Acts 22-28 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
22 “Brothers and fathers, listen as I now present my case to you.”
2 When the mob heard him speak to them in Hebrew, they became even more quiet. Then Paul continued, 3 “I’m a Jew. I was born and raised in the city of Tarsus in Cilicia and received my education from Gamaliel here in Jerusalem. My education was in the strict laws handed down by our ancestors. I was as devoted to God as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted people who followed the way of Christ: I tied up men and women and put them into prison until they were executed. 5 The chief priest and the entire council of our leaders can prove that I did this. In fact, they even gave me letters to take to the Jewish community in the city of Damascus. I was going there to tie up believers and bring them back to Jerusalem to punish them.
6 “But as I was on my way and approaching the city of Damascus about noon, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice asking me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?’
8 “I answered, ‘Who are you, sir?’
“The person told me, ‘I’m Jesus from Nazareth, the one you’re persecuting.’
9 “The men who were with me saw the light but didn’t understand what the person who was speaking to me said.
10 “Then I asked, ‘What do you want me to do, Lord?’
“The Lord told me, ‘Get up! Go into the city of Damascus, and you’ll be told everything I’ve arranged for you to do.’
11 “I was blind because the light had been so bright. So the men who were with me led me into the city of Damascus.
12 “A man named Ananias lived in Damascus. He was a devout person who followed Moses’ Teachings. All the Jews living in Damascus spoke highly of him. 13 He came to me, stood beside me, and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ At that moment my sight came back and I could see Ananias.
14 “Ananias said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the one who has God’s approval, and to hear him speak to you. 15 You will be his witness and will tell everyone what you have seen and heard. 16 What are you waiting for now? Get up! Be baptized, and have your sins washed away as you call on his name.’
17 “After that, I returned to Jerusalem. While I was praying in the temple courtyard, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord. He told me, ‘Hurry! Get out of Jerusalem immediately. The people here won’t accept your testimony about me.’
19 “I said, ‘Lord, people here know that I went from synagogue to synagogue to imprison and whip those who believe in you. 20 When Stephen, who witnessed about you, was being killed, I was standing there. I approved of his death and guarded the coats of those who were murdering him.’
21 “But the Lord told me, ‘Go! I’ll send you on a mission. You’ll go far away to people who aren’t Jewish.’”
22 Up to that point the mob listened. Then they began to shout, “Kill him! The world doesn’t need a man like this. He shouldn’t have been allowed to live this long!”
23 The mob was yelling, taking off their coats, and throwing dirt into the air. 24 So the officer ordered the soldiers to take Paul into the barracks and told them to question Paul as they whipped him. The officer wanted to find out why the people were yelling at Paul like this. 25 But when the soldiers had Paul stretch out to tie him to the whipping post with the straps, Paul asked the sergeant who was standing there, “Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t had a trial?”
26 When the sergeant heard this, he reported it to his commanding officer. The sergeant asked him, “What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen.”
27 The officer went to Paul and asked him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
Paul answered, “Yes.”
28 The officer replied, “I paid a lot of money to become a Roman citizen.”
Paul replied, “But I was born a Roman citizen.”
29 Immediately, the soldiers who were going to question Paul stepped away from him. The officer was afraid when he found out that he had tied up a Roman citizen.
Paul in Front of the Jewish Council
30 The officer wanted to find out exactly what accusation the Jews had against Paul. So the officer released Paul the next day and ordered the chief priests and the entire Jewish council to meet. Then the officer brought Paul and had him stand in front of them.
23 Paul stared at the Jewish council and said, “Brothers, my relationship with God has always given me a perfectly clear conscience.”
2 The chief priest Ananias ordered the men standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you hypocrite! You sit there and judge me by Moses’ Teachings and yet you break those teachings by ordering these men to strike me!”
4 The men standing near Paul said to him, “You’re insulting God’s chief priest!”
5 Paul answered, “Brothers, I didn’t know that he is the chief priest. After all, Scripture says, ‘Don’t speak evil about a ruler of your people.’”
6 When Paul saw that some of them were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he shouted in the council, “Brothers, I’m a Pharisee and a descendant of Pharisees. I’m on trial because I expect that the dead will come back to life.”
7 After Paul said that, the Pharisees and Sadducees began to quarrel, and the men in the meeting were divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that the dead won’t come back to life and that angels and spirits don’t exist. The Pharisees believe in all these things.) 9 The shouting became very loud. Some of the experts in Moses’ Teachings were Pharisees who argued their position forcefully. They said, “We don’t find anything wrong with this man. Maybe a spirit or an angel actually spoke to him!”
10 The quarrel was becoming violent, and the officer was afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces. So the officer ordered his soldiers to drag Paul back to the barracks.
11 The Lord stood near Paul the next night and said to him, “Don’t lose your courage! You’ve told the truth about me in Jerusalem. Now you must tell the truth about me in Rome.”
Some Jews Plot to Kill Paul
12 In the morning the Jews formed a conspiracy. They asked God to curse them if they ate or drank anything before they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men took part in this plot.
14 They went to the chief priests and leaders of the people and said, “We’ve asked God to curse us if we taste any food before we’ve killed Paul. 15 Here’s our plan: You and the council must go to the Roman officer on the pretext that you need more information from Paul. You have to make it look as though you want to get more accurate information about him. We’ll be ready to kill him before he gets to you.”
16 But Paul’s nephew heard about the ambush. He entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the sergeants and told him, “Take this young man to the officer. He has something to tell him.”
18 The sergeant took the young man to the officer and said, “The prisoner Paul called me. He asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”
19 The officer took the young man by the arm, went where they could be alone, and asked him, “What do you have to tell me?”
20 The young man answered, “The Jews have planned to ask you to bring Paul to the Jewish council tomorrow. They’re going to make it look as though they want more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t let them persuade you to do this. More than forty of them are planning to ambush him. They have asked God to curse them if they eat or drink anything before they have murdered him. They are ready now and are expecting you to promise that you will bring Paul.”
22 The officer dismissed the young man and ordered him not to tell this information to anyone else.
23 Then the officer summoned two of his sergeants and told them, “I want 200 infantrymen, 70 soldiers on horseback, and 200 soldiers with spears. Have them ready to go to Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. 24 Provide an animal for Paul to ride, and take him safely to Governor Felix.” 25 The officer wrote a letter to the governor with the following message:
26 Claudius Lysias sends greetings to Your Excellency, Governor Felix:
27 The Jews had seized this man and were going to murder him. When I found out that he was a Roman citizen, I went with my soldiers to rescue him. 28 I wanted to know what they had against him. So I took him to their Jewish council 29 and found their accusations had to do with disputes about their own laws. He wasn’t accused of anything for which he deserved to die or to be put into prison. 30 Since I was informed that there was a plot against this man, I immediately sent him to you. I have also ordered his accusers to state their case against him in front of you.
31 So the infantrymen did as they had been ordered. They took Paul to the city of Antipatris during the night. 32 They returned to their barracks the next day and let the soldiers on horseback travel with Paul. 33 When the soldiers arrived in the city of Caesarea with Paul, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him.
34 After the governor had read the letter, he asked Paul which province he was from. When he found out that Paul was from the province of Cilicia, 35 he said, “I’ll hear your case when your accusers arrive.” Then the governor gave orders to keep Paul under guard in Herod’s palace.
Paul Presents His Case to Felix
24 Five days later the chief priest Ananias went to the city of Caesarea with some leaders of the people and an attorney named Tertullus. They reported to the governor their charges against Paul.
2 When Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him. He said to Felix, “Your Excellency, through your wise leadership we have lasting peace and reforms that benefit the people. 3 We appreciate what you’ve done in every way and in every place, and we want to thank you very much. 4 I don’t want to keep you too long. Please listen to us. We will be brief. 5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker. He starts quarrels among all Jews throughout the world. He’s a ringleader of the Nazarene sect. 6 He also entered the temple courtyard in a way that violates our tradition. So we arrested him. [a] 8 When you cross-examine him, you’ll be able to find out from him that our accusations are true.”
9 The Jews supported Tertullus’ accusations and asserted that everything Tertullus said was true.
10 The governor motioned for Paul to speak. Paul responded, “I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years. So I’m pleased to present my case to you. 11 You can verify for yourself that I went to Jerusalem to worship no more than twelve days ago. 12 No one found me having a discussion with anyone in the temple courtyard or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues throughout the city. 13 These people cannot even prove their accusations to you. 14 But I’ll admit to you that I’m a follower of the way of Christ, which they call a sect. This means that I serve our ancestors’ God and believe everything written in Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets. 15 I hope for the same thing my accusers do, that people with God’s approval and those without it will come back to life. 16 With this belief I always do my best to have a clear conscience in the sight of God and people. 17 After many years I have come back to my people and brought gifts for the poor and offerings for God. 18 My accusers found me in the temple courtyard doing these things after I had gone through the purification ceremony. No crowd or noisy mob was present. 19 But some Jews from the province of Asia were there. They should be here in front of you to accuse me if they have anything against me. 20 Otherwise, these men who are accusing me should tell what I was charged with when I stood in front of their council. 21 They could accuse me of only one thing. As I stood among them, I shouted, ‘I’m being tried in front of you because I believe that the dead will come back to life.’”
22 Felix knew the way of Christ rather well, so he adjourned the trial. He told them, “When the officer Lysias arrives, I’ll decide your case.” 23 Felix ordered the sergeant to guard Paul but to let him have some freedom and to let his friends take care of his needs.
24 Some days later Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him talk about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul discussed the subjects of God’s approval, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became afraid and said, “That’s enough for now. You can go. When I find time, I’ll send for you again.” 26 At the same time, Felix was hoping that Paul would give him some money. For that reason, Felix would send for Paul rather often to have friendly conversations with him.
27 Two years passed. Then Porcius Festus took Felix’s place. (Since Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor, he left Paul in prison.)
Paul Makes an Appeal
25 Three days after Festus took over his duties in the province of Judea, he went from the city of Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 The chief priests and the other important Jewish leaders informed Festus about their charges against Paul. They were urging 3 Festus to do them the favor of having Paul brought to Jerusalem. The Jews had a plan to ambush and kill Paul as he traveled to Jerusalem.
4 Festus replied that he would be returning to Caesarea soon and would keep Paul there. 5 He told them, “Have your authorities come to Caesarea with me and accuse him there if the man has done something wrong.”
6 Festus stayed in Jerusalem for eight or ten days at the most and then returned to Caesarea. The next day Festus took his place in court and summoned Paul.
7 When Paul entered the room, the Jews who had come from Jerusalem surrounded him. They made a lot of serious accusations that they couldn’t prove. 8 Paul defended himself by saying, “I haven’t broken any Jewish law or done anything against the temple or the emperor.”
9 But Festus wanted to do the Jews a favor. So he asked Paul, “Are you willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on these charges with me as your judge?”
10 Paul said, “I am standing in the emperor’s court where I must be tried. I haven’t done anything wrong to the Jews, as you know very well. 11 If I am guilty and have done something wrong for which I deserve the death penalty, I don’t reject the idea of dying. But if their accusations are untrue, no one can hand me over to them as a favor. I appeal my case to the emperor!”
12 Festus discussed the appeal with his advisers and then replied to Paul, “You have appealed your case to the emperor, so you’ll go to the emperor!”
King Agrippa Meets Paul
13 Later King Agrippa and Bernice came to the city of Caesarea to welcome Festus. 14 Since they were staying there for a number of days, Festus told the king about Paul’s case.
Festus said, “Felix left a man here in prison. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the Jewish leaders brought me some information about him and asked me to condemn him.
16 “I replied to them, ‘That’s not the Roman way of doing things. A person can’t be sentenced as a favor. Before he is sentenced, he must face his accusers and have a chance to defend himself against their accusation.’
17 “So the Jewish leaders came to Caesarea with me. The next day I immediately convened court and summoned the man. 18 When his accusers stood up, they didn’t accuse him of the crimes I was expecting. 19 They were disputing with him about their own religion and about some man named Jesus who had died. But Paul claimed that Jesus is alive. 20 Their debate about these things left me puzzled. So I asked Paul if he would like to go to Jerusalem to have his case heard there. 21 But Paul appealed his case. He asked to be held in prison and to have His Majesty the Emperor decide his case. So I ordered him to be held in prison until I could send him to the emperor.”
22 Agrippa told Festus, “I would like to hear the man.”
Festus replied, “You’ll hear him tomorrow.”
23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice entered the auditorium with a lot of fanfare. Roman army officers and the most important men of the city entered the auditorium with them. Festus gave the order, and Paul was brought into the auditorium.
24 Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and everyone who is present with us! All the Jews in Jerusalem and Caesarea have talked to me about this man you see in front of you. They shout that he must not be allowed to live any longer. 25 However, I don’t think that he has done anything to deserve the death penalty. But since he made an appeal to His Majesty the Emperor, I have decided to send him to Rome. 26 But I don’t have anything reliable to write our emperor about him. So I have brought him to all of you, and especially to you, King Agrippa. Then I’ll have something to write after he is cross-examined. 27 I find it ridiculous to send a prisoner to Rome when I can’t specify any charges against him.”
26 Agrippa said to Paul, “You’re free to speak for yourself.”
Paul acknowledged King Agrippa and then began his defense. 2 “King Agrippa, I think I’m fortunate today to stand in front of you and defend myself against every charge that the Jews brought against me. 3 I say this since you are especially familiar with every custom and controversy in Judaism. So I ask you to listen patiently to me.
4 “All the Jews know how I lived the earliest days of my youth with my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 They’ve known me for a long time and can testify, if they’re willing, that I followed the strictest party of our religion. They know that I lived my life as a Pharisee.
6 “I’m on trial now because I expect God to keep the promise that he made to our ancestors. 7 Our twelve tribes expect this promise to be kept as they worship with intense devotion day and night. Your Majesty, the Jews are making accusations against me because I expect God to keep his promise. 8 Why do all of you refuse to believe that God can bring dead people back to life?
9 “I used to think that I had to do a lot of things to oppose the one named Jesus of Nazareth. 10 That is what I did in Jerusalem. By the authority I received from the chief priests, I locked many Christians in prison. I voted to have them killed every time a vote was taken. 11 I even went to each synagogue, punished believers, and forced them to curse the name of Jesus. In my furious rage against them, I hunted them down in cities outside Jerusalem.
12 “I was carrying out these activities when I went to the city of Damascus. I had the power and authority of the chief priests. 13 Your Majesty, at noon, while I was traveling, I saw a light that was brighter than the sun. The light came from the sky and shined around me and those who were with me. 14 All of us fell to the ground, and I heard a voice asking me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me? It’s hard for a mortal like you to resist God.’
15 “I asked, ‘Who are you, sir?’
“The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus, the one you’re persecuting. 16 Stand up! I have appeared to you for a reason. I’m appointing you to be a servant and witness of what you have seen and of what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from the Jewish people and from the non-Jewish people to whom I am sending you. 18 You will open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from Satan’s control to God’s. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and a share among God’s people who are made holy by believing in me.’
19 “At that point I did not disobey the vision I saw from heaven, King Agrippa. 20 Instead, I spread the message that I first told to the Jewish people in Damascus and Jerusalem and throughout the whole country of Judea. I spread the same message to non-Jewish people. Both groups were expected to change the way they thought and acted and to turn to God. I told them to do things that prove they had changed their lives. 21 For this reason the Jews took me prisoner in the temple courtyard and tried to murder me.
22 “God has been helping me to this day so that I can stand and testify to important and unimportant people. I tell them only what the prophets and Moses said would happen. 23 They said that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to come back to life and would spread light to Jewish and non-Jewish people.”
24 As Paul was defending himself in this way, Festus shouted, “Paul, you’re crazy! Too much education is driving you crazy!”
25 Paul replied, “I’m not crazy, Your Excellency Festus. What I’m saying is true and sane. 26 I can easily speak to a king who knows about these things. I’m sure that none of these things has escaped his attention. None of this was done secretly. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe them!”
28 Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think you can quickly persuade me to become a Christian?”
29 Paul replied, “I wish to God that you and everyone listening to me today would quickly and completely become as I am (except for being a prisoner).”
30 The king, the governor, Bernice, and the people who were sitting with them got up. 31 As they were leaving, they said to each other, “This man isn’t doing anything for which he deserves to die or be put in prison.”
32 Agrippa told Festus, “This man could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed his case to the emperor.”
Paul Sails for Rome
27 When it was decided that we should sail to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were turned over to an army officer. His name was Julius, and he belonged to the emperor’s division. 2 We set sail on a ship from the city of Adramyttium. The ship was going to stop at ports on the coast of the province of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from the city of Thessalonica, went with us.
3 The next day we arrived at the city of Sidon. Julius treated Paul kindly and allowed him to visit his friends and receive any care he needed. 4 Leaving Sidon, we sailed on the northern side of the island of Cyprus because we were traveling against the wind. 5 We sailed along the coast of the provinces of Cilicia and Pamphylia and arrived at the city of Myra in the province of Lycia. 6 In Myra the officer found a ship from Alexandria that was on its way to Italy and put us on it. 7 We were sailing slowly for a number of days. Our difficulties began along the coast of the city of Cnidus because the wind would not let us go further. So at Cape Salmone, we started to sail for the south side of the island of Crete. 8 We had difficulty sailing along the shore of Crete. We finally came to a port called Fair Harbors. The port was near the city of Lasea.
9 We had lost so much time that the day of fasting had already past. Sailing was now dangerous, so Paul advised them, 10 “Men, we’re going to face a disaster and heavy losses on this voyage. This disaster will cause damage to the cargo and the ship, and it will affect our lives.” 11 However, the officer was persuaded by what the pilot and the owner of the ship said and not by what Paul said. 12 Since the harbor was not a good place to spend the winter, most of the men decided to sail from there. They hoped to reach the city of Phoenix somehow and spend the winter there. (Phoenix is a harbor that faces the southwest and northwest winds and is located on the island of Crete.)
13 When a gentle breeze began to blow from the south, the men thought their plan would work. They raised the anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete.
14 Soon a powerful wind (called a northeaster) blew from the island. 15 The wind carried the ship away, and we couldn’t sail against the wind. We couldn’t do anything, so we were carried along by the wind. 16 As we drifted to the sheltered side of a small island called Cauda, we barely got control of the ship’s lifeboat. 17 The men pulled it up on deck. Then they passed ropes under the ship to reinforce it. Fearing that they would hit the large sandbank off the shores of Libya, they lowered the sail and were carried along by the wind. 18 We continued to be tossed so violently by the storm that the next day the men began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day they threw the ship’s equipment overboard. 20 For a number of days we couldn’t see the sun or the stars. The storm wouldn’t let up. It was so severe that we finally began to lose any hope of coming out of it alive.
21 Since hardly anyone wanted to eat, Paul stood among them and said, “Men, you should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete. You would have avoided this disaster and loss. 22 Now I advise you to have courage. No one will lose his life. Only the ship will be destroyed. 23 I know this because an angel from the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood by me last night. 24 The angel told me, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul! You must present your case to the emperor. God has granted safety to everyone who is sailing with you.’ 25 So have courage, men! I trust God that everything will turn out as he told me. 26 However, we will run aground on some island.”
27 On the fourteenth night we were still drifting through the Mediterranean Sea. About midnight the sailors suspected that we were approaching land. 28 So they threw a line with a weight on it into the water. It sank 120 feet. They waited a little while and did the same thing again. This time the line sank 90 feet. 29 Fearing we might hit rocks, they dropped four anchors from the back of the ship and prayed for morning to come.
30 The sailors tried to escape from the ship. They let the lifeboat down into the sea and pretended they were going to lay out the anchors from the front of the ship. 31 Paul told the officer and the soldiers, “If these sailors don’t stay on the ship, you have no hope of staying alive.” 32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.
33 Just before daybreak Paul was encouraging everyone to have something to eat. “This is the fourteenth day you have waited and have had nothing to eat. 34 So I’m encouraging you to eat something. Eating will help you survive, since not a hair from anyone’s head will be lost.” 35 After Paul said this, he took some bread, thanked God in front of everyone, broke it, and began to eat. 36 Everyone was encouraged and had something to eat. 37 (There were 276 of us on the ship.) 38 After the people had eaten all they wanted, they lightened the ship by dumping the wheat into the sea.
39 In the morning they couldn’t recognize the land, but they could see a bay with a beach. So they decided to try to run the ship ashore. 40 They cut the anchors free and left them in the sea. At the same time they untied the ropes that held the steering oars. Then they raised the top sail to catch the wind and steered the ship to the shore. 41 They struck a sandbar in the water and ran the ship aground. The front of the ship stuck and couldn’t be moved, while the back of the ship was broken to pieces by the force of the waves.
42 The soldiers had a plan to kill the prisoners to keep them from swimming away and escaping. 43 However, the officer wanted to save Paul, so he stopped the soldiers from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and swim ashore. 44 Then he ordered the rest to follow on planks or some other pieces of wood from the ship. In this way everyone got to shore safely.
Paul on the Island of Malta
28 When we were safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The people who lived on the island were unusually kind to us. They made a fire and welcomed all of us around it because of the rain and the cold.
3 Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire. The heat forced a poisonous snake out of the brushwood. The snake bit Paul’s hand and wouldn’t let go. 4 When the people who lived on the island saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer! He may have escaped from the sea, but justice won’t let him live.”
5 Paul shook the snake into the fire and wasn’t harmed. 6 The people were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they had waited a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
7 A man named Publius, who was the governor of the island, had property around the area. He welcomed us and treated us kindly, and for three days we were his guests. 8 His father happened to be sick in bed. He was suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went to him, prayed, placed his hands on him, and made him well.
9 After that had happened, other sick people on the island went to Paul and were made well. 10 They showed respect for us in many ways, and when we were going to set sail, they put whatever we needed on board.
Paul Sails from Malta to Rome
11 After three months we sailed on an Alexandrian ship that had spent the winter at the island. The ship had the gods Castor and Pollux carved on its front. 12 We stopped at the city of Syracuse and stayed there for three days. 13 We sailed from Syracuse and arrived at the city of Rhegium. The next day a south wind began to blow, and two days later we arrived at the city of Puteoli. 14 In Puteoli we discovered some believers who begged us to spend a week with them.
15 Believers in Rome heard that we were coming, so they came as far as the cities of Appius’ Market and Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and felt encouraged. So we finally arrived in the city of Rome. [b] 16 After our arrival, Paul was allowed to live by himself, but he had a soldier who guarded him.
Paul in Rome
17 After three days Paul invited the most influential Jews in Rome to meet with him. When they assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, I haven’t done anything against the Jewish people or violated the customs handed down by our ancestors. Yet, I’m a prisoner from Jerusalem, and I’ve been handed over to the Roman authorities. 18 The Roman authorities cross-examined me and wanted to let me go because I was accused of nothing for which I deserved to die. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal my case to the emperor. That doesn’t mean I have any charges to bring against my own people. 20 That’s why I asked to see you and speak with you. I’m wearing these chains because of what Israel hopes for.”
21 The Jewish leaders told Paul, “We haven’t received any letters from Judea about you, and no Jewish person who has come to Rome has reported or mentioned anything bad about you. 22 However, we would like to hear what you think. We know that everywhere people are talking against this sect.”
23 On a designated day a larger number of influential Jews than expected went to the place where Paul was staying. From morning until evening, Paul was explaining God’s kingdom to them. He was trying to convince them about Jesus from Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets. 24 Some of them were convinced by what he said, but others continued to disbelieve.
25 The Jews, unable to agree among themselves, left after Paul had quoted this particular passage to them: “How well the Holy Spirit spoke to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah! 26 The Spirit said: ‘Go to these people and say,
“You will hear clearly but never understand.
28 “You need to know that God has sent his salvation to people who are not Jews. They will listen.”[c]
30 Paul rented a place to live for two full years and welcomed everyone who came to him. 31 He spread the message about God’s kingdom and taught very boldly about the Lord Jesus Christ. No one stopped him.
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