Acts 24-26 Revised Standard Version

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Paul's Defense before Felix

24 1  And after five days the high priest Anani'as came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertul'lus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul; 2  and when he was called, Tertul'lus began to accuse him, saying: "Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your provision, most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation, 3  in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. 4  But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. 5  For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6  He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. 7  * [No text] 8  By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him about everything of which we accuse him." 9  The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all this was so.

10  And when the governor had motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: "Realizing that for many years you have been judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. 11  As you may ascertain, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem; 12  and they did not find me disputing with any one or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues, or in the city. 13  Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. 14  But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets, 15  having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men. 17  Now after some years I came to bring to my nation alms and offerings. 18  As I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia-- 19  they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, if they have anything against me. 20  Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21  except this one thing which I cried out while standing among them, 'With respect to the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you this day.'"

22  But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lys'ias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case." 23  Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs. 24  After some days Felix came with his wife Drusil'la, who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus. 25  And as he argued about justice and self-control and future judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you." 26  At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27  But when two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

Paul Appeals to Caesar

25 1  Now when Festus had come into his province, after three days he went up to Jerusalem from Caesare'a. 2  And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they urged him, 3  asking as a favor to have the man sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the way. 4  Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesare'a, and that he himself intended to go there shortly. 5  "So," said he, "let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him." 6  When he had stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesare'a; and the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. 7  And when he had come, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem stood about him, bringing against him many serious charges which they could not prove. 8  Paul said in his defense, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended at all." 9  But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, "Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried on these charges before me?" 10  But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried; to the Jews I have done no wrong, as you know very well. 11  If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death; but if there is nothing in their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar." 12  Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go."

Paul Brought before Agrippa and Bernice

13  Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Berni'ce arrived at Caesare'a to welcome Festus. 14  And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, "There is a man left prisoner by Felix; 15  and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews gave information about him, asking for sentence against him. 16  I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up any one before the accused met the accusers face to face, and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17  When therefore they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in. 18  When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed; 19  but they had certain points of dispute with him about their own superstition and about one Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20  Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wished to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21  But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be held until I could send him to Caesar." 22  And Agrippa said to Festus, "I should like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," said he, "you shall hear him." 23  So on the morrow Agrippa and Berni'ce came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then by command of Festus Paul was brought in. 24  And Festus said, "King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25  But I found that he had done nothing deserving death; and as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to send him. 26  But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you, and, especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. 27  For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him."

Paul's Defense before Agrippa

26 1  Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: 2  "I think myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3  because you are especially familiar with all customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. 4  "My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and at Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. 5  They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. 6  And now I stand here on trial for hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7  to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! 8  Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? 9  "I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10  And I did so in Jerusalem; I not only shut up many of the saints in prison, by authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11  And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme; and in raging fury against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

Paul Tells of His Conversion

12  "Thus I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13  At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me. 14  And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.' 15  And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16  But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17  delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles--to whom I send you 18  to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

Paul's Witness to Jews and Gentiles

19  "Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20  but declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and perform deeds worthy of their repentance. 21  For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22  To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23  that the Christ must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles."

Paul Appeals to Agrippa to Believe

24  And as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are mad; your great learning is turning you mad." 25  But Paul said, "I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. 26  For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. 27  King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe." 28  And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time you think to make me a Christian!" 29  And Paul said, "Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am--except for these chains." 30  Then the king rose, and the governor and Berni'ce and those who were sitting with them; 31  and when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, "This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment." 32  And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."

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