Acts 9 (GOD'S WORD Translation)

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1 Saul kept threatening to murder the Lord's disciples. He went to the chief priest 2 and asked him to write letters of authorization to the synagogue leaders in the city of Damascus. Saul wanted to arrest any man or woman who followed the way [of Christ] and imprison them in Jerusalem. 3 As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?" 5 Saul asked, "Who are you, sir?" The person replied, "I'm Jesus, the one you're persecuting. 6 Get up! Go into the city, and you'll be told what you should do." 7 Meanwhile, the men traveling with him were speechless. They heard the voice but didn't see anyone. 8 Saul was helped up from the ground. When he opened his eyes, he was blind. So his companions led him into Damascus. 9 For three days he couldn't see and didn't eat or drink. 10 A disciple named Ananias lived in the city of Damascus. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias!" Ananias answered, "Yes, Lord." 11 The Lord told him, "Get up! Go to Judas' house on Straight Street, and ask for a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus. He's praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias place his hands on him to restore his sight." 13 Ananias replied, "Lord, I've heard a lot of people tell about the many evil things this man has done to your people in Jerusalem. 14 Saul has come here to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to put anyone who calls on your name in prison." 15 The Lord told Ananias, "Go! I've chosen this man to bring my name to nations, to kings, and to the people of Israel. 16 I'll show him how much he has to suffer for the sake of my name." 17 Ananias left and entered Judas' house. After he placed his hands on Saul, Ananias said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way to Damascus, sent me to you. He wants you to see again and to be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately, something like fish scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. Then Saul stood up and was baptized. 19 After he had something to eat, his strength came back to him. Saul was with the disciples in the city of Damascus for several days. 20 He immediately began to spread the word in their synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God. 21 Everyone who heard him was amazed. They asked, "Isn't this the man who destroyed those who worshiped the one named Jesus in Jerusalem? Didn't he come here to take these worshipers as prisoners to the chief priests [in Jerusalem]?" 22 Saul grew more powerful, and he confused the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah. 23 Later the Jews planned to murder Saul, 24 but Saul was told about their plot. They were watching the city gates day and night in order to murder him. 25 However, Saul's disciples lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the wall one night. 26 After Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples. But everyone was afraid of him. They wouldn't believe that he was a disciple. 27 Then Barnabas took an interest in Saul and brought him to the apostles. Barnabas told the apostles how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that the Lord had spoken to him. Barnabas also told them how boldly Saul had spoken about the one named Jesus in the city of Damascus. 28 Then Saul went throughout Jerusalem with the disciples. He spoke boldly with the power and authority of the Lord. 29 He talked and argued with Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. 30 As soon as the disciples found out about this, they took Saul to Caesarea and sent him to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace. The number of people increased as people lived in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. 32 When Peter was going around to all of God's people, he came to those who lived in the city of Lydda. 33 In Lydda Peter found a man named Aeneas who was paralyzed and confined to a cot for eight years. 34 Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ makes you well. Get up, and pick up your cot." Aeneas immediately got up. 35 Everyone who lived in the city of Lydda and the coastal region of Sharon saw what had happened to Aeneas and turned to the Lord in faith. 36 A disciple named Tabitha lived in the city of Joppa. Her Greek name was Dorcas. She always helped people and gave things to the poor. 37 She became sick and died. Her body was prepared for burial and was laid in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda is near the city of Joppa. When the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him. They begged Peter, "Hurry to Joppa! We need your help!" 39 So Peter went with them. When he arrived, he was taken upstairs. All the widows stood around him. They were crying and showing Peter the articles of clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 40 Peter made everyone leave the room. He knelt and prayed. Then he turned toward the body and said, "Tabitha, get up!" Tabitha opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 41 Peter took her hand and helped her stand up. After he called the believers, especially the widows, he presented Tabitha to them. She was alive. 42 The news about this spread throughout the city of Joppa, and as a result, many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for a number of days with Simon, a leatherworker.
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