Acts 26 New Century Version (NCV)
Paul Defends Himself
26 Agrippa said to Paul, “You may now speak to defend yourself.”
Then Paul raised his hand and began to speak. 2 He said, “King Agrippa, I am very blessed to stand before you and will answer all the charges the evil people make against me. 3 You know so much about all the customs and the things they argue about, so please listen to me patiently.
4 “All my people know about my whole life, how I lived from the beginning in my own country and later in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time. If they want to, they can tell you that I was a good Pharisee. And the Pharisees obey the laws of my tradition more carefully than any other group. 6 Now I am on trial because I hope for the promise that God made to our ancestors. 7 This is the promise that the twelve tribes of our people hope to receive as they serve God day and night. My king, they have accused me because I hope for this same promise! 8 Why do any of you people think it is impossible for God to raise people from the dead?
9 “I, too, thought I ought to do many things against Jesus from Nazareth. 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem. The leading priests gave me the power to put many of God’s people in jail, and when they were being killed, I agreed it was a good thing. 11 In every synagogue, I often punished them and tried to make them speak against Jesus. I was so angry against them I even went to other cities to find them and punish them.
12 “One time the leading priests gave me permission and the power to go to Damascus. 13 On the way there, at noon, I saw a light from heaven. It was brighter than the sun and flashed all around me and those who were traveling with me. 14 We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language,[a] saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are only hurting yourself by fighting me.’ 15 I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Stand up! I have chosen you to be my servant and my witness—you will tell people the things that you have seen and the things that I will show you. This is why I have come to you today. 17 I will keep you safe from your own people and also from the others. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn away from darkness to the light, away from the power of Satan and to God. Then their sins can be forgiven, and they can have a place with those people who have been made holy by believing in me.’
19 “King Agrippa, after I had this vision from heaven, I obeyed it. 20 I began telling people that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God and do things to show they really had changed. I told this first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem, and in every part of Judea, and also to the other people. 21 This is why the Jews took me and were trying to kill me in the Temple. 22 But God has helped me, and so I stand here today, telling all people, small and great, what I have seen. But I am saying only what Moses and the prophets said would happen— 23 that the Christ would die, and as the first to rise from the dead, he would bring light to all people.”
Paul Tries to Persuade Agrippa
24 While Paul was saying these things to defend himself, Festus said loudly, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Too much study has driven you crazy!”
25 Paul said, “Most excellent Festus, I am not crazy. My words are true and sensible. 26 King Agrippa knows about these things, and I can speak freely to him. I know he has heard about all of these things, because they did not happen off in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe what the prophets wrote? I know you believe.”
28 King Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian in such a short time?”
29 Paul said, “Whether it is a short or a long time, I pray to God that not only you but every person listening to me today would be saved and be like me—except for these chains I have.”
30 Then King Agrippa, Governor Festus, Bernice, and all the people sitting with them stood up 31 and left the room. Talking to each other, they said, “There is no reason why this man should die or be put in jail.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “We could let this man go free, but he has asked Caesar to hear his case.”
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.”