Acts 26

MNT(i) 1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You are permitted to speak for yourself." So Paul stretched forth his hand and began to make his defense. 2 "I think myself happy, King Agrippa, that I am to make my defense before you this day, in regard to all the accusations brought against me by the Jews; 3 "especially since you are an export in all Jewish customs and questions. I pray you, expert in all Jewish customs and questions. I pray you, hear me with patience. 4 "The kind of life I have lived from my youth upward among my own nation and at Jerusalem, all that early life of mine, is well known to all the Jews. 5 "They know me of old, if they are willing to testify, how that according to the strict sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee. 6 "Today I am standing trial because of the hope of the promise made by God to our ancestors, 7 "a promise which our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. It is concerning this hope, King Agrippa, that I am accused by the Jews. 8 "Why is it deemed incredible by you all, if God raises the dead? 9 "I indeed once thought with myself that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus, the Nazarene. 10 "And this also I did in Jerusalem. Armed with authority from the chief priests, I shut up many of the saints in prison, and when they were condemned to death I gave my vote against them. 11 "In all the synagogues also I punished them oftentimes, and tried to make them blaspheme; and in my mad fury I was pursuing them even to foreign cities. 12 "On this errand I was traveling to Damascus one day, armed with authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 "when at noon, as I journeyed, O King, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and around those who journeyed with me. 14 "We all fell to the ground; and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew. "'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.' 15 "'Who are you, Lord?' I said." And the Lord said: 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 "'But rise and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you in order to appoint you my minister and my witness both of what you have already seen and of those things in which I will appear to you. 17 "'I will deliver you from the Jewish people, and from the Gentiles to whom I am sending you to open their eyes 18 "'so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, in order to receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' 19 "So then, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision; 20 "but I proceeded to preach, first to those in Damascus, and then in Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they must repent and turn to God and do deeds worthy of repentance. 21 "For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple, and tried to kill me. 22 "But having obtained the help that comes from God, I stand even to this day witnessing both to small and great, saying nothing except what the prophets and Moses said should come; 23 "how that the Christ must suffer, and how he should be the first to rise from the dead, and should bring a message of light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles." 24 As Paul thus made his defense, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice. "Paul, you are raving mad; your great learning is driving you mad." 25 "I am not mad, most noble Festus," said Paul, 26 "I am speaking words of sober truth. For the King, to whom I am speaking freely, knows of these matters. I am persuaded that not one of these things has escaped his notice; for these things were not done in a corner. 27 "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe." 28 Agrippa answered, "In short, you are doing your best to persuade me to become a Christian." 29 "Long or short," answered Paul, "my prayer to God is that not only you but all who are my hearers this day might become such as I am, save for these chains." 30 Then the king rose, and Bernice, and those who were sitting with him. 31 When they had withdrawn they continued talking to one another. "This man is doing nothing," they said, "for which he deserves death or imprisonment." 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "If he had not appealed to Caesar, he might have been set free."