"'But Lord,' I argued, 'they certainly know that I imprisoned and beat those in every synagogue who believed on you.
And when your witness Stephen was killed, I was standing there agreeing. I kept the coats they laid aside as they stoned him.'
"But the Lord said to me, 'Leave Jerusalem, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!'"
The crowd listened until Paul came to that word; then with one voice they shouted, "Away with such a fellow! Kill him! He isn't fit to live!"
They yelled, threw off their coats, and tossed handfuls of dust into the air.
The commander brought Paul inside and ordered him lashed with whips to make him confess his crime. He wanted to find out why the crowd had become so furious.
As they tied Paul down to lash him, Paul said to the officer standing there, "Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn't even been tried?"
The officer went to the commander and asked, "What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!"
So the commander went over and asked Paul, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" "Yes, I certainly am," Paul replied.
"I am, too," the commander muttered, "and it cost me plenty!" "But I am a citizen by birth!"
The soldiers who were about to interrogate Paul quickly withdrew when they heard he was a Roman citizen, and the commander was frightened because he had ordered him bound and whipped.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)