Paul’s Defense before the Jews

22 (A)[a]Brothers and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.”

And when they heard that he was addressing them in the [b](B)Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he *said,

(C)I am (D)a Jew, born in (E)Tarsus of (F)Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated [c]under (G)Gamaliel, [d](H)strictly according to the Law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as (I)you all are today. (J)I persecuted this (K)Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also (L)the high priest and all (M)the Council of the elders [e]can testify. From them I also (N)received letters to (O)the brothers, and started off for (P)Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem [f]as prisoners to be punished.

(Q)But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus at about noon, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am (R)Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ And those who were with me (S)saw the light, but (T)did not [g]understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘(U)What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything that has been appointed for you to do.’ 11 But since I (V)could not see because of the [h]brightness of that light, I came into Damascus being led by the hand by those who were with me.

12 “Now a certain (W)Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law and (X)well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing nearby he said to me, ‘(Y)Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And [i](Z)at that very moment I looked up at him. 14 And he said, ‘(AA)The God of our fathers has (AB)appointed you to know His will and to (AC)see the (AD)Righteous One and to hear a [j]message from His mouth. 15 For you will be (AE)a witness for Him to all people of (AF)what you have seen and heard. 16 Now why do you delay? (AG)Get up and be baptized, and (AH)wash away your sins by (AI)calling on His name.’

17 “It happened when I (AJ)returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I (AK)fell into a trance, 18 and I saw Him saying to me, (AL)Hurry 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 (AM)I used to imprison and (AN)beat those who believed in You. 20 And (AO)when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing nearby and approving, and watching over the cloaks of those who were killing him.’ 21 And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away (AP)to the Gentiles.’

22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, “(AQ)Away with such a man from the earth, for (AR)he should not be allowed to live!” 23 And as they were shouting and (AS)throwing off their cloaks and (AT)tossing dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that he be brought into (AU)the barracks, saying that he was to be (AV)interrogated by flogging so that he would find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. 25 But when they stretched him out [k]with straps, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it [l]lawful for you to flog (AW)a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman.” 27 The commander came and said to [m]Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The commander answered, “I acquired this citizenship for a large sum of money.” And Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.” 29 Therefore, those who were about to (AX)interrogate him immediately backed away from him; and the commander also (AY)was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had [n](AZ)put him in chains.

30 Now on the next day, (BA)wanting to know for certain why Paul had been accused by the Jews, he (BB)released him and ordered the chief priests and all (BC)the [o]Council to assemble, and he brought Paul down and placed him before them.

Paul before the Council

23 Now looking intently at (BD)the [p]Council, Paul said, “[q](BE)Brothers, (BF)I have [r]lived my life with an entirely good conscience before God up to this day.” But the high priest (BG)Ananias commanded those standing beside him (BH)to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, (BI)you whitewashed wall! Do you (BJ)sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law, order me to be struck?” But those present said, “Are you insulting God’s high priest?” And Paul said, “I was not aware, brothers, that he is high priest; for it is written: ‘(BK)You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

But Paul, perceiving that one group were (BL)Sadducees and the other Pharisees, began crying out in (BM)the [s]Council, “[t](BN)Brothers, (BO)I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for (BP)the hope and resurrection of the dead!” When he said this, a dissension occurred between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For (BQ)the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. And a great uproar occurred; and some of (BR)the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and started arguing heatedly, saying, “(BS)We find nothing wrong with this man; (BT)suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 And when a great dissension occurred, the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, and he ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into (BU)the barracks.

11 But on (BV)the following night, the Lord stood near him and said, (BW)Be courageous! For (BX)as you have (BY)testified to the truth about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome also.”

A Conspiracy to Kill Paul

12 When it was day, (BZ)the Jews formed a [u]conspiracy and (CA)put themselves under an [v]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 (CB)put ourselves under an [w]oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore, you [x]and (CC)the [y]Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to investigate his case more thoroughly; and as for us, we are ready to kill him before he comes near the place.”

16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard about their ambush, [z]and he came and entered (CD)the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions to himself and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.” 18 So he took him and led him to the commander and *said, “Paul (CE)the prisoner called me over to him 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 inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?” 20 And he said, “(CF)The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to (CG)the [aa]Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. 21 So do not [ab]listen to them, for more than forty [ac]of them are (CH)in hiding to ambush him, and these men have (CI)put themselves under an oath not to eat or drink until they kill him; and now they are ready and waiting for assurance from you.” 22 Then the 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 [ad]the third hour of the night to proceed to (CJ)Caesarea, [ae]with seventy horsemen and two hundred [af]spearmen.” 24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to (CK)Felix the governor. 25 And he wrote a letter [ag]with the following content:

26 “Claudius Lysias, to the (CL)most excellent governor Felix: (CM)Greetings.

27 When this man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, (CN)I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, (CO)after learning that he was a Roman. 28 And (CP)wanting to ascertain the basis for the charges they were bringing against him, I (CQ)brought him down to their [ah](CR)Council; 29 and I found that he was being accused regarding (CS)questions in their Law, but [ai]was (CT)not charged with anything deserving death or [aj]imprisonment.

30 When I was (CU)informed that there would be (CV)a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing (CW)his accusers to [ak]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 on the next day they let (CX)the horsemen go on with him, and they returned to (CY)the barracks. 33 When these horsemen had come to (CZ)Caesarea and delivered the letter to (DA)the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 Now when he had read it, he also asked from what (DB)province Paul was, and when he learned that (DC)he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing when your (DD)accusers arrive as well,” giving orders for [al]Paul to be (DE)kept in Herod’s [am]Praetorium.

Paul before Felix

24 Now after (DF)five days the high priest (DG)Ananias came down with some elders and an attorney named Tertullus, and they [an]brought charges against Paul to (DH)the governor. After [ao]Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began accusing him, saying to the governor,

“Since we have attained great peace through you, and since reforms are being carried out for this nation by your foresight, we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, (DI)most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. But, that I may not [ap]weary you further, I beg you [aq]to grant us a brief hearing, by your kindness. For we have found this man a public menace and one who stirs up dissensions among all the Jews throughout [ar]the world, and a ringleader of the (DJ)sect of the Nazarenes. And he even tried to (DK)desecrate the temple, so indeed we arrested him.[as] By interrogating him yourself concerning all these matters, you will be able to ascertain the things of which we are accusing him.” (DL)The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so.

10 And when (DM)the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded:

“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense, 11 since you can take note of the fact that no more than (DN)twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 (DO)And neither in the temple did they find me carrying on a discussion with anyone or (DP)causing [at]a riot, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city itself. 13 (DQ)Nor can they prove to you the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But I confess this to you, that in accordance with [au](DR)the Way, which they call a (DS)sect, I do serve (DT)the God of our fathers, (DU)believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which (DV)these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 In view of this (DW)I also do my best to maintain a blameless conscience both before God and before other people, always. 17 Now (DX)after several years I (DY)came to bring charitable gifts to my nation and to present offerings, 18 in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been (DZ)purified, without any (EA)crowd or uproar. But there were some (EB)Jews from [av]Asia— 19 who ought to have been present before you and to have been (EC)bringing charges, if they should have anything against me. 20 Or else have these men themselves declare what violation they discovered when I stood before (ED)the [aw]Council, 21 other than in regard to this one declaration which (EE)I shouted while standing among them, ‘For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today!’”

22 But Felix, [ax]having quite accurate knowledge about [ay](EF)the Way, adjourned them, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 He gave orders to the centurion for [az]Paul to be (EG)kept in custody and yet (EH)have some freedom, and not to prevent any of (EI)his friends from providing for his needs.

24 Now some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla his [ba]wife, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about (EJ)faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he was discussing (EK)righteousness, (EL)self-control, and (EM)the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and responded, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, I will summon you.” 26 At the same time he was also hoping that (EN)money would be given to him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and talk with him. 27 But after two years had passed, Felix [bb]was succeeded by Porcius (EO)Festus; and Felix, (EP)wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul (EQ)imprisoned.


  1. Acts 22:1 Lit Men, brothers
  2. Acts 22:2 I.e., Jewish Aramaic
  3. Acts 22:3 Lit at the feet of
  4. Acts 22:3 Lit according to the strictness of the ancestral law
  5. Acts 22:5 Lit testifies for me
  6. Acts 22:5 Lit having been bound
  7. Acts 22:9 Or hear (with comprehension)
  8. Acts 22:11 Lit glory
  9. Acts 22:13 Or instantly; lit at the very hour
  10. Acts 22:14 Lit voice
  11. Acts 22:25 Or for the whip
  12. Acts 22:25 Interrogation by torture was a procedure used with slaves
  13. Acts 22:27 Lit him
  14. Acts 22:29 Lit bound him
  15. Acts 22:30 Or Sanhedrin
  16. Acts 23:1 Or Sanhedrin
  17. Acts 23:1 Lit Men, brothers
  18. Acts 23:1 Or conducted myself as a citizen
  19. Acts 23:6 Or Sanhedrin
  20. Acts 23:6 Lit Men, brothers
  21. Acts 23:12 Or mob
  22. Acts 23:12 I.e., an oath with a self-imposed curse
  23. Acts 23:14 See note 2 v 12
  24. Acts 23:15 Lit with
  25. Acts 23:15 Or Sanhedrin
  26. Acts 23:16 Or having been present with them, and he also entered
  27. Acts 23:20 Or Sanhedrin
  28. Acts 23:21 Lit be persuaded by them
  29. Acts 23:21 Lit men of them
  30. Acts 23:23 I.e., 9 p.m.
  31. Acts 23:23 Lit and
  32. Acts 23:23 Or slingers; or bowmen
  33. Acts 23:25 Or to this effect
  34. Acts 23:28 Or Sanhedrin
  35. Acts 23:29 Lit had no charge of
  36. Acts 23:29 Lit bonds
  37. Acts 23:30 Lit speak against him
  38. Acts 23:35 Lit him
  39. Acts 23:35 I.e., governor’s official residence
  40. Acts 24:1 Or presented their evidence or case
  41. Acts 24:2 Lit he
  42. Acts 24:4 Or impose on
  43. Acts 24:4 Lit to hear...briefly
  44. Acts 24:5 Lit the inhabited earth
  45. Acts 24:6 Late mss add as the remainder of v 6: We wanted to judge him according to our own Law. v 7: But Lysias the commander came along and took him out of our hands with much violence, and the first part of v 8: ordering his accusers to come before you.
  46. Acts 24:12 Lit an attack of a mob
  47. Acts 24:14 See John 14:6
  48. Acts 24:18 I.e., west coast province of Asia Minor
  49. Acts 24:20 Or Sanhedrin
  50. Acts 24:22 Lit knowing more accurately
  51. Acts 24:22 See John 14:6
  52. Acts 24:23 Lit him
  53. Acts 24:24 Lit own wife
  54. Acts 24:27 Lit received as a successor, Porcius Festus

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