Acts 26:2-23 (New International Version)

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2 "King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you1 today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews,2 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs3 and controversies.4 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,5 from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time6 and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect7 of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee.8 6 And now it is because of my hope9 in what God has promised our fathers10 that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes11 are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.12 O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me.13 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?14 9 "I too was convinced15 that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose16 the name of Jesus of Nazareth.17 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints18 in prison,19 and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.20 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished,21 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 voice22 saying to me in Aramaic,a23 '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.24 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.25 17 I will rescue you26 from your own people and from the Gentiles.27 I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes28 and turn them from darkness to light,29 and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins30 and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'31 19 "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient32 to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus,33 then to those in Jerusalem34 and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles35 also, I preached that they should repent36 and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.37 21 That is why the Jews seized me38 in the temple courts and tried to kill me.39 22 But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen40-- 23 that the Christb would suffer41 and, as the first to rise from the dead,42 would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles."43
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