1 "Brothers and fathers, listen now to what I have to say in my defense." 2 When they heard him speaking to them in Hebrew, they became even more quiet, and he continued: 3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up here in this city, and carefully educated under the teaching of Gamaliel in the law of our forefathers. I was zealous for God, as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted this Way even to the death, and kept on binding both men and women and putting them in jail, 5 as the high priest and the whole council will bear me witness. Indeed, I had received letters from them to the brothers in Damascus, and I was on the way there to bind those who were there and bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 But on my way, just before I reached Damascus, suddenly about noon a blaze of light from heaven flashed around me, 7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?'
8 I answered, 'Who are you, Sir?' He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.' 9 The men who were with me saw the light, but they did not hear the voice of Him who was speaking to me.
10 Then I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?' And the Lord answered, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there it will be told you what you are destined to do.'
11 Since I could not see because of the dazzling sheen of that light, I was led by the hand by my companions and in this way I reached Damascus. 12 There a man named Ananias, a man devout in strict accordance with the law, of good reputation among all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to see me, and standing by my side said to me, 'Saul, my brother, recover your sight!' Then instantly I did recover it and looked at him, 14 and he said, 'The God of our forefathers has appointed you to learn His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear Him speak, 15 because you are to be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now, why are you waiting? Get up and be baptized and wash your sins away by calling on His name.'
17 After I had come back to Jerusalem, one day while I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste and at once get out of Jerusalem, because they will not accept your testimony about me.'
19 So I said, 'Lord, they know for themselves that from one synagogue to another I used to imprison and flog those who believed in you, 20 and when the blood of your martyr Stephen was being shed, I stood by and approved it, and held the clothes of those who killed him.'
21 Then He said to me, 'Go, because I am to send you out and far away among the heathen.'"
22 They listened to him until he said this, and then all at once they shouted, "Away with such a fellow from the earth! He is certainly not fit to live!"
23 While they were shouting and tossing their clothes about and flinging dust into the air, 24 the colonel ordered Paul to be brought into the barracks, and told them to examine him by flogging, in order that he might find out why they were crying out against him in such a way. 25 But when they had tied him for the flogging, Paul asked the captain who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to flog a Roman, and one who is uncondemned at that?"
26 When the captain heard that, he went to the colonel and reported it. Then he asked him, "What are you going to do? This man is a Roman citizen."
27 So the colonel came to Paul and asked, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" He answered, "Yes."
28 Then the colonel said, "I paid a large sum for this citizenship of mine." Paul said, "But I was born a citizen."
29 So the men who were going to examine him left him at once, and the colonel himself was frightened when he learned that he was a Roman citizen and that he had had him bound.
30 The next day, as he wished to learn the exact reason why the Jews accused him, he had him unbound, and ordered the high priest and the whole council to assemble, and took Paul down and brought him before them.