Acts 23-25 Bible in Basic English

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23 1  And Paul, looking fixedly at the Sanhedrin, said, My brothers, my life has been upright before God till this day. 2  And the high priest, Ananias, gave orders to those who were near him to give him a blow on the mouth. 3  Then Paul said to him, God will give blows to you, you whitewashed wall: are you here to be my judge by law, and by your orders am I given blows against the law? 4  And those who were near said, Do you say such words against God's high priest? 5  And Paul said, Brother, I had no idea that he was the high priest: for it has been said, You may not say evil about the ruler of your people.

6  But when Paul saw that half of them were Sadducees and the rest Pharisees, he said in the Sanhedrin, Brothers, I am a Pharisee, and the son of Pharisees: I am here to be judged on the question of the hope of the coming back from the dead. 7  And when he had said this, there was an argument between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and a division in the meeting. 8  For the Sadducees say that there is no coming back from the dead, and no angels or spirits: but the Pharisees have belief in all these. 9  And there was a great outcry: and some of the scribes on the side of the Pharisees got up and took part in the discussion, saying, We see no evil in this man: what if he has had a revelation from an angel or a spirit? 10  And when the argument became very violent, the chief captain, fearing that Paul would be pulled in two by them, gave orders to the armed men to take him by force from among them, and take him into the army building. 11  And the night after, the Lord came to his side and said, Be of good heart, for as you have been witnessing for me in Jerusalem, so will you be my witness in Rome.

The Plot against Paul's Life

12  And when it was day, the Jews came together and put themselves under an oath that they would take no food or drink till they had put Paul to death. 13  And more than forty of them took this oath. 14  And they came to the chief priests and the rulers and said, We have taken a great oath to take no food till we have put Paul to death 15  So now, will you and the Sanhedrin make a request to the military authorities to have him sent down to you, as if you were desiring to go into the business in greater detail; and we, before ever he gets to you, will be waiting to put him to death. 16  But Paul's sister's son had word of their design, and he came into the army building and gave news of it to Paul. 17  And Paul sent for a captain and said, Take this young man to your chief, for he has news for him. 18  So he took him to the chief captain and said, Paul, the prisoner, made a request to me to take this young man to you, for he has something to say to you. 19  And the chief took him by the hand and, going on one side, said to him privately, What is it you have to say to me? 20  And he said, The Jews are in agreement together to make a request to you for Paul to be taken, on the day after this, into the Sanhedrin, to be questioned in greater detail. 21  But do not give way to them, for more than forty of them are waiting for him, having taken an oath not to take food or drink till they have put him to death: and now they are ready, waiting for your order. 22  So the chief captain let the young man go, saying to him, Do not say to anyone that you have given me word of these things.

Paul Sent to Felix the Governor

23  And he sent for two captains and said, Make ready two hundred men, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen, to go to Caesarea, at the third hour of the night: 24  And get beasts so that they may put Paul on them, and take him safely to Felix, the ruler. 25  And he sent a letter in these words: 26  Claudius Lysias, to the most noble ruler, Felix, peace be with you. 27  This man was taken by the Jews, and was about to be put to death by them, when I came on them with the army and took him out of danger, having knowledge that he was a Roman. 28  And, desiring to get at the reason for their attack on him, I took him down to their Sanhedrin: 29  Then it became clear to me that it was a question of their law, and that nothing was said against him which might be a reason for prison or death. 30  And when news was given to me that a secret design was being made against the man, I sent him straight away to you, giving orders to those who are against him to make their statements before you. 31  So the armed men, as they were ordered, took Paul and came by night to Antipatris. 32  But on the day after, they sent the horsemen on with him, and went back to their place: 33  And they, when they came to Caesarea, gave the letter to the ruler, and took Paul before him. 34  And after reading it, he said, What part of the country do you come from? And, hearing that he was from Cilicia, 35  I will give hearing to your cause, he said, when those who are against you have come. And he gave orders for him to be kept in Herod's Praetorium.

Paul's Defense before Felix

24 1  And after five days, the high priest, Ananias, came with certain of the rulers, and an expert talker, one Tertullus; and they made a statement to Felix against Paul. 2  And when he had been sent for, Tertullus, starting his statement, said, Because by you we are living in peace, and through your wisdom wrongs are put right for this nation, 3  In all things and in all places we are conscious of our great debt to you, most noble Felix. 4  But, so that I may not make you tired, I make a request to you of your mercy, to give hearing to a short statement. 5  For this man, in our opinion, is a cause of trouble, a maker of attacks on the government among Jews through all the empire, and a chief mover in the society of the Nazarenes: 6  Who, in addition, was attempting to make the Temple unclean: whom we took, 7  [] 8  And from whom you will be able, by questioning him yourself, to get knowledge of all the things which we say against him. 9  And the Jews were in agreement with his statement, saying that these things were so.

10  Then when the ruler had given him a sign to make his answer, Paul said, Because I have knowledge that you have been a judge over this nation for a number of years, I am glad to make my answer: 11  Seeing that you are able to make certain of the fact that it is not more than twelve days from the time when I came up to Jerusalem for worship; 12  And they have not seen me in argument with any man in the Temple, or working up the feelings of the people, in the Synagogues or in the town: 13  And they are not able to give facts in support of the things which they say against me now. 14  But this I will say openly to you, that I do give worship to the God of our fathers after that Way, which to them is not the true religion: but I have belief in all the things which are in the law and in the books of the prophets: 15  Hoping in God for that which they themselves are looking for, that there will be a coming back from the dead for upright men and wrongdoers. 16  And in this, I do my best at all times to have no reason for shame before God or men. 17  Now after a number of years I came to give help and offerings to my nation: 18  And having been made clean, I was in the Temple, but not with a great number of people, and not with noise: but there were certain Jews from Asia, 19  And it would have been better if they had come here to make a statement, if they have anything against me. 20  Or let these men here present say what wrongdoing was seen in me when I was before the Sanhedrin, 21  But only this one thing which I said among them in a loud voice, I am this day being judged on the question of the coming back from the dead.

22  But Felix, who had a more detailed knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, When Lysias, the chief captain, comes down, I will give attention to your business. 23  And he gave orders to the captain to keep Paul under his control, and to let him have everything he had need of; and not to keep his friends from coming to see him. 24  But after some days, Felix came with Drusilla his wife, who was of the Jews by birth, and sent for Paul, and gave hearing to him about faith in Christ Jesus. 25  And while he was talking about righteousness and self-control and the judging which was to come, Felix had great fear and said, Go away for the present, and when the right time comes I will send for you. 26  For he was hoping that Paul would give him money: so he sent for him more frequently and had talk with him. 27  But after two years Porcius Festus took the place of Felix, who, desiring to have the approval of the Jews, kept Paul in chains.

Paul Appeals to Caesar

25 1  So Festus, having come into that part of the country which was under his rule, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. 2  And the chief priests and the chief men of the Jews made statements against Paul, 3  Requesting Festus to give effect to their design against him, and send him to Jerusalem, when they would be waiting to put him to death on the way. 4  But Festus, in answer, said that Paul was being kept in prison at Caesarea, and that in a short time he himself was going there. 5  So, he said, let those who have authority among you go with me, and if there is any wrong in the man, let them make a statement against him. 6  And when he had been with them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea; and on the day after, he took his place on the judge's seat, and sent for Paul. 7  And when he came, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem came round him, and made all sorts of serious statements against him, which were not supported by the facts. 8  Then Paul, in his answer to them, said, I have done no wrong against the law of the Jews, or against the Temple, or against Caesar. 9  But Festus, desiring to get the approval of the Jews, said to Paul, Will you go up to Jerusalem, and be judged before me there in connection with these things? 10  And Paul said, I am before the seat of Caesar's authority where it is right for me to be judged: I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you are well able to see. 11  If, then, I am a wrongdoer and there is a cause of death in me, I am ready for death: if it is not as they say against me, no man may give me up to them. Let my cause come before Caesar. 12  Then Festus, having had a discussion with the Jews, made answer, You have said, Let my cause come before Caesar; to Caesar you will go.

Paul Brought before Agrippa and Bernice

13  Now when some days had gone by, King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea and went to see Festus. 14  And as they were there for some days, Festus gave them Paul's story, saying, There is a certain man here who was put in prison by Felix: 15  Against whom the chief priests and the rulers of the Jews made a statement when I was at Jerusalem, requesting me to give a decision against him. 16  To whom I gave answer that it is not the Roman way to give a man up, till he has been face to face with those who are attacking him, and has had a chance to give an answer to the statements made against him. 17  So, when they had come together here, straight away, on the day after, I took my place on the judge's seat and sent for the man. 18  But when they got up they said nothing about such crimes as I had in mind: 19  But had certain questions against him in connection with their religion, and about one Jesus, now dead, who, Paul said, was living. 20  And as I had not enough knowledge for the discussion of these things, I made the suggestion to him to go to Jerusalem and be judged there. 21  But when Paul made a request that he might be judged by Caesar, I gave orders for him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar. 22  And Agrippa said to Festus, I have a desire to give the man a hearing myself. Tomorrow, he said, you may give him a hearing. 23  So on the day after, when Agrippa and Bernice in great glory had come into the public place of hearing, with the chief of the army and the chief men of the town, at the order of Festus, Paul was sent for. 24  And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all those who are present here with us, you see this man, about whom all the Jews have made protests to me, at Jerusalem and in this place, saying that it is not right for him to be living any longer. 25  But, in my opinion, there is no cause of death in him, and as he himself has made a request to be judged by Caesar, I have said that I would send him. 26  But I have no certain account of him to send to Caesar. So I have sent for him to come before you, and specially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the business has been gone into, I may have something to put in writing. 27  For it seems to me against reason to send a prisoner without making clear what there is against him.

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