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Acts 26:1-18 (New International Version)

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1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself."1 So Paul motioned with his hand2 and began his defense: 2 "King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you3 today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews,4 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs5 and controversies.6 Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently. 4 "The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child,7 from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time8 and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect9 of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee.10 6 And now it is because of my hope11 in what God has promised our fathers12 that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes13 are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.14 O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me.15 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?16 9 "I too was convinced17 that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose18 the name of Jesus of Nazareth.19 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints20 in prison,21 and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.22 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished,23 and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. 12 "On one of these journeys I was going 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, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice24 saying to me in Aramaic,a25 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' 15 "Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' " 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 16 'Now get up and stand on your feet.26 I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.27 17 I will rescue you28 from your own people and from the Gentiles.29 I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes30 and turn them from darkness to light,31 and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins32 and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'33
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