Acts 26; Acts 27; Acts 28

1 Agrippa said to Paul, "You may now speak to defend yourself." Then Paul raised his hand and began to speak. 2 He said, "King Agrippa, I am very happy to stand before you and will answer all the charges the Jewish people make against me. 3 You know so much about all the Jewish customs and the things the Jews argue about, so please listen to me patiently. 4 "All the Jewish people know about my whole life, how I lived from the beginning in my own country and later in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time. If they want to, they can tell you that I was a good Pharisee. And the Pharisees obey the laws of the Jewish religion more carefully than any other group. 6 Now I am on trial because I hope for the promise that God made to our ancestors. 7 This is the promise that the twelve tribes of our people hope to receive as they serve God day and night. My king, the Jews have accused me because I hope for this same promise! 8 Why do any of you people think it is impossible for God to raise people from the dead? 9 "I, too, thought I ought to do many things against Jesus from Nazareth. 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem. The leading priests gave me the power to put many of God's people in jail, and when they were being killed, I agreed it was a good thing. 11 In every synagogue, I often punished them and tried to make them speak against Jesus. I was so angry against them I even went to other cities to find them and punish them. 12 "One time the leading priests gave me permission and the power to go to Damascus. 13 On the way there, at noon, I saw a light from heaven. It was brighter than the sun and flashed all around me and those who were traveling with me. 14 We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice speaking to me in the Jewish language, saying, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are only hurting yourself by fighting me.' 15 I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' The Lord said, 'I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Stand up! I have chosen you to be my servant and my witness -- you will tell people the things that you have seen and the things that I will show you. This is why I have come to you today. 17 I will keep you safe from your own people and also from those who are not Jewish. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn away from darkness to the light, away from the power of Satan and to God. Then their sins can be forgiven, and they can have a place with those people who have been made holy by believing in me.' 19 "King Agrippa, after I had this vision from heaven, I obeyed it. 20 I began telling people that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God and do things to show they really had changed. I told this first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem, and in every part of Judea, and also to those who are not Jewish. 21 This is why the Jews took me and were trying to kill me in the Temple. 22 But God has helped me, and so I stand here today, telling all people, small and great, what I have seen. But I am saying only what Moses and the prophets said would happen -- 23 that the Christ would die, and as the first to rise from the dead, he would bring light to the Jewish and non-Jewish people." 24 While Paul was saying these things to defend himself, Festus said loudly, "Paul, you are out of your mind! Too much study has driven you crazy!" 25 Paul said, "Most excellent Festus, I am not crazy. My words are true and sensible. 26 King Agrippa knows about these things, and I can speak freely to him. I know he has heard about all of these things, because they did not happen off in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe what the prophets wrote? I know you believe." 28 King Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian in such a short time?" 29 Paul said, "Whether it is a short or a long time, I pray to God that not only you but every person listening to me today would be saved and be like me -- except for these chains I have." 30 Then King Agrippa, Governor Festus, Bernice, and all the people sitting with them stood up 31 and left the room. Talking to each other, they said, "There is no reason why this man should die or be put in jail." 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "We could let this man go free, but he has asked Caesar to hear his case."
1 It was decided that we would sail for Italy. An officer named Julius, who served in the emperor'sn army, guarded Paul and some other prisoners. 2 We got on a ship that was from the city of Adramyttium and was about to sail to different ports in the country of Asia. Aristarchus, a man from the city of Thessalonica in Macedonia, went with us. 3 The next day we came to Sidon. Julius was very good to Paul and gave him freedom to go visit his friends, who took care of his needs. 4 We left Sidon and sailed close to the island of Cyprus, because the wind was blowing against us. 5 We went across the sea by Cilicia and Pamphylia and landed at the city of Myra, in Lycia. 6 There the officer found a ship from Alexandria that was going to Italy, so he put us on it. 7 We sailed slowly for many days. We had a hard time reaching Cnidus because the wind was blowing against us, and we could not go any farther. So we sailed by the south side of the island of Crete near Salmone. 8 Sailing past it was hard. Then we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea. 9 We had lost much time, and it was now dangerous to sail, because it was already after the Day of Cleansing. So Paul warned them, 10 "Men, I can see there will be a lot of trouble on this trip. The ship, the cargo, and even our lives may be lost." 11 But the captain and the owner of the ship did not agree with Paul, and the officer believed what the captain and owner of the ship said. 12 Since that harbor was not a good place for the ship to stay for the winter, most of the men decided that the ship should leave. They hoped we could go to Phoenix and stay there for the winter. Phoenix, a city on the island of Crete, had a harbor which faced southwest and northwest. 13 When a good wind began to blow from the south, the men on the ship thought, "This is the wind we wanted, and now we have it." So they pulled up the anchor, and we sailed very close to the island of Crete. 14 But then a very strong wind named the "northeaster" came from the island. 15 The ship was caught in it and could not sail against it. So we stopped trying and let the wind carry us. 16 When we went below a small island named Cauda, we were barely able to bring in the lifeboat. 17 After the men took the lifeboat in, they tied ropes around the ship to hold it together. The men were afraid that the ship would hit the sandbanks of Syrtis, so they lowered the sail and let the wind carry the ship. 18 The next day the storm was blowing us so hard that the men threw out some of the cargo. 19 A day later with their own hands they threw out the ship's equipment. 20 When we could not see the sun or the stars for many days, and the storm was very bad, we lost all hope of being saved. 21 After the men had gone without food for a long time, Paul stood up before them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me. You should not have sailed from Crete. Then you would not have all this trouble and loss. 22 But now I tell you to cheer up because none of you will die. Only the ship will be lost. 23 Last night an angel came to me from the God I belong to and worship. 24 The angel said, 'Paul, do not be afraid. You must stand before Caesar. And God has promised you that he will save the lives of everyone sailing with you.' 25 So men, have courage. I trust in God that everything will happen as his angel told me. 26 But we will crash on an island." 27 On the fourteenth night we were still being carried around in the Adriatic Sea. About midnight the sailors thought we were close to land, 28 so they lowered a rope with a weight on the end of it into the water. They found that the water was one hundred twenty feet deep. They went a little farther and lowered the rope again. It was ninety feet deep. 29 The sailors were afraid that we would hit the rocks, so they threw four anchors into the water and prayed for daylight to come. 30 Some of the sailors wanted to leave the ship, and they lowered the lifeboat, pretending they were throwing more anchors from the front of the ship. 31 But Paul told the officer and the other soldiers, "If these men do not stay in the ship, your lives cannot be saved." 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes and let the lifeboat fall into the water. 33 Just before dawn Paul began persuading all the people to eat something. He said, "For the past fourteen days you have been waiting and watching and not eating. 34 Now I beg you to eat something. You need it to stay alive. None of you will lose even one hair off your heads." 35 After he said this, Paul took some bread and thanked God for it before all of them. He broke off a piece and began eating. 36 They all felt better and started eating, too. 37 There were two hundred seventy-six people on the ship. 38 When they had eaten all they wanted, they began making the ship lighter by throwing the grain into the sea. 39 When daylight came, the sailors saw land. They did not know what land it was, but they saw a bay with a beach and wanted to sail the ship to the beach if they could. 40 So they cut the ropes to the anchors and left the anchors in the sea. At the same time, they untied the ropes that were holding the rudders. Then they raised the front sail into the wind and sailed toward the beach. 41 But the ship hit a sandbank. The front of the ship stuck there and could not move, but the back of the ship began to break up from the big waves. 42 The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners so none of them could swim away and escape. 43 But Julius, the officer, wanted to let Paul live and did not allow the soldiers to kill the prisoners. Instead he ordered everyone who could swim to jump into the water first and swim to land. 44 The rest were to follow using wooden boards or pieces of the ship. And this is how all the people made it safely to land.
1 When we were safe on land, we learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The people who lived there were very good to us. Because it was raining and very cold, they made a fire and welcomed all of us. 3 Paul gathered a pile of sticks and was putting them on the fire when a poisonous snake came out because of the heat and bit him on the hand. 4 The people living on the island saw the snake hanging from Paul's hand and said to each other, "This man must be a murderer! He did not die in the sea, but Justicen does not want him to live." 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and was not hurt. 6 The people thought that Paul would swell up or fall down dead. They waited and watched him for a long time, but nothing bad happened to him. So they changed their minds and said, "He is a god!" 7 There were some fields around there owned by Publius, an important man on the island. He welcomed us into his home and was very good to us for three days. 8 Publius' father was sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, prayed, and put his hands on the man and healed him. 9 After this, all the other sick people on the island came to Paul, and he healed them, too. 10 11 The people on the island gave us many honors. When we were ready to leave, three months later, they gave us the things we needed. We got on a ship from Alexandria that had stayed on the island during the winter. On the front of the ship was the sign of the twin gods. 12 We stopped at Syracuse for three days. 13 From there we sailed to Rhegium. The next day a wind began to blow from the south, and a day later we came to Puteoli. 14 We found some believers there who asked us to stay with them for a week. Finally, we came to Rome. 15 The believers in Rome heard that we were there and came out as far as the Market of Appiusn and the Three Innsn to meet us. When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and thanked God. 16 When we arrived at Rome, Paul was allowed to live alone, with the soldier who guarded him. 17 Three days later Paul sent for the Jewish leaders there. When they came together, he said, "Brothers, I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors. But I was arrested in Jerusalem and given to the Romans. 18 After they asked me many questions, they could find no reason why I should be killed. They wanted to let me go free, 19 but the Jewish people there argued against that. So I had to ask to come to Rome to have my trial before Caesar. But I have no charge to bring against my own people. 20 That is why I wanted to see you and talk with you. I am bound with this chain because I believe in the hope of Israel." 21 They answered Paul, "We have received no letters from Judea about you. None of our Jewish brothers who have come from there brought news or told us anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear your ideas, because we know that people everywhere are speaking against this religious group." 23 Paul and the Jewish people chose a day for a meeting and on that day many more of the Jews met with Paul at the place he was staying. He spoke to them all day long. Using the law of Moses and the prophets' writings, he explained the kingdom of God, and he tried to persuade them to believe these things about Jesus. 24 Some believed what Paul said, but others did not. 25 So they argued and began leaving after Paul said one more thing to them: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 26 'Go to this people and say: You will listen and listen, but you will not understand. You will look and look, but you will not learn, 27 because these people have become stubborn. They don't hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might really understand what they see with their eyes and hear with their ears. They might really understand in their minds and come back to me and be healed.' 28 "I want you to know that God has also sent his salvation to those who are not Jewish, and they will listen!" 29 30 Paul stayed two full years in his own rented house and welcomed all people who came to visit him. 31 He boldly preached about the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, and no one tried to stop him.
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