1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak in defense of yourself." So Paul with outstretched arm began to make his defense. 2 "I count myself fortunate, King Agrippa," said he, "that it is before you that I can defend myself today against all the charges which the Jews have preferred against me, 3 especially because you are familiar with all the Jewish customs and questions. I beg you, therefore, to hear me with patience.
4 "The kind of life I have lived from my youth up, as spent in my early days among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is well known to all Jews, 5 for they have known all along from the first, if they would but testify to it, that I as a Pharisee have lived by the standard of the strictest sect of our religion. 6 And now it is for the hope of the promise made by God to our forefathers that I stand here on trial, 7 which promise our twelve tribes, by devotedly worshiping day and night, hope to see fulfilled for them. It is for this hope, your Majesty, that I am accused by some Jews. 8 Why is it considered incredible by all of you that God should raise the dead? 9 I myself, indeed, once thought it my duty to take extreme measures in hostility to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 That was what I did at Jerusalem; yes, I received authority from the high priests and shut behind the prison bars many of God's people. Yes, when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them, and often in all the synagogues 11 I had them punished and tried to force them to use abusive language; in my extreme fury against them I continued to pursue them even into distant towns.
12 While in this business I once was on my way to Damascus with authority based on a commission from the high priests, 13 and on the road at noon, your Majesty, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, flash around me and my fellow-travelers. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice say to me in Hebrew, 'Saul! Saul! Why do you continue to persecute me? It is hurting you to keep on kicking against the goad.'
15 'Who are you, Sir?' said I. 'I am Jesus,' the Lord said, 'whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for the very purpose of appointing you my servant and a witness to me of the things which you have seen and those which I shall yet enable you to see. 17 I will continue to rescue you from the Jewish people and from the heathen to whom I am going to send you, 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from Satan's power to God, so as to have their sins forgiven and have a possession among those that are consecrated by faith in me.'
19 Therefore, King Agrippa, I could not disobey that heavenly vision, 20 but I began to preach first to the people of Damascus and Jerusalem, and all over Judea, and then to the heathen, to repent and turn to God, and to live lives consistent with such repentance. 21 For these very things the Jews arrested me in the temple and kept on trying to kill me. 22 As I have gotten help from God clear down to this very day, I stand here to testify to high and low alike, without adding a syllable to what Moses and the prophets said should take place, 23 if the Christ should suffer, and by being the first to rise from the dead was to proclaim the light to the Jewish people and to the heathen."
24 As Paul continued to make his defense, Festus shouted aloud, "You are going crazy, Paul! That great learning of yours is driving you crazy!"
25 Paul answered, "I am not going crazy, your Excellency, Festus, but I am telling the straight truth. 26 The king, indeed, knows about this and I can speak to him with freedom. I do not believe that any of this escaped his notice, for it did not occur in a corner! 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."
28 Then Agrippa answered Paul, "In brief you are trying to persuade me and make a Christian of me!"
29 Paul answered, "In brief or at length, I would to God that not only you but all my hearers today were what I am -- excepting these chains!"
30 Then the king rose, with the governor and Bernice and those who had been seated with them, 31 and after leaving the room, as they continued to talk the matter over together, they said, "This man has done nothing to deserve death or imprisonment."