Acts 23; Acts 24; Acts 25

1 Paul looked at the Jewish council and said, "Brothers, I have lived my life without guilt feelings before God up to this day." 2 Ananias, the high priest, heard this and told the men who were standing near Paul to hit him on the mouth. 3 Paul said to Ananias, "God will hit you, too! You are like a wall that has been painted white. You sit there and judge me, using the law of Moses, but you are telling them to hit me, and that is against the law." 4 The men standing near Paul said to him, "You cannot insult God's high priest like that! 5 Paul said, "Brothers, I did not know this man was the high priest. It is written in the Scriptures, 'You must not curse a leader of your people.'" 6 Some of the men in the meeting were Sadducees, and others were Pharisees. Knowing this, Paul shouted to them, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, and my father was a Pharisee. I am on trial here because I believe that people will rise from the dead." 7 When Paul said this, there was an argument between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the group was divided. 8 (The Sadducees do not believe in angels or spirits or that people will rise from the dead. But the Pharisees believe in them all.) 9 So there was a great uproar. Some of the teachers of the law, who were Pharisees, stood up and argued, "We find nothing wrong with this man. Maybe an angel or a spirit did speak to him." 10 The argument was beginning to turn into such a fight that the commander was afraid the Jews would tear Paul to pieces. So he told the soldiers to go down and take Paul away and put him in the army building. 11 The next night the Lord came and stood by Paul. He said, "Be brave! You have told people in Jerusalem about me. You must do the same in Rome." 12 In the morning some of the Jews made a plan to kill Paul, and they took an oath not to eat or drink anything until they had killed him. 13 There were more than forty Jews who made this plan. 14 They went to the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders and said, "We have taken an oath not to eat or drink until we have killed Paul 15 So this is what we want you to do: Send a message to the commander to bring Paul out to you as though you want to ask him more questions. We will be waiting to kill him while he is on the way here." 16 But Paul's nephew heard about this plan and went to the army building and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the officers and said, "Take this young man to the commander. He has a message for him." 18 So the officer brought Paul's nephew to the commander and said, "The prisoner, Paul, asked me to bring this young man to you. He wants to tell you something." 19 The commander took the young man's hand and led him to a place where they could be alone. He asked, "What do you want to tell me? 20 The young man said, "The Jews have decided to ask you to bring Paul down to their council meeting tomorrow. They want you to think they are going to ask him more questions. 21 But don't believe them! More than forty men are hiding and waiting to kill Paul. They have all taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Now they are waiting for you to agree. 22 The commander sent the young man away, ordering him, "Don't tell anyone that you have told me about their plan." 23 Then the commander called two officers and said, "I need some men to go to Caesarea. Get two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred men with spears ready to leave at nine o'clock tonight. 24 Get some horses for Paul to ride so he can be taken to Governor Felix safely." 25 And he wrote a letter that said: 26 From Claudius Lysias. Greetings. 27 The Jews had taken this man and planned to kill him. But I learned that he is a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and saved him. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him before their council meeting. 29 I learned that the Jews said Paul did some things that were wrong by their own laws, but no charge was worthy of jail or death. 30 When I was told that some of the Jews were planning to kill Paul, I sent him to you at once. I also told those Jews to tell you what they have against him. 31 So the soldiers did what they were told and took Paul and brought him to the city of Antipatris that night. 32 The next day the horsemen went with Paul to Caesarea, but the other soldiers went back to the army building in Jerusalem. 33 When the horsemen came to Caesarea and gave the letter to the governor, they turned Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked Paul, "What area are you from?" When he learned that Paul was from Cilicia, 35 he said, "I will hear your case when those who are against you come here, too." Then the governor gave orders for Paul to be kept under guard in Herod's palace.
1 Five days later Ananias, the high priest, went to the city of Caesarea with some of the older Jewish leaders and a lawyer named Tertullus. They had come to make charges against Paul before the governor. 2 Paul was called into the meeting, and Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, "Most Excellent Felix! Our people enjoy much peace because of you, and many wrong things in our country are being made right through your wise help. 3 We accept these things always and in every place, and we are thankful for them. 4 But not wanting to take any more of your time, I beg you to be kind and listen to our few words. 5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up the Jews everywhere in the world. He is a leader of the Nazarene group. 6 Also, he was trying to make the Temple unclean, but we stopped him. 7 8 By asking him questions yourself, you can decide if all these things are true." 9 The other Jews agreed and said that all of this was true. 10 When the governor made a sign for Paul to speak, Paul said, "Governor Felix, I know you have been a judge over this nation for a long time. So I am happy to defend myself before you. 11 You can learn for yourself that I went to worship in Jerusalem only twelve days ago. 12 Those who are accusing me did not find me arguing with anyone in the Temple or stirring up the people in the synagogues or in the city. 13 They cannot prove the things they are saying against me now. 14 But I will tell you this: I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way of Jesus. The Jews say that the Way of Jesus is not the right way. But I believe everything that is taught in the law of Moses and that is written in the books of the Prophets. 15 I have the same hope in God that they have -- the hope that all people, good and bad, will surely be raised from the dead. 16 This is why I always try to do what I believe is right before God and people. 17 "After being away from Jerusalem for several years, I went back to bring money to my people and to offer sacrifices. 18 I was doing this when they found me in the Temple. I had finished the cleansing ceremony and had not made any trouble; no people were gathering around me. 19 But there were some Jews from the country of Asia who should be here, standing before you. If I have really done anything wrong, they are the ones who should accuse me. 20 Or ask these Jews here if they found any wrong in me when I stood before the Jewish council in Jerusalem. 21 But I did shout one thing when I stood before them: 'You are judging me today because I believe that people will rise from the dead!'" 22 Felix already understood much about the Way of Jesus. He stopped the trial and said, "When commander Lysias comes here, I will decide your case." 23 Felix told the officer to keep Paul guarded but to give him some freedom and to let his friends bring what he needed. 24 After some days Felix came with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, and asked for Paul to be brought to him. He listened to Paul talk about believing in Christ Jesus. 25 But Felix became afraid when Paul spoke about living right, self-control, and the time when God will judge the world. He said, "Go away now. When I have more time, I will call for you." 26 At the same time Felix hoped that Paul would give him some money, so he often sent for Paul and talked with him. 27 But after two years, Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus as governor. But Felix had left Paul in prison to please the Jews.
1 Three days after Festus became governor, he went from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 There the leading priests and the important Jewish leaders made charges against Paul before Festus. 3 They asked Festus to do them a favor. They wanted him to send Paul back to Jerusalem, because they had a plan to kill him on the way. 4 But Festus answered that Paul would be kept in Caesarea and that he himself was returning there soon. 5 He said, "Some of your leaders should go with me. They can accuse the man there in Caesarea, if he has really done something wrong." 6 Festus stayed in Jerusalem another eight or ten days and then went back to Caesarea. The next day he told the soldiers to bring Paul before him. Festus was seated on the judge's seat 7 when Paul came into the room. The Jewish people who had come from Jerusalem stood around him, making serious charges against him, which they could not prove. 8 This is what Paul said to defend himself: "I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law, against the Temple, or against Caesar." 9 But Festus wanted to please the Jews. So he asked Paul, "Do you want to go to Jerusalem for me to judge you there on these charges?" 10 Paul said, "I am standing at Caesar's judgment seat now, where I should be judged. I have done nothing wrong to the Jews; you know this is true. 11 If I have done something wrong and the law says I must die, I do not ask to be saved from death. But if these charges are not true, then no one can give me to them. I want Caesar to hear my case!" 12 Festus talked about this with his advisers. Then he said, "You have asked to see Caesar, so you will go to Caesar!" 13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to visit Festus. 14 They stayed there for some time, and Festus told the king about Paul's case. Festus said, "There is a man that Felix left in prison. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders there made charges against him, asking me to sentence him to death. 16 But I answered, 'When a man is accused of a crime, Romans do not hand him over until he has been allowed to face his accusers and defend himself against their charges.' 17 So when these Jews came here to Caesarea for the trial, I did not waste time. The next day I sat on the judge's seat and commanded that the man be brought in. 18 The Jews stood up and accused him, but not of any serious crime as I thought they would. 19 The things they said were about their own religion and about a man named Jesus who died. But Paul said that he is still alive. 20 Not knowing how to find out about these questions, I asked Paul, 'Do you want to go to Jerusalem and be judged there?' 21 But he asked to be kept in Caesarea. He wants a decision from the emperor. So I ordered that he be held until I could send him to Caesar." 22 Agrippa said to Festus, "I would also like to hear this man myself." Festus said, "Tomorrow you will hear him." 23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice appeared with great show, acting like very important people. They went into the judgment room with the army leaders and the important men of Caesarea. Then Festus ordered the soldiers to bring Paul in. 24 Festus said, "King Agrippa and all who are gathered here with us, you see this man. All the Jewish people, here and in Jerusalem, have complained to me about him, shouting that he should not live any longer. 25 When I judged him, I found no reason to order his death. But since he asked to be judged by Caesar, I decided to send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write the emperor about him. So I have brought him before all of you -- especially you, King Agrippa. I hope you can question him and give me something to write. 27 I think it is foolish to send a prisoner to Caesar without telling what charges are against him."
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