Atos 22

1 “Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense that I am now making before you.”

2 When they heard him speaking to them in Hebrew, they became even more quiet, and he continued,

3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia but raised in this city and educated at the feet of Gamaliel in the strict ways of our ancestral law. I am as zealous for God as all of you are today.

4 I persecuted this Way even to the death and kept tying up both men and women and putting them in prison,

5 as the high priest and the whole Council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I was going there to tie up those who were there and bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished.

6 “But while I was on my way and approaching Damascus about noon, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me.

7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?’

8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me,‘I am Jesus from Nazareth,whom you are persecuting.’

9 The men who were with me saw the light but didn't understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me.

10 “Then I asked, ‘What am I to do, Lord?’ The Lord told me,‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are destined to do.’

11 Since I could not see because of the brightness of the light, the men who were with me took me by the hand and led me into Damascus.

12 “A certain Ananias, who was a devout man in accordance with the law and who was highly regarded by all the Jews living there,

13 came to me. He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ At that moment I could see him.

14 Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear his own voice,

15 because you will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.

16 What are you waiting for now? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away as you call on his name.’

17 “Then I returned to Jerusalem. While I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance

18 and saw the Lord saying to me,‘Hurry up and get out of Jerusalem at once, because the peoplewon't accept your testimony about me.’

19 I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I kept imprisoning and beating those who believe in you.

20 Even when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I was standing there approving it and guarding the coats of those who were killing him.’

21 Then he said to me,‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

22 Up to this point they listened to him, but then they began to shout, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! He's not fit to go on living!”

23 While they were yelling, tossing their coats around, and throwing dirt into the air,

24 the tribune ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks and told the soldiers to question him with a beating in order to find out why they were yelling at him like this.

25 But when they had tied him up with the straps, Paul asked the centurion who was standing there, “Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn't been condemned?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!”

27 So the tribune went and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”“Yes,” he said.

28 Then the tribune replied, “I paid a lot of money for this citizenship of mine.”Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”

29 Immediately those who were about to examine him stepped back, and the tribune was afraid when he found out that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had tied him up.

30 The next day, since the Tribune wanted to find out exactly what Paul was being accused of by the Jews, he released him and ordered the high priests and the entire Council to meet. Then he brought Paul down and had him stand before them.