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ESV — Acts 9; Acts 22; Acts 26

The Conversion of Saul

But Saul, bstill cbreathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to dthe high priest and asked him for letters eto the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to fthe Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. gNow as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting hme?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, hwhom you are persecuting. But irise and enter the city, and you will be told jwhat you are to do.” kThe men who were traveling with him stood speechless, lhearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, mhe saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named nAnanias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, o“Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man pof Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and qlay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, rhow much evil he has done to syour tsaints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from uthe chief priests to bind all who vcall on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for whe is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name xbefore the Gentiles and ykings and the children of Israel. 16 For zI will show him how much ahe must suffer bfor the sake of my name.” 17 So cAnanias departed and entered the house. And dlaying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and ebe filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and fhe regained his sight. Then ghe rose and was baptized; 19 and htaking food, he was strengthened.

Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues

For isome days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, j“He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who kmade havoc lin Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul mincreased all the more in strength, and nconfounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving othat Jesus was the Christ.

Saul Escapes from Damascus

23 pWhen many days had passed, the Jews1 plotted to kill him, 24 but their qplot became known to Saul. rThey were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and slet him down through an opening in the wall,2 lowering him in a basket.

Saul in Jerusalem

26 And twhen he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But uBarnabas took him and vbrought him to the apostles and declared to them whow on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and xhow at Damascus he had ypreached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went zin and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against athe Hellenists.3 But bthey were seeking to kill him. 30 And when cthe brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off dto Tarsus.

31 So ethe church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And fwalking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, git multiplied.

The Healing of Aeneas

32 Now has Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. 34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, iJesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. 35 jAnd all the residents of Lydda and kSharon saw him, and lthey turned to the Lord.

Dorcas Restored to Life

36 Now there was in mJoppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas.4 She was full of ngood works and acts of charity. 37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in oan upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, p“Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to qthe upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics5 and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. 40 But Peter rput them all outside, and sknelt down and prayed; and turning to the body the said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and umany believed in the Lord. 43 And he stayed in Joppa for many days vwith one Simon, a tanner.

Footnotes

[1] 9:23 The Greek word Ioudaioi refers specifically here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, who opposed the Christian faith in that time
[2] 9:25 Greek through the wall
[3] 9:29 That is, Greek-speaking Jews
[4] 9:36 The Aramaic name Tabitha and the Greek name Dorcas both mean gazelle
[5] 9:39 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin


22 w“Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.”

And when they heard that he was addressing them in xthe Hebrew language,1 they became even more quiet. And he said:

y“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated zat the feet of aGamaliel2 baccording to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, cbeing zealous for God das all of you are this day. eI persecuted fthis Way gto the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as hthe high priest and ithe whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to jthe brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

k“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am lJesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ mNow those who were with me saw the light but did not understand3 the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, n‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

12 “And oone Ananias, a devout man paccording to the law, qwell spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 rcame to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And sat that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, t‘The God of our fathers uappointed you to know his will, vto see wthe Righteous One and xto hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for yyou will be a witness for him to everyone of what zyou have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? aRise and be baptized and bwash away your sins, ccalling on his name.’

17 d“When I had returned to Jerusalem and ewas praying in the temple, I fell into fa trance 18 and saw him saying to me, g‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another hI imprisoned and ibeat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen jyour witness was being shed, kI myself was standing by and lapproving and kwatching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you mfar away to the Gentiles.’

Paul and the Roman Tribune

22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, n“Away with such a fellow from the earth! For ohe should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into pthe barracks, saying that he should be qexamined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips,4 Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog ra man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about sto examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also twas afraid, ufor he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that vhe had bound him.

Paul Before the Council

30 But on the next day, wdesiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.

Footnotes

[1] 22:2 Or the Hebrew dialect (probably Aramaic)
[2] 22:3 Or city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated
[3] 22:9 Or hear with understanding
[4] 22:25 Or when they had tied him up with leather strips


Paul's Defense Before Agrippa

26 So lAgrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today magainst all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the ncustoms and ocontroversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

p“My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among qmy own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that raccording to the strictest sparty of our treligion I have lived as ua Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in vthe promise made by God to our fathers, wto which xour twelve tribes hope to yattain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope zI am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought aincredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

b“I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of cJesus of Nazareth. 10 dAnd I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority efrom the chief priests, but fwhen they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And gI punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them hblaspheme, and iin raging fury against them I jpersecuted them even to foreign cities.

Paul Tells of His Conversion

12 “In this connection kI journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me lin the Hebrew language,1 ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and mstand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, nto appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 odelivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—pto whom I qam sending you 18 rto open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from sthe power of Satan to God, that they may receive tforgiveness of sins and ua place among those who are sanctified vby faith in me.’

19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to wthe heavenly vision, 20 but declared first xto those in Damascus, ythen in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also zto the Gentiles, that they should arepent and bturn to God, performing deeds cin keeping with their repentance. 21 For this reason dthe Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 eTo this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so fI stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what gthe prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 hthat the Christ imust suffer and that, jby being the first kto rise from the dead, lhe would proclaim mlight both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, nyou are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, omost excellent Festus, but I am speaking ptrue and qrational words. 26 For rthe king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be sa Christian?”2 29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day tmight become such as I am—except for uthese chains.”

30 Then the king rose, and vthe governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, w“This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, x“This man could have been set yfree if he had not appealed zto Caesar.”

Footnotes

[1] 26:14 Or the Hebrew dialect (probably Aramaic)
[2] 26:28 Or In a short time you would persuade me to act like a Christian!