26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak in your defense.”
So Paul, gesturing with his hand, started his defense:2 “I am fortunate, King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense today against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders,3 for I know you are an expert on all Jewish customs and controversies. Now please listen to me patiently!
4 “As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem.5 If they would admit it, they know that I have been a member of the Pharisees, the strictest sect of our religion.6 Now I am on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise made to our ancestors.7 In fact, that is why the twelve tribes of Israel zealously worship God night and day, and they share the same hope I have. Yet, Your Majesty, they accuse me for having this hope!8 Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead?
9 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.[a]10 Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers[b] there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death.11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus.[c] I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
12 “One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests.13 About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions.14 We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[d]‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.[e]’
15 “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.16 Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future.17 And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’
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