1"Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you."
And when they heard that he was addressing them in 2the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:
3"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated 4at the feet of 5Gamaliel6 according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, 7being zealous for God 8as all of you are this day.
9I persecuted 10this Way 11to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women,
as 12the high priest and 13the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to 14the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
15"As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me.
And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
And I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, 'I am 16Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.'
17Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
And I said, 18'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 since 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 19one Ananias, a devout man 20according to the law, 21well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
22came to me, and standing by me said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And 23at that very hour I received my sight and saw him.
And he said, 24'The God of our fathers 25appointed you to know his will, 26to see 27the Righteous One and 28to hear a voice from his mouth;
for 29you will be a witness for him to everyone of what 30you have seen and heard.
And now why do you wait? 31Rise and be baptized and 32wash away your sins, 33calling on his name.'
34"When I had returned to Jerusalem and 35was praying in the temple, I fell into 36a trance
and saw him saying to me, 37'Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.'
And I said, 'Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another 38I imprisoned and 39beat those who believed in you.
And when the blood of Stephen 40your witness was being shed, 41I myself was standing by and 42approving and 43watching over the garments of those who killed him.'
And he said to me, 'Go, for I will send you 44far away to the Gentiles.'"
Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, 45"Away with such a fellow from the earth! For 46he should not be allowed to live."
And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air,
the tribune ordered him to be brought into 47the barracks, saying that he should be 48examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this.
But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to flog 49a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?"
When the centurion heard this, 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 am a citizen by birth."
So those who were about 50to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also 51was afraid, 52for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that 53he had bound him.
But on the next day, 54desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.