Acts 20:4-23:35 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
4 With him were Sopater, son of Pyrrhus from Berea, and Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica. Gaius from Derbe was also with him, and so were Timothy and the two Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 They went on ahead to Troas and waited for us there. 6 After the Festival of Thin Bread, we sailed from Philippi. Five days later we met them in Troas and stayed there for a week.
Paul’s Last Visit to Troas
7 On the first day of the week[a] we met to break bread together.[b] Paul spoke to the people until midnight because he was leaving the next morning. 8 In the upstairs room where we were meeting, there were a lot of lamps. 9 A young man by the name of Eutychus was sitting on a window sill. While Paul was speaking, the young man got very sleepy. Finally, he went to sleep and fell three floors all the way down to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead.
10 Paul went down and bent over Eutychus. He took him in his arms and said, “Don’t worry! He’s alive.” 11 After Paul had gone back upstairs, he broke bread, and ate with us. He then spoke until dawn and left. 12 Then the followers took the young man home alive and were very happy.
The Voyage from Troas to Miletus
13 Paul decided to travel by land to Assos. The rest of us went on ahead by ship, and we were to take him aboard there. 14 When he met us in Assos, he came aboard, and we sailed on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we came to a place near Chios, and the following day we reached Samos. The day after that we sailed to Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, because he did not want to spend too much time in Asia. He was in a hurry and wanted to be in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost.[c]
Paul Says Good-By to the Church Leaders of Ephesus
17 From Miletus, Paul sent a message for the church leaders at Ephesus to come and meet with him. 18 When they got there, he said:
You know everything I did during the time I was with you when I first came to Asia. 19 Some of the Jews plotted against me and caused me a lot of sorrow and trouble. But I served the Lord and was humble. 20 When I preached in public or taught in your homes, I didn’t hold back from telling anything that would help you. 21 I told Jews and Gentiles to turn to God and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 I don’t know what will happen to me in Jerusalem, but I must obey God’s Spirit and go there. 23 In every city I visit, I am told by the Holy Spirit that I will be put in jail and will be in trouble in Jerusalem. 24 But I don’t care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God’s great kindness.
25 I have gone from place to place, preaching to you about God’s kingdom, but now I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26 I tell you today that I am no longer responsible for any of you! 27 I have told you everything God wants you to know. 28 Look after yourselves and everyone the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be like shepherds to God’s church. It is the flock that he bought with the blood of his own Son.[d]
29 I know that after I am gone, others will come like fierce wolves to attack you. 30 Some of your own people will tell lies to win over the Lord’s followers. 31 Be on your guard! Remember how day and night for three years I kept warning you with tears in my eyes.
32 I now place you in God’s care. Remember the message about his great kindness! This message can help you and give you what belongs to you as God’s people. 33 I have never wanted anyone’s money or clothes. 34 You know how I have worked with my own hands to make a living for myself and my friends. 35 By everything I did, I showed how you should work to help everyone who is weak. Remember that our Lord Jesus said, “More blessings come from giving than from receiving.”
36 After Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 Everyone cried and hugged and kissed him. 38 They were especially sad because Paul had told them, “You will never see me again.”
Then they went with him to the ship.
Paul Goes to Jerusalem
21 After saying good-by, we sailed straight to Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and from there sailed on to Patara. 2 We found a ship going to Phoenicia, so we got on board and sailed off.
3 We came within sight of Cyprus and then sailed south of it on to the port of Tyre in Syria, where the ship was going to unload its cargo. 4 We looked up the Lord’s followers and stayed with them for a week. The Holy Spirit had told them to warn Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 But when the week was over, we started on our way again. All the men, together with their wives and children, walked with us from the town to the seashore. We knelt on the beach and prayed. 6 Then after saying good-by to each other, we got into the ship, and they went back home.
7 We sailed from Tyre to Ptolemais, where we greeted the followers and stayed with them for a day. 8 The next day we went to Caesarea and stayed with Philip, the preacher. He was one of the seven men who helped the apostles, 9 and he had four unmarried[e] daughters who prophesied.
10 We had been in Caesarea for several days, when the prophet Agabus came to us from Judea. 11 He took Paul’s belt, and with it he tied up his own hands and feet. Then he told us, “The Holy Spirit says that some of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will tie up the man who owns this belt. They will also hand him over to the Gentiles.” 12 After Agabus said this, we and the followers living there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem.
13 But Paul answered, “Why are you crying and breaking my heart? I am not only willing to be put in jail for the Lord Jesus. I am even willing to die for him in Jerusalem!”
14 Since we could not get Paul to change his mind, we gave up and prayed, “Lord, please make us willing to do what you want.”
15 Then we got ready to go to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the followers from Caesarea went with us and took us to stay in the home of Mnason. He was from Cyprus and had been a follower from the beginning.
Paul Visits James
17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the Lord’s followers gladly welcomed us. 18 Paul went with us to see James[f] the next day, and all the church leaders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and told how God had used him to help the Gentiles. 20 Everyone who heard this praised God and said to Paul:
My friend, you can see how many tens of thousands of the Jewish people have become followers! And all of them are eager to obey the Law of Moses. 21 But they have been told that you are teaching those who live among the Gentiles to disobey this Law. They claim that you are telling them not to circumcise their sons or to follow Jewish customs.
22 What should we do now that our people have heard that you are here? 23 Please do what we ask, because four of our men have made special promises to God. 24 Join with them and prepare yourself for the ceremony that goes with the promises. Pay the cost for their heads to be shaved. Then everyone will learn that the reports about you are not true. They will know that you do obey the Law of Moses.
25 Some while ago we told the Gentile followers what we think they should do. We instructed them not to eat anything offered to idols. They were told not to eat any meat with blood still in it or the meat of an animal that has been strangled. They were also told not to commit any terrible sexual sins.[g]
26 The next day Paul took the four men with him and got himself ready at the same time they did. Then he went into the temple and told when the final ceremony would take place and when an offering would be made for each of them.
Paul Is Arrested
27 When the period of seven days for the ceremony was almost over, some of the Jewish people from Asia saw Paul in the temple. They got a large crowd together and started attacking him. 28 They were shouting, “Friends, help us! This man goes around everywhere, saying bad things about our nation and about the Law of Moses and about this temple. He has even brought shame to this holy temple by bringing in Gentiles.” 29 Some of them thought that Paul had brought Trophimus from Ephesus into the temple, because they had seen them together in the city.
30 The whole city was in an uproar, and the people turned into a mob. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Then suddenly the doors were shut. 31 The people were about to kill Paul when the Roman army commander heard that all Jerusalem was starting to riot. 32 So he quickly took some soldiers and officers and ran to where the crowd had gathered.
As soon as the mob saw the commander and soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 The army commander went over and arrested him and had him bound with two chains. Then he tried to find out who Paul was and what he had done. 34 Part of the crowd shouted one thing, and part of them shouted something else. But they were making so much noise that the commander could not find out a thing. Then he ordered Paul to be taken into the fortress. 35 As they reached the steps, the crowd became so wild that the soldiers had to lift Paul up and carry him. 36 The crowd followed and kept shouting, “Kill him! Kill him!”
Paul Speaks to the Crowd
37 When Paul was about to be taken into the fortress, he asked the commander, “Can I say something to you?”
“How do you know Greek?” the commander asked. 38 “Aren’t you that Egyptian who started a riot not long ago and led four thousand terrorists into the desert?”
39 “No!” Paul replied. “I am a Jew from Tarsus, an important city in Cilicia. Please let me speak to the crowd.”
40 The commander told him he could speak, so Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people. When they were quiet, he spoke to them in Aramaic:
22 “My friends and leaders of our nation, listen as I explain what happened!” 2 When the crowd heard Paul speak to them in Aramaic, they became even quieter. Then Paul said:
3 I am a Jew, born and raised in the city of Tarsus in Cilicia. I was a student of Gamaliel and was taught to follow every single law of our ancestors. In fact, I was just as eager to obey God as any of you are today.
4 I made trouble for everyone who followed the Lord’s Way,[h] and I even had some of them killed. I had others arrested and put in jail. I didn’t care if they were men or women. 5 The high priest and all the council members can tell you that this is true. They even gave me letters to the Jewish leaders in Damascus, so that I could arrest people there and bring them to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 One day about noon I was getting close to Damascus, when a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why are you so cruel to me?”
8 “Who are you?” I answered.
The Lord replied, “I am Jesus from Nazareth! I am the one you are so cruel to.” 9 The men who were traveling with me saw the light, but did not hear the voice.
10 I asked, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
Then he told me, “Get up and go to Damascus. When you get there, you will be told what to do.” 11 The light had been so bright that I couldn’t see. And the other men had to lead me by the hand to Damascus.
12 In that city there was a man named Ananias, who faithfully obeyed the Law of Moses and was well liked by all the Jewish people living there. 13 He came to me and said, “Saul, my friend, you can now see again!”
At once I could see. 14 Then Ananias told me, “The God that our ancestors worshiped has chosen you to know what he wants done. He has chosen you to see the One Who Obeys God[i] and to hear his voice. 15 You must tell everyone what you have seen and heard. 16 What are you waiting for? Get up! Be baptized, and wash away your sins by praying to the Lord.”
17 After this I returned to Jerusalem and went to the temple to pray. There I had a vision 18 of the Lord who said to me, “Hurry and leave Jerusalem! The people won’t listen to what you say about me.”
19 I replied, “Lord, they know that in many of our meeting places I arrested and beat people who had faith in you. 20 Stephen was killed because he spoke for you, and I stood there and cheered them on. I even guarded the clothes of the men who murdered him.”
21 But the Lord told me to go, and he promised to send me far away to the Gentiles.
22 The crowd listened until Paul said this. Then they started shouting, “Get rid of this man! He doesn’t deserve to live.” 23 They kept shouting. They waved their clothes around and threw dust into the air.
Paul and the Roman Army Commander
24 The Roman commander ordered Paul to be taken into the fortress and beaten with a whip. He did this to find out why the people were screaming at Paul.
25 While the soldiers were tying Paul up to be beaten, he asked the officer standing there, “Is it legal to beat a Roman citizen before he has been tried in court?”
26 When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and said, “What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!”
27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
“Yes,” Paul answered.
28 The commander then said, “I paid a lot of money to become a Roman citizen.”[j]
But Paul replied, “I was born a Roman citizen.”
29 The men who were about to beat and question Paul quickly backed off. And the commander himself was frightened when he realized that he had put a Roman citizen in chains.
Paul Is Tried by the Council
30 The next day the commander wanted to know the real reason why the Jewish leaders had brought charges against Paul. So he had Paul’s chains removed, and he ordered the chief priests and the whole council to meet. Then he had Paul led in and made him stand in front of them.
23 Paul looked straight at the council members and said, “My friends, to this day I have served God with a clear conscience!”
2 Then Ananias the high priest ordered the men standing beside Paul to hit him on the mouth. 3 Paul turned to the high priest and said, “You whitewashed wall![k] God will hit you. You sit there to judge me by the Law of Moses. But at the same time you order men to break the Law by hitting me.”
4 The men standing beside Paul asked, “Don’t you know you are insulting God’s high priest?”
5 Paul replied, “Oh! I didn’t know he was the high priest. The Scriptures do tell us not to speak evil about a leader of our people.”
6 When Paul saw that some of the council members were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he shouted, “My friends, I am a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee. I am on trial simply because I believe that the dead will be raised to life.”
7 As soon as Paul said this, the Pharisees and the Sadducees got into a big argument, and the council members started taking sides. 8 The Sadducees do not believe in angels or spirits or that the dead will rise to life. But the Pharisees believe in all of these, 9 and so there was a lot of shouting. Some of the teachers of the Law of Moses were Pharisees. Finally, they became angry and said, “We don’t find anything wrong with this man. Maybe a spirit or an angel really did speak to him.”
10 The argument became fierce, and the commander was afraid that Paul would be pulled apart. So he ordered the soldiers to go in and rescue Paul. Then they took him back into the fortress.
11 That night the Lord stood beside Paul and said, “Don’t worry! Just as you have told others about me in Jerusalem, you must also tell about me in Rome.”
A Plot To Kill Paul
12-13 The next morning more than forty Jewish men got together and vowed that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. 14 Then some of them went to the chief priests and the nation’s leaders and said, “We have promised God that we would not eat a thing until we have killed Paul. 15 You and everyone in the council must go to the commander and pretend that you want to find out more about the charges against Paul. Ask for him to be brought before your court. Meanwhile, we will be waiting to kill him before he gets there.”
16 When Paul’s nephew heard about the plot, he went to the fortress and told Paul about it. 17 So Paul said to one of the army officers, “Take this young man to the commander. He has something to tell him.”
18 The officer took him to the commander and said, “The prisoner named Paul asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to tell you.”
19 The commander took the young man aside and asked him in private, “What do you want to tell me?”
20 He answered, “Some men are planning to ask you to bring Paul down to the Jewish council tomorrow. They will claim that they want to find out more about him. 21 But please don’t do what they say. More than forty men are going to attack Paul. They have made a vow not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. Even now they are waiting to hear what you decide.”
22 The commander sent the young man away after saying to him, “Don’t let anyone know that you told me this.”
Paul Is Sent to Felix the Governor
23 The commander called in two of his officers and told them, “By nine o’clock tonight have two hundred soldiers ready to go to Caesarea. Take along seventy men on horseback and two hundred foot soldiers with spears. 24 Get a horse ready for Paul and make sure that he gets safely through to Felix the governor.”
25 The commander wrote a letter that said:
26 Greetings from Claudius Lysias to the Honorable Governor Felix:
27 Some Jews grabbed this man and were about to kill him. But when I found out that he was a Roman citizen, I took some soldiers and rescued him.
28 I wanted to find out what they had against him. So I brought him before their council 29 and learned that the charges concern only their religious laws. This man isn’t guilty of anything for which he should die or even be put in jail.
30 As soon as I learned that there was a plot against him, I sent him to you and told their leaders to bring charges against him in your court.
31 The soldiers obeyed the commander’s orders, and that same night they took Paul to the city of Antipatris. 32 The next day the foot soldiers returned to the fortress and let the soldiers on horseback take him the rest of the way. 33 When they came to Caesarea, they gave the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him.
34 The governor read the letter. Then he asked Paul and found out that he was from Cilicia. 35 The governor said, “I will listen to your case as soon as the people come to bring their charges against you.” After saying this, he gave orders for Paul to be kept as a prisoner in Herod’s palace.[l]
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