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. Chapter 26.

Paul Defends Himself before Agrippa

1 Agrippa said to Paul, 'You have our permission to speak for yourself.' Then Paul stretched out his hand and began his defence:

2 'I consider myself fortunate. King Agrippa, that it is before you that I am to make my defence today upon all the charges brought against me by the Jews, 3 particularly as you are expert in all Jewish matters, both our customs and our disputes. And therefore I beg you to give me a patient hearing.

4 'My life from my youth up, the life I led from the beginning among my people and in Jerusalem, is familiar to all Jews. 5 Indeed they have known me long enough and could testify, if they only would, that I belonged to the strictest group in our religion: I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And it is for a hope kindled by God's promise to our forefathers that I stand in the dock today. 7 Our twelve tribes hope to see the fulfilment of that promise, worshipping with intense devotion day and night; and for this very hope I am impeached, and impeached by Jews, Your Majesty. 8 Why is it considered incredible among you that God should raise dead men to life?

9 'I myself once thought it my duty to work actively against the name of Jesus of Nazareth; 10 and I did so in Jerusalem. It was I who imprisoned many of God's people by authority obtained from the chief priests; and when they were condemned to death, my vote was cast against them. 11 In all the synagogues I tried by repeated punishment to make them renounce their faith; indeed my fury rose to such a pitch that I extended my persecution to foreign cities.

Paul Tells of His conversion Ac.9.1-19, Ac.22.6-16

12 'On one such occasion I was travelling to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests; 13 and as I was on my way. Your Majesty, in the middle of the day I saw a light from the sky, more brilliant than the sun, shining all around me and my travelling-companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and then I heard a voice saying to me in the Jewish language, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you, this kicking against the goad." 15 I said, "Tell me, Lord, who you are"; and the Lord replied, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But now, rise to your feet and stand upright. I have appeared to you for a purpose: to appoint you my servant and witness, to testify both to what you have seen and to what you shall yet see of me. 17 I will rescue you from this people and from the Gentiles to whom I am sending you. 18 I send you to open their eyes and turn them from is darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, so that, by trust in me, they may obtain forgiveness of sins, and a place with those whom God has made his own."

Paul's Testimony to Jews and Gentiles

19 'And so. King Agrippa, I did not disobey the heavenly vision. 20 I turned first to the inhabitants of Damascus, and then to Jerusalem and all the country of Judaea, and to the Gentiles, and sounded the call to repent and turn to God, and to prove their repentance by deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to do away with me. 22 But I had God's help, and so to this very day I stand and testify to great and small alike. I assert nothing beyond what was foretold by the prophets and by Moses: 23 that the Messiah must suffer, and that he, the first to rise from the dead, would announce the dawn to Israel and to the Gentiles.'

Paul Appeals to Agrippa to Believe

24 While Paul was thus making his defence, Festus shouted at the top of his voice, 'Paul, you are raving; too much study is driving you mad.' 25 'I am not mad, Your Excellency,' said Paul; 'what I am saying is sober truth. 26 The king is well versed in these matters, and to him I can speak freely. I do not believe that he can be unaware of any of these facts, for this has been no hole-and-corner business. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.' 28 Agrippa said to Paul, 'You think it will not take much to win me over and make a Christian of me.' 29 'Much or little,' said Paul, 'I wish to God that not only you, but all those also who are listening to me today, might become what I am, apart from these chains.'

30 With that the king rose, and with him the Governor, Bernice, and the rest of the company, 31 and after they had withdrawn they talked it over. 'This man', they said, 'is doing nothing that deserves death or imprisonment.' 32 Agrippa said to Festus, 'The fellow could have been discharged, if he had not appealed to the Emperor.'

<< | Acts: 26 | >>

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