Acts 26

WPNT(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 “I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, in that I am to make my defense before you this day concerning the things of which I am accused by the Jews, 3 especially because you are expert in all the Jewish customs and issues; therefore I beg you to hear 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 And now I stand here being judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. It is because of this hope that I am accused by the Jews, King Agrippa. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? 9 “However, I myself thought that I had to perpetrate many things in opposition to the name of Jesus the Natsorean; 10 I actually did this in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 Yes, I punished them often in every synagogue, trying to force them to blaspheme; I was so excessively enraged against them that I persecuted them even to foreign cities. 12 “It was on one of those journeys, as I was going to Damascus with authority and a commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, blazing around me and those traveling with me. 14 Well we all fell to the ground and I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And He said: ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 Now get up and stand on your feet; because I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness both of the things you have seen and of the things I will reveal to you, 17 delivering you from ‘the people’ and the ethnic nations, to which I am sending you: 18 to open their eyes, so as to bring them back from darkness into light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified, by faith into me.’ 19 Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision 20 —first to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, then to all the region of Judea and to the ethnic nations, I still preach: ‘repent and turn back to God, doing works worthy of repentance’. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 So then, having experienced the help that is from God, I stand to this day testifying to both small and great, saying nothing beyond what both the prophets and Moses said would happen 23 —that the Messiah would suffer; that as the first to rise from the dead He would proclaim light to both ‘the people’ and the ethnic nations.” 24 Well as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice: “Paul, you are crazy! Your great learning is driving you insane!” 25 So he said: “I am not crazy, most excellent Festus; rather I pronounce words of truth and reasonableness. 26 For the king knows about these things, before whom I speak freely; for I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, since it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 So Agrippa said to Paul, “You will soon persuade me to become a Christian!” 29 So Paul said, “Whether sooner or later, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are hearing me this day may become such as I am, except for these chains.” 30 Upon his saying this, the king stood up, along with the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them; 31 and when they had withdrawn they started talking among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains”. 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free, if he had not appealed to Caesar”.