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. I beg [you] , therefore, to listen to me patiently. Surely all the Jews know how I have lived from [the] earliest days of [my] youth, among my own people and in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time [and] can testify, if they are willing, that I lived as a Pharisee, adhering to the strictest sect of our religion. And now I stand on trial because of [my] hope in the promise [that] God made to our fathers, [ the promise ] our twelve tribes are hoping to realize as they earnestly serve [ God ] day and night. [It is] because of [this] hope, O king, [that] I am accused by the Jews. Why {would} any of you consider it incredible that God raises [the] dead? So then, I [too] was convinced that I ought to do all [I could] to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10  And [that] is what I did in Jerusalem. With authority from the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and [when] they were condemned to death, I cast my vote against [them] . 11  I frequently had them punished in the synagogues [and] tried to make [them] blaspheme. In my raging fury against them, {I} even [went] to foreign cities to persecute [them] . 12  In this [pursuit] , I was on my way to Damascus with [the] authority and commission of the chief priests. 13  About noon, O king, [as I was] on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14  We all fell to the ground, [and] I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic,
Or in the Hebrew language
‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? [It is] hard for you to kick against [the] goads.’
15  ‘Who are You, Lord?’ I asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16  ‘But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen from Me and what I will show you. 17  I will rescue you from [your own] people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to [them] 18  to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, [that] they may receive forgiveness of sins and [an] inheritance among those sanctified by faith in Me.’ 19  So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 20  First to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, then to everyone in the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I declared that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds worthy [of their] repentance. 21  For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple courts [and] tried to kill [me] . 22  [But] I have had God’s help to this day, [and] I stand [here] to testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen: 23  that the Christ would suffer, [and as the] first to rise from [the] dead, would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Festus Interrupts Paul's Defense

24  At this stage of [Paul’s] defense, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, “You are insane, Paul! [Your] great learning is driving you to madness!” 25  But Paul answered vvv, “I am not insane, most excellent Festus; I am speaking words of truth and sobriety. 26  For the king knows about these [matters] , and I can speak freely to [him] . I am confident that none of this has escaped his [notice] , because [it] was not done in a corner. 27  King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you [do] .” 28  Then Agrippa [said] to Paul, “Can you persuade me in such a short [time] to become a Christian?” 29  “Short [time] [or] long,” Paul [replied] , “I wish to God that not only you but all who hear me this day may become what I am, except for these chains.” 30  Then the king and the governor rose, along with Bernice and those seated with them. 31  On their way out, they said to one another, “This man has done nothing worthy of death or imprisonment.” 32  And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
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