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22 Paul said, `Men, brothers, and fathers, listen while I tell you my side of this matter.'

2-3 hen the people heard him speak in the Jews' language, they were even more quiet. Then Paul said, `I am a Jew. I was born in the city of Tarsus in Cilicia. But I was raised here in this city. Gamaliel was my teacher. He taught me very well in the law of our fathers. I was trying hard to obey God, just as you all are today.

I troubled very much the people who believed this Way. I even killed them. I had men and women tied and put into prison.

The high priest and all the leaders know that this is true about me. They wrote letters for me to carry to the leaders of the Jews in the city of Damascus. I went to have the Christians there tied and brought to Jerusalem to be punished.'

`I was on my way and was near Damascus. It was about midday. All at once a very bright light from the sky shone all around me.

I fell to the ground and heard someone say to me, "Saul, Saul, why are you troubling me?"

I said, "Who are you, Lord?" He answered, "I am Jesus of Nazareth. You are troubling me."

The men who were with me saw the light. They were afraid. But they did not hear the one who spoke to me.

10 Then I said, "Lord, what shall I do?" And the Lord said to me, "Get up and go to Damascus. There someone will tell you all you must do."

11 I could not see because the light was so bright. My friends led me by the hand to Damascus.

12 `A man named Ananias was there. He obeyed the law of Moses, and all the Jews who lived there spoke well of him.

13 He came to see me. He stood by my side and said to me, "Brother Saul, you can see again!" And right then I was able to see him.

14 He said, "The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will. He chose you to see the One who is right and to hear him speak.

15 You will speak for him. You will tell all the people what you have seen and heard.

16 Now, why do you wait? Get up and be baptised. Wash away your wrong ways by calling on the name of the Lord!" '

17 `After I went back to Jerusalem, I was talking to God in the temple one day. Something like a dream came over me.

18 I heard the Lord say to me, "Leave Jerusalem quickly, right away. The people will not listen to the things you say about me."

19 And I said, "Lord, they know that I put in prison those who believed in you. I beat them in all the meeting houses.

20 And I stood by and let people kill Stephen. He was one who talked for you. I looked after the clothes of the men who killed him."

21 But the Lord said to me, "Go! I will send you far away to the people who are not Jews." '

22 The people listened to Paul until he said that. Then they shouted, `Kill him and get him off the earth. A man like that should not live!'

23 The people shouted. They waved their clothes about and threw dust in the air.

24 The man in charge of the soldiers ordered Paul to be brought into the army house. He said that he should be beaten hard to make him tell why the people shouted so much at him.

25 When they had tied him with ropes, Paul said to the captain who was standing by, `Is it right for you to beat a man who belongs to Rome without judging his case?'

26 When the captain heard this, he told the commanding officer. He said, `What are you going to do? This man is a Roman!'

27 Then the commanding officer came to Paul and said, `Tell me, are you a Roman?' `Yes, I am,' replied Paul.

28 Then the officer said, `I paid much money to become a Roman.' Paul said, `I was born a Roman.'

29 Then the men who were going to beat him left him. The officer was afraid when he knew Paul was a Roman, because he had tied him up.

30 The officer wanted to know the real reason why the Jewish leaders were angry with Paul. So the next day he had Paul untied. He called the chief priests and the leaders to hold a court meeting. Then he took Paul down and brought him in before them.