Acts 26 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa
26 King Agrippa said to Paul, “You may now state your case.” Paul motioned with his hand for silence, then began his defense.[a] 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself highly favored to stand before you today and answer the charges made against me by the Jews. 3 Because you, more than anyone else, are very familiar with the customs and controversies among the Jewish people, I now ask for your patience as I state my case.[b]
4 “All the Jews know how I have been raised as a young man, living among my own people from the beginning and in Jerusalem. 5 If my accusers are willing to testify, they must admit that they’ve known me all along as a Pharisee, a member of the most strict and orthodox sect within Judaism.[c] 6 And now, here I am on trial because I believe in the hope[d] of God’s promises made to our ancestors. 7 This is the promise the twelve tribes of our people hope to see fulfilled as they sincerely strive to serve God with prayers night and day.[e]
“So, Your Highness, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 And how should you judge this matter?[f] Why is it that any of you think it unbelievable that God raises the dead? 9 I used to think that I should do all that was in my power to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that’s exactly what I did in Jerusalem, for I not only imprisoned many of the holy believers by the authority of the chief priests, I also cast my vote against them, sentencing them to death. 11 I punished them often in every Jewish meeting hall and attempted to force them to blaspheme. I boiled with rage against them, hunting them down in distant foreign cities to persecute them.
12 “For that purpose I went to Damascus, with the authority granted to me by the chief priests. 13 While traveling on the road at noon, Your Highness, I saw a light brighter than the sun flashing from heaven all around me and those who were with me. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice speaking to me in Aramaic, saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are only hurting yourself when you resist your calling.’[g]
15 “I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus,[h] the one you are persecuting. 16 Get up and stand to your feet, for I have appeared to you to reveal your destiny and to commission you as my assistant.[i] You will be a witness to what you have seen and to the things I will reveal whenever I appear to you.[j] 17 I will rescue you from the persecution of your own people and from the hostility of the other nations that I will send you to. 18 And you will open their eyes to their true condition, so that they may turn from darkness to the Light[k] and from the power[l] of Satan to the power of God. By placing their faith in me they will receive the total forgiveness[m] of sins and be made holy, taking hold of the inheritance that I give to my children!’
19 “So you see, King Agrippa, I have not been disobedient to what was revealed to me from heaven. 20 For it was in Damascus that I first declared the truth. And then I went to Jerusalem and throughout our nation,[n] and even to other nations, telling people everywhere that they must repent and turn to God and demonstrate it with a changed life.[o] 21 That’s why the Jews seized me when I was in the temple and tried to murder me.
22 “But in spite of all this, I have experienced the supernatural help of God up to this very moment. So I’m standing here saying the same thing that I’ve shared with everyone, from the least to the greatest. For I teach nothing but what 23 Moses and the prophets have said was destined to happen: that our Messiah had to suffer and die and be the first to rise from the dead,[p] to release the bright light of truth both to our people and to the non-Jewish nations.”[q]
25 Paul replied, “No, Your Excellency Festus, I am not crazy. I speak the words of truth and reason.[t] 26 King Agrippa, I know I can speak frankly and freely with you, for you understand these matters well, and none of these things have escaped your notice. After all, it’s not like it was a secret! 27 Don’t you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you do.”
28 Agrippa responded, “In such a short time you are nearly persuading me to become a Christian.”
29 Paul replied, “I pray to God that both you and those here listening to me would one day become the same as I am, except, of course, without these chains.”
30 The king, the governor, Bernice, and all the others got up. 31 As they were leaving the chamber, they commented to one another, “This man has done nothing that deserves death or even imprisonment.”
32 King Agrippa said to Festus, “If he hadn’t appealed to Caesar, he could have been released.”
Acts 26 New International Version (NIV)
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”
25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”
32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”