Acts 21-23 Revised Standard Version

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Paul's Journey to Jerusalem

21 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Pat'ara. 2  And having found a ship crossing to Phoeni'cia, we went aboard, and set sail. 3  When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4  And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5  And when our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey; and they all, with wives and children, brought us on our way till we were outside the city; and kneeling down on the beach we prayed and bade one another farewell. 6  Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home. 7  When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolema'is; and we greeted the brethren and stayed with them for one day.

8  On the morrow we departed and came to Caesare'a; and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9  And he had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10  While we were staying for some days, a prophet named Ag'abus came down from Judea. 11  And coming to us he took Paul's girdle and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this girdle and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" 12  When we heard this, we and the people there begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13  Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14  And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, "The will of the Lord be done."

15  After these days we made ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16  And some of the disciples from Caesare'a went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Paul Arrested in the Temple

17  When we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18  On the following day Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present. 19  After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20  And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; they are all zealous for the law, 21  and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. 22  What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23  Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24  take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law. 25  But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity." 26  Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them.

27  When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, who had seen him in the temple, stirred up all the crowd, and laid hands on him, 28  crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching men everywhere against the people and the law and this place; moreover he also brought Greeks into the temple, and he has defiled this holy place." 29  For they had previously seen Troph'imus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30  Then all the city was aroused, and the people ran together; they seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31  And as they were trying to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32  He at once took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them; and when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33  Then the tribune came up and arrested him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34  Some in the crowd shouted one thing, some another; and as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35  And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd; 36  for the mob of the people followed, crying, "Away with him!"

Paul's Defense before the People

37  As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, "May I say something to you?" And he said, "Do you know Greek? 38  Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?" 39  Paul replied, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cili'cia, a citizen of no mean city; I beg you, let me speak to the people." 40  And when he had given him leave, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying:

22 "Brethren and fathers, hear the defense which I now make before you." 2  And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew language, they were the more quiet. And he said:

3  "I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cili'cia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gama'li-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day. 4  I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5  as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

Paul Tells of His Conversion

6  "As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. 7  And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 8  And I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.' 9  Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10  And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.' 11  And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. 12  "And one Anani'as, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13  came to me, and standing by me said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And in that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14  And he said, 'The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15  for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16  And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'

Paul's Call to the Gentiles

17  "When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18  and saw him saying to me, 'Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not accept your testimony about me.' 19  And I said, 'Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in thee. 20  And when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who killed him.' 21  And he said to me, 'Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'"

Paul in the Custody of the Chief Captain

22  Up to this word they listened to him; then they lifted up their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he ought not to live." 23  And as they cried out and waved their garments and threw dust into the air, 24  the tribune commanded him to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by scourging, to find out why they shouted thus against him. 25  But when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned?" 26  When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen." 27  So the tribune came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" And he said, "Yes." 28  The tribune answered, "I bought this citizenship for a large sum." Paul said, "But I was born a citizen." 29  So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him instantly; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.

Paul before the Council

30  But on the morrow, desiring to know the real reason why the Jews accused him, he unbound him, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.

23 And Paul, looking intently at the council, said, "Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience up to this day." 2  And the high priest Anani'as commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3  Then Paul said to him, "God shall strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?" 4  Those who stood by said, "Would you revile God's high priest? 5  And Paul said, "I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'"

6  But when Paul perceived that one part were Sad'ducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead I am on trial." 7  And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sad'ducees; and the assembly was divided. 8  For the Sad'ducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9  Then a great clamor arose; and some of the scribes of the Pharisees' party stood up and contended, "We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?" 10  And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and bring him into the barracks. 11  The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome."

The Plot against Paul's Life

12  When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13  There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. 14  And they went to the chief priests and elders, and said, "We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul 15  You therefore, along with the council, give notice now to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near." 16  Now the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush; so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17  And Paul called one of the centurions and said, "Take this young man to the tribune; for he has something to tell him." 18  So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, "Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you." 19  The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, "What is it that you have to tell me? 20  And he said, "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. 21  But do not yield to them; for more than forty of their men lie in ambush for him, having bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you. 22  So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, "Tell no one that you have informed me of this."

Paul Sent to Felix the Governor

23  Then he called two of the centurions and said, "At the third hour of the night get ready two hundred soldiers with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesare'a. 24  Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him safely to Felix the governor." 25  And he wrote a letter to this effect: 26  "Claudius Lys'ias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greeting. 27  This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28  And desiring to know the charge on which they accused him, I brought him down to their council. 29  I found that he was accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30  And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him." 31  So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antip'atris. 32  And on the morrow they returned to the barracks, leaving the horsemen to go on with him. 33  When they came to Caesare'a and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34  On reading the letter, he asked to what province he belonged. When he learned that he was from Cili'cia 35  he said, "I will hear you when your accusers arrive." And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod's praetorium.

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