Acts 20; Acts 21; Acts 22

1 All the trouble came to an end. Then Paul sent for the believers. After cheering them up, he said good-by. He then left for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of hope to the people. Finally he arrived in Greece. 3 There he stayed for three months. He was just about to sail for Syria. But the Jews were making plans against him. So he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4 Sopater, son of Pyrrhus, from Berea went with him. Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, and Timothy went too. Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia Minor also went with him. 5 These men went on ahead. They waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Five days later we joined the others at Troas. We stayed there for seven days. 7 On the first day of the week we met to break bread and eat together. Paul spoke to the people. He kept on talking until midnight because he planned to leave the next day. 8 There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. 9 A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window. He sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. Sound asleep, Eutychus fell from the third floor. When they picked him up from the ground, he was dead. 10 Paul went down and threw himself on the young man. He put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he told them. "He's alive!" 11 Then Paul went upstairs again. He broke bread and ate with them. He kept on talking until daylight. Then he left. 12 The people took the young man home. They were greatly comforted because he was alive. 13 We went on ahead to the ship. We sailed for Assos. There we were going to take Paul on board. He had planned it this way because he wanted to go there by land. 14 So he met us at Assos. We took him on board and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we sailed from there. We arrived near Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos. We arrived at Miletus the next day. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus. He didn't want to spend time in Asia Minor. He was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem. If he could, he wanted to be there by the day of Pentecost. 17 From Miletus, Paul sent for the elders of the church at Ephesus. 18 When they arrived, he spoke to them. "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you," he said. "From the first day I came into Asia Minor, 19 I was free of pride. I served the Lord with tears. I served him even though I was greatly tested by the evil plans of the Jews. 20 You know I haven't let anyone keep me from preaching anything that would be helpful to you. I have taught you in public and from house to house. 21 I have told both Jews and Greeks that they must turn away from their sins to God. They must have faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 "Now I am going to Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit compels me. I don't know what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Spirit warns me. He tells me that I will face prison and suffering. 24 But my life means nothing to me. I only want to finish the race. I want to complete the work the Lord Jesus has given me. He wants me to give witness to others about the good news of God's grace. 25 "I have spent time with you preaching about the kingdom. I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26 So I tell you today that I am not guilty if anyone has not believed. 27 I haven't let anyone keep me from telling you everything God wants you to do. 28 "Keep watch over yourselves. Keep watch over all the believers. The Holy Spirit has made you leaders over them. Be shepherds of God's church. He bought it with his own blood. 29 "I know that after I leave, wild wolves will come in among you. They won't spare any of the sheep. 30 Even men from your own people will rise up and twist the truth. They want to get the believers to follow them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning you. Night and day I warned each of you with tears. 32 "Now I commit you to God's care. I commit you to the word of his grace. It can build you up. Then you will share in what God plans to give all his people. 33 I haven't longed for anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that I have used my own hands to meet my needs. I have also met the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that we must work hard and help the weak. We must remember the words of the Lord Jesus. He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " 36 When Paul had said this, he got down on his knees with all of them and prayed. 37 They all cried as they hugged and kissed him. 38 What hurt them the most was that he had said they would never see his face again. Then they went with him to the ship.
1 After we had torn ourselves away from the Ephesian elders, we headed out to sea. We sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes. From there we continued on to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia. So we went on board and headed out to sea. 3 We came near Cyprus and passed to the south of it. Then we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre. There our ship was supposed to unload. 4 We found the believers there and stayed with them for seven days. Led by the Holy Spirit, they tried to get Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 But when it was time to leave, we continued on our way. All the believers and their families went with us out of the city. There on the beach we got down on our knees to pray. 6 We said good-by to each other. Then we went on board the ship. And they returned home. 7 Continuing on from Tyre, we landed at Ptolemais. There we greeted the brothers and sisters. We stayed with them for a day. 8 The next day we left and arrived at Caesarea. We stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist. He was one of the seven deacons. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. 10 We stayed there several days. Then a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He came over to us. Then he took Paul's belt and tied his own hands and feet with it. He said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'This is how the Jews of Jerusalem will tie up the owner of this belt. They will hand him over to people who are not Jews.' " 12 When we heard this, we all begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 He asked, "Why are you crying? Why are you breaking my heart? I'm ready to be put in prison. In fact, I'm ready to die in Jerusalem for the Lord Jesus." 14 We couldn't change his mind. So we gave up. We said, "May what the Lord wants to happen be done." 15 After this, we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the believers from Caesarea went with us. They brought us to Mnason's home. We were supposed to stay there. Mnason was from Cyprus. He was one of the first believers. 17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters gave us a warm welcome. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James. All the elders were there. 19 Paul greeted them. Then he reported everything God had done among the non-Jews through his work. 20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they spoke to Paul. "Brother," they said, "you see that thousands of Jews have become believers. All of them try very hard to obey the law. 21 They have been told that you teach all the Jews who live among the non-Jews to turn away from Moses. They think that you teach them not to circumcise their children. They think that you teach them to give up our Jewish ways. 22 "What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 So do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a promise to God. 24 Take them with you. Join them in the Jewish practice that makes people pure and clean. Pay their expenses so they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know that these reports about you are not true in any way. They will know that you yourself obey the law. 25 "We have already given written directions to the believers who are not Jews. They must not eat food that has been offered to statues of gods. They must not drink blood. They must not eat the meat of animals that have been choked to death. And they must not commit sexual sins." 26 The next day Paul took the men with him. They all made themselves pure and clean in the usual way. Then Paul went to the temple. There he reported the date when the days of cleansing would end. At that time the proper offering would be made for each of them. 27 The seven days of cleansing were almost over. Some Jews from Asia Minor saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd. They arrested Paul. 28 "Men of Israel, help us!" they shouted. "This is the man who teaches everyone in all places against our people. He speaks against our law and against this holy place. Besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area. He has made this holy place unclean." 29 They said this because they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul. They thought Paul had brought him into the temple area. 30 The whole city was stirred up. People came running from all directions. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Right away the temple gates were shut. 31 The people were trying to kill Paul. But news reached the commander of the Roman troops. He heard that people were making trouble in the whole city of Jerusalem. 32 At once he took some officers and soldiers with him. They ran down to the crowd. The people causing the trouble saw the commander and his soldiers. So they stopped beating Paul. 33 The commander came up and arrested Paul. He ordered him to be held with two chains. Then he asked who Paul was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing, some another. But the commander couldn't get the facts because of all the noise. So he ordered that Paul be taken into the fort. 35 Paul reached the steps. But then the mob became so wild that he had to be carried by the soldiers. 36 The crowd that followed kept shouting, "Kill him!" 37 The soldiers were about to take Paul into the fort. Then he asked the commander, "May I say something to you?" "Do you speak Greek?" he replied. 38 "Aren't you the Egyptian who turned some of our people against their leaders? Didn't you lead 4,000 terrorists out into the desert some time ago?" 39 Paul answered, "I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia. I am a citizen of an important city. Please let me speak to the people." 40 The commander told him he could. So Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When all of them were quiet, he spoke to them in the Aramaic language.
1 "Brothers and fathers," Paul began, "listen to me now. I want to speak up for myself." 2 When they heard that he was speaking to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said, 3 "I am a Jew. I was born in Tarsus in Cilicia. But I grew up here in Jerusalem. I was well trained by Gamaliel in the law of our people. I wanted to serve God as much as any of you do today. 4 I hurt the followers of the Way of Jesus. I sent many of them to their death. I arrested men and women. I threw them into prison. 5 The high priest and the whole Council can give witness to this. I even had some official letters they had written to their friends in Damascus. So I went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 "I had almost reached Damascus. About noon a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice speak to me. 'Saul! Saul!' it said. 'Why are you opposing me?' 8 " 'Who are you, Lord?' I asked. " 'I am Jesus of Nazareth,' he replied. 'I am the one you are opposing.' 9 "The light was seen by my companions. But they didn't understand the voice of the one speaking to me. 10 " 'What should I do, Lord?' I asked. " 'Get up,' the Lord said. 'Go into Damascus. There you will be told everything you have been given to do.' 11 The brightness of the light had blinded me. So my companions led me by the hand into Damascus. 12 "A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a godly Jew who obeyed the law. All the Jews living there respected him very much. 13 He stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' At that very moment I was able to see him. 14 "Then he said, 'The God of our people has chosen you. He wanted to tell you his plans for you. You have seen the Blameless One. You have heard words from his mouth. 15 Now you will give witness to all people about what you have seen and heard. 16 So what are you waiting for? Get up and call on his name. Be baptized. Have your sins washed away.' 17 "I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple. Then it seemed to me that I was dreaming. 18 I saw the Lord speaking to me. 'Quick!' he said. 'Leave Jerusalem at once. These people will not accept your witness about me.' 19 " 'Lord,' I replied, 'these people know what I used to do. I went from one synagogue to another and put believers in prison. I also beat them. 20 Stephen was a man who gave witness to others about you. I stood there when he was killed. I had agreed that he should die. I even guarded the coats of those who were killing him.' 21 "Then the Lord said to me, 'Go. I will send you far away to people who are not Jews.' " 22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they shouted, "Kill him! He isn't fit to live!" 23 They shouted and threw off their coats. They threw dust into the air. 24 So the commanding officer ordered Paul to be taken into the fort. He gave orders for Paul to be whipped and questioned. He wanted to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 A commander was standing there as they stretched Paul out to be whipped. Paul said to him, "Does the law allow you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?" 26 When the commander heard this, he went to the commanding officer and reported it. "What are you going to do?" the commander asked. "This man is a Roman citizen." 27 So the commanding officer went to Paul. "Tell me," he asked. "Are you a Roman citizen?" "Yes, I am," Paul answered. 28 Then the officer said, "I had to pay a lot of money to become a citizen." "But I was born a citizen," Paul replied. 29 Right away those who were about to question him left. Even the officer was alarmed. He realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains. 30 The commanding officer wanted to find out exactly what the Jews had against Paul. So the next day he let Paul out of prison. He ordered a meeting of the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin. Then he brought Paul and had him stand in front of them.
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