Acts 26-28Amplified Bible (AMP)
Paul’s Defense before Agrippa
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are [now] permitted to speak on your own behalf.” At that, Paul stretched out his hand [as an orator] and made his defense [as follows]:
2 “I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, since it is before you that I am to make my defense today regarding all the charges brought against me by the Jews, 3 especially because you are an expert [fully knowledgeable, experienced and unusually conversant] in all the Jewish customs and controversial issues; therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “So then, all the Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation [the Jewish people], and in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time, if they are willing to testify to it, that according to the [a]strictest sect of our religion, I have lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 Which hope [of the Messiah and the resurrection] our twelve tribes [confidently] expect to realize as they serve and worship God in earnest night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews! 8 Why is it thought incredible by [any of] you that God raises the dead?
9 “So then, I [once] thought to myself that it was my duty to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; I not only locked up many of the saints (God’s people) in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being condemned to death, I [b]cast my vote against them. 11 And I often punished them [making them suffer] in all the synagogues and tried to force them to blaspheme; and in my extreme rage at them, I kept hunting them even to foreign cities [harassing and persecuting them].
12 “While so engaged, as I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission and full power of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven surpassing the brightness of the sun, shining all around me and those who were traveling with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the Hebrew dialect (Jewish Aramaic) saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? [c]It is hard for you to kick [repeatedly] against the [d]goads [offering pointless resistance].’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 Get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you [to serve] as a minister and as a witness [to testify, with authority,] not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you, 17 [choosing you for Myself and] rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their [spiritual] eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified (set apart, made holy) by faith in Me.’
19 “So, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but I openly proclaimed first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent [change their inner self—their old way of thinking] and turn to God, doing deeds and living lives which are consistent with repentance. 21 Because of this some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had help from God to this day, and I stand [before people] testifying to small and great alike, stating nothing except what the Prophets and Moses said would come to pass— 23 that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to suffer, and that He by being the first to rise from the dead [with an incorruptible body] would proclaim light (salvation) both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
24 While Paul was making this defense, Festus said loudly, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great education is turning you toward madness.” 25 But Paul replied, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent and noble Festus, but [with a sound mind] I am uttering rational words of truth and reason. 26 For [your majesty] the king understands these things, and [therefore] I am also speaking to him with confidence and boldness, since I am convinced that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner [hidden from view, in secret]. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the [writings of the] Prophets [their messages and words]? I know that you do.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time [and with so little effort] you [almost] persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 And Paul replied, “Whether in a short time or long, I wish to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”
30 Then the king stood up, and [with him] the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them; 31 and after they had gone out, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or [even] of imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to [e]Caesar (Emperor Nero).”
Paul Is Sent to Rome
27 Now when it was determined that [f]we (including Luke) would sail for Italy, they turned Paul and some other prisoners over to a centurion of the Augustan Regiment named Julius. 2 And going aboard a ship from Adramyttian which was about to sail for the ports along the [west] coast [province] of Asia [Minor], we put out to sea; and Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, accompanied us. 3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, treating Paul with [thoughtful] consideration, allowed him to go to his friends there and be cared for and refreshed. 4 From there we put out to sea and sailed to the leeward (sheltered) side of Cyprus [for protection from weather] because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the sea along the coasts of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia [on the south coast of Asia Minor]. 6 There the centurion [Julius] found an Alexandrian ship [a grain ship of the Roman fleet] sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it. 7 For a number of days we sailed slowly and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus; then, because the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the leeward (sheltered) side of Crete, off Salmone; 8 and hugging the shore with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea [on the south side of Crete].
9 Now much time had been lost, and [g]navigation was dangerous, because even [the time for] the fast (Day of Atonement) was already over, so Paul began to strongly warn them, 10 saying, “Men, I sense [after careful thought and observation] that this voyage will certainly be a disaster and with great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 However, the centurion [Julius, ranking officer on board] was persuaded by the pilot and the owner of the ship rather than by what Paul said. 12 Because the harbor was not well situated for wintering, the majority [of the sailors] decided to put to sea from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
13 So when the south wind blew softly, thinking that they had obtained their goal, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, hugging the coast.
14 But soon afterward a violent wind, called Euraquilo [a northeaster, a tempestuous windstorm like a typhoon], came rushing down from the island; 15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not head against the wind [to gain stability], we gave up and [letting her drift] were driven along. 16 We ran under the shelter of a small island [twenty-five miles south of Crete] called Clauda, and with great difficulty we were able to get the ship’s [h]skiff on the deck and secure it. 17 After hoisting the skiff [on board], they used [i]support lines [for frapping] to undergird and brace the ship’s hull; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis [off the north coast of Africa], they let down the [j]sea anchor and lowered the sails and were driven along [backwards with the bow into the wind]. 18 On the next day, as we were being violently tossed about by the storm [and taking on water], they began to jettison the cargo; 19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle (spare lines, blocks, miscellaneous equipment) overboard with their own hands [to further reduce the weight]. 20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm kept raging about us, from then on all hope of our being saved was [growing worse and worse and] gradually abandoned.
21 After [k]they had gone a long time without food [because of seasickness and stress], Paul stood up before them and said, “Men, you should have followed my advice and should not have set sail from Crete, and brought on this damage and loss. 22 But even now I urge you to keep up your courage and be in good spirits, because there will be no loss of life among you, but only loss of the ship. 23 For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, 24 and said, ‘Stop being afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you [the lives of] all those who are sailing with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I believe God and have complete confidence in Him that it will turn out exactly as I have been told; 26 but we must run [the ship] aground on some island.”
27 The fourteenth night had come and we were drifting and being driven about in the [l]Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors began to suspect that they were approaching some land. 28 So they took soundings [using a weighted line] and found [the depth to be] twenty fathoms (120 feet); and a little farther on they sounded again and found [the depth to be] fifteen fathoms (90 feet). 29 Then fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern [to slow the ship] and kept wishing for daybreak to come. 30 But as the sailors were trying to escape [secretly] from the ship and had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to lay out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men remain on the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes that held the skiff and let it fall and drift away.
33 While they waited for the day to dawn, Paul encouraged them all [and told them] to have some food, saying, “This is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly on watch and going without food, having eaten nothing. 34 So I urge you to eat some food, for this is for your survival; for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” 35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, and he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then all of them were encouraged and their spirits improved, and they also ate some food. 37 All told there were two hundred and seventy-six of us aboard the ship. 38 After they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing the [m]wheat [from Egypt] overboard into the sea.
39 When day came, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, and they decided to run the ship ashore there if they could. 40 So they cut the cables and severed the anchors and left them in the sea while at the same time [n]unlashing the ropes of the rudders; and after hoisting the foresail to the wind, they headed steadily for the beach. 41 But striking a [o]reef with waves breaking in on either side, they ran the ship aground. The prow (forward point) stuck fast and remained immovable, while the stern began to break up under the [violent] force of the waves. 42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would dive overboard and swim [to land] and escape; 43 but the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from [carrying out] their plan. He commanded those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to the shore; 44 and [he commanded] the rest to follow, some on [floating] planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it was that all of them were brought safely to land.
Safe at Malta
28 After we were safe [on land], we found out that the island was called [p]Malta. 2 And the [q]natives showed us extraordinary kindness and hospitality; for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, since it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a [r]viper crawled out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, Justice [the avenging goddess] has not permitted him to live.” 5 Then Paul [simply] shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 But they stood watching and expecting him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began saying that he was a god.
7 In the vicinity of that place there were estates belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius was sick [in bed] with recurring attacks of fever and dysentery; and Paul went to him, and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 After this occurred, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and being healed. 10 They also gave us many honors [gifts and courtesies expressing respect]; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all the things we needed.
Paul Arrives at Rome
11 At the end of three months we set sail on a ship which had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian ship with the [s]Twin Brothers [Castor and Pollux] as its figurehead. 12 We landed at Syracuse [on Sicily] and stayed there three days. 13 From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium [on Italy’s southern tip]; and a day later a south wind came up, and on the second day we arrived at [t]Puteoli. 14 There we found some believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 And the brothers and sisters, having heard news about us, came from as far away as the [u]Forum of Appius and [v]Three Inns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and was encouraged.
16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself [in rented quarters] with the soldier who was guarding him.
17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews; and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Kinsmen, though I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our fathers, yet I was turned over as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 After they had interrogated me, they were ready to release me because I was not guilty of any offense deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected [to my release], I was forced to appeal to Caesar (Emperor Nero), not because I had any charge to make against my nation. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel (the Messiah, the resurrection) that I am bound with this chain.” 21 They said to him, “We have not received [any] letters about you from Judea, nor have any of the [Jewish] brothers come here and reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we would like to hear from you what your views are [that is, exactly what you believe]; for in regard to this sect (Christianity), we are fully aware that it is denounced everywhere.”
23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to his lodging in large numbers. And he carefully explained [Christianity] to them from morning until evening, solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, both from the Law of Moses and from the [writings of the] Prophets. 24 Some were persuaded by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and they began to leave after Paul had made one last statement: “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, 26 ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand,
28 Therefore let it be known to you that [this message of] the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they indeed will listen!” 29 [w][And when he had said these things, the Jews left, arguing among themselves.]
30 And Paul lived there for two full years [at his own expense] in his own rented lodging and welcomed all who came to him, 31 preaching and proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness and boldness, unhindered and unrestrained.
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