So 1Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:
"I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today 2against all the accusations of the Jews,
especially because you are familiar with all the 3customs and 4controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
5"My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among 6my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews.
They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that 7according to the strictest 8party of our 9religion I have lived as 10a Pharisee.
And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in 11the promise made by God to our fathers,
12to which 13our twelve tribes hope to 14attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope 15I am accused by Jews, O king!
Why is it thought 16incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
17"I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of 18Jesus of Nazareth.
19And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority 20from the chief priests, but 21when they were put to death I cast my vote against them.
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And 22I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them 23blaspheme, and 24in raging fury against them I 25persecuted them even to foreign cities.
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"In this connection 26I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
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At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.
And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me 27in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
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And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
But rise and 28stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, 29to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
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30delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles--31to whom I 32am sending you
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33to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from 34the power of Satan to God, that they may receive 35forgiveness of sins and 36a place among those who are sanctified 37by faith in me.'
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"Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to 38the heavenly vision,
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but declared first 39to those in Damascus, 40then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also 41to the Gentiles, that they should 42repent and 43turn to God, performing deeds 44in keeping with their repentance.
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For this reason 45the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
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46To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so 47I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what 48the prophets and Moses said would come to pass:
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49that the Christ 50must suffer and that, 51by being the first 52to rise from the dead, 53he would proclaim 54light both to our people and to the Gentiles."
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And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, 55you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind."
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But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, 56most excellent Festus, but I am speaking 57true and 58rational words.
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For 59the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner.
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King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe."
And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time would you persuade me to be 60a Christian?"
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And Paul said, "Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day 61might become such as I am--except for 62these chains."
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Then the king rose, and 63the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them.
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And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, 64"This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment."
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And Agrippa said to Festus, 65"This man could have been set 66free if he had not appealed 67to Caesar."
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