1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have our permission to speak upon your own behalf." At this Paul stretched out his hand and began his defence. 2 "I consider myself fortunate, king Agrippa, in being able to defend myself to-day before you against all that the Jews charge me with; 3 for you are well acquainted with all Jewish customs and questions. Pray listen to me then with patience.
4 How I lived from my youth up among my own nation and at Jerusalem, all that early career of mine, is known to all the Jews. 5 They know me of old. They know, if they chose to admit it, that as a Pharisee I lived by the principles of the strictest party in our religion. 6 To-day I am standing my trial for hoping in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 a promise which our twelve tribes hope to gain by serving God earnestly both night and day. And I am actually impeached by Jews for this hope, O king! 8 [Move to the beginning of vs 23] Why should you consider it incredible that God raises the dead, 9 I once believed it my duty indeed actively to oppose the name of Jesus the Nazarene. 10 I did so in Jerusalem. I shut up many of the saints in prison, armed with authority from the high priests; when they were put to death, I voted against them; 11 there was not a synagogue where I did not often punish them and force them to blaspheme; and in my frantic fury I persecuted them even to foreign towns.
12 I was travelling to Damascus on this business, with authority and a commission from the high priests, 13 when at mid-day on the road, O king, I saw a light from heaven, more dazzling than the sun, flash round me and my fellow-travellers. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? You hurt yourself by kicking at the goad.'
15 'Who are you?' I asked. And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. 16 Now get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you in order to appoint you to my service as a witness to what you have seen and to the visions you shall have of me. 17 I will rescue you from the People and also from the Gentiles ??to whom I send you, 18 that their eyes may be opened and that they may turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, to get remission of their sins and an inheritance among those who are consecrated by faith in me.'
19 Upon this, O king Agrippa, I did not disobey the heavenly vision; 20 I announced to those at Damascus and at Jerusalem in the first instance, then all over the land of Judaea, and also to the Gentiles, that they were to repent and turn to God by acting up to their repentance. 21 This is why the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to assassinate me. 22 To this day I have had the help of God in standing, as I now do, to testify alike to low and high, never uttering a single syllable beyond what the prophets and Moses predicted was to take place. 23 that the Christ is capable of suffering, and that he should be the first to rise from the dead and bring the message of light to the People and to the Gentiles?"
24 When he brought this forward in his defence, Festus called out, "Paul, you are quite mad! Your great learning is driving you insane."
25 "Your excellency," said Paul to Festus, "I am not mad, I am speaking the sober truth. 26 Why, the king is well aware of this! To the king I can speak without the slightest hesitation. I do not believe any of it has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, you believe the prophets? I know you do."
28 "At this rate," Agrippa remarked, "it won't be long before you believe you have made a Christian of me!"
29 "Long or short," said Paul, "I would to God that not only you but all my hearers to-day could be what I am ??barring these chains!"
30 Then the king rose, with the governor and Bernice and those who had been seated beside them. 31 They retired to discuss the affair, and agreed that "this man has done nothing to deserve death or imprisonment."
32 "He might have been released," said Agrippa to Festus, "if he had not appealed to Caesar."