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Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa

26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.”

So Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate that today I shall make my defense before you against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are an expert in all customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to patiently listen to me.

“My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning in my own nation and at Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They knew me from the beginning and could testify, if they wished, how according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand on trial for hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God day and night. Concerning this hope, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why is it judged incredible by you that God raises the dead?

“I, too, thought that I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, 10 which I indeed did in Jerusalem and locked up many of the saints in prison by authority from the chief priests. And when they were killed, I cast my vote against them. 11 I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme. And being extremely enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

Paul Tells of His Conversion(A)

12 “So I went to Damascus with authority and a commission from the chief priests. 13 At midday, O King, I saw along the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’

“He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness both of what you have seen and of what I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from your people and from the Gentiles to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Paul’s Testimony to Jews and Gentiles

19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do works proving their repentance. 21 For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 Therefore having obtained help from God, I continue to this day, testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would happen: 23 that the Christ must suffer, that He would be the first who would rise from the dead, and would announce light to His own people and to the Gentiles.”

Paul Appeals to Agrippa to Believe

24 So as he made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are mad. Much learning is turning you to madness.”

25 Paul said, “I am not mad, most excellent Festus. I speak the words of truth and reason. 26 The king, before whom I also speak freely, knows about these things. For I am persuaded that none of this is hidden from him, for this was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to be a Christian.”

29 Paul said, “I pray to God that not only you, but all who hear me this day, might become not only almost, but thoroughly and altogether, what I am, except for these chains.”

30 When he had said this, the king rose, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them. 31 When they had gone aside, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing deserving death or imprisonment.”

32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”