"Brethren and fathers, hear the defense which I now make before you."
And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew language, they were the more quiet. And he said:
"I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cili'cia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gama'li-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day.
I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women,
as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
"As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me.
And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'
And I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.'
Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.'
And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.
"And one Anani'as, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me, and standing by me said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And in that very hour I received my sight and saw him.
And he said, 'The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth;
for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'
"When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance
and saw him saying to me, 'Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not accept your testimony about me.'
And I said, 'Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in thee.
And when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who killed him.'
And he said to me, 'Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'"
Up to this word they listened to him; then they lifted up their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he ought not to live."
And as they cried out and waved their garments and threw dust into the air,
the tribune commanded him to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by scourging, to find out why they shouted thus against him.
But when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned?"
When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen."
So the tribune came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" And he said, "Yes."
The tribune answered, "I bought this citizenship for a large sum." Paul said, "But I was born a citizen."
So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him instantly; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
But on the morrow, desiring to know the real reason why the Jews accused him, he unbound him, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)