Acts 20-23New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Paul in Macedonia and Greece
20 After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece. 3 And there he spent 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. 4 And [a]he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of [b]Asia. 5 But these had gone on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas. 6 We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days.
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his [c]message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together. 9 And there was a young man named [d]Eutychus sitting [e]on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, “[f]Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.” 11 When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and [g]eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. 12 They took away the boy alive, and were [h]greatly comforted.
Troas to Miletus
13 But we, going ahead to the ship, set sail for Assos, intending from there to take Paul on board; for so he had arranged it, intending himself to go [i]by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. 15 Sailing from there, we arrived the following day opposite Chios; and the next day we crossed over to Samos; and the day following we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in [j]Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.
Farewell to Ephesus
17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them,
“You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in [k]Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me [l]through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and [m]from house to house, 21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, bound by the [n]Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. 26 Therefore, I [o]testify to you this day that I am [p]innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you [q]overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He [r]purchased [s]with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And [t]they began to weep aloud and [u]embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 [v]grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.
Paul Sails from Miletus
21 When we had parted from them and had set sail, we ran a straight course to Cos and the next day to Rhodes and from there to Patara; 2 and having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we came in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul [w]through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem. 5 When [x]our days there were ended, we left and started on our journey, while they all, with wives and children, escorted us until we were out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another. 6 Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home again.
7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and after greeting the brethren, we stayed with them for a day. 8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. 10 As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” 12 When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!”
Paul at Jerusalem
15 After these days 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 Mnason of Cyprus, a disciple of long standing with whom we were to lodge.
17 After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 And the following day Paul went in with us to [y]James, and all the elders were present. 19 After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many [z]thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law; 21 and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to [aa]walk according to the customs. 22 What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who [ab]are under a vow; 24 take them and purify yourself along with them, and [ac]pay their expenses so that they may shave their [ad]heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law. 25 But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from [ae]meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.” 26 Then Paul [af]took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.
Paul Seized in the Temple
27 When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from [ag]Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was provoked, and [ah]the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. 31 While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the [ai]commander of the Roman [aj]cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 At once he took along some soldiers and centurions and ran down to them; and when they saw the [ak]commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the [al]commander came up and took hold of him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains; and he began asking who he was and what he had done. 34 But among the crowd some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he could not find out the [am]facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 When he got to the stairs, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the [an]mob; 36 for the multitude of the people kept following them, shouting, “Away with him!”
37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the [ao]commander, “May I say something to you?” And he *said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Then you are not the Egyptian who some [ap]time ago stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.” 40 When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned to the people with his hand; and when there [aq]was a great hush, he spoke to them in the [ar]Hebrew dialect, saying,
Paul’s Defense before the Jews
22 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.”
2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the [as]Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he *said,
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated [at]under Gamaliel, [au]strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, 5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders [av]can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem [aw]as prisoners to be punished.
6 “But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all 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 answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not [ax]understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ 11 But since I could not see because of the [ay]brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.
12 “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And [az]at that very time I looked up at him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an [ba]utterance from His mouth. 15 For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
17 “It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, 18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. 20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’ 21 And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!” 23 And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, 24 the [bb]commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. 25 But when they stretched him out [bc]with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it [bd]lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the [be]commander and told him, saying, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman.” 27 The [bf]commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The [bg]commander answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” And Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.” 29 Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately [bh]let go of him; and the [bi]commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had [bj]put him in chains.
30 But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the [bk]Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
Paul before the Council
23 Paul, looking intently at the [bl]Council, said, “Brethren, I have [bm]lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” 2 The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” 4 But the bystanders said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?” 5 And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the [bn]Council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!” 7 As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 And as a great dissension was developing, the [bo]commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.
11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”
A Conspiracy to Kill Paul
12 When it was day, the Jews formed a [bp]conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who formed this plot. 14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore, you [bq]and the [br]Council notify the [bs]commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.”
16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, [bt]and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the [bu]commander, for he has something to report to him.” 18 So he took him and led him to the [bv]commander and *said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.” 19 The [bw]commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?” 20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the [bx]Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. 21 So do not [by]listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.” 22 So the [bz]commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.”
Paul Moved to Caesarea
23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by [ca]the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, [cb]with seventy horsemen and two hundred [cc]spearmen.” 24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. 25 And he wrote a letter having this form:
26 “Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.
27 “When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 “And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their [cd]Council; 29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but [ce]under no accusation deserving death or [cf]imprisonment.
30 “When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to [cg]bring charges against him before you.”
31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks. 33 When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 When he had read it, he asked from what province he was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also,” giving orders for him to be kept in Herod’s [ch]Praetorium.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience!
Bible Gateway Plus equips you to answer the toughest questions about faith, God, and the Bible. There's no software to install; it's all integrated seamlessly into your Bible Gateway experience. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.