Atos 22

1 "BRETHREN and Fathers, listen to the defense I now make to you."

2 Hearing him speaking to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more quiet. He continued:

3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel in exact knowledge of our ancestral Law, and I was zealous for God as you all are to-day.

4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prison both men and women,

5 as the High Priest and all the eldership can testify for me. From them I received letters to the brethren and was journeying to Damascus in order to bring back in chains to Jerusalem for punishment those who had gone there.

6 It happened that as I was journeying and nearing Damascus, about noon, suddenly a great light flashed from heaven around me.

7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'

8 I asked, 'Who is speaking?' He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.'

9 My companions saw the light, but did not hear the voice of him who spoke to me.

10 I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' The Lord said to me, 'Rise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about all that it has been appointed for you to do.'

11 Since I could not see, owing to the brightness of that light, my companions led me by the hand, and so I entered Damascus.

12 "Then a man named Ananias, a strict observer of the Law and highly esteemed by all the Jews who lived there,

13 came to see me and stood by me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight,' and I, at that moment, could see him.

14 He said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One and to hear the voice from his mouth,

15 for you shall be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.

16 And now why delay? Rise, be baptized and wash away your sins, calling upon his name.'

17 "After I had returned to Jerusalem, and was praying in the Temple courts, I fell into a trance

18 and saw Jesus saying to me, 'Hasten and depart quickly from Jerusalem, for they will not receive your testimony concerning me.'

19 But I said, 'Lord, they know that I used to imprison and beat from synagogue to synagogue those who believe in thee,

20 and when the blood of Stephen thy martyr was shed I myself was standing by and approving it, and taking care of the cloaks of those who were putting him to death.'

21 But he said to me, 'Go, for I will send you far away to Gentiles.'

22 They listened up to this point, but now they broke out, shouting, "Away with such a fellow from the earth! He ought never to have lived!"

23 While they were shouting and rending their garments and throwing dust into the air,

24 the Tribune ordered him to be led into the barracks and directed that he should be examined with the lash, so that he might know for what crime they were shouting so against him.

25 When they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the Centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and without a trial?"

26 On hearing that, the Centurion went to the Tribune and told him," What are you going to do? For this man is a Roman."

27 Then the Tribune came to him and said, "Tell me; are you a Roman?" He said, "Yes."

28 The Tribune said, "I obtained this citizenship by paying a great sum of money." Paul said, "But I was born to it."

29 At once those who were about to examine him went away from him, and the Tribune was alarmed when he learned that he was a Roman, because he had chained him.

30 On the next day, wishing to know certainly why he was accused by the Jews, the Tribune loosed Paul and ordered the high priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and stood him before them.