Acts 221 "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you." 2 And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew language, they became more quiet. And he said: 3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prison both men and women, 5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. 6 "As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 And those who were with me saw the light, but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ 11 But 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 "A certain Ananias, a devout man according to the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 For you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ 17 "When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make 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 I used to imprison and beat those who believed in you. 20 When the blood of Stephen your witness was shed, I also was standing by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who were killing him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’" 22 Up to this word they listened to him, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he ought not to live." 23 And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and commanded him to be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. 25 But when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?" 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen." 27 So the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" And he said, "Yes." 28 The commander answered, "I bought this citizenship for a large sum." Paul said, "But I was born a citizen." 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately; and the commander also was afraid when he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had put him in chains. 30 But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
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