Acts 26 (Lexham English Bible)

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Paul Makes His Defense Before King Agrippa

1 So Agrippa said to Paul, "It is permitted for you to speak for yourself." Then Paul extended [his]a hand [and]b began to defend himself:c 2 "Concerning all [the things] of which I am accused by the Jews, King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate [that] before you I am about to defend myself today, 3 [because]d you are especially acquainted with both all the customs and controversial questions with respect to the Jews. Therefore I beg [you]e to listen to me with patience. 4 "Now all the Jews know my manner of life from [my] youth, that had taken place from the beginning among my [own] peoplef and in Jerusalem, 5 having known me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that in accordance with the strictest party of our religion I lived [as] a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial on the basis of hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain as [they] earnestly serve [him]g night and day. Concerning this hope I am being accused by the Jews, O king! 8 Why is it thought incredible by you [people]h that God raises the dead? 9 Indeed, I myself thought it was necessary to do many [things] opposed to the name of Jesus the Nazarene, 10 which I also did in Jerusalem, and not only did I lock up many of the saints in prison, having received authority from the chief priests, but also [when]i they were being executed, I cast [my] votej against [them].k 11 And throughout all the synagogues I punished them often [and]l tried to forcem [them]n to blaspheme, and [because I]o was enraged at them beyond measure, I was pursuing [them]p even as far as to foreign cities. 12 In {this activity}q I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and full power of the chief priests. 13 In the middle of the day along the road, O king, I saw a light from heaven, more than the brightness of the sun, shining around me and those who were traveling with me. 14 And [when]r we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Aramaic language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? [It is] hard for you to kick against the goads!' 15 So I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet, because for this [reason] I have appeared to you, to appoint you a servant and witness both [to the things] in which you saw me and [to the things] in which I will appear to you, 17 rescuing you from the people and from the Gentiles to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes [so that they] may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, [so that] they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' 19 "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but to those in Damascus first, and in Jerusalem and all the region of Judea and to the Gentiles, I proclaimed [that they should] repent and turn to God, doing deeds worthy of repentance. 21 On account of these [things] the Jews seized me ins the temple [courts]t [and]u were attempting to kill [me].v 22 Therefore I have experienced help from God until this day, [and]w I stand here testifying to both small and great, saying nothing except what both the prophets and Moses have said were going to happen, 23 that the Christx was to suffer [and] that [as] the first of the resurrection from the dead, he was going to proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles." 24 And [as]y he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "You are out of your mind, Paul! [Your]z great learning {is driving}aa you {insane}!"bb 25 But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but am speaking words of truth and rationality. 26 For the king knows about these [things], to whom also I am speaking freely, for I am not convinced [that] these [things] in any way have escapedcc his notice, because this {was}dd not {done}ee in a corner. 27 Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you believe." 28 But Agrippa [said] to Paul, "In a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian?"ff 29 And Paul [replied], "I pray to God, whether in a short time or in a long time, not only you but also all those who are listening to me today may become such [people] as I also am, except for these bonds!" 30 Both the king and the governor got up, and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And [as they]gg were going out, they were talking to one another, saying, "This man is not doing anything deserving death or imprisonment." 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar."
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