Acts 23-25 World English Bible

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23 1  Paul, looking steadfastly at the council, said, “Brothers, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day.” 2  The high priest, Ananias, commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3  Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to judge me according to the law, and command me to be struck contrary to the law?” 4  Those who stood by said, “Do you malign God’s high priest?” 5  Paul said, “I didn’t know, brothers, that he was high priest. For it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” [1]

6  But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” 7  When he had said this, an argument arose between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8  For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess all of these. 9  A great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees part stood up, and contended, saying, “We find no evil in this man. But if a spirit or angel has spoken to him, let’s not fight against God!” 10  When a great argument arose, the commanding officer, fearing 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, “Cheer up, Paul, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must testify also at Rome.”

The Plot against Paul's Life

12  When it was day, some of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13  There were more than forty people who had made this conspiracy. 14  They came to the chief priests and the elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great curse, to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15  Now therefore, you with the council inform the commanding officer that he should bring him down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to judge his case more exactly. We are ready to kill him before he comes near.” 16  But Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, and he came and entered into the barracks and told Paul. 17  Paul summoned one of the centurions, and said, “Bring this young man to the commanding officer, for he has something to tell him.” 18  So he took him, and brought him to the commanding officer, and said, “Paul, the prisoner, summoned me and asked me to bring this young man to you, who has something to tell you.” 19  The commanding officer took him by the hand, and going aside, asked him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” 20  He said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though intending to inquire somewhat more accurately concerning him. 21  Therefore don’t yield to them, for more than forty men lie in wait for him, who have bound themselves under a curse neither to eat nor to drink until they have killed him. Now they are ready, looking for the promise from you.” 22  So the commanding officer let the young man go, charging him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.”

Paul Sent to Felix the Governor

23  He called to himself two of the centurions, and said, “Prepare two hundred soldiers to go as far as Caesarea, with seventy horsemen, and two hundred men armed with spears, at the third hour of the night [2].” 24  He asked them to provide animals, that they might set Paul on one, and bring him safely to Felix the governor. 25  He wrote a letter like this: 26  “Claudius Lysias to the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings. 27  “This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28  Desiring to know the cause why they accused him, I brought him down to their council. 29  I found him to be accused about questions of their law, but not to be charged with anything worthy of death or of imprisonment. 30  When I was told that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him to you immediately, charging his accusers also to bring their accusations against him before you. Farewell.” 31  So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32  But on the next day they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the barracks. 33  When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34  When the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. When he understood that he was from Cilicia, he said, 35  “I will hear you fully when your accusers also arrive.” He commanded that he be kept in Herod’s palace.

Paul's Defense before Felix

24 1  After five days, the high priest, Ananias, came down with certain elders and an orator, one Tertullus. They informed the governor against Paul. 2  When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Seeing that by you we enjoy much peace, and that excellent measures are coming to this nation, 3  we accept it in all ways and in all places, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. 4  But, that I don’t delay you, I entreat you to bear with us and hear a few words. 5  For we have found this man to be a plague, an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6  He even tried to profane the temple, and we arrested him. [3] 7  [4] 8  [5]By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.” 9  The Jews also joined in the attack, affirming that these things were so.

10  When the governor had beckoned to him to speak, Paul answered, “Because I know that you have been a judge of this nation for many years, I cheerfully make my defense, 11  seeing that you can recognize that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem. 12  In the temple they didn’t find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the synagogues, or in the city. 13  Nor can they prove to you the things of which they now accuse me. 14  But this I confess to you, that after the Way, which they call a sect, so I serve the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets; 15  having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 16  Herein I also practice always having a conscience void of offense toward God and men. 17  Now after some years, I came to bring gifts for the needy to my nation, and offerings; 18  amid which certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, not with a mob, nor with turmoil. 19  They ought to have been here before you, and to make accusation, if they had anything against me. 20  Or else let these men themselves say what injustice they found in me when I stood before the council, 21  unless it is for this one thing that I cried standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged before you today!’”

22  But Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way, deferred them, saying, “When Lysias, the commanding officer, comes down, I will decide your case.” 23  He ordered the centurion that Paul should be kept in custody, and should have some privileges, and not to forbid any of his friends to serve him or to visit him. 24  But after some days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. 25  As he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, “Go your way for this time, and when it is convenient for me, I will summon you.” 26  Meanwhile, he also hoped that money would be given to him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore also he sent for him more often, and talked with him. 27  But when two years were fulfilled, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and desiring to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in bonds.

Paul Appeals to Caesar

25 1  Festus therefore, having come into the province, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. 2  Then the high priest and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul, and they begged him, 3  asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem; plotting to kill him on the way. 4  However Festus answered that Paul should be kept in custody at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to depart shortly. 5  “Let them therefore,” said he, “that are in power among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong in the man, let them accuse him.” 6  When he had stayed among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he sat on the judgment seat, and commanded Paul to be brought. 7  When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove, 8  while he said in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all.” 9  But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem, and be judged by me there concerning these things?” 10  But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well. 11  For if I have done wrong, and have committed anything worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die; but if none of those things is true that they accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!” 12  Then Festus, when he had conferred with the 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, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea, and greeted Festus. 14  As he stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix; 15  about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, asking for a sentence against him. 16  To whom I answered that it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man to destruction, before the accused has met the accusers face to face, and has had opportunity to make his defense concerning the matter laid against him. 17  When therefore they had come together here, I didn’t delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought. 18  Concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charge of such things as I supposed; 19  but had certain questions against him about their own religion, and about one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. 20  Being perplexed how to inquire concerning these things, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters. 21  But when Paul had appealed to be kept for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be kept until I could send him to Caesar.” 22  Agrippa said to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.”

“Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.” 23  So on the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and they had entered into the place of hearing with the commanding officers and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24  Festus said, “King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. 25  But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and as he himself appealed to the emperor I determined to send him. 26  Of whom I have no certain thing to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after examination, I may have something to write. 27  For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to also specify the charges against him.”

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Footnotes

[1] 23:5 Exodus 22:28

[2] 23:23 about 9:00 PM

[3] 24:6 TR adds “We wanted to judge him according to our law,”

[4] 24:7 TR adds “but the commanding officer, Lysias, came by and with great violence took him out of our hands,”

[5] 24:8 TR adds “commanding his accusers to come to you.”

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