Acts 11:19-26:4 Expanded Bible (EXB)
The Good News Comes to Antioch
19 Many of the believers were scattered when they were persecuted after Stephen was killed. Some of them went as far as Phoenicia [C northwest of Israel on the coast], Cyprus [C an island to the west of the coast of Syria], and Antioch [C an important city in Syria] telling the message to others, but only to Jews. 20 Some of these believers were people from Cyprus and Cyrene [C a city in North Africa]. When they came to Antioch, they spoke also to ·Greeks[a] [or Hellenists (see textual note); C in 6:1 and 9:29 the word refers to Greek-speaking Jews; here it refers to Greek-speaking Gentiles], telling them the ·Good News [Gospel] about the Lord Jesus. 21 ·The Lord was helping the believers [L The hand of the Lord was with them], and a large group of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 The church in Jerusalem heard about all of this, so they sent Barnabas [4:36; 9:26–27] to Antioch.
25 Then Barnabas went to the city of Tarsus [C Paul’s hometown in Cilicia; 9:11] to look for Saul, 26 and when he found Saul, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year Saul and Barnabas met with the church and taught many people there. In Antioch the ·followers [disciples] were called Christians for the first time [C highlighting that they were followers of Christ, and perhaps that they were no longer viewed as merely a sect within Judaism].
27 ·About that time [L In those days] some prophets came [L down] from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus [21:10], stood up and spoke ·with the help of [by the power of; through] the Holy Spirit. He said, “A severe famine is coming to the whole ·world [or inhabited world; C probably meaning the Roman empire].” (This happened when Claudius [C Roman emperor from ad 41–54] ruled.) 29 The ·followers [disciples] all decided to ·help [send relief to; L send (something) as a ministry for] the ·believers [brothers] who lived in Judea, as much as each one could. 30 They ·gathered the money [L did this] and ·gave it to Barnabas and Saul, who brought it to the elders in Judea [L sent it to the elders through the hand of Barnabas and Saul].
Herod Agrippa Hurts the Church
12 During that same time King Herod [C Agrippa I, who lived 10 bc–ad 44; he was the grandson of Herod the Great (Luke 1:5)] ·began to mistreat [L laid hands on to harm/do evil to] some who belonged to the church. 2 He ordered James, the brother of John, to be killed by the sword [C execution by beheading]. 3 Herod saw that ·some of the people liked this [L this pleased the Jews/Jewish leaders], so he decided to arrest Peter, too. (This happened during the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.)
4 After Herod ·arrested [seized] Peter, he put him in ·jail [prison] and handed him over to be guarded by ·sixteen [L four squads of four] soldiers. Herod planned to bring Peter ·before the people for trial [L to the people; C an idiom for a public trial] after the Passover Feast. 5 So Peter was kept in ·jail [prison], but the church prayed earnestly to God for him.
Peter Released by an Angel
6 The night before Herod was to bring him ·to trial [L out; C either for trial or for execution], Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Other soldiers were guarding the door of the jail. 7 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shined in the cell. The angel ·struck [tapped; poked] Peter on the side and woke him up. “Hurry! Get up!” the angel said. And the chains fell off Peter’s ·hands [wrists]. 8 Then the angel told him, “·Get dressed [or Put on your belt] and put on your sandals.” And Peter did. Then the angel said, “·Put on your coat [L Wrap your coat/cloak around you] and follow me.” 9 So Peter followed him out, but he did not know if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he might be seeing a vision. 10 They went past the first and second guards and came to the iron gate that ·separated them from [L led to] the city. The gate opened by itself for them, and they went through it. When they had walked down one street, the angel suddenly left him.
11 Then Peter ·realized what had happened [came to himself]. He thought, “Now I know that the Lord really sent his angel to me. He rescued me ·from [L from the hands of] Herod and from all the things the [L Jewish] people thought would happen.”
12 When he ·considered [realized] this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John [L who was also called] Mark [12:25; 13:5; 15:37; Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11; Philem. 24; 1 Pet. 5:13]. Many people were gathered there, praying. 13 Peter knocked on the ·outside door [or courtyard gate], and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so happy she forgot to open the ·door [gate]. Instead, she ran inside and told the group, “Peter is at the ·door [gate]!”
15 They said to her, “You are ·crazy [insane; mad]!” But she kept on ·saying [insisting] it was true, so they said, “It must be Peter’s angel.”
16 [L But; Meanwhile] Peter continued to knock, and when they opened the door, they saw him and were ·amazed [astonished]. 17 Peter ·made a sign [motioned] with his hand to tell them to be quiet. He ·explained [recounted] how the Lord led him out of the ·jail [prison], and he said, “Tell James [C not the son of Zebedee (who had been executed, 12:2), but the half-brother of Jesus, who would become the senior leader in the Jerusalem church; 15:13–21; 21:18] and the other ·believers [L brothers] what happened.” Then he left to go to another place.
18 The next ·day [or morning] ·the soldiers were very upset [L there was no small commotion among the soldiers; C soldiers who allowed a prisoner to escape would suffer the prisoner’s punishment] and wondered what had happened to Peter. 19 Herod ·looked [searched] everywhere for him but could not find him. So he questioned the guards and ordered that they be ·killed [L led away; C presumably to be executed].
The Death of Herod Agrippa
Later Herod ·moved [or took a trip] from Judea and went to the city of Caesarea, where he stayed. 20 Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon [C major cities on the Phoenician coast north of Israel], but the people of those cities all ·came in a group [or agreed together to come] to him. After convincing Blastus, the ·king’s personal servant [chamberlain; L one in charge of his bedroom], to ·be on their side [or support their position], they asked Herod for peace, because their country got its food from his country.
21 On ·a chosen [an appointed] day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his ·throne [judgment seat; rostrum; platform], and made a speech to the people. 22 They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not a human!” 23 Because Herod did not give the glory to God, an angel of the Lord immediately ·caused him to become sick [L struck him down], and he was ·eaten [or infected] by worms [C perhaps intestinal roundworms] and died.
24 God’s ·message [word] continued to spread and reach people.
25 After Barnabas and Saul finished their ·task in Jerusalem [mission], they returned to Antioch,[b] taking John [L also called] Mark with them.
Barnabas and Saul Are Chosen
13 In the church at Antioch there were these prophets and teachers: Barnabas [4:36], Simeon (also called Niger [C meaning “Black”; Luke 23:26]), Lucius (from the city of Cyrene [C a city in North Africa]), Manaen (who ·had grown up with Herod [or was a close friend of Herod; or was a member of Herod’s court], the ·ruler [L tetrarch; C a Roman political title; see Luke 3:1]), and Saul. 2 They were all ·worshiping [or serving] the Lord and fasting [C giving up eating for spiritual purposes]. During this time the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul to do ·a special [L the] work for which I have ·chosen [called] them.”
3 So after they fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on [C a ritual of blessing and/or conferring of authority] Barnabas and Saul and sent them out.
Barnabas and Saul in Cyprus
4 Barnabas and Saul, sent out by the Holy Spirit, went to the city of Seleucia [C a Syrian city 15 miles from Antioch]. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus [C an island off the coast of Syria, and Barnabas’ homeland; 4:36]. 5 When they came to Salamis [C the main city of Cyprus], they preached the ·Good News [Gospel; L word] of God in the synagogues [L of the Jews]. John Mark was ·with them to help [their assistant].
6 They went across the whole island to Paphos [C the capital city of Cyprus, on the southwest coast] where they met a ·magician [sorcerer] named Bar-Jesus [C meaning “son of Jesus/Joshua”]. He was a Jewish false prophet 7 who ·always stayed close to [L was with; C perhaps an assistant or advisor] Sergius Paulus, the ·governor [proconsul] and a ·smart [intelligent; discerning] man. He asked Barnabas and Saul to come to him, because he wanted to hear the ·message [L word] of God. 8 But Elymas, the magician (that is what his name means), was against them [C Elymas probably comes either from an Arabic word meaning “wise man” or an Aramaic word meaning “interpreter of dreams”—hence a “magician”]. He tried to ·stop [turn away] the ·governor [proconsul] from ·believing in Jesus [L the faith]. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul [C Saul was his Jewish name; Paul his Roman name (both probably given at birth)], was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked ·straight [intently] at Elymas 10 and said, “You son of the devil! You are an enemy of ·everything that is right [all righteousness]! You are full of ·lies [deceit] and ·evil tricks [fraud; evil schemes], ·always trying to change the Lord’s truths into lies [L will you never stop making crooked/perverting the straight paths of the Lord?]. 11 Now [L look; T behold] the [L hand of the] Lord will touch you, and you will be blind. For a time you will not be able to see anything—not even the light from the sun.”
Then ·everything became dark for [L mist and darkness fell upon] Elymas, and he walked around, trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the ·governor [proconsul] saw this, he believed because he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas Leave Cyprus
13 Paul and ·those with him [his companions] sailed from Paphos [v. 6] and came to Perga, in Pamphylia [C a Roman province in southern Turkey; Perga was a major city]. There John Mark left them to return to Jerusalem [15:38]. 14 They continued their trip from Perga and went to Antioch, a city in Pisidia [C a Roman province in southcentral Turkey; this Antioch should not be confused with Antioch in Syria (11:19–20)]. On the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets were read [C part of the traditional synagogue service], the leaders of the synagogue sent a message to Paul and Barnabas: “Brothers, if you have any ·message that will encourage the people [L word of encouragement/exhortation; C they are invited to give the homily, or sermon], please speak.”
16 Paul stood up, ·raised [or motioned with] his hand, and said, “·You Israelites [Men, Israelites] and you who ·worship [L fear] God [C Gentiles who worshiped the God of Israel; 10:2], please listen! 17 The God of the Israelites chose our ·ancestors [L fathers; C Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Gen. 12—36]. He made the people great during the time they lived [as foreigners/aliens] in Egypt, and he brought them out of that country with ·great power [L a raised/uplifted arm]. 18 And he ·was patient with [put up with] them[c] for forty years in the ·desert [wilderness; Ex. 16—Deut. 34]. 19 God destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave the land to his people [L as an inheritance]. 20 All this happened in about four hundred fifty years [C a round number of the time Israel was in Egypt, wandering in the wilderness, and conquering the land].
“After this, God gave them judges [Judg. 1—21] until the time of Samuel the prophet [1 Sam. 1:1—25:1; 28]. 21 Then the people asked for a king, so God gave them Saul son of Kish. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin and was king for forty years [1 Sam. 8—2 Sam. 1]. 22 After God ·took him away [removed/deposed him], God ·made David [L raised up David as] their king [2 Sam. 2—7]. God ·said [witnessed; testified] about him: ‘I have found in David son of Jesse ·the kind of man I want [a man whose heart is like mine; T a man after my own heart; 1 Sam. 13:14; Ps. 89:20]. He will ·do [or accomplish] all ·I want him to do [L my will].’ 23 So God has brought Jesus, one of David’s ·descendants [L seed], to Israel to be its Savior, as he promised [2 Sam. 7:12–16; Is. 11:1–16]. 24 Before Jesus came, John [C the Baptist] preached to all the people of Israel about a baptism of ·changed hearts and lives [L repentance; Matt. 3; Mark 1:2–8; Luke 3]. 25 When he was finishing his ·work [race; course; mission], he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not ·the Christ [the Messiah; L he; C the anointed king from David’s line]. He is coming later, and I am not worthy to untie his sandals [C a gesture of subservience fit for a slave].’
26 “·Brothers, [L Men, brothers] ·sons [or descendants] of the family of Abraham, and others who ·worship [fear; 13:16] God, listen! The ·news [word; message] about this salvation has been sent to us. 27 Those who live in Jerusalem and their leaders ·did not realize that Jesus was the Savior [L were ignorant of this; or did not recognize him]. They did not understand the ·words that the prophets wrote [L voices of the prophets], which are read every Sabbath day. But they ·made them come true [L fulfilled them] when they ·said Jesus was guilty [L condemned him]. 28 They could not find any real ·reason [cause; basis] for Jesus to be put to death, but they asked Pilate to have him ·killed [executed]. 29 When they had done to him all that ·the Scriptures had said [L was written about him], they took him down from the ·cross [L tree; 5:30; 10:39; Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13] and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him up from the dead! 31 After this, for many days, ·those who had gone with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem saw him [or he appeared to those…Jerusalem]. They are now his witnesses to the people. 32 We tell you the ·Good News [Gospel] about the promise God made to our ·ancestors [forefathers; fathers; Gen. 12:1–3; 2 Sam. 7:12–16]. 33 ·God has made this promise come true [He has fulfilled this promise] for us, their ·children [descendants], by raising Jesus from the dead. We read about this also in the second psalm:
‘You are my Son.
34 God raised Jesus from the dead, and he will never go back to ·the grave and become dust [L corruption; decay]. So God said:
‘I will give you the holy and ·sure blessings [L faithful things]
35 But in another place God says:
‘You will not let your Holy One ·experience [L see] ·decay [corruption; Ps. 16:10].’
36 [L For; Now] David ·did God’s will [served God’s purpose] during his ·lifetime [L generation]. Then he ·died [L slept; C a euphemism for death] and was ·buried [L placed] beside his ·ancestors [L fathers], and his body ·experienced [L saw] ·decay [corruption] in the grave. 37 But the One God raised from the dead did not ·experience [L see] ·decay [corruption]. 38 [L Therefore] ·Brothers [L Men, brothers], ·understand what we are telling you [know this]: ·You can have forgiveness of your sins [L Forgiveness of sins is announced to you] through ·Jesus [L this man]. 39 The law of Moses could not ·free you from your sins [justify you; make you righteous]. But through Jesus everyone who believes is ·free from all sins [justified; made/declared righteous]. 40 [L So; Therefore] ·Be careful [Watch out]! Don’t let what the prophets said happen to you:
41 ‘·Listen [L Look; T Behold], you ·people who doubt [scoffers; mockers]!
42 While ·Paul and Barnabas [L they] were leaving the synagogue, the people ·asked [urged; encouraged] them to tell them more about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 When the meeting was over, many of the Jews and devout ·converts to Judaism [L proselytes] followed Paul and Barnabas from that place. Paul and Barnabas were persuading them to continue trusting in God’s grace.
44 On the next Sabbath day, almost everyone in the city ·came [gathered] to hear the word of the Lord. 45 Seeing the crowd, the Jewish people became very jealous and said ·insulting [blasphemous] things and ·argued against [contradicted] what Paul said. 46 But Paul and Barnabas spoke very ·boldly [fearlessly; courageously], saying, “·We must [It was necessary for us to] speak the ·message [word] of God to you first. But [L since] you ·refuse to listen [or reject it]. You are judging yourselves not worthy of having eternal life! So we will now ·go [L turn] to the ·people of other nations [Gentiles]. 47 [L For] This is what the Lord ·told us to do [commanded us], saying:
‘I have ·made [appointed] you a light for the ·nations [Gentiles];
48 When the Gentiles heard Paul say this, they ·were happy [rejoiced] and ·gave honor to [praised] the ·message [word] of the Lord. And the people who were ·chosen [destined; appointed] to have life forever ·believed the message [L believed].
49 So the ·message [word] of the Lord was spreading through the whole ·country [area; region]. 50 But the Jewish people ·stirred up [incited] some of the ·important religious women [devout/God-fearing women of high social status] and the ·leaders [or prominent men] of the city. They ·started trouble [stirred up persecution] against Paul and Barnabas and forced them out of their ·area [region]. 51 So Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet [C a sign of rejection and protest] and went to Iconium [C a city in the interior of south central Asia Minor, present-day Turkey]. 52 But the ·followers [disciples] were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Paul and Barnabas in Iconium
14 In Iconium [13:51], ·Paul and Barnabas [L they] went as usual to the Jewish synagogue [C they typically appealed to their fellow Jews first]. They spoke ·so well [L in such a way] that a great many Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who did not believe ·excited [stirred up] the Gentiles and ·turned them [poisoned their minds; L harmed/did evil to their souls] against the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)]. 3 [L So; Therefore] ·Paul and Barnabas [L They] stayed in Iconium a long time and spoke ·bravely [or boldly] for the Lord. He ·showed [testified; confirmed] that their ·message [word] about his grace was true by giving them the power to work [miraculous] signs and ·miracles [wonders]. 4 But [L the people/population of] the city was divided. Some of the people agreed with the Jews, and others ·believed [L were with] the apostles.
5 Some Gentiles, some Jews, and some of their rulers ·wanted [intended; plotted] to mistreat Paul and Barnabas and to stone them to death. 6 When ·Paul and Barnabas [L they] learned about this, they ·ran away [fled; escaped] to Lystra [C eighteen miles south of Iconium] and Derbe [C sixty miles southeast from Lystra], cities in Lycaonia [C the administrative district], and to the areas around those cities. 7 They ·announced the Good News [preached the Gospel] there, too.
Paul in Lystra and Derbe
8 In Lystra [v. 6] there sat a man who had been ·born crippled [L lame from the womb of his mother]; he had never walked. 9 As this man was listening to Paul speak, Paul looked straight at him and saw that he ·believed [had faith that] God could heal him. 10 So he ·cried out [L said with a loud voice], “Stand up on your feet!” The man jumped up and began walking around. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul did, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have ·become like humans [or taken on human form] and have come down to us!” 12 Then the people began to call Barnabas “Zeus” [C main god of the Greek pantheon] and Paul “Hermes,” [C the Greek god who delivered messages] because he was the main speaker. 13 The priest in the temple of Zeus, which was ·near [or beside; at the entrance of] the city, brought some ·bulls [or oxen] and ·flowers [garlands; wreaths] to the ·gates [temple gates; or city gates; C but it is doubtful that Lystra had city walls at this time]. He and the people wanted to offer a sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. 14 But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard about it, they tore their clothes [C indicating outrage or sorrow]. They ran in among the people, shouting, 15 “·Friends [L Men], why are you doing these things? We are only human beings ·like [of the same nature as] you. We are bringing you the ·Good News [Gospel] and are telling you to turn away from these worthless things and turn to the living God. He is the One who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them [Ex. 20:11; Ps. 146:6]. 16 In the past [L generations], God let all the nations ·do what they wanted [L go their own way]. 17 Yet he ·proved he is real [L has not left himself without a witness] by ·showing kindness [doing good], by giving you rain from heaven and crops at the right ·times [seasons], by ·giving you [satisfying/filling you with] food and filling your hearts with joy [Ps. 104:13–15].” 18 Even with these words, they were barely able to keep the crowd from offering sacrifices to them.
19 Then some Jews [C those who had opposed them earlier; 13:50–51; 14:2, 5] came from Antioch and Iconium and persuaded the people to turn against Paul. So they threw stones at him [2 Cor. 11:25; C stoning was the main Jewish method of execution] and dragged him out of town, thinking they had killed him. 20 But the ·followers [disciples] ·gathered around him [or surrounded him; C either to protect from further attack or to check on his condition], and he got up and went back into the town [C perhaps a miracle; certainly evidence of Paul’s perseverance]. The next day he and Barnabas left and went to the city of Derbe [v. 6].
The Return to Antioch in Syria
21 ·Paul and Barnabas [L They] ·told the Good News [preached the Gospel] in Derbe, and many became ·followers [disciples]. ·Paul and Barnabas [L They] returned to Lystra [14:6], Iconium, and Antioch, 22 ·making the followers of Jesus stronger [L strengthening the souls/lives of the disciples] and ·helping them stay [L encouraging/exhorting them to remain/persevere] in the faith. They said, “We must ·suffer many things [endure/pass through many trials/persecutions] to enter God’s kingdom.” 23 They ·chose [appointed; or elected] elders [1 Tim. 5:17–20; Titus 1:5–9] for each church, ·by [after; L with] praying and fasting [C giving up eating for spiritual purposes]. These elders had ·trusted [believed in] the Lord, so Paul and Barnabas ·put them in [committed them to] the Lord’s care.
24 Then they went through Pisidia [13:14] and came to Pamphylia [13:13]. 25 When they had ·preached the message [L spoken the word] in Perga [13:13], they went down to Attalia [C eight miles southwest of Perga]. 26 And from there they sailed away to Antioch [C in Syria about 400 miles away] where ·the believers had put them into God’s care [L they had been delivered over to God’s grace] to do the work that they had now ·finished [completed; fulfilled].
27 When they arrived in Antioch, ·Paul and Barnabas [L they] gathered the church together. They ·told [reported/recounted to] the church all about what God had done with them and how God had ·made it possible for the Gentiles to believe [L opened a door of faith to the Gentiles]. 28 And they stayed there ·a long [a considerable; L no little] time with the ·followers [disciples].
The Meeting in Jerusalem
15 Then some people came to Antioch from Judea and began teaching the Gentile believers [L brothers (and sisters)]: “You cannot be saved if you are not circumcised ·as Moses taught us [L according to the custom of Moses; compare Gen. 17:9–14].” 2 Paul and Barnabas ·were against this teaching and argued [L had no small argument and debate] with them about it. So the church ·decided to send [commissioned; appointed] Paul, Barnabas, and some others to Jerusalem where they could talk more about this disagreement with the apostles and elders.
3 The church ·helped them leave [sent them] on the trip, and they went through the countries of Phoenicia and Samaria, telling all about ·how the other nations had turned to God [L the conversion of the Gentiles]. This made all the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] very ·happy [joyful]. 4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the apostles, the elders, and the church. They told about everything God had done with them. 5 But some of the believers who belonged to the Pharisee ·group [sect; party; faction] ·came forward [L stood up] and said, “·The Gentile believers [L They] must be circumcised. They must be ·told to obey [ordered to keep] the law of Moses.”
6 The apostles and the elders gathered to consider this ·problem [matter]. 7 After a long debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “[L Men,] Brothers, you know that in the early days God chose me from among you to preach the ·Good News [Gospel] to the ·nations [Gentiles]. They heard the ·Good News [Gospel] from ·me [L my mouth], and they believed. 8 God, who knows the ·thoughts of everyone [L heart], ·accepted [showed his approval of; L testified for] them. He showed this to us by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 To God, those people are not different from us. When they believed, he made their hearts ·pure [clean]. 10 So now why are you testing God by putting a ·heavy load around [L yoke on] the necks of the ·Gentile believers [L disciples]? It is a ·load [yoke] that neither we nor our ·ancestors [forefathers; fathers] were ·able [strong enough] to ·carry [bear]. 11 But we believe that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”
12 Then the whole ·group [assembly] became quiet. They listened to Paul and Barnabas tell about all the [miraculous] signs and ·miracles [wonders] that God did through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, James said, “[L Men,] Brothers, listen to me. 14 ·Simon [C Peter; v. 7] has told us how God ·showed his love for [cared for; intervened with; visited] the Gentiles [Acts 10—11]. For the first time he is ·accepting [taking; selecting] from among them a people ·to be his own [L for his name]. 15 The words of the prophets agree with this too [L as it is written]:
16 ‘After these things I will return.
19 “So I ·think [conclude; judge] we should not ·bother [trouble; cause trouble for] the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write a letter to them telling them these things: Stay away from food ·that has been offered to idols (which makes it unclean) [L polluted by idols], ·any kind of sexual sin [or prohibited marriages; C the Greek word could mean any sexual sin, or marriages viewed as incestuous by OT law], eating animals that have been strangled [C leaving the blood inside, which the OT law prohibited; Gen. 9:4], and blood [C consuming blood was forbidden in the OT law; Lev. 17:10–12]. 21 They should do these things, because for a long time in every city ·the law of Moses has been taught [L Moses has been preached/proclaimed; C referring to the Torah (the Law)]. And it is still read in the synagogue every Sabbath day.” [C These guidelines were to keep from offending pious Jews in the community and so promote unity in the Church.]
Letter to Gentile Believers
22 The apostles, the elders, and the whole church decided to send some of their men with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch. They chose Judas [L called] Barsabbas [1:23] and Silas [15:40; 1 Thess. 1:1], who were ·respected by [or leaders among] the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)]. 23 ·They sent the following letter with them [L Writing by their hand; C an idiom for composing and sending a letter]:
From the apostles and elders, your brothers.
To all the Gentile ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some of our group have come to you and said things that trouble and ·upset you [unsettle your minds/souls]. But we did not ·tell [instruct; authorize; order] them to do this. 25 We have ·all [unanimously; with one accord] agreed to choose some ·messengers [L men] and send them to you with our ·dear friends [beloved] Barnabas and Paul— 26 people who have ·given [dedicated; or risked] their lives ·to serve [L for the name of] our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we are sending Judas and Silas, who will tell you the same things [in person; L through word]. 28 It has pleased the Holy Spirit that you should not have a heavy ·load [burden] to carry, and we agree. You need to do only these things: 29 Stay away from any food that has been ·offered [sacrificed] to idols, eating any animals that have been strangled, and blood, and any kind of sexual sin [see v. 20]. If you stay away from these things, you will do well.
·Good-bye [Best wishes; May you fare well].
30 So they ·left Jerusalem [were sent off/dismissed] and went to Antioch where they gathered the ·church [congregation; assembly] and ·gave them [delivered] the letter. 31 When they read it, they ·were very happy [rejoiced] because of the encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who were ·also [themselves] prophets, said many things to encourage the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] and make them stronger. 33 After some time ·Judas and Silas [L they] were sent off in peace by the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)], and they went back to those who had sent them|, 34 but Silas decided to remain there|.[d]
35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch and, along with many others, preached the ·Good News [Gospel] and taught the people the ·message [L word] of the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas Separate
36 After some ·time [days], Paul said to Barnabas, “·We should [Let’s] go back to visit the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] in all those ·towns [or cities] where we preached the ·message [L word] of the Lord [chs. 13—14] and see how they are doing.”
37 Barnabas wanted to take John [L who is called] Mark with them [C John Mark was a cousin of Barnabas; Col. 4:10]. 38 But Paul ·did not think it was a good idea to [or insisted that they should not] take him, since Mark had ·left [deserted] them at Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work [13:13]. 39 Paul and Barnabas had such a ·serious argument [sharp disagreement] about this that they ·separated and went different ways [parted company; L separated from one another]. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus [C an island off the coast of Syria, and the homeland of Barnabas; 4:36; 13:4], 40 but Paul chose Silas [v. 32; 16:37; 2 Cor. 1:19; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1] and left. The ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] in Antioch ·put [commended; entrusted] Paul ·into the Lord’s care [L to the grace of the Lord], 41 and he went through Syria and Cilicia, ·giving strength to [building up; encouraging] the churches.
Timothy Goes with Paul
16 Paul came to Derbe and Lystra [14:6], where a ·follower [disciple] named Timothy lived. Timothy’s mother was Jewish [C her name was Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15)] and a believer, but his father was a Greek.
2 The ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] in Lystra and Iconium [13:51] ·respected Timothy and ·said good things about [spoke well of; L testified about] him. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to travel with him, but all the people living in that area knew that Timothy’s father was Greek. So Paul circumcised Timothy ·to please his mother’s people [L because of the Jews in those places]. 4 ·Paul and those with him [L They] traveled from town to town and ·gave [delivered; passed on] the ·decisions [decrees] made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches became stronger in the faith and grew larger every day.
Paul Is Called to Macedonia
6 ·Paul and those with him [L They] went through the areas of Phrygia [C a region in north central Asia Minor; 18:23] and Galatia [C either the Roman province of Galatia or the old kingdom of Galatia in its north] since the Holy Spirit ·did not let them [prohibited them to; C either through circumstances or divine revelation] ·preach the Good News [L speak the word] in Asia [C a Roman province, in present-day Turkey]. 7 When they came ·near [or opposite] the country of Mysia [C the northwest section of Asia Minor, present-day Turkey], they tried to go into Bithynia [C northern Asia Minor further east than Mysia], but the Spirit of Jesus did not let them. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went to Troas [C a city in northwest Asia Minor]. 9 That night Paul saw in a vision a man from Macedonia [C an area across the Aegean Sea in mainland Greece]. The man stood and ·begged [urged; encouraged], “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we [C the switch to first person plural (“we”) indicates that the author, Luke, joined them (see also 20:5—21:18; 27:1—28:16)] immediately ·prepared [made plans; attempted] to leave for Macedonia, ·understanding [or convinced] that God had called us to ·tell the Good News [preach the Gospel] to those people.
Lydia Becomes a Christian
11 We ·left [embarked/put out to sea from] Troas and sailed straight to the island of Samothrace [C a mountainous island in the north Aegean]. The next day we sailed to Neapolis [C city in Macedonia, the first city Paul visited on the continent of Europe]. 12 Then we went by land to Philippi, a Roman colony [C a town begun by Romans with Roman laws, customs, and privileges] and ·the leading city in that part [or one of the leading cities in that district; or a city in the first district] of Macedonia. We stayed there for several days.
13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the river where we ·thought [expected] we would find a special place for prayer [C Philippi evidently had no synagogue because of its small Jewish population]. Some women had gathered there, so we sat down and talked with them. 14 One of the listeners was a woman named Lydia from the city of Thyatira [C in western Asia Minor] ·whose job was selling [who was a dealer/merchant in] purple cloth [C the most expensive type of material]. She was a worshiper of God [C a God-fearing Gentile; 10:2], and the Lord opened her ·mind [L heart] to pay attention to what Paul was saying. 15 She and ·all the people in her house [her household] were baptized. Then she ·invited us to her home [L urged us], saying, “If you ·think I am truly [L have judged me to be] ·a believer in [or faithful to] the Lord, then come stay in my house.” And she ·persuaded us [urged us strongly] to stay with her.
Paul and Silas in Jail
16 Once, while we were going to the place for prayer, a ·servant [slave] girl met us. She had a ·special spirit [spirit/demon of divination/prediction; L Python spirit; C Python was the serpent god that guarded the Delphic oracle; the term came to be used of the ability to predict the future] in her, and she earned a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, shouting, “These men are ·servants [slaves] of the Most High God. They are telling you ·how you can be saved [L the way/path of salvation].”
18 She kept this up for many days. This ·bothered [annoyed; exasperated] Paul, so he turned and said to the spirit, “By the ·power [L name] of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her!” ·Immediately, [L That very hour] the spirit came out.
19 When the owners of the ·servant [slave] girl saw that their ·source for making money [hope of profit] was gone, they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the ·city rulers [leaders; authorities] in the marketplace. 20 They brought Paul and Silas to the ·Roman rulers [magistrates] and said, “These men are Jews and are ·making trouble in [disturbing] our city. 21 They are ·teaching things [advocating customs] that are not ·right [permitted; lawful] for us as Romans to [L adopt/accept or to] do.”
22 The crowd joined the attack against them. The ·Roman officers [magistrates] ·tore [stripped off] the clothes of Paul and Silas and ·had [ordered] them beaten with rods [2 Cor. 11:25]. 23 After ·being severely beaten [L many blows were laid on them], ·Paul and Silas [L they] were thrown into ·jail [prison], and the jailer was ordered to guard them ·carefully [securely]. 24 When he heard this order, he put them far inside the ·jail [prison] and ·pinned [secured; fastened] their feet ·down between large blocks of wood [in stocks; L in wood].
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing ·songs [hymns; praise songs] to God as the other prisoners listened. 26 Suddenly, there was a ·strong [great; violent] earthquake that shook the foundation of the ·jail [prison]. Then all the doors of the ·jail [prison] broke open, and all the prisoners were freed from their chains. 27 The jailer woke up and saw that the ·jail [prison] doors were open. Thinking that the prisoners had already escaped, he got his sword and was about to kill himself [C being responsible, he would suffer punishment and shame for their escape]. 28 But [L with a great/loud voice] Paul shouted, “Don’t hurt yourself! We are all here.”
29 The jailer ·told someone to bring a light [L asked for lights]. Then he ·ran [rushed] inside and, shaking with fear, fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 He brought them outside and said, “·Men [L Lords; Sirs], what must I do to be saved?”
31 They said to him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and ·all the people in your house [your household].” 32 So ·Paul and Silas [L they] told the ·message [word] of the Lord to the jailer and all the people in his ·house [household]. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Then he and all his ·people [or family; household] were baptized immediately. 34 After this the jailer took Paul and Silas home and gave them food. He and his ·family [L household] ·were very happy [rejoiced; celebrated] because they now believed in God.
35 The next morning, the ·Roman officers [magistrates] sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let these men go free.”
36 The jailer ·said [L reported these words] to Paul, “The ·officers [magistrates] have sent an order to let you go free. You can leave now. Go in peace.”
37 But Paul said to ·the police [L them], “They beat us in public ·without a trial [L uncondemned], even though we are Roman citizens [C Roman law stated that citizens could not be beaten without a trial]. And they threw us in ·jail [prison]. Now they want to ·make us go away [get rid of us; throw us out] ·quietly [in secret]. No! Let them come themselves and bring us out.”
38 The police ·told [reported to] the ·Roman officers [magistrates] what Paul said. When ·the officers [L they] heard that ·Paul and Silas [L they] were Roman citizens, they were afraid. 39 So they came and ·told Paul and Silas they were sorry [apologized to them; appeased them] and took them out of ·jail [prison] and asked them to leave the city. 40 So when they came out of the ·jail [prison], they went to Lydia’s house where they saw some of the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] and encouraged them. Then they left.
Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
17 ·Paul and Silas [L They] traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica [C a city on the Via Egnatia, the major road on the northern Aegean coast] where there was a synagogue. 2 Paul went into the synagogue as he ·always [customarily] did [C speaking to the Jews first], and on each Sabbath day for three weeks, he ·talked [discussed; or argued; reasoned] with ·his fellow Jews [L them] about the Scriptures. 3 He explained and proved that the ·Christ [Messiah; C Christ in Greek and Messiah in Hebrew mean “anointed one”] must ·die [L suffer] and then rise from the dead [3:18]. He said, “This Jesus I am ·telling you about [proclaiming to you] is the ·Christ [Messiah].” 4 Some of them were ·convinced [persuaded] and joined Paul and Silas, along with many of the Greeks who ·worshiped God [were devout; C sometimes called “God-fearers,” these were Gentiles who worshiped the one true God of Israel; 10:2; 13:43] and ·many [L not a few] of the important women [13:50].
5 But ·some others [L the Jews] became jealous. So they got some evil men ·from the marketplace [or loitering in the streets; from the marketplace rabble], formed a mob, and ·started a riot [put the city in an uproar]. They ran to Jason’s house, looking for ·Paul and Silas [L them], wanting to bring them out to the ·people [assembly; crowd]. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other ·believers [L brothers] to the ·leaders of the city [city authorities; L politarchs]. The people were yelling, “These people have ·made trouble [agitated; stirred up rebellion] everywhere in the world, and now they have come here too! 7 Jason ·is keeping [has welcomed/received/harbored] them in his house. All of them ·do things against [defy; oppose] the ·laws [decrees] of Caesar, saying there is another king, called Jesus.”
8 When the ·people [crowd] and the ·leaders of the city [city authorities; L politarchs] heard these things, they ·became very upset [were disturbed]. 9 They made Jason and the others ·put up a sum of money [pay bail; post a bond]. Then they let ·the believers [L them] go free.
Paul and Silas Go to Berea
10 That same night the ·believers [L brothers] sent Paul and Silas to ·Berea [C a Macedonian city to the south] where [L upon arriving] they went to the synagogue [L of the Jews]. 11 These people were more ·willing to listen [open-minded; fair-minded; noble in character] than the people in Thessalonica. The Bereans ·were eager to hear what Paul and Silas said [L eagerly received the word/message] and ·studied [examined] the Scriptures every day to find out if these things were true [C to confirm Paul’s teaching was in line with Scripture]. 12 So, many of them believed, as well as ·many [L not a few] ·important [prominent; socially high-standing] Greek women and men [17:4]. 13 But the Jews [C who had opposed Paul earlier] in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, too. So they came there, ·upsetting [stirring up] the ·people [crowd] and ·making trouble [causing a disturbance]. 14 The ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] ·quickly [immediately] sent Paul away to the ·coast [L sea], but Silas and Timothy stayed ·in Berea [behind; L there]. 15 The people ·leading [escorting; accompanying] Paul went with him to Athens [C the leading city in Greece]. Then they carried ·a message [instructions; an order] from Paul back to Silas and Timothy for them to ·come to [rejoin] him as soon as they could.
Paul Preaches in Athens
16 While Paul was waiting for ·Silas and Timothy [L them] in Athens, ·he [L his spirit] was ·troubled [very distressed] because he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 In the synagogue, he ·talked [or argued; reasoned] with the Jews and the ·Greeks who worshiped God [God-fearing Gentiles; L pious/devout ones; see 17:4]. He also ·talked [or argued; reasoned] every day with ·people [L those who happened to be present] in the ·marketplace [or public square].
18 Some of the Epicurean [C who believed the goal of life was pleasure and did not believe the soul survived death] and Stoic philosophers [C who believed life should be lived with indifference to pleasure and pain, and did not believe the soul was immortal] ·argued [conversed; debated] with him, saying, “What is this ·babbler [or charlatan; or ignorant show-off; L word-scatterer] trying to say?” Others said, “He seems to be telling us about ·some other gods [foreign gods; strange deities],” because Paul was ·telling them [preaching the Good News/Gospel] about Jesus and ·his rising from the dead [the resurrection]. 19 They got Paul and took him to ·a meeting of the Areopagus [or the Hill of Ares; or Mars Hill; C Ares (Greek name) or Mars (Roman name) was the god of thunder and war; the council of Areopagus was the oldest and most prestigious court for intellectual and moral matters], where they said, “Please explain to us this new idea you have been teaching. 20 [L For; Because] The things you are saying ·are new [or sound strange] to us, and we want to know what ·this teaching means [L these things mean].” 21 (All the people of Athens and ·those from other countries [foreigners] who lived there spent all their time talking about and listening to the newest ideas.)
22 Then Paul stood ·before the meeting [L in the midst] of the Areopagus and said, “·People of Athens [L Men, Athenians], I can see you are very religious in ·all things [every way]. 23 [L For; Because] As I was going through your city, I ·saw [observed closely] the objects you worship. I found an altar that had these words written on it: to ·a god who is not known [T an unknown god]. ·You worship a god that you don’t know, and this is the God I am telling you about [L What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you]! 24 The God who made the whole world and everything in it [Deut. 4:39; Ps. 146:6] is the Lord of the ·sky and the land [or heaven and earth]. He does not live in ·temples [shrines] built by human hands. 25 This God is the One who gives life, breath, and everything else to ·people [L all; everyone; Gen. 1:29; 2:7]. He ·does not need any help from them [L is not served by human hands]; he has everything he needs. 26 ·God began by making one person, and from him came all the different people [L From one, God made every nation of people] ·who live everywhere in the world [or in order to inhabit the whole earth]. God ·decided exactly [determined; or allotted] ·when [or their appointed time in history; or the seasons of their year] and ·where they must live [or the boundaries of their lands]. 27 God wanted them to ·look for [seek] him and perhaps ·search all around for [grope for; reach out to; feel their way towards] him and find him, though he is not far from any of us: 28 ‘[L For] ·By his power [or In him] we live and move and ·exist [have our being; C a quotation from the Cretan philosopher Epimenides, from about 600 bc].’ [L As] Some of your own poets have said: ‘For we are his ·children [offspring; C a quotation from Aratus, a Stoic philosopher from Cilicia, who lived about 315–240 bc].’ 29 Since we are God’s ·children [offspring], you must not think that ·God [the deity; or the divine nature] is like ·something [an image/likeness] ·that people imagine or make [L made by human skill and imagination] from gold, silver, or rock. 30 ·In the past, people did not understand God, and he ignored this [or God overlooked such times of ignorance]. But now, God ·tells [commands] all people in the world to ·change their hearts and lives [repent]. 31 [L Because] God has ·set [fixed; established] a day that he will judge all the world with ·fairness [righteousness], by the man he ·chose [appointed] long ago. And God has ·proved [or given assurance of] this to everyone by raising that man from the dead!”
32 When the people heard about ·Jesus being raised [L the resurrection] from the dead, some of them ·laughed [mocked; scoffed]. But others said, “We will hear more about this from you ·later [L again].” 33 So Paul went away from them. 34 But some of the ·people [L men] ·believed Paul [became believers] and joined him. Among those who believed was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and some others.
Paul in Corinth
18 ·Later [L After this] Paul left Athens and went to Corinth [C a city about thirty miles southwest of Athens]. 2 Here he ·met [L found] a Jew named Aquila ·who had been born in [or whose family was from; a native of] the country of Pontus [C a province just south of the Black Sea in northeast Asia Minor]. But Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, had recently moved to Corinth from Italy, because Claudius [C Roman emperor from ad 41–54] commanded that all Jews must leave Rome [C an edict issued in ad 49 because of rioting, perhaps between Jews and Jewish Christians]. Paul ·went to visit [or came in contact with; or approached] Aquila and Priscilla. 3 [L And] Because they were ·tentmakers [or leatherworkers], just as he was, he stayed with them and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath day he ·talked [reasoned; argued] with the Jews and Greeks in the synagogue, trying ·to persuade them to believe in Jesus [L to persuade them].
5 Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia [C the northern region of Greece] and joined Paul in Corinth. After this, Paul ·spent all his time telling people the Good News [L devoted himself to (preaching) the word], ·showing [testifying to] the Jews that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah; 17:3]. 6 But they ·would not accept Paul’s teaching [L opposed/resisted him] and ·said some evil things [or reviled him; or blasphemed; 13:45]. So he shook off the dust from his clothes [C a sign of protest and that he was done with them, leaving them to God’s judgment; 13:51] and said to them, “·If you are not saved, it will be your own fault [L Your blood is on your heads]! ·I have done all I can do [or My conscience is clear; L I am innocent/pure]! ·After this [From now on], I will go to ·other nations [the Gentiles].” 7 Paul left ·the synagogue [L there] and moved into the home of a man named Titius Justus, next to the synagogue. This man worshiped God [C a Gentile “God-fearer,” who worshiped the true God of Israel; 10:2; 13:43; 17:4]. 8 Crispus was the ·leader [official] of that synagogue, and he and all the people ·living in his house [of his household] believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also listened to Paul and believed and were baptized.
9 During the night, the Lord told Paul in a vision [10:9–16; 16:9–10]: “Don’t be afraid. ·Continue talking to people [Speak out] and don’t be ·quiet [silent]. 10 [L For] I am with you, and no one will [L lay a hand on you to] ·hurt [or do evil to] you because many of my people are in this city [Deut. 31:6; Josh. 1:5; Is. 41:10; 43:5; Jer. 1:7–9].” 11 Paul stayed there [C in Corinth] for a year and a half, teaching God’s word to the people.
Paul Is Brought Before Gallio
12 When Gallio was the ·governor [L proconsul; C from ad 51 to 52] of Achaia [C a Roman province in present-day southern Greece], ·some people [L the Jews] ·came together [made a united attack] against Paul and took him to the ·court [tribunal; judgment seat]. 13 They said, “This man is ·teaching [L persuading] people to worship God in a way that is against our law.”
14 Paul was about to ·say something [L open his mouth], but Gallio spoke [L to the Jews], saying, “I would [L reasonably; justifiably] listen to you [L O Jews,] if you were complaining about a crime or some ·wrong [evil wrongdoing; moral evil]. 15 But the things you are saying are only questions about words and names [C the debate over whether Jesus is the Messiah]—arguments about your own law. ·So you must solve this problem [L See to it] yourselves. I don’t want to be a judge of these things.” 16 And ·Gallio [L he] ·made them leave [threw them out of] the ·court [tribunal; judgment seat].
17 Then they[e] [C probably Greeks, using the opportunity to vent their dislike for the Jewish population; less likely, the Jews, angry at Sosthenes for losing the case] all grabbed Sosthenes [C perhaps the person mentioned in 1 Cor. 1:1], the ·leader [official] of the synagogue, and beat him there before the ·court [tribunal; judgment seat]. But this ·did not bother [was of no concern to; was ignored by] Gallio.
Paul Returns to Antioch
18 Paul stayed with the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] for many more days. Then he ·left [said farewell] and sailed for Syria, with Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchrea [C a port city east of Corinth] Paul cut off his hair [C a ritual sometimes performed when a promise was accomplished; perhaps this was a Nazirite vow; Num. 6:1–21], because he had made a ·promise to God [L vow]. 19 Then they went to Ephesus [C a major city across the Aegean Sea in western Asia Minor], where Paul left ·Priscilla and Aquila [L them]. While Paul was there, he went into the synagogue and talked [or argued; reasoned] with the ·people [L Jews]. 20 When they asked him to stay with them longer, he ·refused [declined]. 21 But as he ·left [said farewell], he said, “I will come back to you again if God ·wants me to [wills].” And so he sailed away from Ephesus.
22 When Paul landed at Caesarea [C a port city to the west of Jerusalem on the Mediterranean], he went [L up] and gave greetings to the ·church in Jerusalem [L the church; C the Greek does not mention Jerusalem, but going “up” implies the church in Jerusalem; less likely, it could be the church in Caesarea]. After that, Paul went [L down] to Antioch [C in Syria; the church that sent Paul out]. 23 He stayed there for a while and then left and went through the regions of Galatia and Phrygia [C regions in north central Asia Minor; 16:6]. ·He traveled from town to town in these regions […traveling from place to place; L …passing through sequentially], ·giving strength to [building up; encouraging; 15:41] all the ·followers [disciples].
Apollos in Ephesus and Corinth
24 [L Now; Meanwhile] A Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was ·born in the city [a native] of Alexandria and was ·a good speaker [or a learned man] who ·knew the Scriptures well [L was powerful/competent in the Scriptures]. 25 He had been taught about the ·way [or Way; 9:2] of the Lord and was always ·very excited [enthusiastic; L fervent in spirit] when he spoke and taught ·the truth [L accurately the things] about Jesus. But the only baptism Apollos knew about was the baptism that John [C the Baptist] taught [C baptism of repentance before the ministry of Jesus began; Luke 3]. 26 Apollos began to speak ·very boldly [confidently; fearlessly] in the synagogue, and when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they ·took him to their home [or took him aside; L received/took him] and ·helped him better understand [explained more accurately/precisely] the ·way [or Way; 9:2] of God. 27 Now Apollos wanted to ·go [cross over] to Achaia [v. 12]. So the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] ·helped [encouraged] him and wrote a letter to the ·followers [disciples] there, asking them to ·accept [welcome] him. ·When Apollos arrived, he was a great help to those who, by God’s grace, had believed in Jesus [or When Apollos arrived, by God’s grace he was a great help…]. 28 [L For] He ·argued very strongly with [vigorously refuted] the Jews ·before all the people [L in public (debate)], clearly ·proving [or showing] with the Scriptures that Jesus is the ·Christ [Messiah; 17:3; 18:5].
Paul in Ephesus
19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions [C the mountainous northern route through the interior of Phrygia; 18:23] to Ephesus [C a major city in western Asia Minor; 18:23]. There he found some ·followers [disciples] 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit ·when [or after] you believed?”
They said, “We have never even heard ·of [or that there is] a Holy Spirit.”
3 So he asked, “·What kind of baptism did you have [L Into what were you baptized]?”
They said, “·It was the baptism that John taught [L Into John’s baptism].” [C These followers of John the Baptist either (1) knew only of John’s ministry but had not heard that Jesus was the Messiah, or less likely, (2) believed in Jesus as Messiah, but had not been baptized in his name to receive the Holy Spirit.]
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of ·changed hearts and lives [repentance; C in preparation for the Messiah]. He told people to believe in the one who would come after him, and that one is Jesus.”
5 When they heard this, they were baptized ·in [or into] the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Then Paul ·laid [placed] his hands on them [C a ritual of blessing and/or conferring of authority], and the Holy Spirit came upon them. They began speaking ·different languages [or in tongues; ecstatic utterance] and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve people in this group.
8 Paul went into the synagogue and spoke out ·boldly [confidently; fearlessly] for three months. He ·talked [reasoned; argued] with the people and persuaded them ·to accept the things he said about [L concerning] the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became ·stubborn [hardened]. They refused to believe and ·said evil things about [slandered; cursed] ·the Way of Jesus [L the Way; C another name for the Christian movement; 9:2; 18:25; 22:4] before ·all the people [the crowd]. So Paul left them, and taking the ·followers [disciples] with him, he went to the ·school [lecture hall] of a man named Tyrannus. There Paul ·talked [discussed; reasoned; debated] with people every day 10 for two years. Because of his work, ·everyone who lived in [the whole population of] the province of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
The Sons of Sceva
11 God ·used Paul to do [L through the hands of Paul did] some ·very special [extraordinary] miracles. 12 Some people took ·handkerchiefs [face cloths] and ·clothes [work aprons; or hand towels] ·that Paul had used [that had touched Paul; L from his skin] and put them on the sick. When they did this, ·the sick were healed [L the diseases left them] and evil spirits ·left [L came out of] them.
13 But some ·people also were traveling around and making evil spirits go out of people [L traveling/itinerant Jewish exorcists…]. They tried to ·use [invoke; L name] the name of the Lord Jesus to force the evil spirits out. They would say, “By the same Jesus that Paul ·talks about [L preaches; proclaims], I ·order [command; adjure] you to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a ·leading [L Jewish chief] priest, were doing this.
15 But one time ·an [L the] evil spirit said to them, “I know Jesus, and I ·know about [recognize] Paul, but who are you?”
16 Then the man who had the evil spirit ·jumped on [leaped on; attacked] them. Because he ·was so much stronger than all of them [violently overpowered them], they ran away from the house naked and ·hurt [wounded]. 17 All the people [L who lived] in Ephesus—Jews and Greeks—learned about this and were filled with fear and ·gave great honor to [praised/magnified the name of] the Lord Jesus. 18 Many of ·the believers [those who now believed] began to confess openly and ·tell all the evil things they had done [L disclose their (evil/magical) practices]. 19 ·Some [or A significant number] of them who had ·used magic [practiced sorcery/witchcraft] brought their magic ·books [or scrolls] and burned them before everyone. Those books were worth about fifty thousand silver coins [C probably drachmas, each worth a day’s wages].
20 ·So in a powerful way [L In this way; Thus] the word of the Lord kept spreading and ·growing [or grew strong; prevailed].
21 After these things [L had been fulfilled/accomplished], Paul decided [L in his spirit; or in the Spirit] to go to Jerusalem, planning to go through Macedonia [C northern Greece] and Achaia [C southern Greece] and then on to Jerusalem. He said, “After I have been ·to Jerusalem [L there], I must also ·visit [L see] Rome.” 22 Paul sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his ·helpers [assistants], ahead to Macedonia, but he himself stayed in [C the province of] Asia for a while.
Trouble in Ephesus
23 And during [or about; at] that time, there was ·some serious trouble [L no small disturbance] in Ephesus about ·the Way of Jesus [L the Way; C another name for the Christian movement; 9:2; 18:25; 22:4]. 24 A man named Demetrius, who worked with silver, made little silver ·models that looked like the temple [L shrines; C probably reliefs depicting the goddess in her temple] of the goddess Artemis [C Greek goddess of fertility, worshiped particularly in Ephesus]. ·Those who did this work [The artisans/craftsmen] made much money [L had no little business]. 25 ·Demetrius [L He] had a meeting with them and ·some others [L workers] who did ·the same kind of work [or similar trades]. He told them, “Men, you know that ·we make a lot of money [our wealth/livelihood comes] from this business. 26 But ·look at [L you have seen and heard] what this man Paul is doing. He has ·convinced [persuaded] and ·turned away [or led astray] many people, not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of [C the province of] Asia! He says the gods made by human hands are not ·real [L gods (at all); Is. 44:9–20; 46:1–7; 1 Cor. 8:4–6]. 27 There is a danger that our business will ·lose its good name [be discredited], but there is also another danger: People will begin to think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is not important, and the goddess herself, whom everyone in [C the province of] Asia and the whole world worships, will ·lose [be deposed of/stripped of] her majesty [magnificence; greatness].
28 When the others heard this, they became ·very angry [enraged; furious] and shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The whole city ·became confused [was filled with confusion; was in an uproar]. The people grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus [20:4; 27:2; Col. 4:10; Philem. 24], who were from Macedonia and were traveling with Paul, and ·ran [rushed together] to the theater. 30 Paul wanted to ·go in and talk to the crowd [appear before the assembly], but the ·followers [disciples] did not let him. 31 Also, some ·leaders of Asia [provincial authorities; L of the Asiarchs; C a group of wealthy political leaders who had religious functions] who were friends of Paul sent him a message, ·begging [urging; encouraging] him not to ·go [venture; take the risk of going] into the theater. 32 Some people were shouting one thing, and some were shouting another. The ·meeting [assembly] was completely confused; most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 The Jews ·pushed forward [put in front] a man named Alexander, and some of them [C either the crowd or the Jews] ·told him to explain [or gave him advice on what to say; or assumed he was responsible for the trouble]. Alexander ·waved [gestured with] his hand [C for silence] so he could ·explain things to [or make a defense before] the ·people [crowd]. 34 But when they ·saw [recognized] that Alexander was a Jew [C Jews opposed idol worship, so the crowd was suspicious of him], they all shouted ·the same thing [in unison; L with one voice] for two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35 Then the city clerk [C the head of the assembly and the senior local official] quieted [calmed down] the crowd. He said, “·People of Ephesus [L Men, Ephesians], ·everyone knows [L who does not know…?] that Ephesus is the city that ·keeps [guards] the temple of the great goddess Artemis and her ·holy stone [or image; or statue] that fell from heaven [C probably a meteorite that resembled the many-breasted image of Artemis]. 36 Since no one can say this is not true, you should ·be quiet [keep calm]. ·Stop and think before you do anything [Do nothing reckless/rash]. 37 You brought these men here, but they have not ·said anything evil against [L blasphemed] our goddess or ·stolen anything from [or committed sacrilege against] her temple. 38 If Demetrius and ·those who work [L the artisans/craftmen] with him have a ·charge [complaint; grievance; L word] against anyone, ·they should go to the courts and judges [L the courts are open/in session and there are proconsuls] where they can ·argue with [or bring charges against] each other. 39 If there is something else you want to talk about, it ·can [or must] be decided at the ·regular town meeting of the people [legal assembly; C which met three times a month]. 40 I say this because [L we are in danger that] some people might see this trouble today and ·say that we are [accuse us of; charge us with] rioting. We could not explain this, because there is no real reason for this ·meeting [or uproar; commotion].” 41 After the city clerk said these things, he ·told the people to go home [L dismissed the assembly].
Paul in Macedonia and Greece
20 When the ·trouble stopped [uproar ended], Paul sent for the ·followers [disciples] to come to him. After he encouraged them and then told them good-bye, he left and went to Macedonia [C northern Greece; 16:9]. 2 He ·said many things to strengthen the followers [L encouraged them with many words] in the different places on his way through Macedonia. Then he ·went to [arrived in] Greece [probably Achaia (southern Greece)], 3 where he stayed for three months [C probably in Corinth; at this time he wrote his letter to the Romans]. He was ready to sail for Syria, but some of the Jews were ·planning [plotting] something against him. So Paul decided to go back through Macedonia to Syria. 4 The men who went with him were Sopater [Rom. 16:21] son of Pyrrhus, from the city of Berea [17:10–15]; Aristarchus [19:29; Col. 4:10; Philem. 24] and Secundus, from the city of Thessalonica [17:1–9]; Gaius [19:29], from Derbe [14:20–21]; Timothy [Rom. 16:21]; and Tychicus [Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:12] and Trophimus [21:29; 2 Tim. 4:20], two men from Asia [C all representatives of the Gentile churches delivering a financial gift to the church in Jerusalem]. 5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas [C here begins the second “we” section in Acts, indicating that the author, Luke, has rejoined Paul (16:10–17; 20:5—21:18; 27:1—28:16)]. 6 We sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread [C another name for Passover; Ex. 12:14–20]. Five days later we met them in Troas [16:8], where we stayed for seven days.
Eutychus Raised from the Dead at Troas
7 On the first day of the week [C Sunday; or perhaps Saturday night since the Jewish day began in the evening (Greeks reckoned from the morning)], we all met together to break bread [C probably a reference to the Lord’s Supper; Luke 22:14–20], and Paul ·spoke to [or was having a discussion with] the group. Because he was planning to leave the next day, he kept on talking until midnight. 8 We were all together in a room upstairs, and there were many lamps in the room [C using up oxygen and causing drowsiness]. 9 A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window. As Paul continued talking, Eutychus was falling into a deep sleep. Finally, he went sound asleep and fell to the ground from the third floor. When they picked him up, he was dead. 10 Paul went down to Eutychus, ·knelt down [or threw himself on him; C like Elisha; 2 Kin. 4:32–35], and ·put his arms around [embraced] him. He said, “Don’t ·worry [fear]. ·He is alive now [L For his life/soul is in him].” 11 Then Paul went upstairs again, broke bread, and ate. He spoke to them a long time, until ·it was early morning [dawn], and then he left. 12 They took the young man home alive and were ·greatly [L not in a small measure] comforted.
The Trip from Troas to Miletus
13 We went on ahead of Paul and sailed for the city of Assos [C on the east coast of the Aegean in the Gulf of Adramyttium], where we ·intended [planned] to take Paul on board. Paul ·planned [arranged] it this way because he wanted to go to Assos by land. 14 When he met us there, we took him aboard and went to Mitylene [C the main city on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean]. 15 We sailed from ·Mitylene [L there] and the next day came to a place ·near [opposite; across from] Kios [C an island five miles off the coast in the Aegean]. The following day we sailed to Samos [C another island off the coast in the Aegean], and the next day we reached Miletus [C a city on the western coast of Asia Minor]. 16 [L For] Paul had already decided ·not to stop at [L to sail past] Ephesus [18:19], because he did not want to stay too long in [C the province of] Asia [C with so many friends in Ephesus (ch. 19), a short stop would be impossible]. He was hurrying to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost [C one of three great Jewish festivals, celebrated 50 days after Passover], if that were possible.
The Elders from Ephesus
17 Now from Miletus [20:15] Paul sent to Ephesus [18:19; 19:1–41] and called for the elders [14:23; 1 Tim. 5:17] of the church. 18 When they came to him, he said, “You know about my life from the first day I came to Asia [18:19]. You know the way I lived all the time I was with you [19:1–41]. 19 ·Some Jewish opponents [L The Jews] ·made plans [plotted] against me, which ·troubled me very much [severely tested/tried me]. But you know I always served the Lord ·unselfishly [L with humility], and ·I often cried [in sorrowful times; L with tears]. 20 You know I preached to you and did not hold back anything that would help you. You know that I taught you in public and ·in your homes [from house to house]. 21 I ·warned [witnessed/testified to] both Jews and Greeks to ·change their lives and turn to God [repent] and believe in our Lord Jesus. 22 But now [L indeed; T behold] ·I must obey the Holy Spirit and [L bound/compelled by the Spirit, I must] go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what will happen to me there. 23 I know only that in every city the Holy Spirit ·tells [warns; testifies to] me that ·troubles and even jail [L chains and persecutions/afflictions] wait for me. 24 [L But] I don’t ·care about my own life [consider my life worth anything]. ·The most important thing [or My only goal] is that I ·complete [finish] my ·mission [task; course; L race; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1], the ·work [ministry; service] that ·the Lord Jesus gave me [L I received from the Lord Jesus]—to ·tell people [testify/witness to] the ·Good News [Gospel] about God’s grace.
25 “And now [L look; T behold], I know that none of you among whom I was ·preaching [proclaiming] the ·kingdom of God [L kingdom] will ever see ·me [L my face] again. 26 So today I ·tell [testify/witness to] you that ·if any of you should be lost, I am not responsible [L I am innocent/clean of the blood of everyone; Ezek. 33:9], 27 because I ·have told [L have not held back from telling] you ·everything God wants you to know [or the whole purpose/plan/will of God]. 28 ·Be careful for [Keep watch over] yourselves and for all the ·people [L flock] the Holy Spirit has ·given to you to oversee [L made you overseers/guardians; John 21:16]. You must be like shepherds to the church of God,[f] which he ·bought [or obtained] with the ·death of his own Son [L with the blood of his own (Son); or with his own blood]. 29 I know that after ·I leave [my departure; I am gone], ·some people will come like wild wolves [L wild/savage wolves will come in among you] and ·try to destroy [will not spare] the flock. 30 ·Also, [or Even] some from your own group will rise up and ·twist the truth [L speak perversions/distortions] and will ·lead away [lure; entice] ·followers [disciples] after them. 31 So ·be careful [keep watch]! Always remember that for three years, day and night, I never stopped warning [admonishing; instructing] each of you, ·and I often cried over you [L with tears].
32 “Now I ·am putting you in the care of [commend/commit/entrust you to] God and the ·message [word] about his grace. It is able to ·give you strength [edify you; build you up], and it will give you the ·blessings God has [L inheritance] ·for [or among] all ·his holy people [those who are sanctified; those set apart for himself]. 33 When I was with you, I never ·wanted [coveted] anyone’s ·money [L silver or gold] or fine clothes [Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21; 1 Sam. 12:3]. 34 You [L yourselves] know I always worked [L with my own hands] to take care of my own needs and the needs of those who were with me. 35 I ·showed [provided an example to] you ·in all things [in everything I did] that you should work as I did and help the weak. I taught you to remember the words Jesus said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive [C a saying of Jesus not recorded elsewhere in Scripture].’”
36 ·When [After] Paul had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.
Paul Goes to Jerusalem
21 After we ·all said good-bye to [tore ourselves away from] them, we sailed ·straight [a straight course] to the island of Cos [C between Ephesus and Rhodes]. The next day we reached Rhodes [C an island off the southwest Coast of Asia Minor], and from there we went to Patara [C a seaport on the southwest coast of Asia Minor]. 2 There we found a ship ·going [crossing over] to Phoenicia [C a coastal region north of Israel; present-day Lebanon], so we went aboard and sailed away. 3 We sailed near the island of Cyprus [11:19], ·seeing [L leaving] it to the ·north [L left], but we sailed on to Syria. We ·stopped [landed] at Tyre [12:20] because the ship needed to unload its cargo there. 4 We ·found [sought out] some ·followers [disciples] in Tyre and stayed with them for seven days. Through the ·Holy Spirit [L Spirit] they ·warned [or kept warning] Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 5 When ·we finished our visit [L our days there were finished], we left and continued our trip. All ·the followers [L of them], even the women and children, came outside the city with us. After we all knelt on the beach and prayed, 6 we said good-bye and got on the ship, and ·the followers [L they] went back home.
7 We ·continued [or finished] our trip from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais [C a town on the Mediterranean coast about half way between Tyre and Caesarea, also known as Acco], where we greeted the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] and stayed with them for a day. 8 The next day we left Ptolemais and went to the city of Caesarea [10:1]. There we went into the home of Philip the ·preacher [or evangelist], one of the ·seven helpers [L Seven; 6:1–6; 8:4–40], and stayed with him. 9 He had four ·unmarried [L virgin] daughters who ·had the gift of prophesying [L prophesied]. 10 After we had been there for ·some time [L many days], a prophet named Agabus [11:27–28] ·arrived [L came down] from Judea. 11 He came to us and ·borrowed [took] Paul’s belt and used it to tie his own hands and feet. He said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘This is how the Jews in Jerusalem will ·tie up [or bind (in chains)] the man ·who wears this belt [L whose belt this is]. Then they will ·give [deliver; hand over; betray] him to the Gentiles.’”
12 When we all heard this, we and the people there ·begged [encouraged; urged; pleaded with] Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 13 But he ·said [L responded], “Why are you crying and ·making me so sad [L breaking my heart]? I am not only ready to be ·tied up [or bound; imprisoned] in Jerusalem, I am ready to die for the [L name of the] Lord Jesus!”
14 We could not ·persuade him to stay away from Jerusalem [L persuade/convince him]. So we ·stopped begging him [L remained silent] and said, “·We pray that what the Lord wants will [L Let the Lord’s will] be done.”
15 After ·this [L these days], we ·got ready [made preparations; packed our bags] and ·started on our way [L went up] to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the ·followers [disciples] from Caesarea went with us and took us to the home of Mnason, where we would stay. He was from Cyprus and was one of the ·first [or early; or original] ·followers [disciples].
Paul Visits James
17 [L Arriving] In Jerusalem the ·believers [L brothers (and sisters)] ·were glad to see us [welcomed us warmly]. 18 The next day Paul went with us to visit James, and all the elders [14:23] were there. 19 Paul greeted them and ·told [recounted for] them ·everything [or in detail what; or one by one the things] God had done among the ·other nations [Gentiles] through ·him [L his ministry/service]. 20 When they heard this, they ·praised [gave glory to] God. Then they said to ·Paul [L him], “Brother, you can see that many thousands of ·our people [L the Jews] have become believers [2:41, 47; 4:4]. And they ·think it is very important to obey [L are passionate about; are zealots for] ·the law of Moses [L the Law]. 21 They have ·heard [been informed] about your teaching, that you tell ·our people [L the Jews] who live among the ·nations [Gentiles] to ·leave the law of Moses [L forsake/abandon Moses]. They have heard that you tell them not to circumcise their children and not to ·obey [observe; L walk in] our ·customs [or traditional way of life]. 22 What [L then; therefore] should we do? They will [L surely] ·learn [hear] that you have come. 23 So ·we will tell you what to do [L do what we say]: Four of our men have made a ·promise to God [L vow]. 24 Take these men with you and share in their ·cleansing ceremony [ritual purification]. Pay their expenses so they can shave their heads [C a ritual that indicates the end of a Nazirite’s vows; Num. 6:13–20]. Then ·it will prove to everyone [L everyone will know] that what they have heard about you is not true and that you ·follow [L indeed keep/observe] the law of Moses in your own life. 25 We have already sent a letter [L with our judgment/decision] to the Gentile believers [C the decision of the council of Jerusalem; 15:6–21]. The letter said: ‘Do not eat food that has been offered to idols, or blood, or animals that have been strangled. Do not take part in sexual sin [15:20].’”
26 The next day Paul took the four men and shared in the ·cleansing ceremony [ritual purification] with them. Then he went to the Temple and announced the time when the days of the ·cleansing ceremony [ritual purification] would be finished and an ·offering [sacrifice] would be ·given [offered] for each of the men.
27 When the seven days were almost over [C the period of time for purification; Num. 19:12], some of ·his people [L the Jews] from [C the province of] Asia saw Paul at the Temple. They ·caused all the people to be upset [stirred up/incited the whole crowd] and grabbed Paul. 28 They shouted, “·People of Israel [L Men, Israelites], help us! This is the man who goes everywhere teaching against our people [C Israel], against ·the law of Moses [L the Law], and against this ·Temple [L place]. Now he has brought some Greeks into the Temple and has ·made this holy place unclean [defiled this holy place]!” 29 (They said this because they had seen Trophimus [20:4; 2 Tim. 4:20], ·a man from Ephesus [L the Ephesian], with Paul in ·Jerusalem [L the city]. They ·thought [supposed; assumed] that Paul had brought him into the Temple [C God-fearing Gentiles were only allowed in the outer courtyard, known as the “court of the Gentiles”].)
30 ·All the people in Jerusalem [L The whole city] became ·upset [aroused]. Together they ·ran [or rushed together; came running], took Paul, and dragged him out of the Temple. The Temple doors were closed immediately. 31 While they were trying to kill ·Paul [L him], the ·commander of the Roman army in Jerusalem [L tribune/commander of the regiment; C a tribune (Greek: chiliarch) oversaw about a thousand soldiers] ·learned [received the report] that ·there was trouble in the whole city [L all Jerusalem was in confusion/an uproar]. 32 Immediately he took some ·officers and soldiers [L soldiers and centurions; C centurions oversaw about a hundred soldiers] and ran to the place where the crowd was gathered. When the people saw ·them [L the tribune and the soldiers], they stopped beating Paul. 33 The ·commander [tribune] went to Paul and arrested him. He told his soldiers to ·bind [shackle] Paul with two chains. Then he ·asked [inquired about] who he was and what he had done wrong. 34 Some in the crowd were yelling one thing, and some were yelling another. Because of all this ·confusion and shouting [uproar; noise; tumult], the commander could not learn ·what had happened [the truth/facts]. So he ordered the soldiers to take Paul to the ·army building [barracks; C probably the Roman garrison known as the Antonia fortress, overlooking the temple from the north]. 35 When ·Paul [L he] came to the steps [C leading up to the Antonia fortress], the soldiers had to carry him because ·the people were ready to hurt him [L of the violence of the mob/crowd]. 36 [L For] The whole mob was following them, shouting, “·Kill [or Away with] him!”
37 As ·the soldiers [L they] were about to take Paul into the ·army building [barracks], he spoke to the ·commander [tribune], “May I say something to you?”
·The commander [L He] said, “Do you speak Greek? 38 ·I thought you were [L Are you not…?] the Egyptian who started ·some trouble against the government [a revolt; an insurrection] ·not long ago [or some time ago; C according to the Jewish historian Josephus, the event occurred about three years prior to this] and led four thousand ·killers [terrorists; cut-throats; L of the sicarii; C Josephus identifies sicarii (“dagger-men”) as assassins who mingled with crowds and used daggers to murder Romans and their collaborators] out to the desert.”
39 Paul said, “No, I am a Jew from Tarsus [9:11] in the ·country [province] of Cilicia [6:9]. I am a citizen of that ·important [L not insignificant] city. ·Please [L I beg/urge you], let me speak to the people.”
40 ·The commander [L He] gave permission, so Paul stood on the steps and ·waved [signaled/gestured with] ·his hand to quiet the people [L his hand]. When there was silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language [C probably Aramaic; the biblical writers do not distinguish between these related languages, calling both “Hebrew”].
Paul Speaks to the People
22 Paul said, “[L Men,] Brothers and fathers, listen to my defense to you.” 2 When they heard him ·speaking [addressing them in] the Hebrew [or Aramaic; 21:40] language, they became ·very [even more] quiet. Paul said, 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus [9:11] in the ·country [province] of Cilicia [6:9], but I ·grew up [was brought up; or was educated] in this city [C Jerusalem]. I was ·a student of [L instructed at the feet of; C idiom indicating the role of a disciple] Gamaliel [C a famous teacher of the Pharisees; 5:34], who ·carefully [or strictly] taught me everything about the law of our ·ancestors [forefathers; fathers]. I was ·very serious about serving [L zealous/passionate for] God, just as are all of you here today. 4 I persecuted the people who followed ·the Way of Jesus [L this Way; C another name for the Christian movement; 9:2; 18:25; 19:23], ·and some of them were even killed [L up to the point of death; 7:60]. I ·arrested [L bound] men and women and put them in jail. 5 The high priest and the whole council of elders can ·tell you this is true [testify about me]. They gave me letters to the brothers [C their fellow Jewish leaders] in Damascus. So I was going there to ·arrest [L bind] these people and bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 “About noon when I came near Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly ·flashed [shone] all around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ ·The voice [L He] said, ‘I am Jesus ·of Nazareth [or the Nazarene] whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Those who were with me did not ·understand [or hear; C the word can mean either “hear” or “understand,” but 9:7 suggests the latter] the voice [L that was speaking to me], but they saw the light. 10 I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘Get up and go to Damascus. There you will be told about all the things ·I have planned [or assigned; appointed] for you to do.’ 11 I could not see, because ·the bright light had made me blind [L of the glory/brilliance of that light]. So ·my companions [L those with me] led me [L by the hand] into Damascus.
12 “There a man named Ananias came to me. He was a ·religious [devout; God-fearing] man; ·he obeyed the law of Moses [L …according to the law], and all the Jews who lived there ·respected [spoke well of] him. 13 He [L came to me and] stood by me and said, ‘Brother Saul, ·see again [L look up; C an idiom for regaining sight]!’ ·Immediately [L At that hour] I ·was able to see [L looked up at] him. 14 He said, ‘The God of our ·ancestors [forefathers; fathers] ·chose [appointed] you long ago to know his ·plan [will; purpose], to see the Righteous One [C Jesus], and to hear ·words [a divine message; L a voice] from ·him [L his mouth]. 15 You will be his witness to all people, telling them about what you have seen and heard. 16 Now, ·why wait any longer [what are you waiting for]? Get up, be baptized, and wash your sins away, ·trusting in him to save you [L calling on his name].’
17 “Later, when I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple, and I ·saw a vision [or fell into a trance]. 18 I saw ·the Lord [L him] saying to me, ‘Hurry! Leave Jerusalem ·now [or quickly]! The people here will not accept ·the truth [L your testimony/witness] about me.’ 19 But I said, ‘Lord, they [L themselves; very well] know that in every synagogue I put ·the believers [L those who believe in you] in jail and beat them. 20 They also know I was there when Stephen, your ·witness [or martyr], ·was killed [L had his blood shed]. I [myself; indeed] stood there agreeing and ·holding [guarding; keeping] the coats of those who were killing him!’ 21 But the Lord said to me, ‘·Leave now [Go!]. I will send you far away to the ·other nations [Gentiles].’”
22 ·The crowd [L They] listened to ·Paul [him] until he said ·this [L this word]. Then they ·began shouting [L raised their voice saying], “·Get rid of him [Kill him; L Remove this one from the earth]! He doesn’t deserve to live!” 23 They ·shouted [yelled; screamed], threw off their coats, and threw dust into the air [C demonstrations of anger and disgust].
24 Then the ·commander [tribune] ordered the soldiers to take ·Paul [L him] into the ·army building [barracks] and ·beat him [L question him by whipping/flogging]. ·He wanted [L …in order] to make Paul tell why the people were shouting against him like this [C flogging was commonly used to gain information]. 25 But as the soldiers were ·tying him up [or stretching him out (on the posts)], preparing to ·beat [whip; flog] him, Paul said to an officer nearby, “Do you have the right to ·beat [whip; flog] a Roman citizen who ·has not been proven guilty [L is uncondemned; C this was against Roman law]?”
26 When the ·officer [L centurion; 21:32] heard this, he went to the ·commander [tribune] and reported it. The officer said, “·Do you know what you are doing [or What are you about to do]? This man is a Roman citizen.”
27 The ·commander [tribune] came to ·Paul [L him] and said, “Tell me, are you really a Roman citizen?”
He answered, “Yes.”
28 The ·commander [tribune] ·said [L responded], “I paid a lot of money to become a Roman citizen.”
But Paul said, “I was born a citizen.”
29 [L Therefore] The men who were preparing to question Paul ·moved away from him [withdrew] immediately. The ·commander [tribune] was frightened because he had already ·tied [bound] ·Paul [L him], and Paul was a Roman citizen.
Paul Speaks to the Jewish Council
30 The next day ·the commander [L he] ·decided [desired] to learn [with certainty; the true reason] why the Jews were accusing ·Paul [L him]. So he ordered the ·leading [T chief] priests and the ·council [Sanhedrin; C Jewish high court comprised of 70 Jewish leaders; 4:15] to meet. ·The commander [L He] ·took Paul’s chains off [L released him]. Then he brought Paul out and stood him before their meeting.
23 Paul looked [L intently] at the ·council [Sanhedrin; 22:30] and said, “[L Men,] Brothers, I have ·lived my life [conducted myself; L lived as a citizen] ·without guilt feelings [L with a good/clear conscience] before God up to this day.” 2 Ananias, the high priest [C high priest from ad 47 to 58; not the man named in 22:12], heard this and told the men who were standing near Paul to ·hit [strike] him on the mouth. 3 Paul said to ·Ananias [L him], “God ·will [or is about to] ·hit [strike] you, too! You ·are like a wall that has been painted white [whitewashed wall!; C a wall with many flaws covered only by a coat of paint]. ·You sit [L Do you sit…?] there and judge me, using the ·law of Moses [L law], but you are telling them to hit me, and that is against the law.”
4 The men standing near Paul said to him, “·You cannot insult [or How dare you insult; L Are you insulting…?] God’s high priest like that!”
5 Paul said, “Brothers, I did not know this man was the high priest [C perhaps because of poor eyesight (Gal. 4:15; 6:11), or because the high priest was not in his formal vestments, or Paul is speaking ironically]. It is written in the Scriptures, ‘You must not ·curse [L speak evil of] a leader of your people [Ex. 22:28].’” 6 Some of the men in the meeting were Sadducees [C Jewish religious party with most influence in the Jewish high court (Sanhedrin) and among the Temple leadership; 4:1], and others were Pharisees [C religious party that strictly observed OT laws and added traditions; 5:34]. ·Knowing [or Realizing] this, Paul ·shouted [called out] ·to them [L in the council/Sanhedrin], “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, ·and my father was a Pharisee [or descended from Pharisees; L a son of Pharisees]. I am on trial here because ·I believe that people will rise from the dead [L of the hope and the resurrection].”
7 When Paul said this, there was an argument between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the ·group [assembly] was divided. 8 ([L For] The Sadducees ·do not believe that people will rise from the dead [L say there is no resurrection] nor do they believe in angels or spirits. But the Pharisees believe in them all.) 9 So there was a great ·uproar [commotion; outcry]. Some of the ·teachers of the law [scribes], who were Pharisees, stood up and ·argued [protested violently/vehemently], “We find ·nothing wrong [no fault; nothing evil] with this man. ·Maybe [L What if…?] an angel or a spirit did speak to him.”
10 The argument was ·beginning to turn into such a fight [becoming so great] that the ·commander [tribune] was afraid they would tear Paul to pieces. So he told the soldiers to go down and take Paul away and ·put him in [bring him to] the ·army building [barracks].
11 The next night the Lord came and stood by Paul. He said, “Be brave [or Don’t be afraid; Rest assured]! [L For just as] You have ·told [testified to] people in Jerusalem about me. You must ·do the same [L testify to me] in Rome.”
12 In the morning ·some of Paul’s Jewish opponents [L the Jews] ·made a plan [entered a conspiracy] to kill Paul, and they took an oath not to eat or drink anything until they had killed him. 13 There were more than forty men who ·made this plan [formed this conspiracy]. 14 They went to the ·leading [T chief] priests and the elders and said, “We have ·taken [sworn] an oath not to ·eat or drink [L taste anything] until we have killed Paul. 15 So [L now] this is what we want you [L together with the Sanhedrin] to do: Send a message to the ·commander [tribune] to bring Paul out to you as though you want to ·ask him more questions [L determine more accurately the facts of his case]. We will be waiting to kill him ·while he is on the way [before he arrives] here.”
16 But ·Paul’s nephew [L the son of Paul’s sister] heard about this ·plan [plot; L ambush plan] and went to the ·army building [barracks] and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the ·officers [centurions] and said, “Take this young man to the ·commander [tribune]. [L For] He has ·a message for him [L something to report to him].”
18 So ·the officer [L he] brought ·Paul’s nephew [L him] to the ·commander [tribune] and said, “The prisoner, Paul, [L called me over and] asked me to bring this young man to you. He wants to tell you something.”
19 The ·commander [tribune] took the young man’s hand and led him to a place where they could be alone. He asked, “What do you ·want to tell [have to report to] me?”
20 ·The young man [L He] said, “The Jews have ·decided [conspired; agreed] to ask you to bring Paul down to ·their council meeting [the Sanhedrin] tomorrow. They want you to think they are going to ·ask him more questions [L inquire more accurately concerning him]. 21 But don’t ·believe [be persuaded by] them! [L Because] More than forty men are ·hiding and waiting to kill Paul [L waiting in ambush for him]. They have all taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Now they are [L ready,] waiting for you to agree.”
22 [L Therefore] The ·commander [tribune] sent the young man away, ordering him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have ·told [revealed to] me ·about their plan [L these things].”
Paul Is Sent to Caesarea
23 Then ·the commander [L he] called two ·officers [centurions] and said, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred men with spears to leave for Caesarea at ·nine o’clock tonight [L at the third hour of the night; C night begins about 6 PM]. 24 Get ·some horses [mounts; L animals] for Paul to ride so he can be taken to Governor Felix [C held office from ad 52–59] safely.” 25 And he wrote a letter ·that said [of this kind; to this effect; L possessing this type/pattern]:
26 From Claudius Lysias.
To the Most Excellent Governor Felix:
27 Some of the Jews had ·taken [seized] this man and ·planned [were about] to kill him. But I learned that he is a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and ·saved [rescued] him. 28 I wanted to know ·why [L the charge/reason] they were accusing him, so I brought him before their ·council meeting [Sanhedrin]. 29 I ·learned [L found; discovered] that the accusation had to do with ·questions [debates; disputed matters] about their own law [C the law of Moses], but no charge was worthy of death or ·jail [chains]. 30 When I was ·told [informed] that ·some of them were planning to kill Paul [L there was a plot against the man], I sent him to you at once. I also ·told [ordered] ·them [L his accusers] to tell you what they have against him.
31 So the soldiers ·did what they were told [followed orders] and took Paul and brought him to the city of Antipatris [C city 40 miles from Jerusalem and 25 miles from Caesarea] that night. 32 The next day the horsemen ·went [were sent] with ·Paul to Caesarea [L him], but the other soldiers went back to the ·army building in Jerusalem [L barracks]. 33 When ·the horsemen [L they] came to Caesarea and ·gave [delivered] the letter to the governor, they turned Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked Paul, “What ·area [province] are you from?” When he learned that Paul was from Cilicia [9:11], 35 he said, “I will hear your case when ·those who are against you [your accusers] come here, too.” Then the governor gave orders for Paul to be kept under guard in Herod’s ·palace [headquarters; Praetorium].
Paul Is Accused
24 Five days later Ananias, the high priest [23:1], ·went to the city of Caesarea [L came down] with some of the elders and a ·lawyer [orator; C one who speaks in court] named Tertullus. They had come to make charges against Paul before the governor. 2 Paul was called into the meeting, and Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Most Excellent Felix! Our people enjoy ·much [or a long period of] peace because of you, and many ·wrong things in our country are being made right [or improvements/reforms have been made] through your ·wise help [or foresight]. 3 We ·accept [acknowledge] these things always and in every place, ·and we are thankful for them [or …with much gratitude/thanksgiving]. 4 But not wanting to ·take any more of your time [detain you; or bore you], I ·beg [encourage; urge] you ·to be kind and [or because you are kind/patient to] listen to our few words. 5 We have found this man to be a ·troublemaker [pest; plague], ·stirring up [or instigating riots among] ·his people [L Jews] everywhere in the world. He is a ·leader [ringleader] of the Nazarene ·group [party; faction; sect]. 6 Also, he was trying to ·make the Temple unclean [defile/profane/desecrate the Temple], but we ·stopped [or grabbed; arrested] him. |And we wanted to judge him by our own law. 7 But the ·officer [tribune] Lysias came and used much force to take him from us. 8 And Lysias commanded ·those who wanted to accuse Paul [his accusers] to come to you.|[g] By ·asking him questions [cross-examining him] yourself, you can ·decide [learn; come to know] ·if all these things are true [or the nature of our accusations].” 9 The ·others [L Jews] ·agreed [or joined in the attack] and said that all of this was true.
10 When the governor ·made a sign [motioned; gestured] for ·Paul [L him] to speak, Paul ·said [responded], “I know you have been a judge over this nation for ·a long time [L many years]. So I ·am happy to [gladly; confidently] defend myself before you. 11 You can ·learn [find out; verify] for yourself that I went to worship in Jerusalem ·only [L no more than] twelve days ago. 12 ·Those who are accusing me [L They] did not find me arguing with anyone in the Temple or stirring up the ·people [crowd] in the synagogues or in the city. 13 They cannot prove the ·things they are saying [charges; accusations] against me now. 14 But I will ·tell you this [admit/confess this to you]: I worship the God of our ·ancestors [forefathers; fathers] as a follower of ·the Way of Jesus [L the Way; 22:4], which they call a ·sect [faction; cult]. But I believe everything that is ·taught in [or in agreement with; L according to] the law of Moses and that is written in the books of the Prophets. 15 I have the same hope in God that they ·have [accept]—the hope that all people, ·good and bad [righteous and unrighteous], will surely be ·raised from the dead [resurrected; C the righteous to salvation, the wicked for judgment; Is. 26:19; Dan. 12:2]. 16 This is why I always try to ·do what I believe is right [L have a clear conscience] before God and people.
17 “After being away from Jerusalem for ·several [L many] years, I went back to bring ·money [alms; gifts for the poor] to my ·people [nation; Rom. 15:26; 1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1, 13] and to ·offer sacrifices [present offerings]. 18 I was doing this when they found me in the Temple. I ·had finished the cleansing ceremony [or I was ritually pure; 21:20–29] ·and had not made any trouble; no people were gathering around me [L with neither crowd nor trouble]. 19 But there were some ·people [L Jews] from Asia who should be here, standing before you. If ·I have really done anything wrong [L they have anything against me], they are the ones who should accuse me. 20 Or ·ask these people here [L let these people themselves state] if they found any ·wrong [crime; unrighteousness] in me when I stood before the ·council in Jerusalem [Sanhedrin]. 21 But I did shout one thing when I stood before them: ‘·You are judging me [or I am on trial before you] today ·because I believe that people will rise from [or with respect to the issue of the resurrection of] the dead!’”
22 Felix already ·understood much about [L knew accurately the facts about] the ·Way of Jesus [L Way; 22:4]. He ·stopped the trial [adjourned the hearing] and said, “When ·commander [tribune] Lysias comes ·here [L down], I will decide your case.” 23 Felix ·told [L ordered] the ·officer [centurion] to keep ·Paul [L him] guarded but to give him some freedom and to let his ·friends [L own people] ·bring what he needed [meet his needs; L serve him].
Paul Speaks to Felix and His Wife
24 After some days Felix came with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, and asked for Paul to be brought to him. He listened to Paul talk about ·believing [faith] in Christ Jesus. 25 But Felix became afraid when Paul spoke about ·living right [righteousness; justice], self-control, and the ·time when God will judge the world [L coming judgment]. He said, “·Go away [or That’s enough for] now. When I have ·more time [another opportunity], I will call for you.” 26 At the same time Felix hoped that ·Paul [L he] would give him ·some money [or a bribe], so he often sent for Paul and talked with him.
27 But after two years, Felix was ·replaced [succeeded] by Porcius Festus as governor [C from ad 59–62]. But Felix had left Paul in prison to please the Jews.
Paul Asks to See Caesar
25 Three days after Festus ·became governor [L arrived in the province], he went [L up] from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 There the ·leading [T chief] priests and the important leaders [L of the Jews] made charges against Paul before Festus. 3 They ·asked [urged] Festus to do them a favor. They wanted him to send Paul back to Jerusalem, because they ·had a plan [L planned an ambush] to kill him on the way. 4 But Festus answered that Paul would be kept in Caesarea and that he himself was returning there soon. 5 He said, “[L Therefore,] Some of your ·leaders [authorities] should go with me. They can accuse the man there in Caesarea, if he has really done something wrong.”
6 ·Festus [L He] stayed ·in Jerusalem [L among them] another eight or ten days and then went ·back [L down] to Caesarea. The next day he ·told the soldiers to bring Paul [L ordered Paul to be brought] before him. Festus was seated on the ·judge’s seat [tribunal] 7 when Paul came into the room. The ·people [L Jews] who had come [L down] from Jerusalem stood around him, making serious charges against him, which they could not prove. 8 This is what Paul said to defend himself: “I have done ·nothing wrong [committed no offense/sin/crime] against the law [L of the Jews], against the Temple, or against Caesar.”
9 But Festus wanted to ·please [curry favor with; or do a favor for] the ·people [L Jews]. So he asked Paul, “·Do you want [or Are you willing] to go [L up] to Jerusalem for me to ·judge [try] you there on these charges?”
10 Paul said, “I am standing at Caesar’s ·judgment seat [or court; tribunal] now, where I should be ·judged [tried]. I have done nothing wrong to ·them [L the Jews]; you ·know this is true [clearly recognize this]. 11 If I have done something wrong and ·the law says I must die [L worthy of death], I do not ask to be saved from death. But if these charges are ·not true [baseless], then no one can ·give me [hand me over; or make me a gift; C Paul detects Festus’ desire to gain favor with the Jews] to them. I ·want Caesar to hear my case [appeal to Caesar/the emperor; C the right of a Roman citizen for a capital offense]!”
12 Festus talked about this with his ·advisers [council]. Then he said, “You have ·asked to see [appealed to] Caesar, so you will go to Caesar!”
Paul Before King Agrippa
13 A few days later King Agrippa [C Agrippa II, the Jewish king who ruled parts of Palestine from ad 52 to 92] and Bernice [C Agrippa’s sister and probably his lover] came to Caesarea to ·visit [or welcome; pay their respects to] Festus. 14 They stayed there for ·some time [L many days], and Festus told the king about Paul’s case. Festus said, “There is a man that Felix left in prison. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the ·leading [T chief] priests and the elders there made charges against him, asking me to ·sentence him to death [L sentence/condemn him]. 16 But I answered, ‘When a man is accused of a crime, ·Romans do not [L it is not a custom for Romans to] hand him over until he has been allowed to face his accusers and defend himself against their charges.’ 17 So when these people came here ·to Caesarea for the trial [L with me], I did not ·waste time [postpone/delay the case]. The next day I sat on the ·judge’s seat [tribunal] and commanded that the man be brought in. 18 ·They stood up and accused him [L The accusers stood up (to speak)], but not of any ·serious crime [evil deeds] as I ·thought they would [expected]. 19 The things they ·said [disputed] were about their own ·religion [or superstition] and about a man named Jesus who died. But Paul ·said [claimed] that he is still alive. 20 ·Not knowing [At a loss] how to ·find out about [investigate] these questions, I asked Paul, ‘·Do you want [or Are you willing] to go to Jerusalem and be ·judged [tried] there [L concerning these things]?’ 21 But he asked to be ·kept in Caesarea [L held in custody]. He wants a decision from ·the emperor [or His Majesty; the Revered/August One; C A title for Caesar, the ruler of the Roman world, first given to Caesar “Augustus”; here it refers to Nero]. So I ordered that he be held [in custody] until I could send him to Caesar.”
22 Agrippa said to Festus, “I would also like to hear this man myself.”
Festus said, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”
23 [L Therefore] The next day Agrippa and Bernice ·appeared [entered] with great ·show [pomp; fanfare]. They went into the ·judgment room [audience hall] with the ·army leaders [tribunes] and the important men of ·Caesarea [L the city]. Then Festus ·ordered the soldiers [L gave the order] to bring Paul in. 24 Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are ·gathered [or present] here with us, you see this man. ·All the people [The Jewish community; L All the multitude of the Jews], here and in Jerusalem, have ·complained to [or petitioned] me about him, shouting that he should not live any longer. 25 But I found ·no reason to order his [L he had done nothing deserving] death. But since he ·asked to be judged by Caesar [appealed to the emperor], I decided to send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write the ·emperor [L lord; sovereign] about him. So I have brought him before all of you—especially you, King Agrippa. ·I hope you can question him and give me [L …so that from this examination, I might have] something to write. 27 [L For] I think it is ·foolish [unreasonable] to send a prisoner to Caesar without telling what charges are against him.”
Paul Defends Himself
26 Agrippa said to Paul, “You may now speak for yourself.”
Then Paul ·raised [stretched out] his hand and began to defend himself. 2 He said, “King Agrippa, I am very ·blessed [or fortunate] to stand before you and will ·answer [L defend myself against] all the charges the Jews make against me. 3 ·You know so much [You especially know; or I am especially blessed because you know] about all the customs and the ·things they argue about [controversies of the Jews], so ·please [I urge/beg you to] listen to me patiently.
4 “All ·my people [L the Jews] know about my ·whole life [L manner of life from youth], how I lived from the beginning ·in my own country and later [or among my own people and] in Jerusalem.