Atos 26

1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "It is permitted for you to speak for yourself."So Paul, having extended his hand, spoke in his own defense:

2 I have considered myself fortunate, King Agrippa, being able to speak in my own defense today, concerning all the things of which I am accused of by the Jews,

3 especially since you are well versed both in all the customs and questions in relation to the Jews; therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.

4 Therefore my way of life from my youth, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation in Jerusalem, all the Jews know,

5 since they have known me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

6 And now for the hope of the promise having been made by God to the fathers, I stand before you judged,

7 [a promise] to which our twelve tribes, as they earnestly serve God night and day, hope to attain. Concerning which hope I am accused by [the] Jews, King Agrippa.

8 Why is it considered [such ]an unbelievable thing by you [people ]if God raises the dead?

9 Therefore I thought in myself that it was necessary to do many hostile things against the name of Jesus the Nazarene;

10 which also I did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were being put to death, I cast my vote against them.

11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even as far as to foreign cities.

12 "In which [pursuits] also, as I traveled to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,

13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me.

14 And when we all had fallen down to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'

15 "So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

16 But arise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness both [of the things] which you have seen, and [of the things] which I will yet reveal to you,

17 delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,

18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, [in order for ]them to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'

19 "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

20 but to those first in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, proclaiming that they must repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.

21 Because of these things the Jews arrested me in the temple and attempted to kill me.

22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, until this day I stand, witnessing both to common [people] and great [people], saying nothing except the things which both the prophets and Moses spoke of as being about to happen,

23 that the Christ was to suffer, that as the first to rise from the dead, He was about to proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles."

24 Now as he spoke these things, Festus said with a loud voice, "You are mad, Paul! Your higher learning is driving you to madness!"

25 But he said, "I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but I boldly declare words of truth and reason.

26 For the king knows about these things, to whom also I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things escapes his notice, since this thing was not done in a corner.

27 "Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you believe."

28 And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time, you are persuading me to become a Christian!"

29 And Paul said, "I would pray to God, both in a short time and a long time, not only you, but also all who are hearing me today, would become such as I am, except for these chains."

30 When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those sitting together with them;

31 and when they withdrew, they were speaking among themselves, saying, "This man practices nothing worthy of death or chains."

32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar."