Acts 24-26 Bible in Basic English

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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.

Paul's Defense before Agrippa

26 1  And Agrippa said to Paul, You may put your cause before us. Then Paul, stretching out his hand, made his answer, saying: 2  In my opinion I am happy, King Agrippa, to be able to give my answer before you today to all these things which the Jews say against me: 3  The more so, because you are expert in all questions to do with the Jews and their ways: so I make my request to you to give me a hearing to the end. 4  All the Jews have knowledge of my way of life from my early years, as it was from the start among my nation, and at Jerusalem; 5  And they are able to say, if they would give witness, that I was living as a Pharisee, in that division of our religion which is most regular in the keeping of the law. 6  And now I am here to be judged because of the hope given by God's word to our fathers; 7  For the effecting of which our twelve tribes have been working and waiting night and day with all their hearts. And in connection with this hope I am attacked by the Jews, O king! 8  Why, in your opinion, is it outside belief for God to make the dead come to life again? 9  For I, truly, was of the opinion that it was right for me to do a number of things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10  And this I did in Jerusalem: and numbers of the saints I put in prison, having had authority given to me from the chief priests, and when they were put to death, I gave my decision against them. 11  And I gave them punishment frequently, in all the Synagogues, forcing them to say things against God; and burning with passion against them, I went after them even into far-away towns.

Paul Tells of His Conversion

12  Then, when I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and orders of the chief priests, 13  In the middle of the day, on the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who were journeying with me. 14  And when we had all gone down on the earth, a voice came to me, saying in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why are you attacking me so cruelly? It is hard for you to go against the impulse which is driving you. 15  And I said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom you are attacking. 16  But get up on your feet: for I have come to you for this purpose, to make you a servant and a witness of the things in which you have seen me, and of those in which you will see me; 17  And I will keep you safe from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you, 18  To make their eyes open, turning them from the dark to the light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may have forgiveness of sins and a heritage among those who are made holy by faith in me.

Paul's Witness to Jews and Gentiles

19  So, then, King Agrippa, I did not go against the vision from heaven; 20  But I went about, first to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, and through all the country of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, preaching a change of heart, so that they, being turned to God, might give, in their works, the fruits of a changed heart. 21  For this reason, the Jews took me in the Temple, and made an attempt to put me to death. 22  And so, by God's help, I am here today, witnessing to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come about; 23  That the Christ would go through pain, and being the first to come back from the dead, would give light to the people and to the Gentiles.

Paul Appeals to Agrippa to Believe

24  And when he made his answer in these words, Festus said in a loud voice, Paul, you are off your head; your great learning has made you unbalanced. 25  Then Paul said, I am not off my head, most noble Festus, but my words are true and wise. 26  For the king has knowledge of these things, to whom I am talking freely; being certain that all this is common knowledge to him; for it has not been done in secret. 27  King Agrippa, have you faith in the prophets? I am certain that you have. 28  And Agrippa said to Paul, A little more and you will be making me a Christian. 29  And Paul said, It is my prayer to God that, in little or great measure, not only you, but all those hearing me today might be even as I am, but for these chains. 30  And the king and the ruler and Bernice and those who were seated with them got up; 31  And when they had gone away they said to one another, This man has done nothing which might give cause for death or prison. 32  And Agrippa said to Festus, This man might have been made free, if he had not put his cause before Caesar.

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