1 "Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense which I now make in your presence." 2 When they heard him speaking in Hebrew they became the more quiet. 3 "I am a Jew," he said, "born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strict manner of the Law of our forefathers, ardent for God, even as you all are this day. 4 "I persecuted to the death this way, continually binding and delivering up to prisons both men and women. 5 "To this the high priest and all the council of elders are witnesses. It was from them that I received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I was already on my way to bring those also who were there back to Jerusalem, in bonds, for punishment.
6 "But when, on my journey, I was nearing Damascus, about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone round about me. 7 "I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, "'Saul! Saul! why are you persecuting me?'
8 "'Who are you, Lord?' I asked. "'I am Jesus, the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting,' he answered me. 9 "Now my companions, though they beheld the light, did not hear the words of Him who spoke to me.
10 "And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' and the Lord said to me, 'Rise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about all that you are destined to do.'
11 "And as I was seeing nothing for the glory of the light, I was led by the hand of my companions, and so came into Damascus. 12 "And a certain Ananias, a pious man according to the Law, well thought of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 "came to me, and standing by me, said to me, "'Brother Saul, receive your sight' "In that very hour I regained my sight and looked up at him. 14 "Then he said: "'The God of our forefathers has appointed you to know his will; and to see the righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15 "'For before the face of all men you will be a witness for him of what you have seen and heard. 16 "'And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling upon his name.'
17 "After my return to Jerusalem, and while I was praying in the temple, 18 "I fell into a trance and saw him saying to me, "'Make haste and go quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not receive your testimony concerning me.'
19 "'Lord,' I replied, 'they themselves well know that I was beating and imprisoning in synagogue after synagogue those who believed in you, 20 "'and when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and consenting, and holding the garments of his murders.'
22 Until they heard this last statement, the people were listening to Paul, but now they roared out. "Away with such a fellow from the earth! He is not fit to live!"
23 When they continued to shout, throwing their clothes into the air, and flinging dust around, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and examined under the lash, to learn for what reason the people were thus crying out against him. 25 But when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing near, "If a man is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned, is it lawful for you to scourge him?"
26 When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him. "What are you intending to do? This man is a Roman citizen."
27 So the tribune came to Paul and asked him, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" "Yes," he said.
28 "I paid a large sum to get this citizenship," said the tribune. "But I was citizen-born," said Paul.
29 Then those who were about to scourge him, immediately left him. And the tribune too, was afraid, when he learned that Paul was a Roman citizen, for he had had him bound.