Acts 26

Paul's Defense before Agrippa

1 1Agrippa said to Paul, "You are permitted to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense:
2 "In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today;
3 especially because you are an expert in all 2customs and questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 "So then, all Jews know 3my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem;
5 since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a 4Pharisee 5according to the strictest 6sect of our religion.
6 "And now I am standing trial 7for the hope of 8the promise made by God to our fathers;
7 the promise 9to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly * serve God night and day. And for this 10hope, O King, I am being 11accused by Jews.
8 "Why is it considered incredible among you people 12if God does raise the dead?
9 "So then, 13I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to 14the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 "And this is just what I 15did in Jerusalem; not only * did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having 16received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I 17cast my vote against them.
11 "And 18as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being 19furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them 20even to foreign cities.
12 "While so engaged 21as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests,
13 at midday *, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me.
14 "And when we had 22all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the 23Hebrew dialect, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
15 "And I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
16 'But get up and 24stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to 25appoint you a 26minister and 27a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;
17 28rescuing you 29from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,
18 to 30open their eyes so that they may turn from 31darkness to light and from the dominion of 32Satan to God, that they may receive 33forgiveness of sins and an 34inheritance among those who have been sanctified by 35faith in Me.'
19 "So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision,
20 but kept declaring both 36to those of Damascus first, and also 37at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even 38to the Gentiles, that they should 39repent and turn to God, performing deeds 40appropriate to repentance.
21 "For this reason some Jews 41seized me in the temple and tried 42to put me to death.
23 45that the Christ was to suffer, and that 46by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim 47light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles."
24 While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great 48learning is driving you mad."
25 But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, 49most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth.
26 "For the king 50knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none * of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.
27 "King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do."
28 Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a 51Christian."
29 And Paul said, "I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these 52chains."
30 53The king stood up and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them,
31 and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one another, saying, "54This man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment."
32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man might have been 55set free if he had not 56appealed to Caesar."
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