"Brothers and fathers, listen as I now present my case to you."
When the mob heard him speak to them in Hebrew, they became even more quiet. Then Paul continued,
"I'm a Jew. I was born and raised in the city of Tarsus in Cilicia and received my education from Gamaliel here in Jerusalem. My education was in the strict rules handed down by our ancestors. I was as devoted to God as all of you are today.
I persecuted people who followed the way [of Christ]: I tied up men and women and put them into prison until they were executed.
The chief priest and the entire council of our leaders can prove that I did this. In fact, they even gave me letters to take to the Jewish community in the city of Damascus. I was going there to tie up believers and bring them back to Jerusalem to punish them.
"But as I was on my way and approaching the city of Damascus about noon, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice asking me, 'Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?'
"I answered, 'Who are you, sir?' "The person told me, 'I'm Jesus from Nazareth, the one you're persecuting.'
"The men who were with me saw the light but didn't understand what the person who was speaking to me said.
"Then I asked, 'What do you want me to do, Lord?' "The Lord told me, 'Get up! Go into the city of Damascus, and you'll be told everything I've arranged for you to do.'
"I was blind because the light had been so bright. So the men who were with me led me into the city of Damascus.
"A man named Ananias lived in Damascus. He was a devout person who followed Moses' Teachings. All the Jews living in Damascus spoke highly of him.
He came to me, stood beside me, and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' At that moment my sight came back and I could see Ananias.
"Ananias said, 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the one who has God's approval, and to hear him speak to you.
You will be his witness and will tell everyone what you have seen and heard.
What are you waiting for now? Get up! Be baptized, and have your sins washed away as you call on his name.'
"After that, I returned to Jerusalem. While I was praying in the temple courtyard, I fell into a trance
and saw the Lord. He told me, 'Hurry! Get out of Jerusalem immediately. The people here won't accept your testimony about me.'
"I said, 'Lord, people here know that I went from synagogue to synagogue to imprison and whip those who believe in you.
When Stephen, who witnessed about you, was being killed, I was standing there. I approved of his death and guarded the coats of those who were murdering him.'
"But the Lord told me, 'Go! I'll send you on a mission. You'll go far away to people who aren't Jewish.'"