Acts 20:4-23:35 Amplified Bible (AMP)
4 He was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and by Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 These men went on ahead and were waiting for us (including Luke) at Troas. 6 We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread (Passover week), and within five days we reached them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
7 Now on the first day of the week (Sunday), when we were gathered together to break bread (share communion), Paul began talking with them, intending to leave the next day; and he kept on with his message until midnight. 8 Now there were many lamps in the upper room where we were assembled, 9 and there was a young man named Eutychus (“Lucky”) sitting on the window sill. He was sinking into a deep sleep, and as Paul [a]kept on talking longer and longer, he was completely overcome by sleep and fell down from the third story; and he was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and threw himself on him and embraced him, and said [to those standing around him], “Do not be troubled, because [b]he is alive.” 11 When Paul had gone back upstairs and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked [informally and confidentially] with them for a long time—until daybreak [in fact]—and then he left. 12 They took the boy [Eutychus] home alive, and were greatly comforted and encouraged.
Troas to Miletus
13 But we went on ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul on board there; for that was what he had arranged, intending himself to go [a shorter route] by land. 14 So when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and sailed on to Mitylene. 15 Sailing from there, we arrived the next day [at a point] opposite Chios; the following day we crossed over to Samos, and the next day we arrived at Miletus [about 30 miles south of Ephesus]. 16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus so that he would not end up spending time [unnecessarily] in [the province of] Asia (modern Turkey); for he was in a hurry to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of [c]Pentecost.
Farewell to Ephesus
17 However, from Miletus he sent word to Ephesus and summoned the elders of the church [to meet him there]. 18 And when they arrived he said to them:
“You know well how I [lived when I] was with you, from the first day that I set foot in Asia [until now], 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and trials which came on me because of the plots of the Jews [against me]; 20 [you know] how I did not shrink back in fear from telling you anything that was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public meetings, and from house to house, 21 solemnly [and wholeheartedly] testifying to both Jews and Greeks, urging them to turn in repentance to God and [to have] faith in our Lord Jesus Christ [for salvation]. 22 And now, compelled by the Spirit and obligated by my convictions, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly [and emphatically] affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me. 24 But I do not consider my life as something of value or dear to me, so that I may [with joy] finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify faithfully of the good news of God’s [precious, undeserved] grace [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life].
25 “And now, listen carefully: I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, [d]will see me again. 26 For that reason I testify to you on this [our parting] day that I am innocent of the blood of all people. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan of God. 28 Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood. 29 I know that after I am gone, [false teachers like] ferocious wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 even from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse and distorted things, to draw away the disciples after themselves [as their followers]. 31 Therefore be continually alert, remembering that for three years, night or day, I did not stop admonishing and advising each one [of you] with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God [placing you in His protective, loving care] and [I commend you] to the word of His grace [the counsel and promises of His unmerited favor]. His grace is able to build you up and to give you the [rightful] inheritance among all those who are sanctified [that is, among those who are set apart for God’s purpose—all believers]. 33 I had no desire for anyone’s silver or gold or [expensive] clothes. 34 You know personally that these hands ministered to my own needs [working in manual labor] and to [those of] the people who were with me. 35 In everything I showed you [by example] that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive.’”
36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And [e]they began to weep openly and threw their arms around Paul’s neck, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 grieving and distressed especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see him again. And they accompanied him to the ship.
Paul Sails from Miletus
21 When we had torn ourselves away from them and set sail, we ran a straight course and came to Cos, and on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara; 2 and after finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went on board and set sail. 3 After we came in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on our left (port side), we sailed on to Syria and put in at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo. 4 After looking up the disciples [in Tyre], we stayed there [with them] seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the [Holy] Spirit [f]not to set foot in Jerusalem. 5 When our days there came to an end, we left and proceeded on our journey, while all of the disciples, with their wives and children, escorted us on our way until we were outside the city. After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we told one another goodbye. 6 Then we boarded the ship, and they returned to their homes.
7 When we had completed the voyage from Tyre, we landed [twenty miles to the south] at Ptolemais, and after greeting the [g]believers, we stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and we went to the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven [deacons], and stayed with him. 9 He had four virgin daughters who had the gift of prophecy. 10 As we were staying there for some time, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to [see] us, he took Paul’s [wide] [h]band (belt, sash) and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this same way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this band, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles (pagans).’” 12 Now when we had heard this, both we and the local residents began pleading with Paul trying to persuade him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart [like this]? For I am ready not only to be bound and imprisoned, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be dissuaded, we stopped pleading and fell silent, saying, “The Lord’s will be done!”
Paul at Jerusalem
15 After this we got ready and started on our way up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also came with us, taking us to [the house of] Mnason, a man from Cyprus, a disciple of long standing with whom we were to lodge.
17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the [i]brothers and sisters welcomed us gladly. 18 On the next day Paul went with us to [see] [j]James, and all the elders of the church were present. 19 After greeting them, Paul began to give a detailed account of the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they began glorifying and praising God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all enthusiastic supporters of the Law [of Moses]. 21 Now they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are living among the Gentiles to turn away from [the Law of] Moses, advising them not to circumcise their children or to live according to the [Mosaic] customs. 22 What then should be done? They will certainly hear that you have arrived. 23 Therefore do just what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses [for the temple offerings] so that they may shave their heads. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to the things they have been told about you, but that you yourself also follow and keep the Law. 25 But with regard to the Gentiles who have believed [in Christ], we have sent them a letter with our decision that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from [consuming] blood and from [the meat of] what has been strangled and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the [four] men, and the next day he purified himself along with them [by submitting to the ritual]. He went into the temple to give notice of [the time] when the days of purification [ending each vow] would be fulfilled and the usual offering could be presented on behalf of each one.
Paul Seized in the Temple
27 When the seven days [required to complete the ritual] were almost over, [some] Jews from [the province of] Asia [Minor], caught sight of him in the temple, and began to stir up the crowd, and they seized him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul, and they assumed that he had brought the man into the temple [beyond the court of the Gentiles]. 30 Then the whole city was provoked and confused, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the gates were closed. 31 Now while they were trying to kill him, word came to the commander of the [Roman] garrison that all Jerusalem was in a state of upheaval. 32 So he immediately took soldiers and centurions and ran down among them. When the people saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came up and arrested Paul, and ordered that he be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 But some in the crowd were shouting one thing and others something else; and since he could not determine the facts because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken to the barracks [in the tower of Antonia]. 35 When Paul got to the steps, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob; 36 for the majority of the people kept following them, shouting, “Away with him! [Kill him!]”
37 Just as Paul was about to be taken into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?” And the man replied, “Do you know Greek? 38 Then you are not [as I assumed] the Egyptian who [k]some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led those 4,000 men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul said, “I am a Jew from [l]Tarsus in Cilicia (Mersin Province, Turkey), a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.” 40 When the commander had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, gestured with his hand to the people; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect (Jewish Aramaic), saying,
Paul’s Defense before the Jews
22 “Brethren and fathers (kinsmen), hear my defense which I now offer to you.”
2 When they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet. And he continued,
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of [m]Gamaliel according to the strictness of the law of our fathers, being ardent and passionate for God just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted and pursued the followers of this [n]Way to the death, binding them with chains and putting [followers of Jesus] both men and women into prisons, 5 as the high priest and all the Council of the elders (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) can testify; because from them I received letters to the brothers, and I was on my way to Damascus in order to bring those [believers] who were there to Jerusalem in chains to be punished.
6 “But as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a great blaze of light suddenly flashed from heaven and shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 And I replied, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me [o]saw the light, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. 10 And I asked, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that is appointed and destined for you to do.’ 11 But since I could not see because of the [glorious intensity and dazzling] brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.
12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to [p]the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to [see] me, and standing near, he said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I [recovered my sight and] looked up at him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, [and to progressively understand His plan with clarity and power] and to see the Righteous One [Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and to hear a message from His [own] mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men testifying of what you have seen and heard. 16 Now, why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name [for salvation].’
17 “Then it happened when I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple [enclosure], that I fell into a trance (vision); 18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know [without any doubt] that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You [and Your message of salvation]. 20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing nearby approving and consenting [to his death], and guarding the coats of those who were killing him.’ 21 And the Lord said to me, ‘Go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
22 They listened to Paul until [he made] this [last] statement, but now they raised their voices and shouted, “Away with such a man from the earth! He is not fit to live!” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their coats [getting ready to stone Paul] and tossing dust into the air [expressing their anger], 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he was to be [q]interrogated with a whip in order to learn why the people were shouting against him that way. 25 But when they had stretched him out [r]with the leather straps [in preparation for the whip], Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it legal for you to whip a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned [without a trial]?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and said to him, “What are you about to do? This man is a [s]Roman!” 27 So the commander came and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The commander replied, “I [t]purchased this citizenship [of mine] for a large sum of money [so how did you acquire yours?].” Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.” 29 So those who were about to interrogate him by torture immediately let him go; and the commander was also afraid when he realized that Paul was a Roman and he had put him in chains.
30 But on the next day, wanting to know the real reason why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and the whole Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) to assemble; and brought Paul down and presented him before them.
Paul before the Council
23 Then Paul, looking intently at the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), said, “Kinsmen, I have lived my life before God with a perfectly good conscience until this very day.” 2 [At this] the high priest [u]Ananias ordered those who stood beside him to strike Paul on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you [v]whitewashed wall! Do you actually sit to judge me according to the Law, and yet in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” 4 But those who stood near Paul said, “Are you insulting the high priest of God?” 5 Paul said, “I was not aware, brothers, that he was [w]high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6 But recognizing that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began affirming loudly in the Council chamber, “Kinsmen, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!” 7 When he said this, an angry dispute erupted between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the [whole crowded] assembly was divided [into two factions]. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no [such thing as a] resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees [speak out freely and] acknowledge [their belief in] them all. 9 Then a great uproar occurred, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and began to argue heatedly [in Paul’s favor], saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has [really] spoken to him?” 10 And as the dissension became even greater, the commander, fearing that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered the troops to go down and forcibly take him from them, and bring him to the barracks.
11 On the following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Be brave; for as you have solemnly and faithfully witnessed about Me at Jerusalem, so you must also testify at Rome.”
A Conspiracy to Kill Paul
12 Now when day came, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath (curse), saying that they would not eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty [men] who formed this plot [and swore this oath]. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath not to taste anything [neither food nor drink] until we have killed Paul. 15 So now you, along with the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), notify the commander to bring Paul down to you, as if you were going to investigate his case more thoroughly. But we are ready to kill him before he comes near [the place].”
16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their [planned] ambush, and he went to the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul, calling in one of the centurions, said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called for me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to tell you.” 19 The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to ask him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” 20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) tomorrow, as if they were going to interrogate him more thoroughly. 21 But do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him, and they have bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Even now they are ready, just waiting for your promise.” 22 So the commander let the young man leave, instructing him, “Do not tell anyone that you have given me this information.”
Paul Moved to Caesarea Maritima
23 Then summoning two of the centurions, he said, “Have two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night (9:00 p.m.) to go as far as [x]Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred [y]spearmen; 24 also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him safely to [z]Felix the governor.” 25 And [after instructing the centurions] he wrote a letter to this effect:
“Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.
This man was seized [as a prisoner] by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, when I came upon him with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And wanting to know the exact charge which they were making against him, I brought him down to their Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court); 29 and I discovered that he was accused in regard to questions and issues in their Law, but [he was] under no accusation that would call for the penalty of death or [even] for imprisonment.
When I was told that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you immediately, also directing his accusers to bring their charges against him before you.”
31 So the soldiers, in compliance with their orders, took Paul and brought him to Antipatris during the night. 32 And the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks. 33 When these [horsemen] reached Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor, and also presented Paul to him. 34 After reading the letter, he asked which province Paul was from, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia [an imperial province], 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers have arrived,” giving orders that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s Praetorium (the governor’s official residence).
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