Acts 26

NSB(i) 1 Agrippa said to Paul, »You are permitted to speak for yourself.« Then Paul stretched out his arm and began his defense, 2 »I would be happy, King Agrippa, to answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which the Jews accuse me. 3 »I know you are an expert in all customs and controversy among the Jews. Therefore I urge you to hear me patiently. 4 »All the Jews know the way I first lived as a youth among my own nation at Jerusalem. 5 »They knew me from the beginning. They could testify that I was from the strictest sect of our religion and I lived as a Pharisee. 6 »Now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 »Our twelve tribes served God day and night with the promise and hope of what was to come. It is because of this hope that the Jews accuse me, King Agrippa. 8 »Why should it be an incredible thought to you that God should raise the dead? 9 »I was convinced that I should oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 »That I did in Jerusalem. I locked up many of the holy ones in prison. I received authority from the chief priests and gave the command to put them to death. 11 »I punished them in every synagogue and tried to force them to recant their beliefs. I was exceedingly mad against them. I persecuted them even in strange cities. 12 »I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests. 13 »At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven. It was brighter than the sun and shinned all around me. It also shinned around those who journeyed with me. 14 »We all fell to the ground. I heard a voice speaking to me. It said in the Hebrew tongue: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ (You only hurt yourself.) 15 »I said: ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he answered: ‘I am Jesus whom you persecute. 16 »Stand up on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things that you have seen, and of those things I will show to you. 17 »I will rescue you from the people and the nations. I am sending you to them. 18 »To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. They may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ 19 »You see, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 20 »I preached first to Damascus, and to Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the people of the nations, that they should repent and turn to God, and prove their repentance by deeds. 21 »For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. 22 »Having obtained help from God, I continue to this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those that the prophets and Moses said should come. 23 »That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first to rise from the dead, and should show light to the people, and to the nations.« 24 While he was defending himself, Festus said with a loud voice: »Paul, you are beside yourself. Much learning has made you mad.« 25 But he answered back: »I am not mad, most noble Festus. I speak the words of truth and soberness! 26 »For the king knows about these things. I speak freely to him for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him. For this was not done in a corner. 27 »King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.« 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul: »In a short time you would persuade (convince) me to become a Christian.« 29 Paul replied, »I pray to God, that you and also all that hear me this day were altogether such as I am, except for these bonds.« 30 When he finished speaking, the king rose up and the governor and Bernice and all who sat with them. 31 As they left they talked between themselves, saying, »This man does nothing worthy of death or of prison.« 32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, »This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.«