1“Brothers and fathers,” Paul began, “listen to me now. I want to speak up for myself.”2When they heard that he was speaking to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said,3“I am a Jew. I was born in Tarsus in Cilicia. But I grew up here in Jerusalem. I was well trained by Gamaliel in the law of our people. I wanted to serve God as much as any of you do today.4I hurt the followers of the Way of Jesus. I sent many of them to their death. I arrested men and women. I threw them into prison.5The high priest and the whole Council can give witness to this. I even had some official letters they had written to their friends in Damascus. So I went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.6“I had almost reached Damascus. About noon a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me.7I fell to the ground and heard a voice speak to me. ‘Saul! Saul!’ it said. ‘Why are you opposing me?’8“ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth,’ he replied. ‘I am the one you are opposing.’9“The light was seen by my companions. But they didn't understand the voice of the one speaking to me.10“ ‘What should I do, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said. ‘Go into Damascus. There you will be told everything you have been given to do.’11The brightness of the light had blinded me. So my companions led me by the hand into Damascus.12“A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a godly Jew who obeyed the law. All the Jews living there respected him very much.13He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ At that very moment I was able to see him.14“Then he said, ‘The God of our people has chosen you. He wanted to tell you his plans for you. You have seen the Blameless One. You have heard words from his mouth.15Now you will give witness to all people about what you have seen and heard.16So what are you waiting for? Get up and call on his name. Be baptized. Have your sins washed away.’17“I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple. Then it seemed to me that I was dreaming.18I saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem at once. These people will not accept your witness about me.’19“ ‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know what I used to do. I went from one synagogue to another and put believers in prison. I also beat them.20Stephen was a man who gave witness to others about you. I stood there when he was killed. I had agreed that he should die. I even guarded the coats of those who were killing him.’21“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go. I will send you far away to people who are not Jews.’ ”
Paul the Roman Citizen
22The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they shouted, “Kill him! He isn't fit to live!”23They shouted and threw off their coats. They threw dust into the air.24So the commanding officer ordered Paul to be taken into the fort. He gave orders for Paul to be whipped and questioned. He wanted to find out why the people were shouting at him like this.25A commander was standing there as they stretched Paul out to be whipped. Paul said to him, “Does the law allow you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?”26When the commander heard this, he went to the commanding officer and reported it. “What are you going to do?” the commander asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”27So the commanding officer went to Paul. “Tell me,” he asked. “Are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I am,” Paul answered.28Then the officer said, “I had to pay a lot of money to become a citizen.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.29Right away those who were about to question him left. Even the officer was alarmed. He realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
Paul Is Taken to the Sanhedrin
30The commanding officer wanted to find out exactly what the Jews had against Paul. So the next day he let Paul out of prison. He ordered a meeting of the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin. Then he brought Paul and had him stand in front of them.
English Standard Version
1“Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” (Ac 7:2)2And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said: (Ac 21:40)3“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. (De 33:3; 2Ki 4:38; Lu 10:39; Joh 16:2; Ac 5:34; Ac 9:11; Ac 21:20; Ac 21:39; Ac 26:5; Ro 10:2; Ro 11:1; 2Co 11:22; Php 3:5; Php 3:6)4I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, (Ac 5:20; Ac 8:1; Ac 8:3; Ac 9:2; Ac 22:19; Ac 22:20; Ac 26:10)5as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. (Lu 22:66; Ac 9:1; Ac 28:21; 1Ti 4:14)6“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. (Ac 9:3; Ac 26:12)7And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’8And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ (Ac 26:9)9Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. (Da 10:7; Ac 9:7)10And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ (Ac 16:30)11And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.12“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, (Ac 9:10; Ac 10:22; Ac 24:14)13came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. (Ac 9:17; Ac 9:18)14And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; (Ac 3:13; Ac 3:14; Ac 9:15; Ac 9:17; Ac 22:15; Ac 22:18; Ac 26:16; 1Co 9:1; 1Co 15:8; Ga 1:12)15for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. (Ac 4:20; Ac 22:14; Ac 23:11)16And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ (Ps 51:2; Ac 2:38; Ac 9:14; Ac 9:18; 1Co 6:11; Heb 10:22)17“When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance (Lu 18:10; Ac 3:1; Ac 9:26; Ac 10:10; Ac 11:5; Ac 26:20; 2Co 12:1)18and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ (Ac 9:29)19And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. (Mt 10:17; Ac 22:4; Ac 26:11)20And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ (Ac 7:58; Ac 8:1; Ac 26:10; Ro 1:32; Re 2:13)21And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” (Ac 2:39; Ac 9:15)
Paul and the Roman Tribune
22Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” (Ac 21:36; Ac 25:24)23And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air,24the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. (Ac 21:34; Ac 22:29; Ac 23:10)25But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” (Ac 16:37)26When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.”27So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.”28The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.”29So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him. (Ac 16:38; Ac 21:33; Ac 22:24; Ac 23:27)
Paul Before the Council
30But on the next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them. (Ac 22:24; Ac 23:28)