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The Bible in Living English
26 And Agrippa said to Paul “You are permitted to speak in your own behalf.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: 2 “As to all the accusations brought against me by the Jews, King Agrippa, I deem it a happy thing that I am to make my defense before you today, 3 you being a specialist in all the customs and points of debate among the Jews; for which reason I beg you to hear me patiently. 4 “My way of living from my youth up, what it has been from the first among my nation and in Jerusalem, all the Jews know, 5 having old acquaintance with me, if they are willing to testify, as having lived according to the most precise sect of our religion, a Pharisee. 6 And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made to our fathers by God, 7 to which our twelve tribes are hoping to attain by worshiping with ardor night and day; which hope, your majesty, is what the Jews’ charges against me are about. 8 Why is it pronounced incredible among you if God does raise dead men? 9 “Well, I had the idea that I ought to do much in opposition to the name of Jesus the Nazarene; 10 and I did, too, at Jerusalem, and many of the people of God I shut up in prisons, getting authority from the chief priests, and cast a vote against them when they were to lose their lives, 11 and over and over in the different synagogues I punished them and forced them to blaspheme, and in an utterly insane rage against them I pursued them clear to the foreign cities; 12 in connection with which business I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and leave of the chief priests when on my way 13 I saw at midday, your majesty, a light out of the sky shine round me and those who were traveling with me, above the brightness of the sun; 14 and as we all threw ourselves down on the ground I heard a voice say to me in the Hebrew dialect ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? it comes hard on you to lick against a goad.’ 15 And I said ‘Who are you, sir?’ And the Lord said ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; 16* but get up and stand on your feet, for it was for this I appeared to you, to appoint you agent and witness of how you have seen me and how I will appear to you, 17 rescuing you from the people and from the foreigners, to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from Satan’s power to God, that they may receive pardon of sin and a lot among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ 19 “Whereat, your majesty, I was not disobedient to the bidding of the heavenly manifestation, 20 but notified first those in Damascus and Jerusalem, and throughout the country of Palestine, and the foreigners, to repent and turn about to God, doing deeds proper to repentance; 21 it was on this account that the Jews seized me in the temple-precinct and were trying to make away with me. 22 So, getting reinforcement from God, I stand to this day avouching to great and small, saying nothing outside of what the prophets and Moses spoke of as going to come to pass, 23 whether the Messiah is one to suffer, whether he is to be the first out of the resurrection of the dead to announce light to the people and to the foreigners—” 24 And as he said these things in his defense Festus said loudly “You are insane, Paul; so much reading is bringing you to insanity.” 25* But Paul said “I am not insane, your excellency, but am uttering words of truth and sound sense. 26 For the king knows about these things; to him I speak without reserve, for I cannot believe any of these things are escaping his attention, for this is not a thing done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe.” 28* And Agrippa said to Paul “You are putting your propaganda in very small compass to make me a Christian.” 29* And Paul said “I would to God that both in things of small compass and of great not only you but also all who hear me today might become such as I myself am, aside from these fetters.” 30 And the king stood up, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them, 31 and when they withdrew they spoke to each other, saying “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or fetters.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus “This man could be going free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”