VIN(i) 1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." So Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense. 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today to defend myself against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 especially since you are acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. I beg you, therefore, to listen to me patiently. 4 Really, the Jews all know my way of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation in Jerusalem, 5 since they have known me for a long time, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived as a Pharisee. 6 Even now, it is because of my hope in the promise given by God to our ancestors that I stand here on my trial-- 7 the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to realize as they earnestly serve God day and night. It is because of this hope, O king, that I am accused by the Jews. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? 9 So then, I too was convinced that I ought to do all I could to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem. With authority from the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were condemned to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 I frequently had them punished in the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme. In my raging fury against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. 12 "On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 "'Who art Thou, Lord?' I asked. "'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 16 ‘But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen from Me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes, so 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.' 19 So, then, King Agrippa, I did not go against the vision from heaven; 20 but to those in Damascus first, and in Jerusalem and all the region of Judea and to the Gentiles, I proclaimed that they should repent and turn to God, doing deeds worthy of repentance. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God’s help to this day, and I stand here to testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen: 23 that Christ would suffer, and as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles.” 24 As he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are crazy. Your great learning is driving you insane." 25 "I am not mad, most noble Festus," replied Paul; "I am speaking words of sober truth. 26 For the king knows about these matters, and I can speak freely to him. I am confident that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do." 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, In such a short time do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian? 29 Paul replied, "Whether quickly or not, I wish to God that not only you but everyone listening to me today would become what I am except for these chains!" 30 The king rose up with the governor, and Bernice, and those who sat with them. 31 and after leaving the room, in talking the matter over together, they said, "This man has not done anything 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."