Acts 1-28 Amplified Bible (AMP)
1 The first [a]account I made, Theophilus, was [a continuous report] about all the things that Jesus began to do and to [b]teach 2 until the day when He ascended to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given instruction to the apostles (special messengers) whom He had chosen. 3 To these [men] He also showed Himself alive after His suffering [in Gethsemane and on the cross], by [a series of] many infallible proofs and unquestionable demonstrations, appearing to them over a period of forty days and talking to them about the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4 While being together and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Of which,” He said, “you have heard Me speak. 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized and empowered and united with the Holy Spirit, not long from now.”
6 So when they had come together, they asked Him repeatedly, “Lord, are You at this time reestablishing the kingdom and restoring it to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. 8 But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”
9 And after He said these things, He was caught up as they looked on, and a cloud took Him up out of their sight. 10 While they were looking intently into the sky as He was going, two men in white clothing suddenly stood beside them, 11 who said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This [same] Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will return in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
The Upper Room
12 Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet (Olive Grove), which is near Jerusalem, [only] a Sabbath day’s journey (less than one mile) away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went upstairs to the upper room where they were staying [indefinitely]; that is, Peter, and John and [his brother] James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew (Nathanael) and Matthew, [c]James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas (Thaddaeus) the son of James. 14 All these with one mind and one purpose were continually devoting themselves to prayer, [waiting together] along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
15 Now on one of these days Peter stood up among the brothers and sisters (a gathering of about a hundred and twenty believers was there) and he said, 16 “Brothers and sisters, it was necessary that the Scripture be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the lips of David [king of Israel] about Judas [Iscariot], who acted as guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he (Judas) was counted among us and received his share [by divine allotment] in this ministry.” 18 (Now Judas Iscariot [d]acquired a piece of land [indirectly] with the [money paid him as a] reward for his treachery, and falling headlong, his body burst open in the middle and all his intestines poured out. 19 All the people in Jerusalem learned about this, so in their own dialect—Aramaic—they called the piece of land Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For in the book of Psalms it is written,
‘Let his place of residence become desolate,
‘Let another take his position as overseer.’
21 So of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus spent with us, 22 beginning with the baptism by John [at the outset of Jesus’ ministry] until the day when He was taken up from us—one of these men must become a witness with us [to testify] of His resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two men, Joseph, the one called Barsabbas (who was surnamed Justus), and Matthias. 24 They prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know all hearts [their thoughts, motives, desires], show us which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship which Judas left to go to his own place [of evil].” 26 And they [e]cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
The Day of Pentecost
2 When the day of [f]Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place, 2 and suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed [among them], and they rested on each one of them [as each person received the Holy Spirit]. 4 And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other [g]tongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately].
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout and God-fearing men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound was heard, a crowd gathered, and they were bewildered because each one was hearing those in the upper room speaking in his own language or dialect. 7 They were completely astonished, saying, “Look! Are not all of these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears in our own language or native dialect? 9 [Among us there are] Parthians, Medes and Elamites, and people of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and [h]Asia [Minor], 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and the visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism), 11 Cretans and Arabs—we all hear them speaking in our [native] tongues about the mighty works of God!” 12 And they were beside themselves with amazement and were greatly perplexed, saying one to another, “What could this mean?” 13 But others were laughing and joking and ridiculing them, saying, “They are full of sweet wine and are drunk!”
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be explained to you; listen closely and pay attention to what I have to say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you assume, since it is [only] the third hour of the day (9:00 a.m.); 16 but this is [the beginning of] what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man accredited and pointed out and attested to you by God with [the power to perform] miracles and wonders and signs which God worked through Him in your [very] midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, when handed over [to the Roman authorities] according to the predetermined decision and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross and put to death by the hands of lawless and godless men. 24 But God raised Him up, releasing Him and bringing an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in death’s power. 25 For David says of Him,
‘I saw the Lord constantly before me;
29 “Brothers, I may confidently and freely say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 And so, being a prophet and knowing fully that God had sworn to him with an oath that He would seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke [prophetically] of the resurrection of the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), that He was not abandoned [in death] to Hades (the realm of the dead), nor did His body undergo decay. 32 God raised this Jesus [bodily from the dead], and of that [fact] we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted [i]to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this [blessing] which you both see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, yet he himself says,
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel recognize beyond all doubt that God has made Him both Lord and Christ (Messiah, Anointed)—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart [with remorse and anxiety], and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what are we to do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways, accept and follow Jesus as the Messiah] and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is for you and your children and for all who are far away [including the Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself.” 40 And Peter solemnly testified and continued to admonish and urge them with many more words, saying, “[l]Be saved from this crooked and unjust generation!” 41 So then, those who accepted his message were baptized; and on that day about [m]3,000 souls were added [to the body of believers]. 42 They were continually and faithfully devoting themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship, to [n]eating meals together and to prayers.
43 A sense of awe was felt by [o]everyone, and many wonders and signs (attesting miracles) were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed [in Jesus as Savior] [p]were together and had all things in common [considering their possessions to belong to the group as a whole]. 45 And they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing the proceeds with all [the other believers], as anyone had need. 46 Day after day they met in the temple [area] continuing with one mind, and breaking bread in various private homes. They were eating their meals together with joy and generous hearts, 47 praising God continually, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.
Healing the Lame Beggar
3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), 2 and a man who had been unable to walk from birth was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at that gate of the temple which is called [q]Beautiful, so that he could beg alms from those entering the temple. 3 So when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking [them] for coins. 4 But Peter, along with John, stared at him intently and said, “Look at us!” 5 And the man began to pay attention to them, eagerly expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have; but what I do have I give to you: In the name (authority, power) of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—[begin now to] walk and go on walking!” 7 Then he seized the man’s right hand with a firm grip and raised him up. And at once his feet and ankles became strong and steady, 8 and with a leap he stood up and began to walk; and he went into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they recognized him as the very man who usually sat begging for coins at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement and were mystified at what had happened to him.
Peter’s Second Sermon
11 Now while he was still holding on to Peter and John, all the people, utterly amazed, ran together and crowded around them at the covered porch called Solomon’s portico. 12 And Peter, seeing this, said to the people, “You men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Why are you staring at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Servant and Son Jesus [doing Him this honor], the One whom you handed over and disowned and rejected before Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14 But you disowned and denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for [the pardon of] a murderer to be granted to you. 15 But you killed the Prince (Author, Originator, Source) of life, whom God raised [bodily] from the dead. To this [fact] we are witnesses [for we have seen the risen Christ]. 16 And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health and complete wholeness in your presence.
17 “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance [not fully aware of what you were doing], just as your rulers did also. 18 And so God has fulfilled what He foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ (Messiah, Anointed) would suffer. 19 So repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins] and return [to God—seek His purpose for your life], so that your sins may be wiped away [blotted out, completely erased], so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord [restoring you like a cool wind on a hot day]; 20 and that He may send [to you] Jesus, the Christ, who has been appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must keep until the time for the [complete] restoration of all things about which God promised through the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet [r]like me from your countrymen; you shall listen to Him and obey everything He tells you. 23 And it will be that every person that does not listen to and heed that Prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Indeed, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also announced these days. 25 You are the sons (descendants) of the prophets and [heirs] of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed (descendant) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 It was for you first of all that God raised up His Servant and Son [Jesus], and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”
Peter and John Arrested
4 And while Peter and John were talking to the people, the priests and the captain [who was in charge of the temple area and] of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2 being extremely disturbed and thoroughly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in [the case of] Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 So they arrested them and put them in jail until the next day, because it was evening. 4 But many of those who heard the message [of salvation] believed [in Jesus and accepted Him as the Christ]. And the number of the men came to be about 5,000.
5 On the next day, their magistrates and elders and scribes (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6 and [s]Annas the high priest was there, and [t]Caiaphas and [u]John and Alexander, and all others who were of high-priestly descent. 7 When they had put the men in [v]front of them, they repeatedly asked, “By what sort of power, or in what name [that is, by what kind of authority], did you do this [healing]?” 8 Then Peter, filled with [the power of] the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people [members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Court], 9 if we are being put on trial today [to interrogate us] for a good deed done to [benefit] a disabled man, as to how this man has been restored to health, 10 let it be known and clearly understood by all of you, and by all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you [demanded be] crucified [by the Romans and], whom God raised from the dead—in this name [that is, by the authority and power of Jesus] this man stands here before you in good health. 11 This Jesus is the stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which became the [w]chief Cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].”
Threat and Release
13 Now when the men of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were [x]uneducated and untrained [ordinary] men, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing there with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15 But after ordering them to step out of the Council [chamber], they began to confer among themselves, 16 saying, “What are we to do with these men? For the fact that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them is public knowledge and clearly evident to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to keep it from spreading further among the people and the nation, let us [sternly] warn them not to speak again to anyone in this name.” 18 So they sent for them, and commanded them not to speak [as His representatives] or teach at all in the name of Jesus [using Him as their authority]. 19 But Peter and John replied to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must judge [for yourselves]; 20 for we, on our part, cannot stop telling [people] about what we have seen and heard.” 21 When the rulers and Council members had threatened them further, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because [of their fear] of the people, for they were all praising and glorifying and honoring God for what had happened; 22 for the man to whom this sign (attesting miracle) of healing had happened was more than forty years old.
23 After Peter and John were released, they returned to their own [people] and reported everything that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “O Sovereign Lord [having complete power and authority], it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything that is in them, 25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David, Your servant, said,
‘Why did the nations (Gentiles) become arrogant and rage,
27 For in this city there were gathered together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined [before the creation of the world] to occur [and so without knowing it, they served Your own purpose]. 29 And now, Lord, observe their threats [take them into account] and grant that Your bond-servants may declare Your message [of salvation] with great confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders (attesting miracles) take place through the name [and the authority and power] of Your holy Servant and Son Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage.
Sharing among Believers
32 Now the company of believers was of one heart and soul, and not one [of them] claimed that anything belonging to him was [exclusively] his own, but everything was common property and for the use of all. 33 And with great ability and power the apostles were continuously testifying to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace [God’s remarkable lovingkindness and favor and goodwill] rested richly upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, because those who were owners of land or houses were selling them, and bringing the proceeds of the sales 35 and placing the money down at the apostles’ feet. Then it was distributed to each as anyone had need.
36 Now Joseph, a Levite and native of Cyprus, who was surnamed [y]Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field belonging to him and brought the money and set it at the apostles’ feet.
Fate of Ananias and Sapphira
5 Now a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s full knowledge [and complicity] he kept back some of the proceeds, bringing only a [z]portion of it, and set it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and [secretly] keep back for yourself some of the proceeds [from the sale] of the land? 4 As long as it remained [unsold], did it not remain your own [to do with as you pleased]? And after it was sold, was the money not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this act [of hypocrisy and deceit] in your heart? You have not [simply] lied to people, but to God.” 5 And hearing these words, Ananias fell down suddenly and died; and great fear and awe gripped those who heard of it. 6 And the young men [in the congregation] got up and wrapped up the body, and carried it out and buried it.
7 Now after an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me whether you sold your land for so much?” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How could you two have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 And at once she fell down at his feet and died; and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear and awe gripped the whole church, and all who heard about these things.
12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders (attesting miracles) were continually taking place among the people. And by common consent they all met together [at the temple] in [the covered porch called] Solomon’s portico. 13 But none of the rest [of the people, the non-believers] dared to associate with them; however, the people were holding them in high esteem and were speaking highly of them. 14 More and more believers in the Lord, crowds of men and women, were constantly being added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried their sick out into the streets and put them on cots and sleeping pads, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on one of them [with healing power]. 16 And the people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing the sick and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.
Imprisonment and Release
17 But the [aa]high priest stood up, along with all his associates (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy and resentment. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in a public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, and leading them out, he said, 20 “Go, stand and continue to tell the people in the temple [courtyards] the whole message of this Life [the eternal life revealed by Christ and found through faith in Him].” 21 When they heard this, they went into the temple [courtyards] about daybreak and began teaching.
Now when the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), even all the council of elders of the sons of Israel, and sent word to the prison for the apostles to be brought [before them]. 22 But when the officers arrived, they did not find them in the prison; and they came back and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened [the doors], we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these things, they were greatly perplexed, wondering what would come of this. 25 But someone came and told them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing [right here] in the temple [area], teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them back, without hurting them (because they were afraid of the people, worried that they might be stoned).
27 So they brought them and presented them before the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court). The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this [ab]Man’s blood on us [by accusing us as His murderers].” 29 Then Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men [we have no other choice]. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a [ac]cross [and you are responsible]. 31 God exalted Him to His right hand as Prince and Savior and Deliverer, in order to grant repentance to Israel, and [to grant] forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has bestowed on those who obey Him.”
33 Now when they heard this, they were infuriated and they intended to kill the apostles. 34 But a Pharisee named [ad]Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law [of Moses], highly esteemed by all the people, stood up in the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) and ordered that the men be taken outside for a little while. 35 Then he said to the Council, “Men of Israel, be careful in regard to what you propose to do to these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody [of importance], and a group of about four hundred men allied themselves with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas the Galilean rose up, [and led an uprising] during the time of the census, and drew people after him; he was also killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men [merely human in origin], it will fail and be destroyed; 39 but if it is of God [and it appears that it is], you will not be able to stop them; or else you may even be found fighting against God!”
40 The Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) took his advice; and after summoning the apostles, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released them. 41 So they left the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy [dignified by indignity] to suffer shame for [the sake of] His name. 42 And every single day, in the temple [area] and in homes, they did not stop teaching and telling the good news of Jesus as the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
Choosing of the Seven
6 Now about this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, a complaint was made by the [ae]Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews) against the [[af]native] Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 2 So the [ag]Twelve called the disciples together and said, “It is not appropriate for us to neglect [teaching] the word of God in order to serve tables and manage the distribution of food. 3 Therefore, brothers, choose from among you seven men with good reputations [men of godly character and moral integrity], full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 But we will [continue to] devote ourselves [steadfastly] to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 The suggestion pleased the whole congregation; and they selected [ah]Stephen, a man full of faith [in Christ Jesus], and [filled with and led by] the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (Nikolaos), a proselyte (Gentile convert) from Antioch. 6 They brought these men before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them [to dedicate and commission them for this service].
7 And the message of God kept on growing and spreading, and the number of disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem; and a large number of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith [accepting Jesus as Messiah and acknowledging Him as the Source of eternal salvation].
8 Now Stephen, full of grace (divine blessing, favor) and power, was doing great wonders and signs (attesting miracles) among the people. 9 However, some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (freed Jewish slaves), both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and [the province of] Asia, rose up and questioned and argued with Stephen. 10 But they were not able to successfully withstand and cope with the wisdom and the intelligence [and the power and inspiration] of the Spirit by whom he was speaking. 11 Then [to attack him another way] they secretly instructed men to say, “We have heard this man [Stephen] speak blasphemous (slanderous, sacrilegious, abusive) words against Moses and against God.” 12 And they provoked and incited the people, as well as the elders and the scribes, and they came up to Stephen and seized him and brought him before the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court). 13 They presented false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking against this holy place and the Law [of Moses]; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus the Nazarene will tear down this place and will change the traditions and customs which Moses handed down to us.” 15 Then all those who were sitting in the Council, stared [intently] at him, and they saw that Stephen’s face was like the face of an angel.
7 Now the [ai]high priest asked [Stephen], “Are these charges true?”
2 And he answered, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory [the Shekinah, the radiance of God] appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come to the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God sent him to this country in which you now live. 5 But He did not give him inheritable property, not even enough ground to take a step on, yet He promised that He would give it to Him as a possession, and to his descendants after him. 6 And this is, in effect, what God spoke [to him]: That his descendants would be aliens (strangers) in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. 7 ‘And I will judge any nation to whom they will be in bondage,’ said God, ‘and after that they will come out and serve Me [in worship] in this place.’ 8 And God gave Abraham a covenant [a formal agreement to be strictly observed] of [which] circumcision [was the sign]; and so [under these circumstances] Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac [became the father] of [aj]Jacob, and Jacob [became the father] of the [ak]twelve patriarchs.
9 “The [ten elder] patriarchs, overwhelmed with jealousy, sold [their younger brother] Joseph into [slavery in] Egypt; but God was with him, 10 and He rescued him from all his suffering, and gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made Joseph governor over Egypt and over his entire household.
11 “Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great distress and our fathers could not find food [for their households and livestock]. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13 And on the second visit Joseph identified himself to his brothers, and Joseph’s family and background were revealed to Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. 15 And Jacob (Israel) went down into Egypt, and [al]there he died, as did our fathers; 16 and [from Egypt] [am]their bodies were taken back to Shechem and placed in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17 “But as the time [for the fulfillment] of the promise which God had made to Abraham was approaching, the [Hebrew] people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18 until [the time when] there arose another king over egypt who did not know joseph [nor his history and the merit of his service to Egypt]. 19 He shrewdly exploited our race and mistreated our fathers, forcing them to expose their [male] babies so that they would die. 20 It was at this [critical] time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and for three months he was nourished in his father’s house. 21 Then when he was set outside [to die], Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him and claimed him for herself, and cared for him as her own son. 22 So Moses was educated in all the wisdom and culture of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. 23 But when he reached the age of forty, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel. 24 And when he saw one [of them] being treated unfairly, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking and killing the Egyptian. 25 He expected his countrymen to understand that God was granting them freedom through him [assuming that they would accept him], but they did not understand. 26 Then on the next day he suddenly appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and he tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you wrong one another?’ 27 But the man who was injuring his neighbor pushed Moses away, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 At this remark Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he fathered two sons.
30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount [an]Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was astonished at the sight; but as he went near to look more closely, the voice of the Lord came [to him, saying]: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground [worthy of reverence and respect]. 34 I have most certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, and I will send you to Egypt [as My messenger].’
35 “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the very one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer, with the [protecting and helping] hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. 36 This man led them out [of Egypt] after performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a Prophet [ao]like me from your countrymen.’ 38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles [divine words that still live] to be handed down to you. 39 Our fathers were unwilling to be subject to him [and refused to listen to him]. They rejected him, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They said to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us; for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ 41 In those days they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced and celebrated over the works of their hands. 42 But God turned away [from them] and handed them over to serve the [ap]host of heaven. As it is written and forever remains written in the book of the prophets, ‘It was not [really] to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices for forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? 43 You also took along the tabernacle (portable temple) of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship; and I will remove you beyond Babylon [carrying you away into exile].’
44 “Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as God directed Moses to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. 45 Our fathers also brought it in [with them into the land] with Joshua when they dispossessed the [aq]nations whom God drove out before our fathers, [and so it remained here] until the time of David, 46 who found favor (grace, spiritual blessing) in the sight of God and asked that he might [be allowed to] find a dwelling place for the [ar]God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48 However, the Most High [the One infinitely exalted above humanity] does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet [Isaiah] says,
51 “You stiff-necked and stubborn people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always actively resisting the Holy Spirit. You are doing just as your fathers did. 52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained and delivered to you by angels, and yet you did not obey it!”
Stephen Put to Death
54 Now when [as]they heard this [accusation and understood its implication], they were cut to the heart, and they began grinding their teeth [in rage] at him. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit and led by Him, gazed into heaven and saw the glory [the great splendor and majesty] of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56 and he said, “Look! I see the heavens opened up [in welcome] and [at]the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 But they shouted with loud voices, and covered their ears and together rushed at him [considering him guilty of blasphemy]. 58 Then they drove him out of the city and began stoning him; and the witnesses placed their outer robes at the feet of a young man named [au]Saul. 59 They continued stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit!” 60 Then falling on his knees [in worship], he cried out loudly, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them [do not charge them]!” When he had said this, he fell asleep [in death].
Saul Persecutes the Church
8 Saul wholeheartedly approved of Stephen’s death.
And on that day a great and relentless persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem; and the believers were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and [av]mourned greatly over him [expressing a personal sense of loss]. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church [and assaulting believers]; entering house after house and dragging off men and women, putting them in prison.
Philip in Samaria
4 Now those [believers] who had been scattered went from place to place preaching the word [the good news of salvation through Christ]. 5 [aw]Philip [the evangelist] went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) to them. 6 The crowds gathered and were paying close attention to everything Philip said, as they heard [the message] and saw the [miraculous] signs which he was doing [validating his message]. 7 For unclean spirits (demons), shouting loudly, were coming out of many who were possessed; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was great rejoicing in that city.
9 Now there was a man named Simon, who previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 They all paid [a great deal of] attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God!” 11 They were paying attention to him because for a long time he had mystified and dazzled them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the [ax]good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon believed [Philip’s message of salvation]; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he watched the attesting signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that [the people of] Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 They came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; 16 for He had not yet fallen on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [as His possession]. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them [one by one], and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this authority and power too, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your money be destroyed along with you, because you thought you could buy the [free] gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart (motive, purpose) is not right before God. 22 So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are [ay]provoked by bitterness and bound by sin.” 24 But Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me both of you, so that nothing of what you have said will come upon me.”
An Ethiopian Receives Christ
25 So, when Peter and John had given their testimony and preached the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, preaching the good news [about salvation] in many Samaritan villages [along the way].
26 But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south to the road that runs from Jerusalem down to Gaza.” (This is a desert road). 27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch [a man of great authority], a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning, and sitting in his chariot he was reading [the scroll of] the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the [Holy] Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah, and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I [understand] unless someone guides me [correctly]?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now this was the passage of Scripture which he was reading:
“Like a sheep He was led to the slaughter;
34 The eunuch replied to Philip, “Please tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? About himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip spoke and beginning with this Scripture he preached Jesus to him [explaining that He is the promised Messiah and the source of salvation]. 36 As they continued along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch exclaimed, “Look! Water! What forbids me from being baptized?” 37 [az][Philip said to him, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [suddenly] took Philip [and carried him] away [to a different place]; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at [ba]Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the good news [of salvation] to all the cities, until he came to [bb]Caesarea [Maritima].
The Conversion of Saul
9 Now [bc]Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord [and relentless in his search for believers], went to the [bd]high priest, 2 and he asked for letters [of authority] from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any men or women there belonging to [be]the Way [believers, followers of Jesus the Messiah], men and women alike, he could arrest them and bring them bound [with chains] to Jerusalem. 3 As he traveled he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him [displaying the glory and majesty of Christ]; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice [from heaven] saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?” 5 And Saul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him [were terrified and] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.
10 Now in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called [bf]Straight, and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul; for he is praying [there], 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him, so that he may regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, especially how much suffering and evil he has brought on Your saints (God’s people) at Jerusalem; 14 and here [in Damascus] he has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call on Your name [confessing You as Savior].” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles].” 18 Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took some food and was strengthened.
Saul Begins to Preach Christ
For several days [afterward] Saul remained with the disciples who were at Damascus. 20 And immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This Man is the Son of God [the promised Messiah]!” 21 All those who heard him continued to be amazed and said, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem attacked those who called on this name [of Jesus], and had come here [to Damascus] for the express purpose of bringing them bound [with chains] before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased in strength more and more, and continued to perplex the Jews who lived in Damascus by examining [theological evidence] and proving [with Scripture] that this Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
23 After considerable time had passed [about three years or so], the Jews plotted together to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the city’s gates day and night so they could kill him; 25 but his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 However, [bg]Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and described to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road [to Damascus], and how He had spoken to him, and how at Damascus Saul had preached openly and spoken confidently in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them, moving around freely [as one among them] in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He was talking and arguing with the [bh]Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews); but they were attempting to kill him. 30 When the brothers found out [about the plot], they brought him down to [bi]Caesarea [Maritima] and sent him off to Tarsus [his home town].
31 So the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace [without persecution], being built up [in wisdom, virtue, and faith]; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it continued to grow [in numbers].
32 Now as Peter was traveling throughout the land, he went down to [visit] the [bj]saints (God’s people) who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 Then all who lived at Lydda and the plain of Sharon saw [what had happened to] him, and they turned to the Lord.
36 Now in [bk]Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, (which translated into Greek means Dorcas). She was rich in acts of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37 During that time it happened that she became sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upstairs room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter got up [at once] and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upstairs room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing [him] all the [bl]tunics and robes that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out [of the room] and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise!” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and helped her up; and then he called in the [bm]saints (God’s people) and the widows, and he presented her [to them] alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many came to believe in the Lord [that is, to adhere to and trust in and rely on Jesus as Christ and Savior]. 43 And so it was that Peter stayed in Joppa for many days with Simon, [bn]a tanner.
10 Now at [bo]Caesarea [Maritima] there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the [bp]Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who, along with all his household, feared God. He made many charitable donations to the Jewish people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.) of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had come to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius was frightened and stared intently at him and said, “What is it, lord (sir)?” And the angel said to him, “Your prayers and gifts of charity have ascended as a memorial offering before God [an offering made in remembrance of His past blessings]. 5 Now send men to [bq]Joppa and have them call for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter [and invite him here]; 6 he is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who was speaking to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among his own personal attendants; 8 and after explaining everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
9 The next day, as they were on their way and were approaching the city, Peter went up on [br]the roof of the house about the sixth hour (noon) to pray, 10 but he became hungry and wanted something to eat. While [bs]the meal was being prepared he fell into a trance; 11 and he saw the sky opened up, and an [bt]object like a great sheet descending, lowered by its four corners to the earth, 12 and it contained all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “Not at all, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common (unholy) and [ceremonially] unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, no longer consider common (unholy).” 16 This happened three times, and then immediately the object was taken up into heaven.
17 Now Peter was still perplexed and completely at a loss as to what his vision could mean when the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions to Simon’s house, arrived at the gate. 18 And they called out to ask whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. 19 While Peter was thoughtfully considering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Now listen, three men are looking for you. 20 Get up, go downstairs and go with them without hesitating or doubting, because I have sent them Myself.” 21 Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. For what reason have you come?” 22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man well spoken of by all the Jewish people, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear what you have to say.” 23 So Peter [bu]invited them in and gave them lodging [for the night].
Peter at Caesarea
The next day Peter got up and left with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him. 24 On the following day he [and the others] entered Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter arrived, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet and [bv]worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am only a man.” 27 As Peter talked with him, he entered [the house] and found a large group of people assembled. 28 He said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with or befriend a Gentile, or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I am not to call anyone common or [ceremonially] unclean. 29 Therefore when I was sent for, I came without raising an objection. So I ask for what reason have you sent for me?”
30 Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour (3:00-4:00 p.m.); and a man [dressed] in bright, dazzling clothing suddenly stood before me, 31 and he said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered before God [so that He is about to help you]. 32 Therefore send word to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you. He is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to listen to everything that you have been instructed by the Lord [to say].”
Gentiles Hear Good News
34 Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“Most certainly I understand now that God is not one to show partiality [to people as though Gentiles were excluded from God’s blessing], 35 but in every nation the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and welcomed by Him. 36 You know the message which He sent to the sons of Israel, announcing [bw]the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all— 37 you know the things that have taken place throughout Judea, starting in Galilee after the baptism preached by John— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with great power; and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him. 39 We are [personally] eyewitnesses of everything that He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem [in particular]. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross; 40 God raised Him [to life] on the third day and caused Him to be plainly seen, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen and designated beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank together with Him after He rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people [both Jew and Gentile], and to solemnly testify that He is the One who has been appointed and ordained by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about Him, that through His name everyone who believes in Him [whoever trusts in and relies on Him, accepting Him as Savior and Messiah] receives forgiveness of sins.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message [confirming God’s acceptance of Gentiles]. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them talking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and exalting and magnifying and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone refuse water for these people to be baptized, since they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 And he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay there for a few days.
Peter Reports at Jerusalem
11 Now the apostles and the believers who were throughout Judea heard [with astonishment] that the Gentiles also had received and accepted the word of God [the message concerning salvation through Christ]. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision [certain Jewish believers who followed the Law] took issue with him [for violating Jewish customs], 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and [even] ate with them!” 4 But Peter began [at the beginning] and explained [the events] to them step by step, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision of an object coming down from heaven, like a huge sheet being lowered by the four corners; and [it descended until] it came right down to me, 6 and looking closely at it, I saw all kinds of the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air [both clean and unclean according to the Law], 7 and I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘Not at all, Lord; for nothing common (unholy) or [ceremonially] unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, no longer consider common (unholy).’ 10 This happened three times, and everything was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And right then the three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them without the slightest hesitation. So these six brothers also went with me and we went to the man’s house. 13 And Cornelius told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying, ‘Send word to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; 14 he will bring a message to you by which you will be saved [and granted eternal life], you and all your household.’ 15 When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did on us at the beginning [at Pentecost]. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So, if God gave Gentiles the same gift [equally] as He gave us after we accepted and believed and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ [as Savior], who was I to interfere or stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified and praised God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance that leads to eternal life [that is, real life after earthly death].”
The Church at Antioch
19 So then [since they were unaware of these developments] those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with [the stoning of] Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, without telling the message [of salvation through Christ] to anyone except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks as well, proclaiming [to them] the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand (the power and presence) of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord [for salvation, accepting and drawing near to Jesus as Messiah and Savior]. 22 The news of this reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God [that was bestowed on them], he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with an unwavering heart to stay true and devoted to the Lord. 24 For Barnabas was a good man [privately and publicly—his godly character benefited both himself and others] and he was full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith [in Jesus the Messiah, through whom believers have everlasting life]. And a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 And Barnabas left for Tarsus to search for Saul; 26 and when he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. For an entire year they met [with others] in the church and instructed large numbers; and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
27 Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and prophesied through the [Holy] Spirit that a severe famine would come on the [bx]entire world. And this did happen during the reign of [by]Claudius. 29 So the disciples decided to send a contribution, each according to his individual ability, to the believers who lived in Judea. 30 And this they did, sending the contribution to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
Peter’s Arrest and Escape
12 Now at that time [bz]Herod [Agrippa I] the king [of the Jews] arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to harm them. 2 And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword; 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to have Peter arrested as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread [the Passover week]. 4 When he had seized Peter, he put him in prison, turning him over to four squads of soldiers of four each to guard him [in rotation throughout the night], planning after the Passover to bring him out before the people [for execution]. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but fervent and persistent prayer for him was being made to God by the church.
6 The very night before Herod was to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries were in front of the door guarding the prison. 7 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared [beside him] and a light shone in the cell. The angel struck Peter’s side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly!” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 The angel said to him, “Prepare yourself and strap on your sandals [to get ready for whatever may happen].” And he did so. Then the angel told him, “Put on your robe and follow me.” 9 And Peter went out following the angel. He did not realize that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first guard and the second, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city. Of its own accord it swung open for them; and they went out and went along one street, and at once the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to his senses, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel and has rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting [to do to me].” 12 When he realized what had happened, he went to the house of [ca]Mary the mother of John, who was also called [cb]Mark, where many [believers] were gathered together and were praying continually [and had been praying all night]. 13 When he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she failed to open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gateway. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But [meanwhile] Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were completely amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be quiet and listen, he described how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to [cc]James and the brothers and sisters.” Then he left and went to another place.
18 Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 When Herod had searched for him and could not find him, he interrogated the guards and commanded that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea [Maritima] and spent some time there.
Death of Herod
20 Now Herod [Agrippa I] was [cd]extremely angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and their delegates came to him in a united group, and after persuading Blastus, [ce]the king’s chamberlain [to support their cause], they asked for peace, because their country was fed by [imports of grain and other goods from] the king’s country. 21 On an appointed day Herod dressed himself in his [cf]royal robes, sat on his throne (tribunal, rostrum) and began delivering a speech to the people. 22 The assembled people kept shouting, “It is the voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 And at once an angel of the Lord struck him down because he did not give God the glory [and instead permitted himself to be worshiped], and [cg]he was eaten by worms and died [five days later].
24 But the word of the Lord [the good news about salvation through Christ] continued to grow and spread [increasing in effectiveness].
25 Barnabas and Saul came back [ch]from Jerusalem when they had completed their mission, bringing with them John, who was also called Mark.
First Missionary Journey
13 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets [who spoke a new message of God to the people] and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called [ci]Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with [cj]Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them [in approval and dedication] and sent them away [on their first journey].
4 So then, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When Barnabas and Saul arrived at Salamis, they began to preach the word of God [proclaiming the message of eternal salvation through faith in Christ] in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John [Mark] as their assistant. 6 When they had traveled through the entire island [of Cyprus] as far as Paphos, they found a sorcerer, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was [closely associated] with the [ck]proconsul [of the province], Sergius Paulus, an intelligent and sensible man. He called for Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ]. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is how his name is translated) opposed them, trying to turn the proconsul away from accepting the faith. 9 But [cl]Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit and led by Him, looked steadily at Elymas, 10 and said, “[cm]You [Elymas] who are full of every [kind of] deceit, and every [kind of] fraud, you son of the devil, enemy of everything that is right and good, will you never stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord? 11 [cn]Now, watch! The hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind, [so blind that you will be] unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately a mist and darkness fell upon him, and he groped around, seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 The proconsul believed [the message of salvation] when he saw what had happened, being astonished at the teaching concerning the Lord.
13 Now Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia; but [co]John [Mark] left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14 Now they went on from Perga and arrived at Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading of the Law and the [writings of the] Prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers (kinsmen), if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand, he said,
“Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen! 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great and numerous during their stay [as foreigners] in the land of Egypt, and then with an [cp]uplifted arm He led them out of there. 18 For a period of about forty years He put up with their behavior in the wilderness. 19 When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He gave their land [to our ancestors] as an inheritance—this took about four hundred and fifty years. 20 After this, He gave them judges until the prophet Samuel. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king: of him He testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart [conforming to My will and purposes], who will do all My will.’ 23 From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel a Savior, [in the person of] Jesus, according to His promise. 24 Before [cq]His coming John [the Baptist] had preached a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course [of ministry], he kept saying, ‘What or who do you think that I am? I am not He [the Christ]; but be aware, One is coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie [even as His slave]!’
26 “Brothers, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation [obtained through faith in Jesus Christ]. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, who failed to recognize or understand both Jesus and the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled these [very prophecies] by condemning Him. 28 And though they found no cause or charge deserving death, they asked Pilate to have Him executed. 29 And when they had finished carrying out everything that was written [in Scripture] about Him, they took Him down from the [cr]cross and laid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead; 31 and for many days (forty) He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. 32 And we are bringing you the good news of the promise made to our fathers (ancestors), 33 that God has completely fulfilled this promise to our children by raising up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today I have begotten (fathered) You.’ 34 And [as for the fact] that He raised Him from the dead, never again to return to decay [in the grave], He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David [those blessings and mercies that were promised to him].’ 35 For this reason He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay.’ 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was buried among his fathers and experienced decay [in the grave]; 37 but He whom God raised [to life] did not experience decay [in the grave]. 38 So let it be clearly known by you, brothers, that through Him forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you; 39 and through Him everyone who believes [who acknowledges Jesus as Lord and Savior and follows Him] is [cs]justified and declared free of guilt from all things, from which you could not be justified and freed of guilt through the Law of Moses. 40 Therefore be careful, so that the thing spoken of in the [writings of the] Prophets does not come upon you:
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving [the synagogue], the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them on the next Sabbath. 43 When the congregation of the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and the devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, talking to them were urging them to continue in the grace of God.
Paul Turns to the Gentiles
44 On the next Sabbath almost the entire [ct]city gathered together to hear the word of the Lord [about salvation through faith in Christ]. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things said by Paul, and were slandering him. 46 And [at the same time] Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and confidently, saying, “It was necessary that God’s message [of salvation through faith in Christ] be spoken to you [Jews] first. Since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, now we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For that is what the Lord has commanded us, saying,
‘I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles,
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying [praising and giving thanks for] the word of the Lord; and all those who had been appointed (designated, ordained) to eternal life [by God] believed [in Jesus as the Christ and their Savior]. 49 And so the word of the Lord [regarding salvation] was being spread through the entire region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout, prominent women and the leading men of the city, and instigated persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them forcibly out of their district. 51 But [cu]they shook its dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were continually filled [throughout their hearts and souls] with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Acceptance and Opposition
14 Now in Iconium Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue together and spoke in such a way [with such power and boldness] that a large number of Jews as well as Greeks believed [and confidently accepted Jesus as Savior]; 2 but the unbelieving Jews [who rejected Jesus as Messiah] stirred up and embittered the minds of the Gentiles against the [cv]believers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas stayed for a long time, speaking boldly and confidently for the Lord, who continued to testify to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders (attesting miracles) be done by them. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some were siding with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5 When there was an attempt by both the Gentiles and the Jews, together with their rulers, to shamefully mistreat and to stone them, 6 they, aware of the situation, escaped to Lystra and Derbe, [taking refuge in the] cities of Lycaonia, and the neighboring region; 7 and there they continued to preach the good news.
8 Now at Lystra a man sat who was unable to use his feet, for he was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, and Paul looked intently at him and saw that he had faith to be healed, 10 and said with a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet.” And he jumped up and began to walk. 11 And the crowds, when they saw what Paul had done, raised their voices, shouting in the [cw]Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us [cx]in human form!” 12 They began calling Barnabas, Zeus [chief of the Greek gods], and Paul, Hermes [messenger of the Greek gods], since he took the lead in speaking. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance of the city, brought bulls and garlands to the city gates, and wanted to offer sacrifices with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they [cy]tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are only men of the same nature as you, bringing the good news to you, so that you turn from these useless and meaningless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them. 16 In generations past He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 17 yet He did not leave Himself without some witness [as evidence of Himself], in that He kept constantly doing good things and showing you kindness, and giving you rains from heaven and productive seasons, filling your hearts with food and happiness.” 18 Even saying these words, with difficulty they prevented the people from offering sacrifices to them.
19 But Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But the disciples formed a circle around him, and he got up and went back into the city; and the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 They preached the good news to that city and made many disciples, then they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening and establishing the hearts of the disciples; encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, saying, “It is through many tribulations and hardships that we must enter the kingdom of God.” 23 When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they believed [and joyfully accepted as the Messiah].
24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 When they had spoken the word [of salvation through faith in Christ] in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed back to [cz]Antioch, where they had been entrusted to the grace of God for the [da]work which they had now completed. 27 Arriving there, they gathered the church together and began to report [in great detail] everything that God had done with them and how He had opened to the Gentiles a door of faith [in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior]. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
The Council at Jerusalem
15 Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised in accordance with the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Paul and Barnabas disagreed greatly and debated with them, so it was determined that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others from their group would go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders [and confer with them] concerning this issue. 3 So, after being supplied and sent on their way by the church, they went through both Phoenicia and Samaria telling in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they brought great joy to all the [db]believers. 4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received warmly by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported to them all the things that God had accomplished through them. 5 But some from the sect of the Pharisees who had believed [in Jesus as the Messiah] stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentile converts and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”
6 The apostles and the elders came together to consider this matter. 7 After a long debate, Peter got up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the message of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows and understands the heart, testified to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith [in Jesus]. 10 Now then, why are you testing God by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to endure? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the [precious, undeserved] grace of the Lord Jesus [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life], in just the same way as they are.”
12 All the people remained silent, and they listened [attentively] to Barnabas and Paul as they described all the signs and wonders (attesting miracles) that God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13 When they had finished speaking, [dc]James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 [dd]Simeon (Simon Peter) has described how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name [to honor Him and be identified with Him]. 15 The words of the Prophets agree with this, just as it is written [in Scripture],
19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble and make it difficult for those who are turning to God among the Gentiles [by putting obstacles in their way], 20 but that we write to them that they are to abstain from [de]anything that has been contaminated by [being offered to] idols and from sexual impurity and from [eating the meat of] what has been strangled and from [the consumption of] [df]blood. 21 For from ancient generations [the writing of] Moses has been preached in every city, since [dg]he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
22 Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, decided to select some of their men to go to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas [also called Silvanus, both], leading men among the brothers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
“The apostles and the brothers who are the elders, to the brothers and sisters who are from the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, Greetings.
24 Since we have heard that some of our men have troubled you with their teachings, causing distress and confusion—men to whom we gave no such orders or instructions— 25 it has been decided by us, having met together, to select men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we have sent Judas and Silas, who will report by word of mouth the same things [that we decided in our meeting]. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place on you any greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from [consuming] blood, and from [eating the meat of] things that have been strangled, and from sexual impurity. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell.”
30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch; and after assembling the congregation, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, the people rejoiced greatly at the encouragement and comfort [it brought them]. 32 Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets (divinely inspired spokesmen), encouraged and strengthened the [dh]believers with many words. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent back by the brothers with [the greeting of] peace to those who had sent them. 34 [di][However, Silas decided to stay there.] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, and with many others also continued teaching and proclaiming the good news, the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ].
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
36 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers and sisters (believers) in every city where we preached the message of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take [his cousin] John, who was called Mark, along with them. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 And it became such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took [John] Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas [who was again in Antioch] and set out [on his second journey], commended by the brothers to the grace and favor of the Lord. 41 And he traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
The Macedonian Vision
16 Now Paul traveled to Derbe and also to Lystra. A disciple named Timothy was there, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer [in Christ], however, his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well spoken of by the brothers and sisters who were in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to go with him [as a missionary]; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decrees decided on by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for the churches to observe. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they continually increased in number day after day.
6 Now they passed through the territory of Phrygia and Galatia, after being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor]; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; 8 so passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 Then a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man from [the Roman province of] [dj]Macedonia was standing and pleading with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 And when he had seen the vision, [dk]we (including Luke) tried to go on into Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 So setting sail from Troas, we ran a direct course to Samothrace, and the next day [went on] to Neapolis; 12 and from there [we came] to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony. We stayed on in this city for several days; 13 and on the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the bank of the [Gangites] river, where we thought there would be a [dl]place of prayer, and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had come there.
First Convert in Europe
14 A woman named [dm]Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a dealer in [dn]purple fabrics who was [already] a worshiper of God, listened to us; and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention and to respond to the things said by Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, along with her household, she pleaded with us, saying, “If you have judged me and decided that I am faithful to the Lord [a true believer], come to my house and stay.” And she persuaded us.
16 It happened that as we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave-girl who had [do]a spirit of divination [that is, a demonic spirit claiming to foretell the future and discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners a good profit by fortune-telling. 17 She followed after Paul and us and kept screaming and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” 18 She continued doing this for several days. Then Paul, being greatly annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit [inside her], “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ [as His representative] to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the market place [where trials were held], 20 and when they had brought them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men, who are Jews, are throwing our city into confusion and causing trouble. 21 They are publicly teaching customs which are unlawful for us, as Romans, to accept or observe.”
Paul and Silas Imprisoned
22 The crowd also joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and ordered that Paul and Silas be beaten with rods. 23 After striking them many times [with the rods], they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely. 24 He, having received such a [strict] command, threw them into the inner prison (dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks [in an agonizing position].
25 But about midnight when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 suddenly there was a great earthquake, so [powerful] that the very foundations of the prison were shaken and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer, shaken out of sleep, saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, saying, “Do not hurt yourself, we are all here!” 29 Then the jailer called for torches and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out [of the inner prison], he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The Jailer Converted
31 And they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus [as your personal Savior and entrust yourself to Him] and you will be saved, you and your household [if they also believe].” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their bloody wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 Then he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, since he had believed in God with his entire family [accepting with joy what had been made known to them about the Christ].
35 Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their officers, saying, “Release those men.” 36 And the jailer repeated the words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you; so come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now they are sending us out secretly? No! Let them come here themselves and bring us out!” 38 The officers reported this message to the chief magistrates, and [dp]when they heard that the prisoners were Romans, they were frightened; 39 so they came [to the prison] and appealed to them [with apologies], and when they brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city. 40 So they left the prison and went to Lydia’s house; and when they had seen the brothers and sisters, they encouraged and comforted them, and left.
Paul at Thessalonica
17 Now after Paul and Silas had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul entered the synagogue, as was his [dq]custom, and for three Sabbaths he engaged in discussion and friendly debate with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and pointing out [scriptural evidence] that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I am proclaiming to you, is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).” 4 And some of them were persuaded to believe and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and many of the leading women. 5 But the [unbelieving] Jews became jealous, and taking along some thugs from [the lowlifes in] the market place, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and then attacking Jason’s house tried to bring Paul and Silas out to the people. 6 But when they failed to find them, they dragged Jason and some brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too; 7 and Jason has welcomed them [into his house and protected them]! And they all are saying things contrary to the decrees of Caesar, [actually] claiming that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 9 And when they had taken security (bail) from Jason and the others, they let them go.
Paul at Berea
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they entered the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 As a result many of them became believers, together with a number of prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] had also been preached by Paul at Berea, they came there too, agitating and disturbing the crowds. 14 So at that time the brothers immediately sent Paul away to go as far as the sea; but Silas and Timothy remained there [at Berea]. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens; and [after] receiving instructions [from Paul] for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible, they left.
Paul at Athens
16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was greatly angered when he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he had discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place day after day with any who happened to be there. 18 And some of the [dr]Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to engage in conversation with him. And some said, “What could this idle babbler [with his eclectic, scrap-heap learning] have in mind to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities”—because he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 They took him and brought him to the [ds]Areopagus (Hill of Ares, the Greek god of war), saying, “May we know what this [strange] new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some startling and strange things to our ears; so we want to know what they mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and the foreigners visiting there used to spend their [leisure] time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)
Sermon on Mars Hill
22 So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I observe [with every turn I make throughout the city] that you are very religious and devout in all respects. 23 Now as I was going along and carefully looking at your objects of worship, I came to an altar with this inscription: ‘TO AN [dt]UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you already worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who created the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He [du]served by human hands, as though He needed anything, because it is He who gives to all [people] life and breath and all things. 26 And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories. 27 This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of [dv]your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 So then, being God’s children, we should not think that the Divine Nature (deity) is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination or skill of man. 30 Therefore God overlooked and disregarded the former ages of ignorance; but now He commands all people everywhere to repent [that is, to change their old way of thinking, to regret their past sins, and to seek God’s purpose for their lives], 31 because He has set a day when He will judge the inhabited world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed and destined for that task, and He has provided credible proof to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard [the term] resurrection from the dead, [dw]some mocked and sneered; but others said, “We will hear from you again about this matter.” 33 So Paul left them. 34 But some men joined him and believed; among them were Dionysius, [a judge] of the Council of Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
Paul at Corinth
18 After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife, Priscilla, because [the Roman Emperor] Claudius had issued an edict that all the [dx]Jews were to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them; and they worked together for they were tent-makers. 4 And he reasoned and debated in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks;
5 but when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia (northern Greece), Paul began devoting himself completely to [preaching] the word, and solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). 6 But since the Jews kept resisting and opposing him, and blaspheming [God], he [dy]shook out his robe and said to them, “Your blood (damnation) be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 Then he moved on from there and went to the house of a man named [dz]Titius Justus, who worshiped God and whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord together with his entire household [joyfully acknowledging Him as Messiah and Savior]; and many of the Corinthians who heard [Paul’s message] were believing and being baptized. 9 One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid anymore, but go on speaking and do not be silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you in order to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So he settled there for a year and six months, teaching them the word of God [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ].
12 But when [ea]Gallio was proconsul of Achaia (southern Greece), the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before [eb]the judgment seat, 13 declaring, “This man is persuading people to worship God in violation of the law [of Moses].” 14 But when Paul was about to reply, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of some misdemeanor or serious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to put up with you; 15 but since it is merely a question [of doctrine within your religion] about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I am [ec]unwilling to judge these matters.” 16 And he drove them away from the judgment seat. 17 Then the Greeks all seized [ed]Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him right in front of the judgment seat; but Gallio paid no attention to any of this.
18 Paul stayed for a while longer, and then told the [ee]brothers and sisters goodbye and sailed for Syria; and he was accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchrea [the southeastern port of Corinth] he had his hair cut, because he was keeping a [Nazirite] vow [of abstention]. 19 Then they arrived in Ephesus, and he left the others there; but he entered the synagogue and reasoned and debated with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he refused; 21 but after telling them goodbye and saying, “I will return again if God is willing,” he set sail from Ephesus.
22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and [ef]greeted the church [at Jerusalem], and then went down to Antioch.
Paul’s Third Missionary Journey
23 After spending some time there, he left and traveled through the territory of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening and encouraging all the disciples.
24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent and cultured man, and well versed in the [Hebrew] Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being spiritually impassioned, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things about Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John; 26 and he began to speak boldly and fearlessly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained more accurately to him the way of God [and the full story of the life of Christ]. 27 And when Apollos wanted to go across to Achaia (southern Greece), the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples, [urging them] to welcome him gladly. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who, through grace, had believed and had followed Jesus as Lord and Savior, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public discussions, proving by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
Paul at Ephesus
19 It happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the upper [inland] districts and came down to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed [in Jesus as the Christ]?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he asked, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John performed a baptism of repentance, continually telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, [to confidently accept and joyfully believe] in Jesus [the Messiah and Savior].” 5 After hearing this, they were baptized [again, this time] in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
8 And he went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient [to the word of God], discrediting and speaking evil of [eg]the Way (Jesus, Christianity) before the congregation, Paul left them, taking the disciples with him, and went on holding [eh]daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus [instead of in the synagogue]. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the inhabitants of [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor], Jews as well as Greeks, heard the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ].
Miracles at Ephesus
11 God was doing extraordinary and unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or face-towels or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out [of them]. 13 Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists also attempted to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I implore you and solemnly command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!” 14 Seven sons of one [named] Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit retorted, “I know and recognize and acknowledge Jesus, and I know about Paul, but as for you, who are you?” 16 Then the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued [ei]all of them and overpowered them, so that they ran out of that house [in terror, stripped] naked and wounded. 17 This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified and exalted. 18 Many of those who had become believers were coming, confessing and disclosing their [former sinful] practices. 19 And many of those who had practiced magical arts collected their books and [throwing book after book on the pile] began burning them in front of everyone. They calculated their value and found it to be [ej]50,000 pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] was growing greatly and prevailing.
21 Now after these events, Paul determined in the Spirit that he would travel through [ek]Macedonia and Achaia (most of the Greek mainland), and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome [and preach the good news of salvation].” 22 And after sending two of his assistants, Timothy and [el]Erastus, to Macedonia [ahead of him], he stayed on in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor] for a while.
23 About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way (Jesus, Christianity). 24 Now a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of [the goddess] Artemis (Diana), was bringing no small profit to the craftsmen. 25 These [craftsmen] he called together, along with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you are well aware that we make a good living from this business. 26 You see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but almost all over [the province of] Asia, this Paul has persuaded [people to believe his teaching] and has misled a large number of people, claiming that gods made by [human] hands are not really gods at all. 27 Not only is there danger that this trade of ours will be discredited, but also that the [magnificent] [em]temple of the great goddess [en]Artemis will be discredited, and that she whom all Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned and lose her glorious magnificence.”
28 When they heard this, they were filled with rage, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Then the city was filled with confusion; and people rushed together [as a group] into the amphitheater, dragging along with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s traveling companions. 30 Paul wanted to go into the [pagan] assembly, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the Asiarchs (officials) who were his friends sent word to him and repeatedly warned him not to venture into the amphitheater. 32 Now some shouted one thing and some another, for the gathering was in confusion and most of the people did not know [eo]why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd advised Alexander [to speak], since the Jews had pushed him forward; and Alexander motioned with his hand [for attention] and intended to make a defense to the people. 34 But when they realized that he was a Jew, a single outcry went up from the crowd as they shouted for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 35 After the town [ep]clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what person is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of that [[eq]sacred stone image of her] which fell from the sky? 36 So, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and stay calm and not do anything rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are in session and proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another there. 39 But if you want anything beyond this, it will be settled in the lawful assembly. 40 For we are running the risk of being accused of rioting in regard to today’s events, and since there is no reason for it, we will be unable to give an account and justify this disorderly gathering.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.
Paul in Macedonia and Greece
20 After the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had encouraged them he told them goodbye, and set off to go to [er]Macedonia. 2 After he had gone through those districts and had encouraged the believers, he came to Greece. 3 And he stayed three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia (northern Greece). 4 He was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and by Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 These men went on ahead and were waiting for us (including Luke) at Troas. 6 We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread (Passover week), and within five days we reached them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
7 Now on the first day of the week (Sunday), when we were gathered together to break bread (share communion), Paul began talking with them, intending to leave the next day; and he kept on with his message until midnight. 8 Now there were many lamps in the upper room where we were assembled, 9 and there was a young man named Eutychus (“Lucky”) sitting on the window sill. He was sinking into a deep sleep, and as Paul [es]kept on talking longer and longer, he was completely overcome by sleep and fell down from the third story; and he was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and threw himself on him and embraced him, and said [to those standing around him], “Do not be troubled, because [et]he is alive.” 11 When Paul had gone back upstairs and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked [informally and confidentially] with them for a long time—until daybreak [in fact]—and then he left. 12 They took the boy [Eutychus] home alive, and were greatly comforted and encouraged.
Troas to Miletus
13 But we went on ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul on board there; for that was what he had arranged, intending himself to go [a shorter route] by land. 14 So when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and sailed on to Mitylene. 15 Sailing from there, we arrived the next day [at a point] opposite Chios; the following day we crossed over to Samos, and the next day we arrived at Miletus [about 30 miles south of Ephesus]. 16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus so that he would not end up spending time [unnecessarily] in [the province of] Asia (modern Turkey); for he was in a hurry to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of [eu]Pentecost.
Farewell to Ephesus
17 However, from Miletus he sent word to Ephesus and summoned the elders of the church [to meet him there]. 18 And when they arrived he said to them:
“You know well how I [lived when I] was with you, from the first day that I set foot in Asia [until now], 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and trials which came on me because of the plots of the Jews [against me]; 20 [you know] how I did not shrink back in fear from telling you anything that was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public meetings, and from house to house, 21 solemnly [and wholeheartedly] testifying to both Jews and Greeks, urging them to turn in repentance to God and [to have] faith in our Lord Jesus Christ [for salvation]. 22 And now, compelled by the Spirit and obligated by my convictions, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly [and emphatically] affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me. 24 But I do not consider my life as something of value or dear to me, so that I may [with joy] finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify faithfully of the good news of God’s [precious, undeserved] grace [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life].
25 “And now, listen carefully: I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, [ev]will see me again. 26 For that reason I testify to you on this [our parting] day that I am innocent of the blood of all people. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan of God. 28 Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood. 29 I know that after I am gone, [false teachers like] ferocious wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 even from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse and distorted things, to draw away the disciples after themselves [as their followers]. 31 Therefore be continually alert, remembering that for three years, night or day, I did not stop admonishing and advising each one [of you] with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God [placing you in His protective, loving care] and [I commend you] to the word of His grace [the counsel and promises of His unmerited favor]. His grace is able to build you up and to give you the [rightful] inheritance among all those who are sanctified [that is, among those who are set apart for God’s purpose—all believers]. 33 I had no desire for anyone’s silver or gold or [expensive] clothes. 34 You know personally that these hands ministered to my own needs [working in manual labor] and to [those of] the people who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you [by example] that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive.’”
36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And [ew]they began to weep openly and threw their arms around Paul’s neck, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 grieving and distressed especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see him again. And they accompanied him to the ship.
Paul Sails from Miletus
21 When we had torn ourselves away from them and set sail, we ran a straight course and came to Cos, and on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara; 2 and after finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went on board and set sail. 3 After we came in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on our left (port side), we sailed on to Syria and put in at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo. 4 After looking up the disciples [in Tyre], we stayed there [with them] seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the [Holy] Spirit [ex]not to set foot in Jerusalem. 5 When our days there came to an end, we left and proceeded on our journey, while all of the disciples, with their wives and children, escorted us on our way until we were outside the city. After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we told one another goodbye. 6 Then we boarded the ship, and they returned to their homes.
7 When we had completed the voyage from Tyre, we landed [twenty miles to the south] at Ptolemais, and after greeting the [ey]believers, we stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and we went to the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven [deacons], and stayed with him. 9 He had four virgin daughters who had the gift of prophecy. 10 As we were staying there for some time, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to [see] us, he took Paul’s [wide] [ez]band (belt, sash) and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this same way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this band, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles (pagans).’” 12 Now when we had heard this, both we and the local residents began pleading with Paul trying to persuade him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart [like this]? For I am ready not only to be bound and imprisoned, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be dissuaded, we stopped pleading and fell silent, saying, “The Lord’s will be done!”
Paul at Jerusalem
15 After this we got ready and started on our way up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also came with us, taking us to [the house of] Mnason, a man from Cyprus, a disciple of long standing with whom we were to lodge.
17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the [fa]brothers and sisters welcomed us gladly. 18 On the next day Paul went with us to [see] [fb]James, and all the elders of the church were present. 19 After greeting them, Paul began to give a detailed account of the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they began glorifying and praising God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all enthusiastic supporters of the Law [of Moses]. 21 Now they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are living among the Gentiles to turn away from [the Law of] Moses, advising them not to circumcise their children or to live according to the [Mosaic] customs. 22 What then should be done? They will certainly hear that you have arrived. 23 Therefore do just what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses [for the temple offerings] so that they may shave their heads. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to the things they have been told about you, but that you yourself also follow and keep the Law. 25 But with regard to the Gentiles who have believed [in Christ], we have sent them a letter with our decision that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from [consuming] blood and from [the meat of] what has been strangled and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the [four] men, and the next day he purified himself along with them [by submitting to the ritual]. He went into the temple to give notice of [the time] when the days of purification [ending each vow] would be fulfilled and the usual offering could be presented on behalf of each one.
Paul Seized in the Temple
27 When the seven days [required to complete the ritual] were almost over, [some] Jews from [the province of] Asia [Minor], caught sight of him in the temple, and began to stir up the crowd, and they seized him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul, and they assumed that he had brought the man into the temple [beyond the court of the Gentiles]. 30 Then the whole city was provoked and confused, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the gates were closed. 31 Now while they were trying to kill him, word came to the commander of the [Roman] garrison that all Jerusalem was in a state of upheaval. 32 So he immediately took soldiers and centurions and ran down among them. When the people saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came up and arrested Paul, and ordered that he be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 But some in the crowd were shouting one thing and others something else; and since he could not determine the facts because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken to the barracks [in the tower of Antonia]. 35 When Paul got to the steps, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob; 36 for the majority of the people kept following them, shouting, “Away with him! [Kill him!]”
37 Just as Paul was about to be taken into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?” And the man replied, “Do you know Greek? 38 Then you are not [as I assumed] the Egyptian who [fc]some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led those 4,000 men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul said, “I am a Jew from [fd]Tarsus in Cilicia (Mersin Province, Turkey), a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.” 40 When the commander had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, gestured with his hand to the people; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect (Jewish Aramaic), saying,
Paul’s Defense before the Jews
22 “Brethren and fathers (kinsmen), hear my defense which I now offer to you.”
2 When they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet. And he continued,
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of [fe]Gamaliel according to the strictness of the law of our fathers, being ardent and passionate for God just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted and pursued the followers of this [ff]Way to the death, binding them with chains and putting [followers of Jesus] both men and women into prisons, 5 as the high priest and all the Council of the elders (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) can testify; because from them I received letters to the brothers, and I was on my way to Damascus in order to bring those [believers] who were there to Jerusalem in chains to be punished.
6 “But as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a great blaze of light suddenly flashed from heaven and shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 And I replied, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me [fg]saw the light, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. 10 And I asked, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that is appointed and destined for you to do.’ 11 But since I could not see because of the [glorious intensity and dazzling] brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.
12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to [fh]the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to [see] me, and standing near, he said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I [recovered my sight and] looked up at him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, [and to progressively understand His plan with clarity and power] and to see the Righteous One [Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and to hear a message from His [own] mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men testifying of what you have seen and heard. 16 Now, why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name [for salvation].’
17 “Then it happened when I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple [enclosure], that I fell into a trance (vision); 18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know [without any doubt] that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You [and Your message of salvation]. 20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing nearby approving and consenting [to his death], and guarding the coats of those who were killing him.’ 21 And the Lord said to me, ‘Go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
22 They listened to Paul until [he made] this [last] statement, but now they raised their voices and shouted, “Away with such a man from the earth! He is not fit to live!” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their coats [getting ready to stone Paul] and tossing dust into the air [expressing their anger], 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he was to be [fi]interrogated with a whip in order to learn why the people were shouting against him that way. 25 But when they had stretched him out [fj]with the leather straps [in preparation for the whip], Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it legal for you to whip a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned [without a trial]?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and said to him, “What are you about to do? This man is a [fk]Roman!” 27 So the commander came and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The commander replied, “I [fl]purchased this citizenship [of mine] for a large sum of money [so how did you acquire yours?].” Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.” 29 So those who were about to interrogate him by torture immediately let him go; and the commander was also afraid when he realized that Paul was a Roman and he had put him in chains.
30 But on the next day, wanting to know the real reason why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and the whole Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) to assemble; and brought Paul down and presented him before them.
Paul before the Council
23 Then Paul, looking intently at the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), said, “Kinsmen, I have lived my life before God with a perfectly good conscience until this very day.” 2 [At this] the high priest [fm]Ananias ordered those who stood beside him to strike Paul on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you [fn]whitewashed wall! Do you actually sit to judge me according to the Law, and yet in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” 4 But those who stood near Paul said, “Are you insulting the high priest of God?” 5 Paul said, “I was not aware, brothers, that he was [fo]high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6 But recognizing that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began affirming loudly in the Council chamber, “Kinsmen, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!” 7 When he said this, an angry dispute erupted between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the [whole crowded] assembly was divided [into two factions]. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no [such thing as a] resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees [speak out freely and] acknowledge [their belief in] them all. 9 Then a great uproar occurred, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and began to argue heatedly [in Paul’s favor], saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has [really] spoken to him?” 10 And as the dissension became even greater, the commander, fearing that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered the troops to go down and forcibly take him from them, and bring him to the barracks.
11 On the following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Be brave; for as you have solemnly and faithfully witnessed about Me at Jerusalem, so you must also testify at Rome.”
A Conspiracy to Kill Paul
12 Now when day came, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath (curse), saying that they would not eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty [men] who formed this plot [and swore this oath]. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath not to taste anything [neither food nor drink] until we have killed Paul. 15 So now you, along with the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), notify the commander to bring Paul down to you, as if you were going to investigate his case more thoroughly. But we are ready to kill him before he comes near [the place].”
16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their [planned] ambush, and he went to the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul, calling in one of the centurions, said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called for me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to tell you.” 19 The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to ask him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” 20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) tomorrow, as if they were going to interrogate him more thoroughly. 21 But do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him, and they have bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Even now they are ready, just waiting for your promise.” 22 So the commander let the young man leave, instructing him, “Do not tell anyone that you have given me this information.”
Paul Moved to Caesarea Maritima
23 Then summoning two of the centurions, he said, “Have two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night (9:00 p.m.) to go as far as [fp]Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred [fq]spearmen; 24 also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him safely to [fr]Felix the governor.” 25 And [after instructing the centurions] he wrote a letter to this effect:
“Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.
This man was seized [as a prisoner] by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, when I came upon him with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And wanting to know the exact charge which they were making against him, I brought him down to their Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court); 29 and I discovered that he was accused in regard to questions and issues in their Law, but [he was] under no accusation that would call for the penalty of death or [even] for imprisonment.
When I was told that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you immediately, also directing his accusers to bring their charges against him before you.”
31 So the soldiers, in compliance with their orders, took Paul and brought him to Antipatris during the night. 32 And the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks. 33 When these [horsemen] reached Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor, and also presented Paul to him. 34 After reading the letter, he asked which province Paul was from, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia [an imperial province], 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers have arrived,” giving orders that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s Praetorium (the governor’s official residence).
Paul before Felix
24 Five days later, the high priest Ananias came down [from Jerusalem to Caesarea] with some elders and an attorney named Tertullus [acting as spokesman and counsel]. They presented to the governor their [formal] charges against Paul. 2 After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began the complaint [against him], saying to the governor:
“Since through you we have attained great peace, and since by your foresight reforms are being carried out for this nation, 3 in every way and in every place, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with all gratitude. 4 But so that I do not weary you further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing. 5 For we have found this man to be a public menace and one who [fs]instigates dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the [heretical] [ft]sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, but we took him into custody [fu][and we intended to judge him by our Law, 7 but Lysias the commander came, and with great force took him out of our hands, 8 and ordered his accusers to come before you.] By interrogating him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to determine [the truth about] these things with which we charge him.” 9 The Jews also joined in the attack, declaring and insisting that these things were so.
10 When the governor nodded for him to speak, Paul answered,
“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I make my defense cheerfully and with good courage. 11 As you can easily verify, it has been no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor elsewhere in the city did they find me carrying on a discussion or disputing with anybody or causing a crowd to gather. 13 Nor can they present evidence to you to prove what they now bring against me. 14 But I confess this to you, that according to [fv]the Way, which they call a [divisive and heretical] sect, I do worship and serve the God of our fathers, [confidently] believing everything that is in accordance with the Law [of Moses] and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having [the same] hope in God which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of [the dead], both of the righteous and of the wicked. 16 In view of this, I also do my best and strive always to have a clear conscience before God and before men. 17 Now after several years I came [to Jerusalem] to bring to my people charitable contributions and offerings. 18 They found me in the temple presenting these offerings, after I had undergone [the rites of] purification, without any crowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor], 19 who ought to have been here before you to present their charges, if they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men tell what crime they found [me guilty of] when I stood before the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), 21 other than for this one statement which I had shouted out as I stood among them, ‘For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.’”
22 But Felix, having a rather accurate understanding about the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 Then he ordered the centurion to keep Paul in custody, but to let him have some freedom, and [he told the centurion] not to stop any of his friends from providing for his needs.
24 Several days later Felix came with his wife [fw]Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him talk about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control [honorable behavior, personal integrity], and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I find [a convenient] time I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was also hoping to get money from Paul [as a bribe]; so he continued to send for him quite often and talked with him. 27 But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded [in office] by [fx]Porcius Festus; and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned.
Paul before Festus
25 Now Festus arrived in the province, and three days later he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea [Maritima]. 2 And [there in Jerusalem] the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul [before Festus], and they repeatedly pleaded with him, 3 asking as a concession against Paul, that he would have him brought to Jerusalem; (meanwhile planning an ambush to kill him on the way). 4 Festus answered that Paul was being held in custody in Caesarea [Maritima] and that he himself was about to leave shortly. 5 “So,” he said, “let those who are in a position of authority among you go there with me, and if there is anything criminal about the man, let them bring charges against him.”
6 Now after Festus had spent no more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal (the judicial bench), and ordered Paul to be brought [before him]. 7 After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him which they were not able to prove, 8 while Paul declared in his own defense, “I have done no wrong and committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” 9 But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul, “[fy]Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial there in my presence [before the Jewish Sanhedrin] on these charges?” 10 Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done nothing wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. 11 Therefore, if I am guilty and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not try to escape death; but if there is nothing to the accusations which these men are bringing against me, no one can hand me over to them. I [fz]appeal to Caesar (Emperor Nero).” 12 Then Festus, after conferring with [the men who formed] his council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go.”
13 Now several days later, [ga]Agrippa [II] the king and [gb]Bernice [his sister] arrived at Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus [the new governor]. 14 While they were spending many days there, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man here who was left as a prisoner by Felix. 15 When I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews [told me about him and] brought charges against him, petitioning for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16 I told them that it was not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man [for punishment] before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has the opportunity to defend himself against the charges. 17 So after they arrived together here, I did not delay, but on the next day took my place on the tribunal and ordered that the man be brought before me. 18 When his accusers stood up, they brought no charges against him of crimes that I was expecting [neither civil nor criminal actions], 19 instead they had some points of disagreement with him about their own [gc]religion and about one Jesus, a man who had died, but whom Paul kept asserting and insisting [over and over] to be alive. 20 And I, being at a loss as to how to investigate these things, asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding these matters. 21 But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for a decision by the Emperor [Nero], I ordered him to be kept in custody until I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” Festus replied, “you will hear him.”
Paul before Agrippa
23 So the next day Agrippa and [his sister] Bernice came with great pageantry, and they went into the auditorium accompanied by the military commanders and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all you gentlemen present with us, you see this man [Paul] about whom all the Jewish people appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly insisting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had done nothing worthy of death; however, since he appealed to the Emperor [Nero], I decided to send him [to Rome]. 26 But I have nothing specific about him to write to my lord. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the investigation has taken place, I will have something to put in writing. 27 For it seems absurd and unreasonable to me to send a prisoner [to Rome] without indicating the charges against him.”
Paul’s Defense before Agrippa
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are [now] permitted to speak on your own behalf.” At that, Paul stretched out his hand [as an orator] and made his defense [as follows]:
2 “I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, since it is before you that I am to make my defense today regarding all the charges brought against me by the Jews, 3 especially because you are an expert [fully knowledgeable, experienced and unusually conversant] in all the Jewish customs and controversial issues; therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “So then, all the Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation [the Jewish people], and in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time, if they are willing to testify to it, that according to the [gd]strictest sect of our religion, I have lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 Which hope [of the Messiah and the resurrection] our twelve tribes [confidently] expect to realize as they serve and worship God in earnest night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews! 8 Why is it thought incredible by [any of] you that God raises the dead?
9 “So then, I [once] thought to myself that it was my duty to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; I not only locked up many of the saints (God’s people) in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being condemned to death, I [ge]cast my vote against them. 11 And I often punished them [making them suffer] in all the synagogues and tried to force them to blaspheme; and in my extreme rage at them, I kept hunting them even to foreign cities [harassing and persecuting them].
12 “While so engaged, as I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission and full power of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven surpassing the brightness of the sun, shining all around me and those who were traveling with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the Hebrew dialect (Jewish Aramaic) saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? [gf]It is hard for you to kick [repeatedly] against the [gg]goads [offering pointless resistance].’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 Get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you [to serve] as a minister and as a witness [to testify, with authority,] not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you, 17 [choosing you for Myself and] rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their [spiritual] eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified (set apart, made holy) by faith in Me.’
19 “So, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but I openly proclaimed first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent [change their inner self—their old way of thinking] and turn to God, doing deeds and living lives which are consistent with repentance. 21 Because of this some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had help from God to this day, and I stand [before people] testifying to small and great alike, stating nothing except what the Prophets and Moses said would come to pass— 23 that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to suffer, and that He by being the first to rise from the dead [with an incorruptible body] would proclaim light (salvation) both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
24 While Paul was making this defense, Festus said loudly, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great education is turning you toward madness.” 25 But Paul replied, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent and noble Festus, but [with a sound mind] I am uttering rational words of truth and reason. 26 For [your majesty] the king understands these things, and [therefore] I am also speaking to him with confidence and boldness, since I am convinced that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner [hidden from view, in secret]. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the [writings of the] Prophets [their messages and words]? I know that you do.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time [and with so little effort] you [almost] persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 And Paul replied, “Whether in a short time or long, I wish to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”
30 Then the king stood up, and [with him] the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them; 31 and after they had gone out, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or [even] of imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to [gh]Caesar (Emperor Nero).”
Paul Is Sent to Rome
27 Now when it was determined that [gi]we (including Luke) would sail for Italy, they turned Paul and some other prisoners over to a centurion of the Augustan Regiment named Julius. 2 And going aboard a ship from Adramyttian which was about to sail for the ports along the [west] coast [province] of Asia [Minor], we put out to sea; and Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, accompanied us. 3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, treating Paul with [thoughtful] consideration, allowed him to go to his friends there and be cared for and refreshed. 4 From there we put out to sea and sailed to the leeward (sheltered) side of Cyprus [for protection from weather] because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the sea along the coasts of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia [on the south coast of Asia Minor]. 6 There the centurion [Julius] found an Alexandrian ship [a grain ship of the Roman fleet] sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it. 7 For a number of days we sailed slowly and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus; then, because the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the leeward (sheltered) side of Crete, off Salmone; 8 and hugging the shore with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea [on the south side of Crete].
9 Now much time had been lost, and [gj]navigation was dangerous, because even [the time for] the fast (Day of Atonement) was already over, so Paul began to strongly warn them, 10 saying, “Men, I sense [after careful thought and observation] that this voyage will certainly be a disaster and with great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 However, the centurion [Julius, ranking officer on board] was persuaded by the pilot and the owner of the ship rather than by what Paul said. 12 Because the harbor was not well situated for wintering, the majority [of the sailors] decided to put to sea from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
13 So when the south wind blew softly, thinking that they had obtained their goal, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, hugging the coast.
14 But soon afterward a violent wind, called Euraquilo [a northeaster, a tempestuous windstorm like a typhoon], came rushing down from the island; 15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not head against the wind [to gain stability], we gave up and [letting her drift] were driven along. 16 We ran under the shelter of a small island [twenty-five miles south of Crete] called Clauda, and with great difficulty we were able to get the ship’s [gk]skiff on the deck and secure it. 17 After hoisting the skiff [on board], they used [gl]support lines [for frapping] to undergird and brace the ship’s hull; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis [off the north coast of Africa], they let down the [gm]sea anchor and lowered the sails and were driven along [backwards with the bow into the wind]. 18 On the next day, as we were being violently tossed about by the storm [and taking on water], they began to jettison the cargo; 19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle (spare lines, blocks, miscellaneous equipment) overboard with their own hands [to further reduce the weight]. 20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm kept raging about us, from then on all hope of our being saved was [growing worse and worse and] gradually abandoned.
21 After [gn]they had gone a long time without food [because of seasickness and stress], Paul stood up before them and said, “Men, you should have followed my advice and should not have set sail from Crete, and brought on this damage and loss. 22 But even now I urge you to keep up your courage and be in good spirits, because there will be no loss of life among you, but only loss of the ship. 23 For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, 24 and said, ‘Stop being afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you [the lives of] all those who are sailing with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I believe God and have complete confidence in Him that it will turn out exactly as I have been told; 26 but we must run [the ship] aground on some island.”
27 The fourteenth night had come and we were drifting and being driven about in the [go]Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors began to suspect that they were approaching some land. 28 So they took soundings [using a weighted line] and found [the depth to be] twenty fathoms (120 feet); and a little farther on they sounded again and found [the depth to be] fifteen fathoms (90 feet). 29 Then fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern [to slow the ship] and kept wishing for daybreak to come. 30 But as the sailors were trying to escape [secretly] from the ship and had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to lay out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men remain on the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes that held the skiff and let it fall and drift away.
33 While they waited for the day to dawn, Paul encouraged them all [and told them] to have some food, saying, “This is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly on watch and going without food, having eaten nothing. 34 So I urge you to eat some food, for this is for your survival; for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” 35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, and he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then all of them were encouraged and their spirits improved, and they also ate some food. 37 All told there were two hundred and seventy-six of us aboard the ship. 38 After they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing the [gp]wheat [from Egypt] overboard into the sea.
39 When day came, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, and they decided to run the ship ashore there if they could. 40 So they cut the cables and severed the anchors and left them in the sea while at the same time [gq]unlashing the ropes of the rudders; and after hoisting the foresail to the wind, they headed steadily for the beach. 41 But striking a [gr]reef with waves breaking in on either side, they ran the ship aground. The prow (forward point) stuck fast and remained immovable, while the stern began to break up under the [violent] force of the waves. 42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would dive overboard and swim [to land] and escape; 43 but the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from [carrying out] their plan. He commanded those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to the shore; 44 and [he commanded] the rest to follow, some on [floating] planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it was that all of them were brought safely to land.
Safe at Malta
28 After we were safe [on land], we found out that the island was called [gs]Malta. 2 And the [gt]natives showed us extraordinary kindness and hospitality; for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, since it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a [gu]viper crawled out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, Justice [the avenging goddess] has not permitted him to live.” 5 Then Paul [simply] shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 But they stood watching and expecting him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began saying that he was a god.
7 In the vicinity of that place there were estates belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius was sick [in bed] with recurring attacks of fever and dysentery; and Paul went to him, and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 After this occurred, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and being healed. 10 They also gave us many honors [gifts and courtesies expressing respect]; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all the things we needed.
Paul Arrives at Rome
11 At the end of three months we set sail on a ship which had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian ship with the [gv]Twin Brothers [Castor and Pollux] as its figurehead. 12 We landed at Syracuse [on Sicily] and stayed there three days. 13 From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium [on Italy’s southern tip]; and a day later a south wind came up, and on the second day we arrived at [gw]Puteoli. 14 There we found some believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 And the brothers and sisters, having heard news about us, came from as far away as the [gx]Forum of Appius and [gy]Three Inns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and was encouraged.
16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself [in rented quarters] with the soldier who was guarding him.
17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews; and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Kinsmen, though I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our fathers, yet I was turned over as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 After they had interrogated me, they were ready to release me because I was not guilty of any offense deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected [to my release], I was forced to appeal to Caesar (Emperor Nero), not because I had any charge to make against my nation. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel (the Messiah, the resurrection) that I am bound with this chain.” 21 They said to him, “We have not received [any] letters about you from Judea, nor have any of the [Jewish] brothers come here and reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we would like to hear from you what your views are [that is, exactly what you believe]; for in regard to this sect (Christianity), we are fully aware that it is denounced everywhere.”
23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to his lodging in large numbers. And he carefully explained [Christianity] to them from morning until evening, solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, both from the Law of Moses and from the [writings of the] Prophets. 24 Some were persuaded by what he said, but others would not believe.
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