1 'Brothers and fathers, give me a hearing while I make my defence before you.' 2 When they heard him speaking to them in their own language, they listened the more quietly. 3 'I am a true-born Jew,' he said, 'a native of Tarsus in Cilicia. I was brought up in this city, and as a pupil of Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in every point of our ancestral law. I have always been ardent in God's service, as you all are today. 4 And so I began to persecute this movement to the death, arresting its followers, men and women alike, and putting them in chains. 5 For this I have as witnesses the High Priest and the whole Council of Elders. I was given letters from them to our fellow-Jews at Damascus, and had started out to bring the Christians there to Jerusalem as prisoners for punishment; and this is what happened. 6 I was on the road and nearing Damascus, when suddenly about midday a great light flashed from the sky all around me, 7 and I fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 8 I answered, "Tell me. Lord, who you are." "I am Jesus of Nazareth," he said, "whom you are persecuting." 9 My companions saw the light, but did not hear the voice that spoke to me. 10 "What shall I do, Lord?" I said, and the Lord replied, "Get up and continue your journey to Damascus; there you will be told of all the tasks that are laid upon you." 11 As I had been blinded by the brilliance of that light, my companions led me by the hand, and so I came to Damascus.
12 'There, a man called Ananias, a devout observer of the Law and well spoken of by all the Jews of that place, 13 came and stood beside me and said, "Saul, my brother, recover your sight." 14 Instantly I recovered my sight and saw him. He went on: "The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear his very voice, 15 because you are to be his witness before the world, and testify to what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why delay? Be baptized at once, with invocation of his name, and wash away your sins."
Paul Sent to the Gentiles
17 'After my return to Jerusalem, I was praying in the is temple when I fell into a trance 18 and saw him there, speaking to me. "Make haste", he said, "and leave Jerusalem without delay, for they will not accept your testimony about me." 19 "Lord," I said, "they know that I imprisoned those who believe in thee, and flogged them in every synagogue; 20 and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed I stood by, approving, and I looked after the clothes of those who killed him." 21 But he said to me, "Go, for I am sending you far away to the Gentiles." '
Paul and the Roman Tribune
22 Up to this point they had given him a hearing; but now they began shouting, 'Down with him! A scoundrel like that is better dead!' 23 And as they were yelling and waving their cloaks and flinging dust in the air, 24 the commandant ordered him to be brought into the barracks and gave instructions to examine him by flogging, and find out what reason there was for such an outcry against him. 25 But when they tied him up for the lash, Paul said to the centurion who was standing there, 'Can you legally flog a man who is a Roman citizen, and moreover has not been found guilty?' 26 When the centurion heard this, he went and reported it to the commandant. 'What do you mean to do?' he said. 'This man is a Roman citizen.' 27 The commandant came to Paul. 'Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?' he asked. 'Yes', said he. 28 The commandant rejoined, 'It cost me a large sum to acquire this citizenship.' Paul said, 'But it was mine by birth.' 29 Then those who were about to examine him withdrew hastily, and the commandant himself was alarmed when he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had put him in irons.
Paul before the Council
30 THE FOLLOWING DAY, wishing to be quite sure what charge the Jews were bringing against Paul, he released him and ordered the chief priests and the entire Council to assemble. He then took Paul down and stood him before them.
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