22 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.”
2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the [a]Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he *said,
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated [b]under Gamaliel, [c]strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today.4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons,5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders [d]can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem [e]as prisoners to be punished.
6 “But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’8 And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’9 And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not [f]understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’11 But since I could not see because of the [g]brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.
12 “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, andwell spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,13 came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And [h]at that very time I looked up at him.14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an [i]utterance from His mouth.15 For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
17 “It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, 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 I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You.20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’21 And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
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