↑ 1.The Promise of the Holy Spirit (Jerusalem)
1IN THE FIRST PART of my work, Theophilus, I wrote of all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up to heaven. 3He showed himself to these men after his death, and gave ample proof that he was alive: over a period of forty days he appeared to them and taught them about the kingdom of God. 4While he was in their company he told them not to leave Jerusalem. 'You must wait', he said, 'for the promise made by my Father, about which you have heard me speak: 5John, as you know, baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and within the next few days.'
The Ascension of Jesus Passover, c.30ce (Mount of Olives, Jerusalem)
6So, when they were all together, they asked him, 'Lord, is this the time when you are to establish once again the sovereignty of Israel?' 7He answered, 'It is not for you to know about dates or times, which the Father has set within his own control. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will bear witness for me in Jerusalem, and all over Judaea and Samaria, and away to the ends of the earth.'
9When he had said this, as they watched, he was lifted up, and a cloud removed him from their sight. 10As he was going, and as they were gazing intently into the sky, all at once there stood beside them two men in white 11who said, 'Men of Galilee, why stand there looking up into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken away from you up to heaven, will come in the same way as you have seen him go.'
The Choice of Judas' Successor (Jerusalem)
12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, no farther than a Sabbath day's journey. 13Entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were lodging: Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these were constantly at prayer together, and with them a group of women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
15It was during this time that Peter stood up before the assembled brotherhood, about one hundred and twenty in all, and said: 16'My friends, the prophecy in Scripture was bound to come true, which the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of David, uttered about Judas who acted as guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17For he was one of our number and had his place in this ministry.' 18(This Judas, be it noted, after buying a plot of land with the price of his villainy, fell forward on the ground, and burst open, so that his entrails poured out. 19This became known to everyone in Jerusalem, and they named the property in their own language Akeldama, which means 'Blood Acre'.) 20 [ Ps.69.25, Ps.109.8. ] 'The text I have in mind', Peter continued, 'is in the Book of Psalms: "Let his homestead fall desolate; let there be none to inhabit it"; and again, "Let another take over his charge." 21Therefore one of those who bore us company all the while we had the Lord Jesus with us, coming and going, 22from John's ministry of baptism until the day when he was taken up from us—one of those must now join us as a witness to his resurrection.'
23Two names were put forward: Joseph, who was known as Barsabbas, and bore the added name of Justus; and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, 'Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, declare which of these two thou hast chosen 25to receive this office of ministry and apostleship which Judas abandoned to go where he belonged.' 26They drew lots and the lot fell on Matthias, who was then assigned a place among the twelve apostles.
↑ 2.The Coming of the Holy Spirit (Jerusalem)
1WHILE THE DAY of Pentecost was running its course they were all together in one place, 2when suddenly there came from the sky a noise like that of a strong driving wind, which filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared to them tongues like flames of fire, dispersed among them and resting on each one. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them power of utterance.
5Now there were living in Jerusalem devout Jews drawn from every nation under heaven; 6and at this sound the crowd gathered, all bewildered because each one heard his own language spoken. 7They were amazed and in their astonishment exclaimed, 'Why, they are all Galileans, are they not, these men who are speaking? 8How is it then that we hear them, each of us in his own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites; inhabitants of Mesopotamia, of Judaea and Cappadocia, of Pontus and Asia, 10of Phrygia and Pamphylia, of Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs, we hear them telling in our own tongues the great things God has done.' 12And they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'What can this mean?' 13Others said contemptuously, 'They have been drinking!'
Peter's Speech at Pentecost (Jerusalem)
14But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: 'Fellow Jews, and all you who live in Jerusalem, mark this and give me a hearing. 15These men are not drunk, as you imagine; for it is only nine in the morning. 16No, this is what the prophet spoke of: 17 [ Jl.2.28-32. ] "God says, 'This will happen in the last days: I will pour out upon everyone a portion of my spirit; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Yes, I will endue even my slaves, both men and women, with a portion of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the sky above, and signs on the earth below-blood and fire and drifting smoke. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before that great, resplendent day, the day of the Lord, shall come. 21And then, everyone who invokes the name of the Lord shall be saved.'"
22'Men of Israel, listen to me: I speak of Jesus of Nazareth, a man singled out by God and made known to you through miracles, portents, and signs, which God worked among you through him, as you well know. 23When he had been given up to you, by the deliberate will and plan of God, you used heathen men to crucify and kill him. 24But God raised him to life again, setting him free from the pangs of death, because it could not be that death should keep him in its grip. 25 [ Ps.16.8-11. ] 'For David says of him:
37When they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the apostles, 'Friends, what are we to do?' 38'Repent,' said Peter, 'repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God may call.' 40In these and many other words he pressed his case and pleaded with them: 'Save yourselves', he said, 'from this crooked age.' 41Then those who accepted his word were baptized, and some three thousand were added to their number that day.
42They met constantly to hear the apostles teach, and to share the common life, to break bread, and to pray.
Life among the Believers.
43A sense of awe was everywhere, and many marvels and signs were brought about through the apostles. 44All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common: 45they would sell their property and possessions and make a general distribution as the need of each required. 46With one mind they kept up their daily attendance at the temple, and, breaking bread in private houses, shared their meals with unaffected joy, 47as they praised God and enjoyed the favour of the whole people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those whom he was saving.
↑ 3.The lame man healed at the gate of the Temple (Beautiful Gate, The Temple, Jerusalem)
1ONE DAY at three in the afternoon, the hour of prayer, Peter and John were on their way up to the temple. 2Now a man who had been a cripple from birth used to be carried there and laid every day by the gate of the temple called 'Beautiful Gate', to beg from people as they went in. 3When he saw Peter and John on their way into the temple he asked for charity. 4But Peter fixed his eyes on him, as John did also, and said, 'Look at us.' 5Expecting a gift from them, the man was all attention. 6And Peter said, 'I have no silver or gold; but what I have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.' 7Then he grasped him by the right hand and pulled him up; and at once his feet and ankles grew strong; 8he sprang up, stood on his feet, and started to walk. He entered the temple with them, leaping and praising God as he went. 9Everyone saw him walking and praising God, 10and when they recognized him as the man who used to sit begging at Beautiful Gate, they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Peter's Speech in Solomon's Portico (Solomon's Portico, The Temple, Jerusalem)
11And as he was clutching Peter and John all the people came running in astonishment towards them in Solomon's Portico, as it is called. 12Peter saw them coming and met them with these words: 'Men of Israel, why be surprised at this? Why stare at us as if we had made this man walk by some power or godliness of our own? 13 [ Ex.3.6, Is.52.13, Is.53.11. ] The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has given the highest honour to his servant Jesus, whom you committed for trial and repudiated in Pilate's court— 14repudiated the one who was holy and righteous when Pilate had decided to release him. You begged as a favour the release of a murderer, 15and killed him who has led the way to life. But God raised him from the dead; of that we are witnesses. 16And the name of Jesus, by awakening faith, has strengthened this man, whom you see and know, and this faith has made him completely well, as you can all see for yourselves.
17'And now, my friends, I know quite well that you acted in ignorance, and so did your rulers; 18but this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold in the utterances of all the prophets: that his Messiah should suffer. 19Repent then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out. Then the Lord may grant you a time of recovery 20and send you the Messiah he has already appointed, that is, Jesus. 21He must be received into heaven until the time of universal restoration comes, of which God spoke by his holy prophets. 22 [ Dt.18.15-19. ] Moses said, "The Lord God will raise up a prophet for you from among yourselves as he raised me; you shall listen to everything he says to you, 23 [ Lv.23.29. ] and anyone who refuses to listen to that prophet must be extirpated from Israel." 24And so said all the prophets, from Samuel onwards; with one voice they all predicted this present time.
25 [ Gn.12.3, Gn.22.18. ] 'You are the heirs of the prophets; you are within the covenant which God made with your fathers, when he said to Abraham, "And in your offspring all the families on earth shall find blessing." 26When God raised up his Servant, he sent him to you first, to bring you blessing by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.'
↑ 4.Peter and John before the Council (Jerusalem)
1They were still addressing the people when the chief priests came upon them, together with the Controller of the Temple and the Sadducees, 2exasperated at their teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead—the resurrection of Jesus. 3They were arrested and put in prison for the night, as it was already evening. 4But many of those who had heard the message became believers. The number of men now reached about five thousand.
5Next day the Jewish rulers, elders, and doctors of the law met in Jerusalem. 6There were present Annas the High Priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7They brought the apostles before the court and began the examination. 'By what power', they asked, 'or by what name have such men as you done this?' 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered, 'Rulers of the people and elders, 9if the question put to us today is about help given to a sick man, and we are asked by what means he was cured, 10here is the answer, for all of you and for all the people of Israel: it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; it is by his name that this man stands here before you fit and well. 11 [ Ps.118.22. ] This Jesus is the stone rejected by the builders which has become the keystone-and you are the builders. 12There is no salvation in anyone else at all, for there is no other name under heaven granted to men, by which we may receive salvation.'
13Now as they observed the boldness of Peter and John, and noted that they were untrained laymen, they began to wonder, then recognized them as former companions of Jesus. 14And when they saw the man who had been cured standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15So they ordered them to leave the court, and then discussed the matter among themselves. 16'What are we to do with these men?' they said; 'for it is common knowledge in Jerusalem that a notable miracle has come about through them; and we cannot deny it. 17But to stop this from spreading further among the people, we had better caution them never is again to speak to anyone in this name.' 18They then called them in and ordered them to refrain from all public speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus.
19But Peter and John said to them in reply: 'Is it right in God's eyes for us to obey you rather than God? Judge for yourselves. 20We cannot possibly give up speaking of things we have seen and heard.'
21The court repeated the caution and discharged them. They could not see how they were to punish them, because the people were all giving glory to God for what had happened. 22The man upon whom this miracle of healing had been performed was over forty years old.
The Believers Pray for Boldness (Jerusalem)
23As soon as they were discharged they went back to their friends and told them everything that the chief priests and elders had said. 24 [ Ex.20.11, Ps.146.6, Is.37.16. ] When they heard it, they raised their voices as one man and called upon God:
'Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth and sea and of everything in them, 25 [ Ps.2.1-2. ] who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of David thy servant, didst say,
31When they had ended their prayer, the building where they were assembled rocked, and all were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
All Things in Common
32THE WHOLE BODY of believers was united in heart and soul. Not a man of them claimed any of his possessions as his own, but everything was held in common, 33while the apostles bore witness with great power to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. They were all held in high esteem; 34for they had never a needy person among them, because all who had property in land or houses sold it, brought the proceeds of the sale, 35and laid the money at the feet of the apostles; it was then distributed to any who stood in need.
36For instance, Joseph, surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means 'Son of Exhortation'), a Levite, by birth a Cypriot, 37owned an estate, which he sold; he brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
↑ 5.Ananias and Sapphira
1But there was another man, called Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, who sold a property. 2With the full knowledge of his wife he kept back part of the purchase-money, and part he brought and laid at the apostles' feet. 3But Peter said, 'Ananias, how was it that Satan so possessed your mind that you lied to the Holy Spirit, and kept back part of the price of the land? 4While it remained, did it not remain yours? When it was turned into money, was it not still at your own disposal? What made you think of doing this thing? You have lied not to men but to God.' 5When Ananias heard these words he dropped dead; and all the others who heard were awestruck. 6The younger men rose and covered his body, then carried him out and buried him.
7About three hours passed, and then his wife came in, unaware of what had happened. 8Peter turned to her and said, 'Tell me, were you paid such and such a price for the land?' 'Yes,' she said, 'that was the price.' 9Then Peter said, 'Why did you both conspire to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Hark! there at the door are the footsteps of those who buried your husband; and they will carry you away.' 10And suddenly she dropped dead at his feet. When the young men came in, they found her dead; and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11And a great awe fell upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these events.
Many Signs and Wonders Performed
12Many remarkable and wonderful things took place among the people at the hands of the apostles.
THEY USED TO MEET by common consent in Solomon's Portico, 13no one from outside their number venturing to join with them. But people in general spoke highly of them, 14and more than that, numbers of men and women were added to their ranks as believers in the Lord. 15In the end the sick were actually carried out into the streets and laid there on beds and stretchers, so that even the shadow of Peter might fall on one or another as he passed by; 16and the people from the towns round Jerusalem flocked in, bringing those who were ill or harassed by unclean spirits, and all of them were cured.
Persecution of the Apostles (Jerusalem)
17Then the High Priest and his colleagues, the Sadducean party as it then was, were goaded into action by jealousy. 18They proceeded to arrest the apostles, and put them in official custody. 19But an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors during the night, brought them out, and said, 20'Go, take your place in the temple and speak to the people, and tell them about this new life and all it means.' 21Accordingly they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching.
When the High Priest arrived with his colleagues they summoned the 'Sanhedrin', that is, the full senate of the Israelite nation, and sent to the jail to fetch the prisoners. 22But the police who went to the prison failed to find them there, so they returned and reported, 23'We found the jail securely locked at every point, with the warders at their posts by the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.' 24When they heard this, the Controller of the Temple and the chief priests were wondering what could have become of them, 25and then a man arrived with the report, 'Look! the men you put in prison are there in the temple teaching the people.' 26At that the Controller went off with the police and fetched them, but without using force for fear of being stoned by the people.
27So they brought them and stood them before the Council; and the High Priest began his examination. 28'We expressly ordered you', he said, 'to desist from teaching in that name; and what has happened? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are trying to make us responsible for that man's death.' 29Peter replied for himself and the apostles: 'We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you had done to death by hanging him on a gibbet. 31He it is whom God has exalted with his own right hand as leader and saviour, to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to all this, and so is the Holy Spirit given by God to those who are obedient to him.'
33This touched them on the raw, and they wanted to put them to death. 34But a member of the Council rose to his feet, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in high regard by all the people. He moved that the men be put outside for a while. 35Then he said, 'Men of Israel, be cautious in deciding what to do with these men. 36Some time ago Theudas came forward, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. But he was killed and his whole following was broken up and disappeared. 37After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census; he induced some people to revolt under his leadership, but he too perished and his whole following was scattered. 38And so now: keep clear of these men, I tell you; leave them alone. For if this idea of theirs or its execution is of human origin, it will collapse; 39but if it is from God, you will never be able to put them down, and you risk finding yourselves at war with God.'
40They took his advice. They sent for the apostles and had them flogged; then they ordered them to give up speaking in the name of Jesus, and discharged them. 41So the apostles went out from the Council rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer indignity for the sake of the Name. 42And every day they went steadily on with their teaching in the temple and in private houses, telling the good news of Jesus the Messiah.
↑ 6.The Appointment of the Seven (Jerusalem)
1DURING THIS PERIOD, when disciples were growing in number, there was disagreement between those of them who spoke Greek and those who spoke the language of the Jews. The former party complained that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. 2So the Twelve called the whole body of disciples together and said, 'It would be a grave mistake for us to neglect the word of God in order to wait at table. 3Therefore, friends, look out seven men of good reputation from your number, men full of the Spirit and of wisdom, and we will appoint them to deal with these matters, 4while we devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.' 5This proposal proved acceptable to the whole body. They elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch, a former convert to Judaism. 6These they presented to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7The word of God now spread more and more widely; the number of disciples in Jerusalem went on increasing rapidly, and very many of the priests adhered to the Faith.
The Arrest of Stephen
8Stephen, who was full of grace and power, began to work great miracles and signs among the people. 9But some members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, comprising Cyrenians and Alexandrians and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and argued with Stephen, 10but could not hold their own against the inspired wisdom with which he spoke. 11They then put up men who alleged that they had heard him make blasphemous statements against Moses and against God. 12They stirred up the people and the elders and doctors of the law, set upon him and seized him, and brought him before the Council. 13They produced false witnesses who said, 'This man is for ever saying things against this holy place and against the Law. 14For we have heard him say that Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and alter the customs handed down to us by Moses.' 15And all who were sitting in the Council fixed their eyes on him, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.
↑ 7.Stephen's Speech (Jerusalem)
1Then the High Priest asked, 'Is this so?' 2And he said, 'My brothers, fathers of this nation, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to Abraham our ancestor while he was in Mesopotamia, before he had settled in Harran, 3 [ Gn.12.1, Gn.48.4. ] and said: "Leave your country and your kinsfolk and come away to a land that I will show you." 4Thereupon he left the land of the Chaldaeans and settled in Harran. From there, after his father's death, God led him to migrate to this land where you now live. 5 [ Dt.2.5. ] He gave him nothing in it to call his own, not one yard; but promised to give it in possession to him and his descendants after him, though he was then childless. 6 [ Gn.15.13-14, Ex.3.12, Ex.12.40. ] God spoke in these terms: "Abraham's descendants shall live as aliens in a foreign land, held in slavery and oppression for four hundred years. 7And I will pass judgement", said God, "on the nation whose slaves they are; and after that they shall come out free, and worship me in this place." 8He then gave him the covenant of circumcision, and so, after Isaac was born, he circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs.
9'The patriarchs out of jealousy sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt, 10 [ Gn.41.37-39, Gn.41.40, Ps.105.21. ] but God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He also gave him a presence and powers of mind which so commended him to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he appointed him chief administrator for Egypt and the whole of the royal household.
11 [ Gn.41.54, Gn.42.5. ] 'But famine struck the whole of Egypt and Canaan, and caused great hardship; and our ancestors could find nothing to eat. 12But Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt and sent our fathers there. This was their first visit. 13On the second visit Joseph was recognized by his brothers, and his family connexions were disclosed to Pharaoh. 14So Joseph sent an invitation to his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five persons altogether; 15and Jacob went down into Egypt. There he ended his days, as also our forefathers did. 16Their remains were later removed to Shechem and buried in the tomb which Abraham had bought and paid for from the clan of Emmor at Shechem.
17'Now as the time approached for God to fulfil the promise he had made to Abraham, our nation in Egypt grew and increased in numbers. 18At length another king, who knew nothing of Joseph, ascended the throne of Egypt. 19He made a crafty attack on our race, and cruelly forced our ancestors to expose their children so that they should not survive. 20At this time Moses was born. He was a fine child, and pleasing to God. For three months he was nursed in his father's house, and when he was exposed, 21Pharaoh's daughter herself adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22So Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, a powerful speaker and a man of action.
23'He was approaching the age of forty, when it occurred to him to look into the conditions of his fellow-countrymen the Israelites. 24He saw one of them being ill-treated, so he went to his aid, and avenged the victim by striking down the Egyptian. 25He thought his fellow-countrymen would understand that God was offering them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26The next day he came upon two of them fighting, and tried to bring them to make up their quarrel. "My men," he said, "you are brothers; why are you ill-treating one another?" 27 [ Lk.12.14. ] But the man who was at fault pushed him away. "Who set you up as a ruler and judge over us?" he said. 28"Are you going to kill me like the Egyptian you killed yesterday?" 29At this Moses fled the country and settled in Midianite territory. There two sons were born to him.
30 [ Ex.3.2, Dt.33.16. ] 'After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the flame of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31Moses was amazed at the sight. But as he approached to look closely, the voice of the Lord was heard: 32 [ Ex.3.6. ] "I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Moses was terrified and dared not look. 33 [ Ex.3.5. ] Then the Lord said to him, "Take off your shoes; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 [ Ex.3.7-10, Ex.2.24. ] I have indeed seen how my people are oppressed in Egypt and have heard their groans; and I have come down to rescue them. Up, then; let me send you to Egypt."
35 [ Ex.2.14. ] 'This Moses, whom they had rejected with the words, "Who made you ruler and judge?"—this very man was commissioned as ruler and liberator by God himself, speaking through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36It was Moses who led them out, working miracles and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for forty years in the desert. 37 [ Dt.18.15. ] It was he again who said to the Israelites, "God will raise up a prophet for you from among yourselves as he raised me." 38He it was who, when they were assembled there in the desert, conversed with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our forefathers; he received the living utterances of God, to pass on to us.
39'But our forefathers would not accept his leadership. They thrust him aside. They wished themselves back in Egypt, 40 [ Ex.32.1, Ex.32.23. ] and said to Aaron, "Make us gods to go before us. As for that Moses, who brought us out of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." 41That was when they made the bull-calf, and offered sacrifice to the idol, and held a feast in honour of the thing their hands had made. 42 [ Am.5.25-27. ] But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the hosts of heaven, as it stands written in the book of the prophets: "Did you bring me victims and offerings those forty years in the desert, you house of Israel? 43 [ Ex.27.21, Ex.25.40. ] No, you carried aloft the shrine of Moloch, and the star of the god Rephan, the images which you had made for your adoration. I will banish you beyond Babylon."
44'Our forefathers had the Tent of the Testimony in the desert, as God commanded when he told Moses to make it after the pattern which he had seen. 45Our fathers of the next generation, with Joshua, brought it with them when they dispossessed the nations whom God drove out before them, and there it was until the time of David. 46David found favour with God and asked to be allowed to provide a dwelling-place for the God of Jacob; 47but it was Solomon who built him a house. 48However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men: 49 [ Is.66.1-2. ] as the prophet says, "Heaven is my throne and earth my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord; where is my resting-place? 50Are not all these things of my own making?"
51'How stubborn you are, heathen still at heart and deaf to the truth! You always fight against the Holy Spirit. Like fathers, like sons. 52Was there ever a prophet whom your fathers did not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One; and now you have betrayed him and murdered him, 53you who received the Law as God's angels gave it to you, and yet have not kept it.'
The Stoning of Stephen (Jerusalem)
54This touched them on the raw and they ground their teeth with fury. 55But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, and gazing intently up to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand. 56'Look,' he said, 'there is a rift in the sky; I can see the Son of Man standing at God's right hand!' 57At this they gave a great shout and stopped their ears. Then they made one rush at him and, 58flinging him out of the city, set about stoning him. The witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59So they stoned Stephen, and as they did so, he called out, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' 60Then he fell on his knees and cried aloud, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them', and with that he died.
↑ 8.Saul Persecutes the Church
1And Saul was among those who approved of his murder.
THIS WAS THE BEGINNING of a time of violent persecution for the church in Jerusalem; and all except the apostles were scattered over the country districts of Judaea and Samaria. 2Stephen was given burial by certain devout men, who made a great lamentation for him. 3Saul, meanwhile, was harrying the church; he entered house after house, seizing men and women, and sending them to prison.
The Gospel Preached in Samaria (Samaria)
4As for those who had been scattered, they went through the country preaching the Word. 5Philip came down to a city in Samaria and began proclaiming the Messiah to them. 6The crowds, to a man, listened eagerly to what Philip said, when they heard him and saw the miracles that he performed. 7For in many cases of possession the unclean spirits came out with a loud outcry; and many paralysed and crippled folk were cured; 8and there was great joy in that city.
9A man named Simon had been in the city for some time, and had swept the Samaritans off their feet with his magical arts, claiming to be someone great. 10All of them, high and low, listened eagerly to him. 'This man', they said, 'is that power of God which is called "The Great Power".' 11They listened because they had for so long been carried away by his magic. 12But when they came to believe Philip with his good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, men and women alike. 13Even Simon himself believed, and was baptized, and thereupon was constantly in Philip's company. He was carried away when he saw the powerful signs and miracles that were taking place.
14The apostles in Jerusalem now heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God. They sent off Peter and John, 15who went down there and prayed for the converts, asking that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16For until then the Spirit had not come upon any of them. They had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus, that and nothing more. 17So Peter and John laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
18When Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money 19and said, 'Give me the same power too, so that when I lay my hands on anyone, he will receive the Holy Spirit.' 20Peter replied, 'Your money go with you to damnation, because you thought God's gift was for sale! 21You have no part nor lot in this, for you are dishonest with God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray the Lord to forgive you for imagining such a thing. 23I can see that you are doomed to taste the bitter fruit and wear the fetters of sin.' 24Simon answered, 'Pray to the Lord for me yourselves and ask that none of the things you have spoken of may fall upon me.'
25And so, after giving their testimony and speaking the word of the Lord, they took the road back to Jerusalem, bringing the good news to many Samaritan villages on the way.
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Gaza Road, Judaea)
26Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' (This is the desert road.) 27So he set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake, or Queen, of Ethiopia, in charge of all her treasure. He had been to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage 28and was now on his way home, sitting in his carriage and reading aloud the prophet Isaiah. 29The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go and join the carriage.' 30When Philip ran up he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah and said, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' 31He said, 'How can I understand unless someone will give me the clue?' So he asked Philip to get in and sit beside him.
32 [ Is.53.7-8. ] The passage he was reading was this: 'He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered; and like a lamb that is dumb before the shearer, he does not open his mouth. 33He has been humiliated and has no redress. Who will be able to speak of his posterity? For he is cut off from the world of living men.'
34'Now', said the eunuch to Philip, 'tell me, please, who it is that the prophet is speaking about here: himself or someone else?' 35Then Philip began. Starting from this passage, he told him the good news of Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water. 'Look,' said the eunuch, 'here is water: what is there to prevent my being baptized?'; 37 38and he ordered the carriage to stop. Then they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water the Spirit snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw no more of him, but went happily on his way. 40Philip appeared at Azotus, and toured the country, preaching in all the towns till he reached Caesarea.
↑ 9.The Conversion of Saul (Damascus Road) - Ac.22.6-16, Ac.26.12-18
1MEANWHILE SAUL was still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest 2and applied for letters to the synagogues at Damascus authorizing him to arrest anyone he found, men or women, who followed the new way, and bring them to Jerusalem. 3While he was still on the road and nearing Damascus, suddenly a light flashed from the sky all around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 5'Tell me. Lord,' he said, 'who you are.' The voice answered, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.' 7Meanwhile the men who were travelling with him stood speechless; they heard the voice but could see no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could not see, so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9He was blind for three days, and took no food or drink.
10There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. He had a vision in which he heard the voice of the Lord: 'Ananias!' 'Here I am. Lord', he answered. 11The Lord said to him, 'Go at once to Straight Street, to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. 12You will find him at prayer; he has had a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying his hands on him to restore his sight.' 13Ananias answered, 'Lord, I have often heard about this man and all the harm he has done to thy people in Jerusalem. 14And here he is with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who invoke thy name.' 15But the Lord said to him, 'You must go, for this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before the nations and their kings, and before the people of Israel. 16I myself will show him all that he must go through for my name's sake.'
17So Ananias went. He entered the house, laid his hands on him and said, 'Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may recover your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' 18And immediately it seemed that scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.
Saul Preaches at Damascus (Damascus, Syria)
19Thereupon he was baptized, and afterwards he took food and his strength returned.
He stayed some time with the disciples in Damascus. 20Soon he was proclaiming Jesus publicly in the synagogues: 'This', he said, 'is the Son of God.' 21All who heard were astounded. 'Is not this the man', they said, 'who was in Jerusalem trying to destroy those who invoke this name? Did he not come here for the sole purpose of arresting them and taking them to the chief priests?' 22But Saul grew more and more forceful, and silenced the Jews of Damascus with his cogent proofs that Jesus was the Messiah.
Saul Escapes from the Jews (Damascus, Syria)
23As the days mounted up, the Jews hatched a plot against his life; 24but their plans became known to Saul. They kept watch on the city gates day and night so that they might murder him; 25but his converts took him one night and let him down by the wall, lowering him in a basket.
Saul at Jerusalem (Jerusalem)
26When he reached Jerusalem he tried to join the body of disciples there; but they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was really a convert. 27Barnabas, however, took him by the hand and introduced him to the apostles. He described to them how Saul had seen the Lord on his journey, and heard his voice, and how he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus at Damascus. 28Saul now stayed with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem. 29He spoke out boldly and openly in the name of the Lord, talking and debating with the Greek-speaking Jews. 30But they planned to murder him, and when the brethren learned of this they escorted him to Caesarea and saw him off to Tarsus.
31MEANWHILE THE CHURCH, throughout Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria, was left in peace to build up its strength. In the fear of the Lord, upheld by the Holy Spirit, it held on its way and grew in numbers.
The Healing of Aeneas (Lydda)
32Peter was making a general tour, in the course of which he went down to visit God's people at Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas who had been bed-ridden with paralysis for eight years. 34Peter said to him, 'Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you; get up and make your bed', and immediately he stood up. 35All who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him; and they turned to the Lord.
Dorcas Restored to Life (Joppa)
36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek, Dorcas, meaning a gazelle), who filled her days with acts of kindness and charity. 37At that time she fell ill and died; and they washed her body and laid it in a room upstairs. 38As Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who had heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the urgent request, 'Please come over to us without delay.' 39Peter thereupon went off with them. When he arrived they took him upstairs to the room, where all the widows came and stood round him in tears, showing him the shirts and coats that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40Peter sent them all outside, and knelt down and prayed. Then, turning towards the body, he said, 'Get up, Tabitha.' She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 41He gave her his hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the members of the congregation and the widows and showed her to them alive. 42The news spread all over Joppa, and many came to believe in the Lord. 43Peter stayed on in Joppa for some time with one Simon, a tanner.
↑ 10.Peter and Cornelius (Caesarea)
1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Cohort, as it was called. 2He was a religious man, and he and his whole family joined in the worship of God. He gave generously to help the Jewish people, and was regular in his prayers to God. 3One day about three in the afternoon he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God, who came into his room and said, 'Cornelius!' 4He stared at him in terror. 'What is it, my lord?' he asked. The angel said, 'Your prayers and acts of charity have gone up to heaven to speak for you before God. 5And now send to Joppa for a man named Simon, also called Peter: 6he is lodging with another Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.' 7So when the angel who was speaking to him had gone, he summoned two of his servants and a military orderly who was a religious man, 8told them the whole story, and sent them to Joppa.
9Next day, while they were still on their way and approaching the city, about noon Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He grew hungry and wanted something to eat. While they were getting it ready, he fell into a trance. 11He saw a rift in the sky, and a thing coming down that looked like a great sheet of sailcloth. It was slung by the four corners, and was being lowered to the ground. 12In it he saw creatures of every kind, whatever walks or crawls or flies. 13Then there was a voice which said to him, 'Up, Peter, kill and eat.' 14But Peter said, 'No, Lord, no: I have never eaten anything profane or unclean.' 15The voice came again a second time: 'It is not for you to call profane what God counts clean.' 16This happened three times; and then the thing was taken up again into the sky.
17While Peter was still puzzling over the meaning of the vision he had seen, the messengers of Cornelius had been asking the way to Simon's house, and now arrived at the entrance. 18They called out and asked if Simon Peter was lodging there. 19But Peter was thinking over the vision, when the Spirit said to him, 'Some men are here looking for you; 20make haste and go downstairs. You may go with them without any misgiving, for it was I who sent them.' 21Peter came down to the men and said, 'You are looking for me? Here I am. What brings you here?' 22'We are from the centurion Cornelius,' they replied, 'a good and religious man, acknowledged as such by the whole Jewish nation. He was directed by a holy angel to send for you to his house and to listen to what you have to say.' 23So Peter asked them in and gave them a night's lodging. Next day he set out with them, accompanied by some members of the congregation at Joppa.
24The day after that, he arrived at Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25When Peter arrived, Cornelius came to meet him, and bowed to the ground in deep reverence. 26But Peter raised him to his feet and said, 'Stand up; I am a man like anyone else.' 27Still talking with him he went in and found a large gathering. 28He said to them, 'I need not tell you that a Jew is forbidden by his religion to visit or associate with a man of another race; yet God has shown me clearly that I must not call any man profane or unclean. 29That is why I came here without demur when you sent for me. May I ask what was your reason for sending?'
30Cornelius said, 'Four days ago, just about this time, I was in the house here saying the afternoon prayers, when suddenly a man in shining robes stood before me. 31He said: "Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your acts of charity remembered before God. 32Send to Joppa, then, to Simon Peter, and ask him to come. He is lodging in the house of Simon the tanner, by the sea." 33So I sent to you there and then; it was kind of you to come. And now we are all met here before God, to hear all that the Lord has ordered you to say.'
Peter Speaks in Cornelius' House (Caesarea)
34Peter began: 'I now see how true it is that God has no favourites, 35but that in every nation the man who is godfearing and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36He sent his word to the Israelites and gave the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37I need not tell you what happened lately all over the land of the Jews, starting from Galilee after the baptism proclaimed by John. 38You know about Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39And we can bear witness to all that he did in the Jewish country-side and in Jerusalem. He was put to death by hanging on a gibbet; 40but God raised him to life on the third day, and allowed him to appear, 41not to the whole people, but to witnesses whom God had chosen in advance—to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to proclaim him to the people, and affirm that he is the one who has been designated by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43It is to him that all the prophets testify, declaring that everyone who trusts in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.'
Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit (Caesarea)
44Peter was still speaking when the Holy Spirit came upon all who were listening to the message. 45The believers who had come with Peter, men of Jewish birth, were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out even on Gentiles. 46For they could hear them speaking in tongues of ecstasy and acclaiming the greatness of God. Then Peter spoke: 47'Is anyone prepared to withhold the water for baptism from these persons, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did ourselves?' 48Then he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. After that they asked him to stay on with them for a time.
↑ 11.Peter's Report to the Church at Jerusalem (Jerusalem)
1News came to the apostles and the members of the church in Judaea that Gentiles too had accepted the word of God; 2and when Peter came up to Jerusalem those who were of Jewish birth raised the question with him. 3'You have been visiting men who are uncircumcised,' they said, 'and sitting at table with them!' 4Peter began by laying before them the facts as they had happened.
5'I was in the city of Joppa', he said, 'at prayer; and while in a trance I had a vision: a thing was coming down that looked like a great sheet of sail-cloth, slung by the four corners and lowered from the sky till it reached me. 6I looked intently to make out what was in it and I saw four-footed creatures of the earth, wild beasts, and things that crawl or fly. 7Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Up, Peter, kill and eat." 8But I said, "No, Lord, no: nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth." 9A voice from heaven answered a second time, "It is not for you to call profane what God counts clean." 10This happened three times, and then they were all drawn up again into the sky. 11At that moment three men, who had been sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where I was staying; 12and the Spirit told me to go with them. My six companions here came with me and we went into the man's house. 13He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, "Send to Joppa for Simon also called Peter. 14He will speak words that will bring salvation to you and all your household." 15Hardly had I begun speaking, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as upon us at the beginning. 16Then I recalled what the Lord had said: "John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." 17God gave them no less a gift than he gave us when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; then how could I possibly stand in God's way?'
18When they heard this their doubts were silenced. They gave praise to God and said, 'This means that God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles also.'
The Church at Antioch (Antioch, Syria)
19MEANWHILE THOSE who had been scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen made their way to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, bringing the message to Jews only and to no others. 20But there were some natives of Cyprus and Cyrene among them, and these, when they arrived at Antioch, began to speak to Gentiles as well, telling them the good news of the Lord Jesus. 21The power of the Lord was with them, and a great many became believers, and turned to the Lord.
22The news reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem; and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the divine grace at work, he rejoiced, and encouraged them all to hold fast to the Lord with resolute hearts; 24for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers were won over to the Lord.
25He then went off to Tarsus to look for Saul; 26and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year the two of them lived in fellowship with the congregation there, and gave instruction to large numbers. It was in Antioch that the disciples first got the name of Christians.
27During this period some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them, Agabus by name, was inspired to stand up and predict a severe and world-wide famine, which in fact occurred in the reign of Claudius. 29So the disciples agreed to make a contribution, each according to his means, for the relief of their fellow-Christians in Judaea. 30This they did, and sent it off to the elders, in the charge of Barnabas and Saul.
↑ 12.James Killed and Peter Imprisoned (Jerusalem)
1IT WAS ABOUT THIS TIME that King Herod attacked certain members of the church. 2He beheaded James, the brother of John, 3and then, when he saw that the Jews approved, proceeded to arrest Peter also. This happened during the festival of Unleavened Bread. 4Having secured him, he put him in prison under a military guard, four squads of four men each, meaning to produce him in public after Passover. 5So Peter was kept in prison under constant watch, while the church kept praying fervently for him to God.
6On the very night before Herod had planned to bring him forward, Peter was asleep between two soldiers, secured by two chains, while outside the doors sentries kept guard over the prison. 7All at once an angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was ablaze with light. He tapped Peter on the shoulder and woke him. 'Quick! Get up', he said, and the chains fell away from his wrists. 8The angel then said to him, 'Do up your belt and put your sandals on.' He did so. 'Now wrap your cloak round you and follow me.' 9He followed him out, with no idea that the angel's intervention was real: he thought it was just a vision. 10But they passed the first guard-post, then the second, and reached the iron gate leading out into the city, which opened for them of its own accord. And so they came out and walked the length of one street; and the angel left him.
11Then Peter came to himself. 'Now I know it is true,' he said; 'the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.' 12When he realized how things stood, he made for the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where a large company was at prayer. 13He knocked at the outer door and a maid called Rhoda came to answer it. 14She recognized Peter's voice and was so overjoyed that instead of opening the door she ran in and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15'You are crazy', they told her; but she insisted that it was so. Then they said, 'It must be his guardian angel.'
16Meanwhile Peter went on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astounded. 17With a movement of the hand he signed to them to keep quiet, and told them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. 'Report this to James and the members of the church', he said. Then he left the house and went off elsewhere.
18When morning came, there was consternation is among the soldiers: what could have become of Peter? 19Herod made close search, but failed to find him, so he interrogated the guards and ordered their execution.
Afterwards he left Judaea to reside for a time at Caesarea.
The Death of Herod
20He had for some time been furiously angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, who now by common agreement presented themselves at his court. There they won over Blastus the royal chamberlain, and sued for peace, because their country drew its supplies from the king's territory. 21So, on an appointed day, attired in his royal robes and seated on the rostrum, 22Herod harangued them; and the populace shouted back, 'It is a god speaking, not a man!' 23Instantly an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he had usurped the honour due to God; he was eaten up with worms and died.
24Meanwhile the word of God continued to grow and spread.
25Barnabas and Saul, their task fulfilled, returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.
↑ 13.Barnabas and Saul Commissioned (Jerusalem)
1THERE WERE AT ANTIOCH, in the congregation there, certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been at the court of Prince Herod, and Saul. 2While they were keeping a fast and offering worship to the Lord, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set Barnabas and Saul apart for me, to do the work to which I have called them.' 3Then, after further fasting and prayer, they laid their hands on them and let them go.
The Apostles Preach in Cyprus (Cyprus)
4So these two, sent out on their mission by the Holy Spirit, came down to Seleucia, and from there sailed to Cyprus. 5Arriving at Salamis, they declared the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. They had John with them as their assistant. 6They went through the whole island as far as Paphos, and there they came upon a sorcerer, a Jew who posed as a prophet, Bar-Jesus by name. 7He was in the retinue of the Governor, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who had sent for Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. 8This Elymas the sorcerer (so his name may be translated) opposed them, trying to turn the Governor away from the Faith. 9But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on him 10and said, 'You swindler, you rascal, son of the devil and enemy of all goodness, will you never stop falsifying the straight ways of the Lord? 11Look now, the hand of the Lord strikes: you shall be blind, and for a time you shall not see the sunlight.' Instantly mist and darkness came over him and he groped about for someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the Governor saw what had happened he became a believer, deeply impressed by what he learned about the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia (Pisidian Antioch)
13Leaving Paphos, Paul and his companions went by sea to Perga in Pamphylia; John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14From Perga they continued their journey as far as Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they went to synagogue and took their seats; 15and after the readings from the Law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent this message to them: 'Friends, if you have anything to say to the people by way of exhortation, let us hear it.' 16Paul rose, made a gesture with his hand, and began:
'Men of Israel and you who worship our God, listen to me! 17The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers. When they were still living as aliens in Egypt he made them into a nation and brought them out of that country with arm outstretched. 18For some forty years he bore with their conduct in the desert. 19Then in the Canaanite country he overthrew seven nations, whose lands he gave them to be their heritage 20for some four hundred and fifty years, and afterwards appointed judges for them until the time of the prophet Samuel.
21'Then they asked for a king and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 [ Ps.89.20, 1Sm.13.14. ] Then he removed him and set up David as their king, giving him his approval in these words: "I have found David son of Jesse to be a man after my own heart, who will carry out all my purposes." 23This is the man from whose posterity God, as he promised, has brought Israel a saviour, Jesus. 24John made ready for his coming by proclaiming baptism as a token of repentance to the whole people of Israel. 25And when John was nearing the end of his course, he said, "I am not what you think I am. No, after me comes one whose shoes I am not fit to unfasten."
26'My brothers, you who come of the stock of Abraham, and others among you who revere our God, we are the people to whom the message of this salvation has been sent. 27The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize him, or understand the words of the prophets which are read Sabbath by Sabbath; indeed they fulfilled them by condemning him. 28Though they failed to find grounds for the sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29And when they had carried out all that the scriptures said about him, they took him down from the gibbet and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead; 35and there was a period of many days during which he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
32'They are now his witnesses before our nation; and we are here to give you the good news that God, who made the promise to the fathers, 33 [ Ps.2.7. ] has fulfilled it for the children by raising Jesus from the dead, as indeed it stands written, in the second Psalm: "You are my son; this day have I begotten you." 34 [ Is.55.3. ] Again, that he raised him from the dead, never again to revert to corruption, he declares in these words: "I will give you the blessings promised to David, holy and sure." 35 [ Ps.16.10. ] This is borne out by another passage: "Thou wilt not let thy loyal servant suffer corruption." 36As for David, when he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, he died, and was gathered to his fathers, and suffered corruption; 37but the one whom God raised up did not suffer corruption; 38and you must understand, my brothers, that it is through him that forgiveness of sins is now being proclaimed to you. 39It is through him that everyone who has faith is acquitted of everything for which there was no acquittal under the Law of Moses. 40Beware, then, lest you bring down upon yourselves the doom proclaimed by the prophets: 41 [ Hab.1.5. ] "See this, you scoffers, wonder, and begone; for I am doing a deed in your days,
a deed which you will never believe when you are told of it." '
42As they were leaving the synagogue they were asked to come again and speak on these subjects next Sabbath; 43and after the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and gentile worshippers went along with Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to hold fast to the grace of God.
44On the following Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of God. 45When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealous resentment, and contradicted what Paul and Barnabas said, with violent abuse. 46But Paul and Barnabas were outspoken in their reply. 'It was necessary', they said, 'that the word of God should be declared to you first. But since you reject it and thus condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 [ Is.49.6. ] For these are our instructions from the Lord: "I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, and a means of salvation to earth's farthest bounds." ' 48When the Gentiles heard this, they were overjoyed and thankfully acclaimed the word of the Lord, and those who were marked out for eternal life became believers. 49So the word of the Lord spread far and wide through the region. 50But the Jews stirred up feeling among the women of standing who were worshippers, and among the leading men of the city; a persecution was started against Paul and Barnabas, and they were expelled from the district. 51So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52And the converts were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
↑ 14.Paul and Barnabas at Iconium (Iconium)
1At Iconium similarly they went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke to such purpose that a large body both of Jews and Gentiles became believers. 2But the unconverted Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the Christians. 3For some time Paul and Barnabas stayed on and spoke boldly and openly in reliance on the Lord; and he confirmed the message of his grace by causing signs and miracles to be worked at their hands. 4The mass of the townspeople were divided, some siding with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5But when a move was made by Gentiles and Jews together, with the connivance of the city authorities, to maltreat them and stone them, 6they got wind of it and made their escape to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding country, 7where they continued to spread the good news.
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra (Lystra)
8At Lystra sat a crippled man, lame from birth, who had never walked in his life. 9This man listened while Paul was speaking. Paul fixed his eyes on him and saw that he had the faith to be cured, 10so he said to him in a loud voice, 'Stand up straight on your feet'; and he sprang up and started to walk. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted, in their native Lycaonian, 'The gods have come down to us in human form.' 12And they called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul they called Mercury, because he was the spokesman. 13And the priest of Jupiter, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and he and all the people were about to offer sacrifice.
14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed into the crowd shouting, 15 [ Ex.20.11, Ps.146.6. ] 'Men, what is this that you are doing? We are only human beings, no less mortal than you. The good news we bring tells you to turn from these follies to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16In past ages he allowed all nations to go their own way; 17and yet he has not left you without some clue to his nature, in the kindness he shows: he sends you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons, and gives you food and good cheer in plenty.'
18With these words they barely managed to prevent the crowd from offering sacrifice to them.
19Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came on the scene and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, thinking him dead. 20The converts formed a ring round him, and he got to his feet and went into the city. Next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
The Return to Antioch in Syria
21After bringing the good news to that town, where they gained many converts, they returned to Lystra, then to Iconium, and then to Antioch, 22heartening the converts and encouraging them to be true to their religion. They warned them that to enter the kingdom of God we must pass through many hardships. 23They also appointed elders for them in each congregation, and with prayer and fasting committed them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.
24Then they passed through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia. 25When they had given the message at Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26and from there set sail for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the task which they had now completed. 27When they arrived and had called the congregation together, they reported all that God had done through them, and how he had thrown open the gates of faith to the Gentiles. 28And they stayed for some time with the disciples there.
↑ 15.The Council at Jerusalem (Jerusalem)
1NOW CERTAIN PERSONS who had come down from Judaea began to teach the brotherhood that those who were not circumcised in accordance with Mosaic practice could not be saved. 2That brought them into fierce dissension and controversy with Paul and Barnabas. And so it was arranged that these two and some others from Antioch should go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.
3They were sent on their way by the congregation, and travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling the full story of the conversion of the Gentiles. The news caused great rejoicing among all the Christians there.
4When they reached Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, and reported all that God had helped them to do. 5Then some of the Pharisaic party who had become believers came forward and said, 'They must be circumcised and told to keep the Law of Moses.'
6The apostles and elders held a meeting to look into this matter; and, after a long debate. 7Peter rose and addressed them. 'My friends,' he said, 'in the early days, as you yourselves know. God made his choice among you and ordained that from my lips the Gentiles should hear and believe the message of the Gospel. 8And God, who can read men's minds, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, as he did to us. 9He made no difference between them and us; for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Then why do you now provoke God by laying on the shoulders of these converts a yoke which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear? 11No, we believe that it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, and so are they.'
12At that the whole company fell silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and miracles that God had worked among the Gentiles through them.
13When they had finished speaking, James summed up: 'My friends,' he said, 'listen to me. 14Simeon has told how it first happened that God took notice of the Gentiles, to choose from among them a people to bear his name; 15and this agrees with the words of the prophets, as Scripture has it:
22Then the apostles and elders, with the agreement of the whole church, resolved to choose representatives and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose two leading men in the community, Judas Barsabbas and Silas 23and gave them this letter to deliver:
'We, the apostles and elders, send greetings as brothers to our brothers of gentile origin in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. 24Forasmuch as we have heard that some of our number, without any instructions from us, have disturbed you with their talk and unsettled your minds, 25we have resolved unanimously to send to you our chosen representatives with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26who have devoted themselves to the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We are therefore sending Judas and Silas, who will themselves confirm this by word of mouth. 28It is the decision of the Holy Spirit, and our decision, to lay no further burden upon you beyond these essentials: 29you are to abstain from meat that has been offered to idols, from blood, from anything that has been strangled, and from fornication. If you keep yourselves free from these things you will be doing right. Farewell.'
30So they were sent off on their journey and travelled down to Antioch, where they called the congregation together, and delivered the letter. 31When it was read, they all rejoiced at the encouragement it brought. 32Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, said much to encourage and strengthen the members, 33and, after spending some time there, were dismissed with the good wishes of the brethren, to return to those who had sent them." 34 35But Paul and Barnabas stayed on at Antioch, and there, along with many others, they taught and preached the word of the Lord.
36AFTER A WHILE Paul said to Barnabas, 'Ought we not to go back now to see how our brothers are faring in the various towns where we proclaimed the word of the Lord?' 37Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them; 38but Paul judged that the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on to share in their work was not the man to take with them now. 39The dispute was so sharp that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus, 40while Paul chose Silas. He started on his journey, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord, 41and travelled through Syria and Cilicia bringing new strength to the congregations.
1He went on to Derbe and to Lystra, and there he found a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish Christian mother and a Gentile father. 2He was well spoken of by the Christians at Lystra and Iconium, 3and Paul wanted to have him in his company when he left the place. So he took him and circumcised him, out of consideration for the Jews who lived in those parts; for they all knew that his father was a Gentile. 4As they made their way from town to town they handed on the decisions taken by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem and enjoined their observance. 5And so, day by day, the congregations grew stronger in faith and increased in numbers.
Paul's Vision of the Man of Macedonia (Troas)
6They travelled through the Phrygian and Galatian region, because they were prevented by the Holy Spirit from delivering the message in the province of Asia; 7and when they approached the Mysian border they tried to enter Bithynia; but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, 8so they skirted Mysia and reached the coast at Troas. 9During the night a vision came to Paul: a Macedonian stood there appealing to him and saying, 'Come across to Macedonia and help us.' 10After he had seen this vision we at once set about getting a passage to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to bring them the good news.
The Conversion of Lydia (Philippi)
11So we sailed from Troas and made a straight run to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, a city of the first rank in that district of Macedonia, and a Roman colony. Here we stayed for some days, 13and on the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the riverside, where we thought there would be a place of prayer, and sat down and talked to the women who had gathered there. 14One of them named Lydia, a dealer in purple fabric from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God, was listening, and the Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul said. 15She was baptized, and her household with her, and then she said to us, 'If you have judged me to be a believer in the Lord, I beg you to come and stay in my house.' And she insisted on our going.
The Imprisonment at Philippi (Philippi)
16Once, when we were on our way to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who was possessed by an oracular spirit and brought large profits to her owners by telling fortunes. 17She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, 'These men are servants of the Supreme God, and are declaring to you a way of salvation.' 18She did this day after day, until Paul could bear it no longer. Rounding on the spirit he said, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her', and it went out there and then.
19When the girl's owners saw that their hope of gain had gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the city authorities in the main square; 20and bringing them before the magistrates, they said, 'These men are causing a disturbance in our city, they are Jews; 21they are advocating customs which it is illegal for us Romans to adopt and follow.' 22The mob joined in the attack; and the magistrates tore off the prisoners' clothes and ordered them to be flogged. 23After giving them a severe beating they flung them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them under close guard. 24In view of these orders, he put them in the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas, at their prayers, were singing praises to God, and the other prisoners were listening, 26when suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken; all the doors burst open and all the prisoners found their fetters unfastened. 27The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open, and assuming that the prisoners had escaped, drew his sword intending to kill himself. 28But Paul shouted, 'Do yourself no harm; we are all here.' 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and threw himself down before Paul and Silas, trembling with fear. 30He then escorted them out and said, 'Masters, what must I do to be saved?' 31They said, 'Put your trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.' 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. 33At that late hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; and immediately afterwards he and his whole family were baptized. 34He brought them into his house, set out a meal, and rejoiced with his whole household in his new-found faith in God.
35When daylight came the magistrates sent their officers with instructions to release the men. 36The jailer reported the message to Paul: 'The magistrates have sent word that you are to be released. So now you may go free, and blessings on your journey.' 37But Paul said to the officers: 'They gave us a public flogging, though we are Roman citizens and have not been found guilty; they threw us into prison, and are they now to smuggle us out privately? No indeed! Let them come in person and escort us out.' 38The officers reported his words. The magistrates were alarmed to hear that they were Roman citizens, 39and came and apologized to them. Then they escorted them out and requested them to go away from the city. 40On leaving the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met their fellow-Christians, and spoke words of encouragement to them; then they departed.
1THEY NOW TRAVELLED by way of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2Following his usual practice Paul went to their meetings; and for the next three Sabbaths he argued with them, quoting texts of Scripture 3which he expounded and applied to show that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. 'And this Jesus,' he said, 'whom I am proclaiming to you, is the Messiah.' 4Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas; so did a great number of godfearing Gentiles and a good many influential women.
5But the Jews in their jealousy recruited some low fellows from the dregs of the populace, roused the rabble, and had the city in an uproar. They mobbed Jason's house, with the intention of bringing Paul and Silas before the town assembly. 6Failing to find them, they dragged Jason himself and some members of the congregation before the magistrates, shouting, 'The men who have made trouble all over the world have now come here; 7and Jason has harboured them. They all flout the Emperor's laws, and assert that there is a rival king, Jesus.' 8These words caused a great commotion in the mob, which affected the magistrates also. 9They bound over Jason and the others, and let them go.
The Apostles at Beroea (Beroea)
10As soon as darkness fell, the members of the congregation sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea. On arrival, they made their way to the synagogue. 11The Jews here were more civil than those at Thessalonica: they received the message with great eagerness, studying the scriptures every day to see whether it was as they said. 12Many of them therefore became believers, and so did a fair number of Gentiles, women of standing as well as men. 13But when the Thessalonian Jews learned that the word of God had now been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea, they came on there to stir up trouble and rouse the rabble. 14Thereupon the members of the congregation sent Paul off at once to go down to the coast, while Silas and Timothy both stayed behind. 15Paul's escort brought him as far as Athens, and came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin him with all speed.
Paul at Athens (Athens)
16Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens he was exasperated to see how the city was full of idols. 17So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and gentile worshippers, and also in the city square every day with casual passers-by. 18And some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers joined issue with him. Some said, 'What can this charlatan be trying to say?'; others, 'He would appear to be a propagandist for foreign deities'- this because he was preaching about Jesus and Resurrection. 19So they took him and brought him before the Court of Areopagus and said, 'May we know what this new doctrine is that you propound? 20You are introducing ideas that sound strange to us, and we should like to know what they mean.' 21(Now the Athenians in general and the foreigners there had no time for anything but talking or hearing about the latest novelty.)
22Then Paul stood up before the Court of Areopagus and said: 'Men of Athens, I see that in everything that concerns religion you are uncommonly scrupulous. 23For as I was going round looking at the objects of your worship, I noticed among other things an altar bearing the inscription "To an Unknown God". What you worship but do not know—this is what I now proclaim.
24'The God who created the world and everything in it, and who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by men. 25It is not because he lacks anything that he accepts service at men's hands, for he is himself the universal giver of life and breath and all else. 26He created every race of men of one stock, to inhabit the whole earth's surface. He fixed the epochs of their history and the limits of their territory. 27They were to seek God, and, it might be, touch and find him; though indeed he is not far from each one of us, 28for in him we live and move, in him we exist; as some of your own poets have said, "We are also his offspring." 29As God's offspring, then, we ought not to suppose that the deity is like an image in gold or silver or stone, shaped by human craftsmanship and design. 30As for the times of ignorance, God has overlooked them; but now he commands mankind, all men everywhere, to repent, 31because he has fixed the day on which he will have the world judged, and justly judged, by a man of his choosing; of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.'
32When they heard about the raising of the dead, some scoffed; and others said, 'We will hear you on this subject some other time.' 33And so Paul left the assembly. 34However, some men joined him and became believers, including Dionysius, a member of the Court of Areopagus; also a woman named Damaris, and others besides.
1After this he left Athens and went to Corinth. 2There he fell in with a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, and his wife Priscilla; he had recently arrived from Italy because Claudius had issued an edict that all Jews should leave Rome. 3Paul approached them and, because he was of the same trade, he made his home with them, and they carried on business together; they were tent-makers. 4He also held discussions in the synagogue Sabbath by Sabbath, trying to convince both Jews and Gentiles.
5Then Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, and Paul devoted himself entirely to preaching, affirming before the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. 6But when they opposed him and resorted to abuse, he shook out the skirts of his cloak and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads! My conscience is clear; now I shall go to the Gentiles.' 7With that he left, and went to the house of a worshipper of God named Titius Justus, who lived next door to the synagogue. 8Crispus, who held office in the synagogue, now became a believer in the Lord, with all his household; and a number of Corinthians listened and believed, and were baptized. 9One night in a vision the Lord said to Paul, 'Have no fear: go on with your preaching and do not be silenced, 10for I am with you and no one shall attempt to do you harm; and there are many in this city who are my people.' 11So he settled down for eighteen months, teaching the word of God among them.
12But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews set upon Paul in a body and brought him into court. 13'This man', they said, 'is inducing people to worship God in ways that are against the law.' 14Paul was just about to speak when Gallio said to them, 'If it had been a question of crime or grave misdemeanour, I should, of course, have given you Jews a patient hearing, 15but if it is some bickering about words and names and your Jewish law, you may see to it yourselves; I have no mind to be a judge of these matters.' 16And he had them ejected from the court. 17Then there was a general attack on Sosthenes, who held office in the synagogue, and they gave him a beating in full view of the bench. But all this left Gallio quite unconcerned.
Paul's Return to Antioch (Antioch)
18Paul stayed on for some time, and then took leave of the brotherhood and set sail for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because he was under a vow. 19When they reached Ephesus he parted from them and went himself into the synagogue, where he held a discussion with the Jews. 20He was asked to stay longer, but declined 21and set out from Ephesus, saying, as he took leave of them, 'I shall come back to you if it is God's will.' 22On landing at Caesarea, he went up and paid his respects to the church, and then went down to Antioch. 23After spending some time there, he set out again and made a journey through the Galatian country and on through Phrygia, bringing new strength to all the converts.
Apollos Preaches at Ephesus (Ephesus)
24NOW THERE ARRIVED at Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, powerful in his use of the scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord and was full of spiritual fervour; and in his discourses he taught accurately the facts about Jesus, though he knew only John's baptism. 26He now began to speak boldly in the synagogue, where Priscilla and Aquila heard him; they took him in hand and expounded the new way to him in greater detail. 27Finding that he wished to go across to Achaia, the brotherhood gave him their support, and wrote to the congregation there to make him welcome. From the time of his arrival, he was very helpful to those who had by God's grace become believers; 28for he strenuously confuted the Jews, demonstrating publicly from the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.
1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul travelled through the inland regions till he came to Ephesus. 2There he found a number of converts, to whom he said, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?' 'No,' they replied, 'we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.' 3He said, 'Then what baptism were you given?' 'John's baptism', they answered. 4Paul then said, 'The baptism that John gave was a baptism in token of repentance, and he told the people to put their trust in one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.' 5On hearing this they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus; 6and when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues of ecstasy and prophesied. 7Altogether they were about a dozen men.
8During the next three months he attended the synagogue and, using argument and persuasion, spoke boldly and freely about the kingdom of God. 9But when some proved obdurate and would not believe, speaking evil of the new way before the whole congregation, he left them, withdrew his converts, and continued to hold discussions daily in the lecture-hall of Tyrannus. 10This went on for two years, with the result that the whole population of the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord. 11And through Paul God worked singular miracles: 12when handkerchiefs and scarves which had been in contact with his skin were carried to the sick, they were rid of their diseases and the evil spirits came out of them.
The Sons of Sceva (Ephesus)
13But some strolling Jewish exorcists tried their hand at using the name of the Lord Jesus on those possessed by evil spirits; they would say, 'I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul proclaims.' 14There were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who were using this method, 15when the evil spirit answered back and said, 'Jesus I acknowledge, and I know about Paul, but who are you?' 16And the man with the evil spirit flew at them, overpowered them all, and handled them with such violence that they ran out of the house stripped and battered. 17This became known to everybody in Ephesus, whether Jew or Gentile; they were all awestruck, and the name of the Lord Jesus gained in honour. 18Moreover many of those who had become believers came and openly confessed that they had been using magical spells. 19And a good many of those who formerly practised magic collected their books and burnt them publicly. The total value was reckoned up and it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20In such ways the word of the Lord showed its power, spreading more and more widely and effectively.
The Riot at Ephesus (Ephesus)
21When things had reached this stage, Paul made up his mind to visit Macedonia and Achaia and then go on to Jerusalem; and he said, 'After I have been there, I must see Rome also.' 22So he sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed some time longer in the province of Asia.
23Now about that time, the Christian movement gave rise to a serious disturbance. 24There was a man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Diana and provided a great deal of employment for the craftsmen. 25He called a meeting of these men and the workers in allied trades, and addressed them. 'Men,' he said, 'you know that our high standard of living depends on this industry. 26And you see and hear how this fellow Paul with his propaganda has perverted crowds of people, not only at Ephesus but also in practically the whole of the province of Asia. He is telling them that gods made by human hands are not gods at all. 27There is danger for us here; it is not only that our line of business will be discredited, but also that the sanctuary of the great goddess Diana will cease to command respect; and then it will not be long before she who is worshipped by all Asia and the civilized world is brought down from her divine pre-eminence.'
28When they heard this they were roused to fury and shouted, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!' 29The whole city was in confusion; they seized Paul's travelling-companions, the Macedonians Gaius and Aristarchus, and made a concerted rush with them into the theatre. 30Paul wanted to appear before the assembly but the other Christians would not let him. 31Even some of the dignitaries of the province, who were friendly towards him, went and urged him not to venture into the theatre. 32Meanwhile some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion and most of them did not know what they had all come for. 33But some of the crowd explained the trouble to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed to the front, and he, motioning for silence, attempted to make a defence before the assembly. 34But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a single cry arose from them all: for about two hours they kept on shouting, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!'
35The town clerk, however, quieted the crowd. 'Men of Ephesus,' he said, 'all the world knows that our city of Ephesus is temple-warden of the great Diana and of that symbol of her which fell from heaven. 36Since these facts are beyond dispute, your proper course is to keep quiet and do nothing rash. 37These men whom you have brought here as culprits have committed no sacrilege and uttered no blasphemy against our goddess. 38If therefore Demetrius and his craftsmen have a case against anyone, assizes are held and there are such people as proconsuls; let the parties bring their charges and countercharges. 39If, on the other hand, you have some further question to raise, it will be dealt with in the statutory assembly. 40We certainly run the risk of being charged with riot for this day's work. There is no justification for it, and if the issue is raised we shall be unable to give any explanation of this uproar.' 41With that he dismissed the assembly.
1WHEN THE DISTURBANCE had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-bye and set out on his journey to Macedonia. 2He travelled through those parts of the country, often speaking words of encouragement to the Christians there, and so came into Greece. 3When he had spent three months there and was on the point of embarking for Syria, a plot was laid against him by the Jews, so he decided to return by way of Macedonia. 4He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus, from Beroea, the Thessalonians Aristarchus and Secundus, Gaius the Doberian and Timothy, and the Asians Tychicus and Trophimus. 5These went ahead and waited for us at Troas; 6we ourselves set sail from Philippi after the Passover season, and in five days reached them at Troas, where we spent a week.
7On the Saturday night, in our assembly for the breaking of bread, Paul, who was to leave next day, addressed them, and went on speaking until midnight. 8Now there were many lamps in the upper room where we were assembled; 9and a youth named Eutychus, who was sitting on the window-ledge, grew more and more sleepy as Paul went on talking. At last he was completely overcome by sleep, fell from the third storey to the ground, and was picked up for dead. 10Paul went down, threw himself upon him, seizing him in his arms, and said to them, 'Stop this commotion: there is still life in him.' 11He then went upstairs, broke bread and ate, and after much conversation, which lasted until dawn, he departed. 12And they took the boy away alive and were immensely comforted.
The Voyage from Troas to Miletus (Troas)
13We went ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement, as he was going to travel by road. 14When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15Next day we sailed from there and arrived opposite Chios, and on the second day we made Samos. On the following day we reached Miletus. 16For Paul had decided to pass by Ephesus and so avoid having to spend time in the province of Asia; he was eager to be in Jerusalem, if he possibly could, on the day of Pentecost.
Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders (Miletus)
17He did, however, send from Miletus to Ephesus and summon the elders of the congregation; 18and when they joined him, he spoke as follows:
'You know how, from the day that I first set foot in the province of Asia, for the whole time that I was with you, 19I served the Lord in all humility amid the sorrows and trials that came upon me through the machinations of the Jews. 20You know that I kept back nothing that was for your good: I delivered the message to you; I taught you, in public and in your homes; 21with Jews and Gentiles alike I insisted on repentance before God and trust in our Lord Jesus. 22And now, as you see, I am on my way to Jerusalem, under the constraint of the Spirit. Of what will befall me there I know nothing, 23except that in city after city the Holy Spirit assures me that imprisonment and hardships await me. 24For myself, I set no store by life; I only want to finish the race, and complete the task which the Lord Jesus assigned to me, of bearing my testimony to the gospel of God's grace.
25'One word more: I have gone about among you proclaiming the Kingdom, but now I know that none of you will see my face again. 26That being so, I here and now declare that no man's fate can be laid at my door; for I have kept back nothing; 27I have disclosed to you the whole purpose of God. 28Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has given you charge, as shepherds of the church of the Lord, which he won for himself by his own blood. 29I know that when I am gone, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own body there will be men coming forward who will distort the truth to induce the disciples to break away and follow them. 31So be on the alert; remember how for three years, night and day, I never ceased to counsel each of you, and how I wept over you.
32'And now I commend you to God and to his gracious word, which has power to build you up and give you your heritage among all who are dedicated to him. 33I have not wanted anyone's money or clothes for myself; 34you all know that these hands of mine earned enough for the needs of me and my companions. 35I showed you that it is our duty to help the weak in this way, by hard work, and that we should keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, "Happiness lies more in giving than in receiving."'
36As he finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. 37Then there were loud cries of sorrow from them all, as they folded Paul in their arms and kissed him. 38What distressed them most was his saying that they would never see his face again. So they escorted him to his ship.
1When we had parted from them and set sail, we made a straight run and came to Cos; next day to Rhodes, and thence to Patara. 2There we found a ship bound for Phoenicia, so we went aboard and sailed in her. 3We came in sight of Cyprus, and leaving it to port, we continued our voyage to Syria, and put in at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload her cargo. 4We went and found the disciples and stayed there a week; and they, warned by the Spirit, urged Paul to abandon his visit to Jerusalem. 5But when our time ashore was ended, we left and continued our journey; and they and their wives and children all escorted us out of the city. We knelt down on the beach and prayed, 6then bade each other good-bye; we went aboard, and they returned home.
7We made the passage from Tyre and reached Ptolemais, where we greeted the brotherhood and spent one day with them. 8Next day we left and came to Caesarea. We went to the home of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him. 9He had four unmarried daughters, who possessed the gift of prophecy. 10When we had been there several days, a prophet named Agabus arrived from Judaea. 11He came to us, took Paul's belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, 'These are the words of the Holy Spirit: Thus will the Jews in Jerusalem bind the man to whom this belt belongs, and hand him over to the Gentiles.' 12When we heard this, we and the local people begged and implored Paul to abandon his visit to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul gave his answer: 'Why all these tears? Why are you trying to weaken my resolution? For my part I am ready not merely to be bound but even to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.' 14So, as he would not be persuaded, we gave up and said, 'The Lord's will be done.'
15At the end of our stay we packed our baggage and took the road up to Jerusalem. 16Some of the disciples from Caesarea came along with us, bringing a certain Mnason of Cyprus, a Christian from the early days, with whom we were to lodge.
17So we reached Jerusalem, where the brotherhood welcomed us gladly.
18Next day Paul paid a visit to James; we were with him, and all the elders attended. 19He greeted them, and then described in detail all that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20When they heard this, they gave praise to God. Then they said to Paul: 'You see, brother, how many thousands of converts we have among the Jews, all of them staunch upholders of the Law. 21Now they have been given certain information about you: it is said that you teach all the Jews in the gentile world to turn their backs on Moses, telling them to give up circumcising their children and following our way of life. 22What is the position, then? They are sure to hear that you have arrived. You must therefore do as we tell you. 23We have four men here who are under a vow; 24take them with you and go through the ritual of purification with them, paying their expenses, after which they may shave their heads. Then everyone will know that there is nothing in the stories they were told about you, but that you are a practising Jew and keep the Law yourself. 25As for the gentile converts, we sent them our decision that they must abstain from meat that has been offered to idols, from blood, from anything that has been strangled, and from fornication.' 26So Paul took the four men, and next day, after going through the ritual of purification with them, he went into the temple to give notice of the date when the period of purification would end and the offering be made for each one of them.
Paul Arrested in the Temple (Temple, Jerusalem)
27BUT JUST BEFORE the period of seven days was up, the Jews from the province of Asia saw him in the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him, 28shouting, 'Men of Israel, help, help! This is the fellow who spreads his doctrine all over the world, attacking our people, our law, and this sanctuary. On top of all this he has brought Gentiles into the temple and profaned this holy place. 29For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
30The whole city was in a turmoil, and people came running from all directions. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple; and at once the doors were shut. 31While they were clamouring for his death, a report reached the officer commanding the cohort, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He immediately took a force of soldiers with their centurions and came down on the rioters at the double. As soon as they saw the commandant and his troops, they stopped beating Paul. 33The commandant stepped forward, arrested him, and ordered him to be shackled with two chains; he then asked who the man was and what he had been doing. 34Some in the crowd shouted one thing, some another. As he could not get at the truth because of the hubbub, he ordered him to be taken into barracks. 35When Paul reached the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36For the whole crowd were at their heels yelling, 'Kill him!'
37Just before Paul was taken into the barracks he said to the commandant, 'May I have a word with you?' The commandant said, 'So you speak Greek, do you? 38Then you are not the Egyptian who started a revolt some time ago and led a force of four thousand terrorists out into the wilds?' 39Paul replied, 'I am a Jew, a Tarsian from Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city. I ask your permission to speak to the people.' 40When permission had been given, Paul stood on the steps and with a gesture called for the attention of the people. As soon as quiet was restored, he addressed them in the Jewish language:
1'Brothers and fathers, give me a hearing while I make my defence before you.' 2When 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. 4And so I began to persecute this movement to the death, arresting its followers, men and women alike, and putting them in chains. 5For 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.
6I was on the road and nearing Damascus, when suddenly about midday a great light flashed from the sky all around me, 7and I fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" 8I answered, "Tell me. Lord, who you are." "I am Jesus of Nazareth," he said, "whom you are persecuting." 9My 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." 11As 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, 13came and stood beside me and said, "Saul, my brother, recover your sight." 14Instantly 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, 15because you are to be his witness before the world, and testify to what you have seen and heard. 16And now why delay? Be baptized at once, with invocation of his name, and wash away your sins."
17'After my return to Jerusalem, I was praying in the is temple when I fell into a trance 18and 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; 20and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed I stood by, approving, and I looked after the clothes of those who killed him." 21But he said to me, "Go, for I am sending you far away to the Gentiles." '
22Up to this point they had given him a hearing; but now they began shouting, 'Down with him! A scoundrel like that is better dead!' 23And as they were yelling and waving their cloaks and flinging dust in the air, 24the 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. 25But 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?' 26When 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.' 27The commandant came to Paul. 'Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?' he asked. 'Yes', said he. 28The commandant rejoined, 'It cost me a large sum to acquire this citizenship.' Paul said, 'But it was mine by birth.' 29Then 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.
30THE 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.
1Paul fixed his eyes on the Council and said, 'My brothers, I have lived all my life, and still live today, with a perfectly clear conscience before God.' 2At this the High Priest Ananias ordered his attendants to strike him on the mouth. 3Paul retorted, 'God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me in accordance with the Law, and then in defiance of the Law you order me to be struck!' 4The attendants said, 'Would you insult God's High Priest?' 5 [ Ex.22.28. ] 'My brothers,' said Paul, 'I had no idea that he was High Priest; Scripture, I know, says: "You must not abuse the ruler of your people." '
6Now Paul was well aware that one section of them were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, so he called out in the Council, 'My brothers, I am a Pharisee, a Pharisee born and bred; and the true issue in this trial is our hope of the resurrection of the dead.' 7At these words the Pharisees and Sadducees fell out among themselves, and the assembly was divided. 8(The Sadducees deny that there is any resurrection, or angel, or spirit, but the Pharisees accept them.) 9So a great uproar broke out, and some of the doctors of the law belonging to the Pharisaic party openly took sides and declared, 'We can find no fault with this man; perhaps an angel or spirit has spoken to him.' 10The dissension was mounting, and the commandant was afraid that Paul would be torn in pieces, so he ordered the troops to go down, pull him out of the crowd, and bring him into the barracks.
11The following night the Lord appeared to him and said, 'Keep up your courage, you have affirmed the truth about me in Jerusalem, and you must do the same in Rome.'
12When day broke, the Jews banded together and took an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13There were more than forty in this conspiracy. 14They came to the chief priests and elders and said, 'We have bound ourselves by a solemn oath not to taste food until we have killed Paul. 15It is now for you, acting with the Council, to apply to the commandant to bring him down to you, on the pretext of a closer investigation of his case; and we have arranged to do away with him before he arrives.'
16But the son of Paul's sister heard of the ambush; he went to the barracks, obtained entry, and reported it to Paul. 17Paul called one of the centurions and said, 'Take this young man to the commandant; he has something to report.' 18The centurion took him and brought him to the commandant. 'The prisoner Paul', he said, 'sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you; he has something to tell you.' 19The commandant took him by the arm, drew him aside, and asked him, 'What is it you have to report?' 20He said, 'The Jews have made a plan among themselves and will request you to bring Paul down to the Council tomorrow, on the pretext of obtaining more precise information about him. 21Do not listen to them; for a party more than forty strong are lying in wait for him. They have sworn not to eat or drink until they have done away with him; they are now ready, and wait only for your consent.' 22So the commandant dismissed the young man, with orders not to let anyone know that he had given him this information.
23Then he called a couple of his centurions and issued these orders: 'Get ready two hundred infantry to proceed to Caesarea, together with seventy cavalrymen and two hundred light-armed troops; parade three hours after sunset. 24Provide also mounts for Paul so that he may ride through under safe escort to Felix the Governor.' 25And he wrote a letter to this effect:
26'Claudius Lysias to His Excellency the Governor Felix. Your Excellency: 27This man was seized by the Jews and was on the point of being murdered when I intervened with the troops and removed him, because I discovered that he was a Roman citizen. 28As I wished to ascertain the charge on which they were accusing him, I took him down to their Council. 29I found that the accusation had to do with controversial matters in their law, but there was no charge against him meriting death or imprisonment. 30However, I have now been informed of an attempt to be made on the man's life, so I am sending him to you at once, and have also instructed his accusers to state their case against him before you.'
31Acting on their orders, the infantry took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32Next day they returned to their barracks, leaving the cavalry to escort him the rest of the way. 33The cavalry entered Caesarea, delivered the letter to the Governor, and handed Paul over to him. 34He read the letter, asked him what province he was from, and learned that he was from Cilicia. 35'I will hear your case', he said, 'when your accusers arrive.' He then ordered him to be held in custody at his headquarters in Herod's palace.
↑ 24.The Case against Paul
1FIVE DAYS LATER the High Priest Ananias came down, accompanied by some of the elders and an advocate named Tertullus, and they laid an information against Paul before the Governor. 2When the prisoner was called, Tertullus opened the case.
'Your Excellency,' he said, 'we owe it to you that we enjoy unbroken peace. It is due to your provident care that, in all kinds of ways and in all sorts of places, improvements are being made for the good of this province. 3We welcome this, sir, most gratefully. 4And now, not to take up too much of your time, I crave your indulgence for a brief statement of our case. 5We have found this man to be a perfect pest, a fomenter of discord among the Jews all over the world, a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6He even made an attempt to profane the temple; and then we arrested him." 7 8 If you will examine him yourself you can ascertain from him the truth of all the charges we bring.' 9The Jews supported the attack, alleging that the facts were as he stated.
10Then the Governor motioned to Paul to speak, and he began his reply: 'Knowing as I do that for many years you have administered justice in this province, 11I make my defence with confidence. You can ascertain the facts for yourself. It is not more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. 12They did not find me arguing with anyone, or collecting a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or up and down the city; 13and they cannot make good the charges they bring against me. 14But this much I will admit: I am a follower of the new way (the "sect" they speak of), and it is in that manner that I worship the God of our fathers; for I believe all that is written in the Law and the prophets, 15and in reliance on God I hold the hope, which my accusers too accept, that there is to be a resurrection of good and wicked alike. 16Accordingly I, no less than they, train myself to keep at all times a clear conscience before God and man.
17'After an absence of several years I came to bring charitable gifts to my nation and to offer sacrifices. 18They found me in the temple ritually purified and engaged in this service. I had no crowd with me, and there was no disturbance. But some Jews from the province of Asia were there, 19and if they had any charge against me it is they who ought to have been in court to state it. 20Failing that, it is for these persons here present to say what crime they discovered when I was brought before the Council, 21apart from this one open assertion which I made as I stood there: "The true issue in my trial before you today is the resurrection of the dead."'
22Then Felix, who happened to be well informed about the Christian movement, adjourned the hearing. 'When Lysias the commanding officer comes down', he said, 'I will go into your case.' 23He gave orders to the centurion to keep Paul under open arrest and not to prevent any of his friends from making themselves useful to him.
24Some days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess, and sending for Paul he let him talk to him about faith in Christ Jesus. 25But when the discourse turned to questions of morals, self-control, and the coming judgement, Felix became alarmed and exclaimed, 'That will do for the present; when I find it convenient I will send for you again.' 26At the same time he had hopes of a bribe from Paul; and for this reason he sent for him very often and talked with him. 27When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. Wishing to curry favour with the Jews, Felix left Paul in custody.
↑ 25.Paul Appeals to Caesar
1THREE DAYS AFTER taking up his appointment Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders brought before him the case against Paul. 3They asked Festus to favour them against him, and pressed for him to be brought up to Jerusalem, for they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. 4Festus, however, replied, 'Paul is in safe custody at Caesarea, and I shall be leaving Jerusalem shortly myself; 5so let your leading men come down with me, and if there is anything wrong, let them prosecute him.'
6After spending eight or ten days at most in Jerusalem, he went down to Caesarea, and next day he took his seat in court and ordered Paul to be brought up. 7When he appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood round bringing many grave charges, which they were unable to prove. 8Paul's plea was: 'I have committed no offence, either against the Jewish law, or against the temple, or against the Emperor.' 9Festus, anxious to ingratiate himself with the Jews, turned to Paul and asked, 'Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial on these charges before me there?' 10But Paul said, 'I am now standing before the Emperor's tribunal, and that is where I must be tried. Against the Jews I have committed no offence, as you very well know. 11If I am guilty of any capital crime, I do not ask to escape the death penalty; but if there is no substance in the charges which these men bring against me, it is not open to anyone to hand me over as a sop to them. I appeal to Caesar!' 12Then Festus, after conferring with his advisers, replied, 'You have appealed to Caesar: to Caesar you shall go.'
13After an interval of some days King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea on a courtesy visit to Festus. 14They spent several days there, and during this time Festus laid Paul's case before the king. 'We have a man', he said, 'left in custody by Felix; 15and when I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid an information against him, demanding his condemnation. 16I answered them, "It is not Roman practice to hand over any accused man before he is confronted with his accusers and given an opportunity of answering the charge." 17So when they had come here with me I lost no time; the very next day I took my seat in court and ordered the man to be brought up. 18But when his accusers rose to speak, they is brought none of the charges I was expecting; 19they merely had certain points of disagreement with him about their peculiar religion, and about someone called Jesus, a dead man whom Paul alleged to be alive. 20Finding myself out of my depth in such discussions, I asked if he was willing to go to Jerusalem and stand his trial there on these issues. 21But Paul appealed to be remanded in custody for His Imperial Majesty's decision, and I ordered him to be detained until I could send him to the Emperor.' 22Agrippa said to Festus, 'I should rather like to hear the man myself.' 'Tomorrow', he answered, 'you shall hear him.'
23So next day Agrippa and Bernice came in full state and entered the audience-chamber accompanied by high-ranking officers and prominent citizens; and on the orders of Festus Paul was brought up. 24Then Festus said, 'King Agrippa, and all you gentlemen here present with us, you see this man: the whole body of the Jews approached me both in Jerusalem and here, loudly insisting that he had no right to remain alive. 25But it was clear to me that he had committed no capital crime, and when he himself appealed to His Imperial Majesty, I decided to send him. 26But I, have nothing definite about him to put in writing for our Sovereign. Accordingly I have brought him up before you all and particularly before you. King Agrippa, so that as a result of this preliminary inquiry I may have something to report. 27There is no sense, it seems to me, in sending on a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.'
↑ 26.Paul Defends Himself before Agrippa
1Agrippa 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, 3particularly 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. 5Indeed 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. 6And it is for a hope kindled by God's promise to our forefathers that I stand in the dock today. 7Our 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. 8Why 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; 10and 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. 11In 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.
12'On one such occasion I was travelling to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests; 13and 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. 14We 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." 15I said, "Tell me, Lord, who you are"; and the Lord replied, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16But 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. 17I will rescue you from this people and from the Gentiles to whom I am sending you. 18I 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."
19'And so. King Agrippa, I did not disobey the heavenly vision. 20I 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. 21That is why the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to do away with me. 22But 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: 23that the Messiah must suffer, and that he, the first to rise from the dead, would announce the dawn to Israel and to the Gentiles.'
24While 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. 26The 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. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.' 28Agrippa 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.'
30With that the king rose, and with him the Governor, Bernice, and the rest of the company, 31and after they had withdrawn they talked it over. 'This man', they said, 'is doing nothing that deserves death or imprisonment.' 32Agrippa said to Festus, 'The fellow could have been discharged, if he had not appealed to the Emperor.'
↑ 27.Paul Sails for Rome
1WHEN IT WAS DECIDED that we should sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan Cohort. 2We embarked in a ship of Adramyttium, bound for ports in the province of Asia, and put out to sea. In our party was Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 3Next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius very considerately allowed Paul to go to his friends to be cared for. 4Leaving Sidon we sailed under the lee of Cyprus because of the head-winds, 5then across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, and so reached Myra in Lycia.
6There the centurion found an Alexandrian vessel bound for Italy and put us aboard. 7For a good many days we made little headway, and we were hard put to it to reach Cnidus. Then, as the wind continued against us, off Salmone we began to sail under the lee of Crete, 8and, hugging the coast, struggled on to a place called Fair Havens, not far from the town of Lasea.
9By now much time had been lost, the Fast was already over, and it was risky to go on with the voyage. 10Paul therefore gave them this advice: 'I can see, gentlemen,' he said, 'that this voyage will be disastrous: it will mean grave loss, loss not only of ship and cargo but also of life.' 11But the centurion paid more attention to the captain and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said; 12and as the harbour was unsuitable for wintering, the majority were in favour of putting out to sea, hoping, if they could get so far, to winter at Phoenix, a Cretan harbour exposed south-west and north-west.
13So when a southerly breeze sprang up, they thought that their purpose was as good as achieved, and, weighing anchor, they sailed along the coast of Crete hugging the land. 14But before very long a fierce wind, the 'North-easter' as they call it, tore down from the landward side. 15It caught the ship and, as it was impossible to keep head to wind, we had to give way and run before it. 16We ran under the lee of a small island called Cauda, and with a struggle managed to get the ship's boat under control. 17When they had hoisted it aboard, they made use of tackle and under-girded the ship. Then, because they were afraid of running on to the shallows of Syrtis, they lowered the mainsail and let her drive. 18Next day, as we were making very heavy weather, they began to lighten the ship; 19and on the third day they jettisoned the ship's gear with their own hands. 20For days on end there was no sign of either sun or stars, a great storm was raging, and our last hopes of coming through alive began to fade.
21When they had gone for a long time without food, Paul stood up among them and said, 'You should have taken my advice, gentlemen, not to sail from Crete; then you would have avoided this damage and loss. 22But now I urge you not to lose heart; not a single life will be lost, only the ship. 23For last night there stood by me an angel of the God whose I am and whom I worship. 24"Do not be afraid, Paul," he said; "it is ordained that you shall appear before the Emperor; and, be assured. God has granted you the lives of all who are sailing with you." 25So keep up your courage: I trust in God that it will turn out as I have been told; 26though we have to be cast ashore on some island.'
27The fourteenth night came and we were still drifting in the Sea of Adria. In the middle of the night the sailors felt that land was getting nearer. 28They sounded and found twenty fathoms. Sounding again after a short interval they found fifteen fathoms; 29and fearing that we might be cast ashore on a rugged coast they dropped four anchors from the stem and prayed for daylight to come. 30The sailors tried to abandon ship; they had already lowered the ship's boat, pretending they were going to lay out anchors from the bows, 31when Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, 'Unless these men stay on board you can none of you come off safely.' 32So the soldiers cut the ropes of the boat and let her drop away.
33Shortly before daybreak Paul urged them all to take some food. 'For the last fourteen days', he said, 'you have lived in suspense and gone hungry; you have eaten nothing whatever. 34So I beg you to have something to eat; your lives depend on it. Remember, not a hair of your heads will be lost.' 35With these words, he took bread, gave thanks to God in front of them all, broke it, and began eating. 36Then they all plucked up courage, and took food themselves. 37There were on board two hundred and seventy-six of us in all. 38When they had eaten as much as they wanted they lightened the ship by dumping the corn in the sea.
39When day broke they could not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a sandy beach, on which they planned, if possible, to run the ship ashore. 40So they slipped the anchors and let them go; at the same time they loosened the lashings of the steering-paddles, set the foresail to the wind, and let her drive to the beach. 41But they found themselves caught between cross-currents and ran the ship aground, so that the bow stuck fast and remained immovable, while the stem was being pounded to pieces by the breakers. 42The soldiers thought they had better kill the prisoners for fear that any should swim away and escape; 43but the centurion wanted to bring Paul safely through and prevented them from carrying out their plan. He gave orders that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land; 44the rest were to follow, some on planks, some on parts of the ship. And thus it was that all came safely to land.
1Once we had made our way to safety we identified the island as Malta. 2The rough islanders treated us with uncommon kindness: because it was cold and had started to rain, they lit a bonfire and made us all welcome. 3Paul had got together an armful of sticks and put them on the fire, when a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened on his hand. 4The islanders, seeing the snake hanging on to his hand, said to one another, 'The man must be a murderer; he may have escaped from the sea, but divine justice has not let him live.' 5Paul, however, shook off the snake into the fire and was none the worse. 6They still expected that any moment he would swell up or drop down dead, but after waiting a long time without seeing anything extraordinary happen to him, they changed their minds and now said, 'He is a god.'
7In the neighbourhood of that place there were lands belonging to the chief magistrate of the island, whose name was Publius. He took us in and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8It so happened that this man's father was in bed suffering from recurrent bouts of fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, after prayer, laid his hands upon him and healed him; 9whereupon the other sick people on the island came also and were cured. 10They honoured us with many marks of respect, and when we were leaving they put on board provision for our needs.
11Three months had passed when we set sail in a ship which had wintered in the island; she was the Castor and Pollux of Alexandria. 12We put in at Syracuse and spent three days there; 13then we sailed round and arrived at Rhegium. After one day a south wind sprang up and we reached Puteoli in two days. 14There we found fellow-Christians and were invited to stay a week with them. And so to Rome. 15The Christians there had had news of us and came out to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Tres Tabernae, and when Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and took courage.
16WHEN WE ENTERED ROME Paul was allowed to lodge by himself with a soldier in charge of him. Paul Preaches in Rome (Rome)17Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders; and when they were assembled, he said to them: 'My brothers, I, who never did anything against our people or the customs of our forefathers, am here as a prisoner; I was handed over to the Romans at Jerusalem. 18They examined me and would have liked to release me because there was no capital charge against me; 19but the Jews objected, and I had no option but to appeal to the Emperor; not that I had any accusation to bring against my own people. 20That is why I have asked to see you and talk to you, because it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am in chains, as you see.' 21They replied, 'We have had no communication from Judaea, nor has any countryman of ours arrived with any report or gossip to your discredit. 22We should like to hear from you what your views are; all we know about this sect is that no one has a good word to say for it.'
23So they fixed a day, and came in large numbers as his guests. He dealt at length with the whole matter; he spoke urgently of the kingdom of God and sought to convince them about Jesus by appealing to the Law of Moses and the prophets. This went on from dawn to dusk. 24Some were won over by his arguments; others remained sceptical. 25Without reaching any agreement among themselves they began to disperse, aut not before Paul had said one thing more: 'How well the Holy Spirit spoke to your fathers through the prophet Isaiah 26 [ Is.6.9-10. ] when he said, "Go to this people and say: You will hear and hear, but never understand; you will look and look, but never see. 27people's mind has become gross; their ears are dulled, and their eyes are closed. Otherwise, their eyes might see, their ears hear, and their mind understand, and then they might turn again, and I would heal them." 28Therefore take notice that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles: the Gentiles will listen.' 29
30He stayed there two full years at his own expense, with a welcome for all who came to him, 31proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and without hindrance.