Acts 26; Acts 27; Acts 28

1 Agrippa said to Paul, "You may now speak for yourself." So Paul motioned with his hand. Then he began to stand up for himself. 2 "King Agrippa," he said, "I am happy to be able to stand here today. I will speak up for myself against all the charges brought by the Jews. 3 I am very pleased that you are familiar with Jewish ways. You know the kinds of things they argue about. So I beg you to be patient as you listen to me. 4 "The Jews all know how I have lived ever since I was a child. They know all about me from the beginning of my life. They know how I lived in my own country and in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time. So if they wanted to, they could give witness that I lived by the rules of the Pharisees. Those rules are harder to obey than the rules of any other group in the Jewish faith. 6 "Today I am on trial because of the hope I have. I believe in what God promised our people long ago. 7 It is the promise that our 12 tribes are hoping to see come true. Because of this hope they serve God with a true and honest heart day and night. King Agrippa, it is also because of this hope that the Jews are bringing charges against me. 8 Why should any of you think it is impossible for God to raise the dead? 9 "I myself believed that I should do everything I could to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 That's just what I was doing in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests, I put many of God's people in prison. I agreed that they should die. 11 I often went from one synagogue to another to have them punished. I tried to force them to speak evil things against Jesus. I hated them so much that I even went to cities in other lands to hurt them. 12 "On one of these journeys I was on my way to Damascus. I had the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, I was on the road. I saw a light coming from heaven. It was brighter than the sun. It was shining around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground. I heard a voice speak to me in the Aramaic language. 'Saul! Saul!' it said. 'Why are you opposing me? It is hard for you to go against what you know is right.' 15 "Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' " 'I am Jesus,' the Lord replied. 'I am the one you are opposing. 16 Now get up. Stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you to serve me and be my witness. You will tell others that you have seen me today. You will also tell them that I will show myself to you again. 17 " 'I will save you from your own people and from those who aren't Jews. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes. I want you to turn them from darkness to light. I want you to turn them from Satan's power to God. I want their sins to be forgiven. They will be forgiven when they believe in me. They will have their place among God's people.' 19 "So then, King Agrippa, I obeyed the vision that appeared from heaven. 20 First I preached to people in Damascus. Then I preached in Jerusalem and in all Judea. I preached also to people who are not Jews. I told them to turn away from their sins to God. The way they live must prove that they have turned away from their sins. 21 That's why the Jews grabbed me in the temple courtyard and tried to kill me. 22 "But God has helped me to this very day. So I stand here and give witness to both small and great. I have been saying nothing different from what the prophets and Moses said would happen. 23 They said the Christ would suffer. He would be the first to rise from the dead. He would announce the light of life to his own people and to those who aren't Jews." 24 While Paul was still speaking up for himself, Festus interrupted. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you crazy!" 25 "I am not crazy, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things. So I can speak openly to him. I am certain he knows everything that has been going on. After all, it was not done in secret. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do." 28 Then Agrippa spoke to Paul. "Are you trying to talk me into becoming a Christian?" he said. "Do you think you can do that in such a short time?" 29 Paul replied, "I don't care if it takes a short time or a long time. I pray to God for you and all who are listening to me today. I pray that you may become like me, except for these chains." 30 The king stood up. The governor and Bernice and those sitting with them stood up too. 31 They left the room and began to talk with one another. "Why should this man die or be put in prison?" they said. "He has done nothing worthy of that!" 32 Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free. But he has made an appeal to Caesar."
1 It was decided that we would sail for Italy. Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a Roman commander named Julius. He belonged to the Imperial Guard. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium. It was about to sail for ports along the coast of Asia Minor. We headed out to sea. Aristarchus was with us. He was a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 3 The next day we landed at Sidon. There Julius was kind to Paul. He let Paul visit his friends so they could give him what he needed. 4 From there we headed out to sea again. We passed the calmer side of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 We sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia. Then we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the commander found a ship from Alexandria sailing for Italy. He put us on board. 7 We moved along slowly for many days. We had trouble getting to Cnidus. The wind did not let us stay on course. So we passed the calmer side of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8 It was not easy to sail along the coast. Then we came to a place called Fair Havens. It was near the town of Lasea. 9 A lot of time had passed. Sailing had already become dangerous. By now it was after the Day of Atonement, a day of fasting. So Paul gave them a warning. 10 "Men," he said, "I can see that our trip is going to be dangerous. The ship and everything in it will be lost. Our own lives will be in danger also." 11 But the commander didn't listen to what Paul said. Instead, he followed the advice of the pilot and the ship's owner. 12 The harbor wasn't a good place for ships to stay during winter. So most of the people decided we should sail on. They hoped we would reach Phoenix. They wanted to spend the winter there. Phoenix was a harbor in Crete. It faced both southwest and northwest. 13 A gentle south wind began to blow. They thought that this was what they had been waiting for. So they pulled up the anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind blew down from the island. It had the force of a hurricane. It was called a "northeaster." 15 The ship was caught by the storm. We could not keep it sailing into the wind. So we gave up and were driven along. 16 We passed the calmer side of a small island called Cauda. We almost lost the lifeboat. 17 So the men lifted it on board. Then they tied ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. They were afraid it would get stuck on the sandbars of Syrtis. They lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took a very bad beating from the storm. The next day the crew began to throw the ship's contents overboard. 19 On the third day, they even threw the ship's gear overboard with their own hands. 20 The sun and stars didn't appear for many days. The storm was terrible. So we gave up all hope of being saved. 21 The men had not eaten for a long time. Paul stood up in front of them. "Men," he said, "you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete. Then you would have avoided this harm and loss. 22 "Now I beg you to be brave. Not one of you will die. Only the ship will be destroyed. 23 I belong to God and serve him. Last night his angel stood beside me. 24 The angel said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must go on trial in front of Caesar. God has shown his grace by sparing the lives of all those sailing with you.' 25 "Men, continue to be brave. I have faith in God. It will happen just as he told me. 26 But we must run the ship onto the beach of some island." 27 On the 14th night we were still being driven across the Sea of Adria. About midnight the sailors had a feeling that they were approaching land. 28 They measured how deep the water was. They found that it was 120 feet deep. A short time later they measured the water again. This time it was 90 feet deep. 29 They were afraid we would crash against the rocks. So they dropped four anchors from the back of the ship. They prayed that daylight would come. 30 The sailors wanted to escape from the ship. So they let the lifeboat down into the sea. They pretended they were going to lower some anchors from the front of the ship. 31 But Paul spoke to the commander and the soldiers. "These men must stay with the ship," he said. "If they don't, you can't be saved." 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat. They let it drift away. 33 Just before dawn Paul tried to get them all to eat. "For the last 14 days," he said, "you have wondered what would happen. You have gone without food. You haven't eaten anything. 34 Now I am asking you to eat some food. You need it to live. Not one of you will lose a single hair from your head." 35 After Paul said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God. He did this where they all could see him. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 All of them were filled with hope. So they ate some food. 37 There were 276 of us on board. 38 They ate as much as they wanted. They needed to make the ship lighter. So they threw the rest of the grain into the sea. 39 When daylight came, they saw a bay with a sandy beach. They didn't recognize the place. But they decided to run the ship onto the beach if they could. 40 So they cut the anchors loose and left them in the sea. At the same time, they untied the ropes that held the rudders. They lifted the sail at the front of the ship to the wind. Then they headed for the beach. 41 But the ship hit a sandbar. So the front of it got stuck and wouldn't move. The back of the ship was broken to pieces by the pounding of the waves. 42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners. They wanted to keep them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the commander wanted to save Paul's life. So he kept the soldiers from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and swim to land. 44 The rest were supposed to get there on boards or other pieces of the ship. That is how everyone reached land safely.
1 When we were safe on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The people of the island were unusually kind. It was raining and cold. So they built a fire and welcomed all of us. 3 Paul gathered some sticks and put them on the fire. A poisonous snake was driven out by the heat. It fastened itself on Paul's hand. 4 The people of the island saw the snake hanging from his hand. They said to each other, "This man must be a murderer. He escaped from the sea. But Justice won't let him live." Justice was the name of a goddess. 5 Paul shook the snake off into the fire. He was not harmed. 6 The people expected him to swell up. They thought he would suddenly fall dead. They waited for a long time. But they didn't see anything unusual happen to him. So they changed their minds. They said he was a god. 7 Publius owned property nearby. He was the chief official on the island. He welcomed us to his home. For three days he took care of us. He treated us with kindness. 8 His father was sick in bed. The man suffered from fever and dysentery. So Paul went in to see him. Paul prayed for him. He placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 Then the rest of the sick people on the island came. They too were healed. 10 The people of the island honored us in many ways. When we were ready to sail, they gave us the supplies we needed. 11 After three months we headed out to sea. We sailed in a ship that had stayed at the island during the winter. It was a ship from Alexandria. On the front of it the figures of twin gods were carved. Their names were Castor and Pollux. 12 We landed at Syracuse and stayed there for three days. 13 From there we sailed to Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up. The day after that, we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some believers. They invited us to spend a week with them. At last we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard we were coming. They traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw these people, he thanked God and was cheered up. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself. But a soldier guarded him. 17 Three days later Paul called a meeting of the Jewish leaders. So they came. Paul said to them, "My brothers, I have done nothing against our people. I have also done nothing against what our people of long ago practiced. But I was arrested in Jerusalem. I was handed over to the Romans. 18 "They questioned me. And they wanted to let me go. They saw I wasn't guilty of any crime worthy of death. 19 But the Jews objected. So I had to make an appeal to Caesar. "It wasn't that I had anything against my own people. 20 I share Israel's hope. That is why I am held with this chain. So I have asked to see you and talk with you." 21 They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea about you. None of our companions who came from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your ideas are. We know that people everywhere are talking against those who believe as you do." 23 They decided to meet Paul on a certain day. At that time even more people came to the place where he was staying. From morning until evening, he told them about God's kingdom and explained it to them. Using the Law of Moses and the Prophets, he tried to get them to believe in Jesus. 24 Some believed what he said. Others did not. 25 They didn't agree with each other. They began to leave after Paul had made a final statement. He said, "The Holy Spirit was right when he spoke to your people long ago. Through Isaiah the prophet the Spirit said, 26 " 'Go to your people. Say to them, "You will hear but never understand. You will see but never know what you are seeing." 27 These people's hearts have become stubborn. They can barely hear with their ears. They have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes. They might hear with their ears. They might understand with their hearts. They might turn, and then I would heal them.' (Isaiah 6:9,10) 28 "Here is what I want you to know. God has sent his salvation to people who are not Jews. And they will listen!" 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in a house he rented. He welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He preached boldly about God's kingdom. No one could keep him from teaching people about the Lord Jesus Christ.
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