Atos 26

1 AGRIPPA said to Paul, "You are at liberty to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

2 "In regard to all of the things of which I am accused by Jews, King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate that I am to make my defense to-day before you,

3 since you are especially expert in all Jewish customs and questions. Therefore I pray you to hear me patiently.

4 "My life from boyhood, which was from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, all Jews know.

5 They knew me from long ago, if they were willing to testify, and that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

6 And now I stand to be tried for the hope of the promise which God made to our fathers,

7 to which our twelve tribes devotedly serving God night and day hope to attain. For this hope I am accused by the Jews, O King.

8 "Why do all of you consider it incredible if God raises dead men?

9 I thought with myself that I ought to do much against the name of Jesus the Nazarene.

10 And I did it in Jerusalem and many holy men I shut up in prison, getting authority from the high priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them.

11 In all the synagogues and often I punished them and compelled them to say profane words. Being excessively mad against them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.

12 "Thus engaged, as I was journeying to Damascus with authority and commission from the high priests,

13 about midday, on the road, I saw, O King, a light above the brightness of the sun shining from heaven around me and my companions.

14 We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.'

15 I said, 'Who is speaking?' He said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.

16 But rise and stand on your feet: for I have appeared to you for the very purpose of appointing you a servant and a witness of the times you have seen me and of the times I shall appear to you.

17 I will deliver you from your people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,

18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among those who are made holy by faith in me.'

19 After that, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

20 but first to the people in Damascus and then to the people of Jerusalem and through all the land of Judaea and to the Gentiles, I proclaimed that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds suitable for a change of heart.

21 "For this reason Jews seized me in the Temple courts and tried to kill me.

22 But obtaining help from God I have continued until this day witnessing to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would be,

23 that the Christ would suffer and that he first, by rising from the dead, would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles."

24 While Paul was thus defending himself, Festus said loudly, "You are raving, Paul. Much learning is driving you insane."

25 "I am not insane," he said, "most noble Festus, but am uttering words of truth and soberness.

26 The King knows about this, and to him I speak with perfect frankness, for I am persuaded that not one of these things has escaped his attention, for this has not been done in a corner.

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

28 Agrippa said to Paul, "With little effort you are persuading me to become a Christian."

29 Paul said, "I would to God that whether with little or with much, not only you, but all who hear me this day, would become such as I am \'97 except for these chains."

30 Then the King rose and the Governor and Bernice and those who had been sitting with them,

31 and after withdrawing they said to one another, "This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains."

32 Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set at liberty if he had not appealed to Caesar."