Paul’s Defense before Agrippa
1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, You are permitted to speak on your own behalf. At that Paul stretched forth his hand and made his defense [as follows]:
2 I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that it is before you that I am to make my defense today in regard to all the charges brought against me by [the] Jews, 3 [Especially] because you are so fully and unusually conversant with all the Jewish customs and controversies; therefore, I beg you to hear me patiently.
4 My behavior and manner of living from my youth up is known by all the Jews; [they are aware] that from [its] commencement my youth was spent among my own race in Jerusalem. 5 They have had knowledge of me for a long time, if they are willing to testify to it, that in accordance with the strictest sect of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial [to be judged on the ground] of the hope of that promise made to our forefathers by God, 7 Which hope [of the Messiah and the resurrection] our twelve tribes confidently expect to realize as they fervently worship [without ceasing] night and day. And for that hope, O king, I am accused by Jews and considered a criminal! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
9 I myself indeed was [once] persuaded that it was my duty to do many things contrary to and in defiance of the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem; I [not only] locked up many of the [faithful] saints (holy ones) in prison by virtue of authority received from the chief priests, but when they were being condemned to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 And frequently I punished them in all the synagogues to make them blaspheme; and in my bitter fury against them, I harassed (troubled, molested, persecuted) and pursued them even to foreign cities.
12 Thus engaged I proceeded to Damascus with the authority and orders of the chief priests, 13 When on the road at midday, O king, I saw a light from heaven surpassing the brightness of the sun, flashing about me and those who were traveling with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the Hebrew tongue saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you continue to persecute Me [to harass and trouble and molest Me]? It is dangerous and turns out badly for you to keep kicking against the goads [to keep offering vain and perilous resistance]. 15 And I said, Who are You, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. 16 But arise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, that I might appoint you to serve as [My] minister and to bear witness both to what you have seen of Me and to that in which I will appear to you, 17 Choosing you out [selecting you for Myself] and delivering you from among this [Jewish] people and the Gentiles to whom I am sending you -- " 18 To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may thus receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and purified by faith in Me.
19 Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision, 20 But made known openly first of all to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the whole land of Judea, and also among the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works and live lives consistent with and worthy of their repentance. 21 Because of these things the Jews seized me in the temple [ enclosure] and tried to do away with me. 22 [But] to this day I have had the help which comes from God [as my ally], and so I stand here testifying to small and great alike, asserting nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses declared would come to pass -- " 23 That the Christ (the Anointed One) must suffer and that He, by being the first to rise from the dead, would declare and show light both to the [Jewish] people and to the Gentiles.
24 And as he thus proceeded with his defense, Festus called out loudly, Paul, you are mad! Your great learning is driving you insane! 25 But Paul replied, I am not mad, most noble Festus, but I am uttering the straight, sound truth. 26 For the king understands about these things well enough, and [therefore] to him I speak with bold frankness and confidence. I am convinced that not one of these things has escaped his notice, for all this did not take place in a corner [in secret]. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? [Do you give credence to God's messengers and their words?] I perceive and know that you do believe. 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, You think it a small task to make a Christian of me [just offhand to induce me with little ado and persuasion, at very short notice]. 29 And Paul replied, Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you, but also all who are listening to me today, might become such as I am, except for these chains.
30 Then the king arose, and the governor and Bernice and all those who were seated with them; 31 And after they had gone out, they said to one another, This man is doing nothing deserving of death or [even] of imprisonment. 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, This man could have been set at liberty if he had not appealed to Caesar.