Acts

Prologue
(Luke 1:1-4)

1In my first book, O Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, 2until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. 3After His suffering, He presented Himself to them with many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a span of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

4And when they were gathered together,a He commanded them: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift the Father promised, which you have heard Me discuss. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized withb the Holy Spirit.”

The Ascension
(Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53)

6So when they came together, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9After He had said this, they watched as He was taken up, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. 10They were looking intently into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.”

Matthias Replaces Judas

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near the city, a Sabbath day’s journeyc away. 13When they arrived, they went to the upper room where they were staying: Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14With one accord they all continued in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

15In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (a gathering of about a hundred and twenty) and said, 16“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit foretold through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17He was one of our number and was allotted a share in this ministry.”

18(With the reward of his wickedness Judas bought a field, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines spilled out. 19This became known to everyone living in Jerusalem; so they called that field in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

20“For it is written in the book of Psalms:

‘May his dwelling be deserted;

let there be no one to live in it,’d

and,

‘May another take his office.’e

21Therefore it is necessary to select one of the men who have accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from John’s baptism until the day Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

23So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24And they prayed, “Lord, You know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two You have chosen 25to assume this ministry and apostleship, which Judas abandoned to go to his rightful place.” 26Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Footnotes:

4 a Or eating together
5 b Or in
12 c That is, approximately 5/8 mile or about 1 kilometer
20 d Psalm 69:25
20 e Psalm 109:8

Acts 2

The Holy Spirit at Pentecost
(Joel 2:28-32; John 14:15-26; John 16:5-16; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7)

1When the day of Pentecost came, the believers were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw tongues like flames of a fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound rang out, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking his own language.

7In wonder and amazement, they asked, “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8How is it then that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,a 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, 11both Jews and converts to Judaism; Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own tongues!”

12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13But others mocked them and said, “They are drunk on new wine!”

Peter Preaches to the Crowd

14Then Peter stood up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and addressed the crowd: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen carefully to my words. 15These men are not drunk as you suppose. It is only the third hour of the day! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17‘In the last days, God says,

I will pour out My Spirit on all people;

your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

your old men will dream dreams.

18Even on My servants, both men and women,

I will pour out My Spirit in those days,

and they will prophesy.

19I will show wonders in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below,

blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

20The sun will be turned to darkness,

and the moon to blood,

before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

21And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’b

22Men of Israel, listen to this message: Jesus of Nazareth was a man certified by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. 23He was handed over by God’s set plan and foreknowledge, and you, by the hands of the lawless, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. 24But God raised Him from the dead, releasing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in its clutches.

25David says about Him:

‘I saw the Lord always before me;

because He is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

26Therefore my heart is glad

and my tongue rejoices,

my body also will live in hope,

27because You will not abandon my soul to Hades,

nor will You let Your Holy One see decay.

28You have made known to me the paths of life;

You will fill me with joy in Your presence.’c

29Brothers, I can tell you with confidence that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that He would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31Foreseeing this, David spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did His body see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus to life, to which we are all witnesses.

33Exalted, then, to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself says:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at My right hand,

35until I make Your enemies

a footstool for Your feet.”’d

36Therefore let all Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!”

Three Thousand Believe

37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39This promise belongs to you and to your children and to all who are far off, to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

40With many other words he testified, and he urged them, “Be saved from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who embraced his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to the believers that day.

The Fellowship of Believers
(Acts 4:32-37)

42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43A sense of awee came over everyone, and the apostles performed many wonders and signs.

44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they shared with anyone who was in need.

46With one accord they continued to meet daily in the temple courts and to break bread from house to house, sharing their meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Footnotes:

9 a That is, the Roman Province of Asia
21 b Joel 2:28-32
28 c Psalm 16:8-11
35 d Psalm 110:1
43 e Or fear

Acts 3

A Lame Man Walks

1One afternoon Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2And a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those entering the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked them for money.

4Peter looked directly at him, as did John. “Look at us!” said Peter. 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”a

7Taking him by the right hand, Peter helped him up, and at once the man’s feet and ankles were strengthened. 8He sprang to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and leaping and praising God.

9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Peter Speaks in Solomon's Colonnade

11While the man clung to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and ran to them in the walkway called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12When Peter saw this, he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why are you surprised by this? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

13The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servantb Jesus. You handed Him over and rejected Him before Pilate, even though he had decided to release Him. 14You rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead, and we are witnesses of the fact.

16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know has been made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given him this complete healing in your presence.

17And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18But in this way God has fulfilled what He foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Christ would suffer. 19Repent, then, and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped away, 20that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus, the Christ, who has been appointed for you.

21Heaven must take Him in until the time comes for the restoration of all things, which God announced long ago through His holy prophets. 22For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to Him in everything He tells you. 23Everyone who does not heed His words will be completely cut off from among the people.’c

24Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have proclaimed these days. 25And you are sons of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers, when He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed.’d 26When God raised up His servant, He sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Footnotes:

6 a SBL, NE, and WH In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk
13 b Or child; also in verse 26
23 c Deuteronomy 18:15,18,19
25 d Genesis 22:18

Acts 4

Peter and John Before the Council

1While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2greatly disturbed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3They seized Peter and John, and because it was already evening, they put them in custody until the next day. 4But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

5The next day the rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6along with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and many others from the high priest’s family. 7They had Peter and John brought in and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”

8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being examined today about a kind service to a man who was lame, to determine how he was healed, 10then let this be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is

‘the stone you builders rejected,

which has become the cornerstone.’a

12Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

The Name Forbidden

13When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14And seeing the man who had been healed standing there with them, they had nothing to say in response. 15So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.

16“What shall we do with these men?” they asked. “It is clear to everyone living in Jerusalem that a remarkable miracle has occurred through them, and we cannot deny it. 17But to keep this message from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”

18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

19But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than God. 20For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21So the Council members threatened them further and let them go. They could not find a way to punish them, because all the people were glorifying God for what had happened. 22For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

The Believers' Prayer
(Psalm 2:1-12)

23On their release, Peter and John returned to their own people and reported everything that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When the believers heard this, they lifted up their voices to God with one accord. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “You made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant,b our father David:

‘Why do the nations rage,

and the peoples plot in vain?

26The kings of the earth take their stand

and the rulers gather together

against the Lord

and against His Anointed One.’c

27In fact, this is the very city where Herod and Pontius Pilate conspired with the Gentiles and the people of Israel against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed. 28They carried out what Your hand and purpose had decided beforehand would happen. 29And now, Lord, consider their threats, and enable Your servants to speak Your word with complete boldness, 30as You stretch out Your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”

31After they had prayed, their meeting place was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Sharing among Believers
(Acts 2:42-47)

32The congregation of believers was one in heart and soul. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they owned. 33With great power, the apostles continued to give their testimony about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And abundant grace was upon them all.

34There were no needy ones among them, because those who owned lands or houses would sell their property, bring the proceeds from the sales, 35and lay them at the apostles’ feet for distribution to anyone as he had need.

36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (meaning Son of Encouragement), 37sold a field he owned, brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Footnotes:

11 a Psalm 118:22
25 b Or child; also verses 27 and 30
26 c Psalm 2:1,2

Acts 5

Ananias and Sapphira

1Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife’s full knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds for himself, but brought a portion and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

3Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and withhold some of the proceeds from the land? 4Did it not belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How could you conceive such a deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God!”

5On hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great fear came over all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men stepped forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7About three hours later his wife also came in, unaware of what had happened. 8“Tell me,” said Peter, “is this the price you and your husband got for the land?”

“Yes,” she answered, “that is the price.”

9“How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?” Peter replied. “Look, the feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10At that instant she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and found her dead. So they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11And great fear came over the whole church and all who heard about these events.

The Apostles Heal Many

12The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people, and with one accord the believers gathered together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13Although the people regarded them highly, no one else dared to join them. 14Yet more and more believers were brought to the Lord—large numbers of both men and women.

15As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16Crowds also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and all of them were healed.

The Apostles Arrested and Freed

17Then the high priest and all his associates (who belonged to the party of the Sadducees) rose up with jealousy. 18They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out, saying, 20“Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life.”

21At daybreak, the apostles entered the temple courts as they had been told and began to teach the people.

When the high priest and his associates arrived in the Council, they called together the full assembly of the elders of Israel, and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they returned with the report: 23“We found the jail securely locked, with the guards posted at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”

The Apostles Before the Council

24When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this account, they were perplexed as to what was happening. 25Then someone came in and announced, “Look, the men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts, teaching the people!”

26At that point, the captain went with the officers and brought the apostles—but not by force, for fear the people would stone them. 27They brought them in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, where the high priest interrogated them. 28“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.”

29But Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree. 31God exalted Him to His right hand as Prince and Savior, in order to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Gamaliel's Advice

33When Council members heard this, they were enraged and wanted to put the apostles to death. 34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a short time.

35“Men of Israel,” he said, “consider carefully what you are about to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and drew away people after him. He too perished, and all his followers were scattered.

38So in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone. Let them go! For if their purpose or endeavor is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God.”

40At this, they yielded to Gamaliel. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released them.

41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42Every day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.


Acts 6

The Choosing of the Seven
(1 Timothy 3:8-13)

1In those days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Grecian Jews began to grumble against the Hebraic Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.

2So the Twelve summoned all the disciples and said, “It is unacceptable for us to neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men confirmed to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will appoint this responsibility to them 4and devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, as well as Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these seven to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

7So the word of God continued to spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem grew rapidly, and a great number of priests became obedient to the faith.

The Arrest of Stephen

8Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9But resistance arose from what was known as the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and men from the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. They began to argue with Stephen, 10but they could not stand up to his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.

11Then they prompted some men to say, “We heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.” 12So they stirred up the people and elders and scribes. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.

13They presented false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking against this holy place and against the Law. 14For we have heard him say that Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”

15All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


Acts 7

Stephen's Address to the Sanhedrin

1Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”

2And Stephen declared: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and told him, ‘Leave your country and your kindred and go to the land I will show you.’a 4So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God brought him out of that place, into this land where you are now living.

5He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised to give possession of the land to Abraham and his descendants, even though he did not yet have a child. 6God told him that his descendants would be foreigners in a strange land, and they would be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7‘But I will punish the nation that enslaves them,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come forth and worship Me in this place.’b

8Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision, and Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day. And Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

9Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10and rescued him from all his troubles. He granted Joseph favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and all his household.

11Then famine and great suffering swept across Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers could not find food. 12When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13On their second visit, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, and his family became known to Pharaoh. 14Then Joseph sent for his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five in all.

15So Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16Their bones were carried back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a price he paid in silver.

17As the time drew near for God to fulfill His promise to Abraham, our people in Egypt increased greatly in number. 18Then another king, who knew nothing of Joseph, arose over Egypt. 19He exploited our people and oppressed our fathers, forcing them to abandon their infants so they would die.

20At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful in the sight of God.c For three months he was nurtured in his father’s house. 21When he was set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

23When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel. 24And when he saw one of them being wronged, Moses went to his defense and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian who was oppressing him. 25He assumed his brothers would understand that God was using him to deliver them, but they did not.

26The next day he came upon two Israelites who were fighting, and he tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you mistreating one another?’

27But the man who was abusing his neighbor pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’d 29At this remark, Moses fled to the land of Midian, where he lived as a foreigner and had two sons.

30After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight. As he approached to look more closely, the voice of the Lord came to him: 32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’e Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

33Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have indeed seen the oppression of My people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’f

35This Moses, whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ is the one God sent to be their ruler and redeemer, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36He led them out and performed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for forty years in the wilderness.

37This is the same Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers.’g 38He was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. And he received living words to pass on to us.

39But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40They said to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us! As for this Moses who led us out of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’h

41At that time they made a calf and offered a sacrifice to the idol, rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies, as it is written in the book of the prophets:

‘Did you offer Me slain beasts and sacrifices

forty years in the wilderness,

O house of Israel?

43You took along the tent of Moloch

and the star of your god Rephan,

the idols you made to worship.

Therefore I will carry you away

beyond Babylon.’i

44Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony with them in the wilderness. It was constructed exactly as God had directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45And our fathers who received it brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations God drove out before them. It remained until the time of David, 46who found favor in the sight of God and asked to provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.j 47But it was Solomon who built the house for Him.

48However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:

49‘Heaven is My throne

and the earth is My footstool.

What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord,

or where will My place of repose be?

50Has not My hand made all these things?’k

51You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit, just as your fathers did. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers fail to persecute? They even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. And now you are His betrayers and murderers— 53you who have received the Law ordained by angels, yet have not kept it.”

The Stoning of Stephen

54On hearing this, the members of the Sanhedrin were enraged, and they gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57At this they covered their ears, cried out in a loud voice, and rushed together at him. 58They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59While they were stoning him, Stephen appealed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Falling on his knees, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Footnotes:

3 a Genesis 12:1
7 b Genesis 15:13,14
20 c Or he was of great status in God's eyes
28 d Exodus 2:14
32 e Exodus 3:6
34 f Exodus 3:5-10
37 g Deuteronomy 18:15
40 h Exodus 32:1
43 i Amos 5:25-27
46 j NE, NA and Tischendorf the house of Jacob
50 k Isaiah 66:1,2

Acts 8

Saul Persecutes the Church

1And Saul was there, giving approval to Stephen’s death.

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2God-fearing men buried Stephen and mourned deeply over him. 3But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.

Philip in Samaria

4Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. 6The crowds gave their undivided attention to Philip’s message and the signs they saw him perform. 7With loud shrieks, unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, and many of the paralyzed and lame were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city.

Simon the Sorcerer
(Deuteronomy 18:9-14)

9Prior to that time, a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed the people of Samaria. He claimed to be someone great, 10and all the people, from the least to the greatest, heeded his words and said, “This man is the divine power called the Great Power.” 11They paid close attention to him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery.

12But when they believed Philip as he preached the gospel of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. He followed Philip closely and was amazed by the great signs and miracles he observed.

14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15On their arrival, they prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. 16For the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money. 19“Give me this power as well,” he said, “so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20But Peter replied, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in our ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent, therefore, of your wickedness, and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive you for the intent of your heart. 23For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and captive to iniquity.”

24Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me, so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

25After Peter and John had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many of the Samaritan villages.

Philip and the Ethiopian

26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south to the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official in charge of the entire treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and on his return was sitting in his chariot, reading Isaiah the prophet.

29The Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to that chariot and stay by it.”

30So Philip ran up and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31“How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,

and as a lamb before the shearer is silent,

so He did not open His mouth.

33In His humiliation He was deprived of justice.

Who can recount His descendants?

For His life was removed from the earth.”a

34“Tell me,” said the eunuch, “who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”

35Then Philip began with this very Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36As they traveled along the road and came to some water, the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?”b 38And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip appeared at Azotus and traveled through that region, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Footnotes:

33 a Isaiah 53:7,8
36 b TR includes 37 And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may be baptized.” The eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Acts 9

The Road to Damascus
(Acts 22:1-21; Acts 26:1-23)

1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out threats of murder against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2to ask for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women belonging to the Way, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

3As Saul drew near to Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”

5“Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,”a He replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless. They heard the voice but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could not see a thing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9For three days he was without sight, and he did not eat or drink anything.

Ananias Baptizes Saul

10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Here I am, Lord,” he answered.

11“Get up!” the Lord told him. “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13But Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14And now he is here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”

15“Go!” said the Lord. “This man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings, and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.”

17So Ananias went to the house, and when he arrived, he placed his hands on Saul. “Brother Saul,” he said, “the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

18At that instant, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and his sight was restored. He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength. And he spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.

Saul Preaches at Damascus

20Saul promptly began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, declaring, “He is the Son of God.”

21All who heard him were amazed and asked, “Isn’t this the man who wreaked havoc in Jerusalem on those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”

22But Saul was empowered all the more, and he confounded the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

The Escape from Damascus
(1 Samuel 19:11-24)

23After many days had passed, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24but Saul learned of their plot. Day and night they watched the city gates in order to kill him. 25One night, however, his disciples took him and lowered him in a basket through a window in the wall.

Saul in Jerusalem

26When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. 27Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and described how Saul had seen the Lord, who spoke to him on the road to Damascus, and how Saul had spoken boldly in that city in the name of Jesus.

28So Saul stayed with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem and speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced a time of peace. It grew in strength and numbers, living in the fear of the Lord and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit.

The Healing of Aeneas

32As Peter traveled throughout the area, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. 34“Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and put away your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up, 35and all who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

The Raising of Dorcas

36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which is translated as Dorcas), who was always occupied with works of kindness and charity. 37At that time, however, she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upper room. 38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples heard that Peter was there and sent two men to urge him, “Come to us without delay.”

39So Peter got up and went with them. On his arrival, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood around him, weeping and showing him the tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

40Then Peter sent them all out of the room. He knelt down and prayed, and turning toward her body, he said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41Peter took her by the hand and helped her up. Then he called the saints and widows and presented her to them alive.

42This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43And Peter stayed for several days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon.

Footnotes:

5 a TR includes It is hard for you to kick against the goads.

Acts 10

Cornelius Sends for Peter

1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was called the Italian Regiment. 2He and all his household were devout and God-fearing. He gave generously to the people and prayed to God regularly. 3One day at about the ninth hour, he had a clear vision of an angel of God who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

4Cornelius stared at him in fear and asked, “What is it, Lord?”

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have ascended as a memorial offering before God. 5Now send men to Joppa to call for a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”a

7When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among his personal attendants. 8He explained what had happened and sent them to Joppa.

Peter's Vision
(Leviticus 11:1-47; Deuteronomy 14:1-21)

9The next day at about the sixth hour, as the men were approaching the city on their journey, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.

11He saw heaven open and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12It contained all kinds of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, as well as birds of the air. 13Then a voice spoke to him: “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!”

14“No, Lord!” Peter answered. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15The voice spoke to him a second time: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16This happened three times, and all at once the sheet was taken back up into heaven.

Peter Called to Caesarea

17While Peter was puzzling over the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found Simon’s house and approached the gate. 18They called out to ask if Simon called Peter was staying there.

19As Peter continued to reflect on the vision, the Spirit told him, “Three men are here looking for you.b 20Get up! Go downstairs and accompany them without hesitation, because I have sent them.”

21So Peter went down to the menc and said, “Here am I, the one you are looking for. Why have you come?”

22“Cornelius the centurion has sent us,” they said. “He is a righteous and God-fearing man with a good reputation among the whole Jewish nation. A holy angel instructed him to request your presence in his home, so that he could hear a message from you.”

23So Peter invited them in as his guests. And the next day he got ready and went with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa.

Peter Visits Cornelius

24The following day he arrived in Caesarea, where Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter was about to enter, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet to worship him. 26But Peter helped him up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

27As Peter talked with him, he went inside and found many people gathered together. 28He said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with a foreigner or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29So when I was invited, I came without objection. I ask, then, why have you sent for me?”

30Cornelius answered: “Four days ago, I was in my house praying at this, the ninth hour. Suddenly a man in radiant clothing stood before me 31and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your gifts to the poor have been remembered before God. 32Therefore send to Joppa for Simon, who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, by the sea.’

33So I sent for you immediately, and you were kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has instructed you to tell us.”

Good News for Gentiles

34Then Peter began to speak: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism, 35but welcomes those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. 36He has sent this message to the people of Israel, proclaiming the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

37You yourselves know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee with the baptism that John proclaimed: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.

39We are witnesses of all that He did, both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And although they put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree, 40God raised Him up on the third day and caused Him to be seen— 41not by all the people, but by the witnesses God had chosen beforehand, by us who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. 42And He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the One appointed by God to judge the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”

The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit
(Joel 2:28-32; John 14:15-26; John 16:5-16; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 19:1-7)

44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard his message. 45All the circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they heard them speaking in tongues and exalting God.

Then Peter said, 47“Can anyone withhold the water to baptize these people? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have!” 48So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.

Footnotes:

6 a TR includes He will tell you what you need to do
19 b NE and WH Two men are looking for you; SBL, BYZ and Tischendorf There are men looking for you
21 c TR the men sent to him by Cornelius

Acts 11

Peter's Report at Jerusalem

1The apostles and brothers throughout Judea soon heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers took issue with him 3and said, “You visited uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

4But Peter began and explained to them the whole sequence of events: 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision of something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came right down to me. 6I looked at it closely and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’

8‘No, Lord,’ I said, ‘for nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

9But the voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’

10This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into heaven.

11Just then, three men sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12The Spirit told me to accompany them without hesitation. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s home. 13He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14He will convey to you a message by which you and all your household will be saved.’

15As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as He had come upon us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered the word of the Lord, as He used to say, ‘John baptized with water,a but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17So if God gave them the same gift as He gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder the work of God?”

18When they heard this, their objections were put to rest, and they glorified God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

The Church at Antioch

19Meanwhile, those scattered by the persecution that began with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the message only to Jews. 20But some of them, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22When news of this reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to abide in the Lord with all their hearts. 24Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. So for a full year they met together with the church and taught large numbers of people. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.

27In those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted through the Spirit that a great famine would sweep across the entire Roman world. (This happened under Claudius.) 29So the disciples, each according to his ability, decided to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30This they did, sending their gifts to the elders with Barnabas and Saul.

Footnotes:

16 a Or in water

Acts 12

James Killed, Peter Imprisoned

1About that time, King Herod reached out to inflict harm on some who belonged to the church. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3Seeing that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4He arrested him and put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out to the people after the Passover.

The Rescue of Peter

5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was fervently praying to God for him.

6On the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, with sentries standing guard at the entrance to the prison. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his wrists. 8“Get dressed and put on your sandals,” said the angel. Peter did so, and the angel told him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”

9So Peter followed him out, but he was unaware that what the angel was doing was real. He only thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city, which opened for them by itself. When they had gone outside and walked the length of one block, the angel suddenly left him.

11Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent His angel and rescued me from Herod’s grasp and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.”

12And when he had realized this, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people were gathered together praying. 13He knocked at the outer gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it. 14When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she forgot to open the gate, but ran inside and announced, “Peter is standing at the gate!”

15“You are out of your mind,” they told her. But when she kept insisting it was so, they said, “It is his angel.”

16But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17Peter motioned with his hand for silence, and he described how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. “Send word to James and to the brothers,” he said, and he left for another place.

18At daybreak there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19After Herod had searched for him unsuccessfully, he examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent some time there.

The Death of Herod

20Now Herod had become infuriated with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they convened before him. Having secured the support of Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their region depended on the king’s country for food. 21On the appointed day, Herod donned his royal robes, sat on his throne, and addressed the people. 22And they began to shout, “This is the voice of a god, not a man!”

23Immediately, because Herod did not give glory to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

24But the word of God continued to spread and multiply.

25When Barnabas and Saul had fulfilled their mission to Jerusalem, they returned,a bringing with them John, also called Mark.

Footnotes:

25 a NE and TR had fulfilled their mission, they returned from Jerusalem,

Acts 13

Paul's First Missionary Journey
(Acts 15:36-41; Acts 18:23-28)

1In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (a childhood companion of Herod the tetrarch), and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

On Cyprus

4Then Barnabas and Saul, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. And John was with them as their helper.

6They traveled through the whole island as far as Paphos, where they found a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, a man of intelligence, summoned Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.

9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked directly at Elymas 10and said, “O child of the devil and enemy of all righteousness! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11Now look, the hand of the Lord is against you, and for a time you will be blind and unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.

12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

In Pisidian Antioch

13After setting sail from Paphos, Paul and his companions came to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14And from Perga, they traveled inland to Pisidian Antioch, where they entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue leaders sent word to them: “Brothers, if you have a word of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

16Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and began to speak: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who fear God, listen to me! 17The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers. He made them into a great people during their stay in Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out of that land. 18He endured their conduct for about forty years in the wilderness. 19And having vanquished seven nations in Canaan, He gave their land to His people as an inheritance. 20All this took about 450 years.

After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21Then the people asked for a king, and God gave them forty years under Saul son of Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin. 22After removing Saul, He raised up David as their king and testified about him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after My own heart; he will carry out My will in its entirety.’

23From the descendants of this man, God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as He promised. 24Before the arrival of Jesus, John preached a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25As John was completing his course, he said, ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not that One. But He is coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

26Brothers, children of Abraham, and you Gentiles who fear God, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning Him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28And though they found no ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have Him executed.

29When they had carried out all that was written about Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30But God raised Him from the dead, 31and for many days He appeared to those who had accompanied Him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now His witnesses to our people.

32And now we proclaim to you the good news: What God promised our fathers 33He has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

‘You are My Son;

today I have become Your Father.’a

34In fact, God raised Him from the dead never to see decay. As He has said:

‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings I promised to David.’b

35So also, He says in another Psalm:

‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’c

36For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep. His body was buried with his fathers and saw decay. 37But the One whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

38Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses. 40Watch out, then, that what was spoken by the prophets does not happen to you:

41‘Look, you scoffers,

wonder and perish;

for I am doing a work in your days

that you would never believe,

even if someone told you.’d

The Gentiles Ask to Hear the Gospel

42As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people urged them to continue this message on the next Sabbath. 43After the synagogue was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44On the following Sabbath, nearly the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and they blasphemously contradicted what Paul was saying.

46Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. But since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’e

48When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord, and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord spread throughout that region.

50The Jews, however, incited the religious women of prominence and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of their district. 51So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Footnotes:

33 a Psalm 2:7
34 b Isaiah 55:3
35 c Psalm 16:10
41 d Habakkuk 1:5
47 e Isaiah 49:6

Acts 14

Paul and Barnabas at Iconium

1At Iconium, Paul and Barnabas entered the Jewish synagogue as usual, and they spoke so well that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who affirmed the message of His grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.

4The people of the city were divided. Some sided with the Jews, and others with the apostles. 5But when the Gentiles and Jews, together with their rulers, set out to mistreat and stone them, 6they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe, and to the surrounding region, 7where they continued to preach the gospel.

The Visit to Lystra and Derbe

8In Lystra sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9This man was listening to the words of Paul, who looked intently at him and saw that he had faith to be healed. 10In a loud voice Paul called out, “Stand up on your feet!” And the man jumped up and began to walk.

11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices in the Lycaonian language: “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates, hoping to offer a sacrifice along with the crowds.

14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul found out about this, they tore their clothes and rushed into the crowd, shouting, 15“Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16In past generations, He let all nations go their own way. 17Yet He has not left Himself without testimony to His goodness: He gives you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness.”

18Even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could hardly stop the crowds from sacrificing to them.

19Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, presuming he was dead. 20But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. And the next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

The Return to Syrian Antioch

21They preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22strengthening the souls of the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith. “We must endure many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

23Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church, praying and fasting as they entrusted them to the Lord, in whom they had believed.

24After passing through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

The Report to the Church at Antioch

26From Attalia they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had just completed. 27When they arrived, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them, and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28And they spent a long time there with the disciples.


Acts 15

The Dispute over Circumcision
(Genesis 17:9-27; Leviticus 12:1-8; Joshua 5:1-9)

1Then some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2So Paul and Barnabas engaged these men in sharp debate. The two of them were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

3Sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, recounting the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy to all the brothers. 4On their arrival in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and apostles and elders, to whom they reported all that God had done through them.

The Council at Jerusalem

5But some believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and declared, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the Law of Moses.” 6So the apostles and elders met to look into this matter.

7After much discussion, Peter got up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days, God made a choice among you that the Gentiles would hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8And God, who knows the heart, showed His approval by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for He cleansed their hearts by faith.

10Now then, why do you test God by placing on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11On the contrary, we believe it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

12The whole assembly fell silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13When they had finished speaking, James declared, “Brothers, listen to me! 14Simona has told us how God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people to be His own. 15The words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written:

16‘After this I will return

and rebuild David’s fallen tent.

Its ruins I will rebuild,

and I will restore it,

17so that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,

and all the Gentiles who bear My name,

says the Lord who does these things

18that have been known for ages.’b

19It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not cause trouble for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood. 21For Moses has been proclaimed in every city from ancient times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The Letter to the Gentile Believers

22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to select men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas called Barsabbas and Silas, two leaders among the brothers, 23and sent them with this letter:

“The apostles and the elders, your brothers,

To the brothers among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24It has come to our attention that some went out from us without our authorizationc and unsettled your minds by what they said. 25So we all agreed to choose men to send you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to tell you in person the same things we are writing you.

28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond these essential requirements: 29You must abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell.”

The Believers at Antioch Rejoice

30So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they assembled the congregation and delivered the letter. 31When the people read it, they rejoiced at its encouraging message.

32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers in peace to return to those who had sent them.d 35But Paul and Barnabas remained at Antioch, along with many others, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord.

Paul's Second Missionary Journey
(Acts 13:1-3; Acts 18:23-28)

36Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.” 37Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark. 38But Paul thought it best not to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work.

39Their disagreement was so sharp that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41And he traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Footnotes:

14 a Greek Simeon, a variant of Simon
18 b Amos 9:11,12. BYZ and TR says the Lord, who does all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
24 c BYZ and TR include saying you must be circumcised and keep the law
33 d TR includes 34 Silas, however, decided to remain there.

Acts 16

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

1Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where he found a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman and a Greek father. 2The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, so he took him and circumcised him on account of the Jews in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

4As they went from town to town, they delivered the decisions handed down by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Paul's Vision of the Macedonian

6After the Holy Spirit prevented them from speaking the word in the province of Asia, they traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia. 7And when they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not permit them. 8So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.

9During the night, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we got ready to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi
(Revelation 2:18-29)

11We sailed from Troas straight to Samothrace, and on the following day on to Neapolis. 12From there, we went to the Roman colony of Philippi, the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river, where it was customary to find a place of prayer. After sitting down, we spoke to the women who had gathered there.

14Among those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Paul and Silas Imprisoned

16One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl with a spirit of clairvoyance,a who earned a large income for her masters by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”

18She continued this for many days. Eventually Paul grew so aggravated that he turned and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” And the spirit left her at that very moment.

19When the girl’s owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the marketplace. 20They brought them to the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews and are throwing our city into turmoil 21by promoting customs that are unlawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.”

22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered that they be stripped and beaten with rods. 23And after striking them with many blows, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to guard them securely. 24On receiving this order, he placed them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Conversion of the Jailer

25About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly a strong earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. At once all the doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

27When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself! We are all here!”

29Calling for lights, the jailer rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32Then Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. 33At that hour of the night, the jailer took them and washed their wounds. And without delay, he and all his household were baptized. 34Then he brought them into his home and set a meal before them. So he and all his household rejoiced that they had come to believe in God.

An Official Apology

35When daylight came, the magistrates sent their officers with the order: “Release those men.”

36The jailer informed Paul: “The magistrates have sent orders to release you. Now you may go on your way in peace.”

37But Paul said to the officers, “They beat us publicly without a trial and threw us into prison, even though we are Roman citizens. And now do they want to send us away secretly? Absolutely not! Let them come themselves and escort us out!”

38So the officers relayed this message to the magistrates, who were alarmed to hear that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39They came to appease them and led them out, requesting that they leave the city. 40After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house to see the brothers and encourage them. Then they left the city.

Footnotes:

16 a Greek Python, a spirit of divination named after the mythical serpent slain by Apollo

Acts 17

Paul Preaches at Thessalonica

1When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbaths he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he declared. 4Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few leading women.

The Uproar in Thessalonica

5The Jews, however, became jealous. So they brought in some troublemakers from the marketplace, formed a mob, and sent the city into an uproar. They raided Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas, hoping to bring them out to the people. 6But when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have now come here, 7and Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king, named Jesus!”

8On hearing this, the crowd and city officials were greatly disturbed. 9And after they had collected bond from Jason and the others, they released them.

The Character of the Bereans

10As soon as night had fallen, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true. 12As a result, many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men.

13But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that Paul was also proclaiming the word of God in Berea, they went there themselves to incite and agitate the crowds. 14The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. 15Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

Paul in Athens

16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply disturbed in his spirit to see that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, and in the marketplace with those he met each day.

18Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” while others said, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was proclaiming the good news of Jesus and the resurrection.

19So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus, where they asked him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20For you are bringing some strange notions to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21Now all the Athenians and foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing more than hearing and articulating new ideas.

Paul Before the Areopagus

22Then Paul stood up before the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and examined your objects of worship, I even found an altar with the inscription:

To an unknown God.

Therefore what you worship as something unknown, I now proclaim to you.

24The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands. 25Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man He made every nation of men, to inhabit the whole earth; and He determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands.

27God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’a As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’b 29Therefore, being offspring of God, we should not think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by man’s skill and imagination.

30Although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times, He now commands all men everywhere to repent. 31For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some began to mock him, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this topic.” 33At that, Paul left the Areopagus. 34But some people joined him and believed, including Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others who were with them.

Footnotes:

28 a Probably a quote from the Cretan philosopher Epimenides
28 b Probably from the poem 'Phainomena' by the Cilician philosopher Aratus

Acts 18

Paul's Ministry in Corinth

1After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to visit them, 3and he stayed and worked with them because they were tentmakers by trade, just as he was.

4Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks alike. 5And when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself fully to the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 6But when they opposed and insulted him, he shook out his garments and told them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

7So Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his whole household believed in the Lord. And many of the Corinthians who heard the message believed and were baptized.

9One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking; do not be silent. 10For I am with you and no one will lay a hand on you, because I have many people in this city.” 11So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching the word of God among the Corinthians.

Paul Before Gallio

12While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews coordinated an attack on Paul and brought him before the judgment seat. 13“This man is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the Law,” they said.

14But just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio told the Jews, “If this matter involved a wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to hear your complaint. 15But since it is a dispute about words and names and your own law, settle it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of such things.” 16And he drove them away from the judgment seat.

17At this, the crowd seized Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the judgment seat. But none of this was of any concern to Gallio.

Paul Returns to Antioch

18Paul remained in Corinth for quite some time before saying goodbye to the brothers. He had his head shaved in Cenchrea to keep a vow he had made, and then he sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila.

19When they reached Ephesus, Paul parted ways with Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue there and reasoned with the Jews. 20When they asked him to stay for a while longer, he declined. 21But as he left, he said,a “I will come back to you again if God is willing.” And he set sail from Ephesus.

22When Paul had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church at Jerusalem. Then he went down to Antioch.

Paul's Third Missionary Journey
(Acts 13:1-3; Acts 15:36-41)

23After Paul had spent some time in Antioch, he traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

24Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord and was fervent in spirit. He spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him in and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

27When Apollos resolved to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On his arrival, he greatly aided those who by grace had believed. 28For he powerfully refuted the Jews in public debate, proving by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

Footnotes:

21 a BYZ and TR include I must by all means keep this feast that comes in Jerusalem, but

Acts 19

The Holy Spirit Received at Ephesus
(Joel 2:28-32; John 14:15-26; John 16:5-16; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 10:44-48)

1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the interiora and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”

“No,” they answered, “we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

3“Into what, then, were you baptized?” Paul asked.

“The baptism of John,” they replied.

4Paul explained: “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7There were about twelve men in all.

Paul Ministers in Ephesus
(Revelation 2:1-7)

8Then Paul went into the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9But when some of them stubbornly refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way, Paul took his disciples and left the synagogue to conduct daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This continued for two years, so that everyone who lived in the province of Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard the word of the Lord.

11God did extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and the diseases and evil spirits left them.

The Sons of Sceva

13Now there were some itinerant Jewish exorcists who tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those with evil spirits. They would say, “I bind you by Jesus, whom Paul proclaims.” 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15Eventually, one of the evil spirits answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but you, who are you?” 16Then the man with the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. The attack was so violent that they ran out of the house, naked and wounded.

17This became known to all the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, and fear came over all of them. So the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18Many who had believed now came forward, confessing and disclosing their deeds. 19And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books and burned them in front of everyone. When the value of the books was calculated, it came to fifty thousand drachmas.b 20So the word of the Lord powerfully continued to spread and prevail.

The Riot in Ephesus

21After these things had happened, Paul purposed in spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must see Rome as well.” 22He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed for a time in the province of Asia.

23About that time a great disturbance arose about the Way. 24It began with a silversmith named Demetrius, who had brought much business to the craftsmen making silver shrines of Artemis.

25Demetrius assembled the craftsmen, along with the workmen in related trades. “Men,” he said, “you know that this business is our source of prosperity. 26And as you see and hear, not only in Ephesus, but in nearly the whole province of Asia, Paul has persuaded a great number of people to turn away. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. 27There is danger not only that our business will fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited and her majesty deposed—she who is worshiped by all the province of Asia and the whole world.”

28When the men heard this, they were enraged and began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29Soon the whole city was in disarray. They rushed together into the theatre, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia.

30Paul wanted to go before the assembly, but the disciples would not allow him. 31Even some of Paul’s friends who were officials of the province of Asia sent word to him, begging him not to venture into the theatre.

32Meanwhile the assembly was in turmoil. Some were shouting one thing and some another, and most of them did not even know why they were there. 33The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward to explain himself, and he motioned for silence so he could make his defense to the people. 34But when they realized that he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35Finally the city clerk quieted the crowd and declared, “Men of Ephesus, doesn’t everyone know that the city of Ephesus is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36Since these things are undeniable, you ought to be calm and not do anything rash. 37For you have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed our temple nor blasphemed our goddess.

38So if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open and proconsuls are available. Let them bring charges against one another there. 39But if you are seeking anything beyond this, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40For we are in jeopardy of being charged with rioting for today’s events, and we have no justification to account for this commotion.”

41After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

Footnotes:

1 a Or highland
19 b Or fifty thousand pieces of silver. A drachma was a silver coin worth about one day's wages.

Acts 20

Paul in Macedonia and Greece

1When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples. After he had encouraged them, he said goodbye to them and left for Macedonia. 2After traveling through that area and speaking many words of encouragement, he arrived in Greece, 3where he stayed three months. And when the Jews formed a plot against him as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia.

4Paul was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. 5These men went on ahead and waited for us in Troas. 6And after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we sailed from Philippi, and five days later we rejoined them in Troas, where we stayed seven days.

Eutychus Revived at Troas
(John 11:38-44)

7On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Since Paul was ready to leave the next day, he talked to them and kept on speaking until midnight.

8Now there were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9And a certain young man named Eutychus, seated by the window, was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell from the third story and was picked up dead. 10But Paul went down, threw himself on the young man, and embraced him. “Do not be alarmed!” he said. “He is still alive!”

11Then Paul went back upstairs, broke bread, and ate. After speaking until daybreak, he departed. 12And the people were greatly relieved to take the boy home alive.

From Troas to Miletus

13We went on ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, where we were to take Paul aboard. He had arranged this because he was going there on foot. 14And when he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15Sailing on from there, we arrived the next day opposite Chios. The day after that we arrived at Samos,a and on the following day we came to Miletus.

16Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, because he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.

Paul's Farewell to the Ephesians

17From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church.

18When they came to him, he said, “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I arrived in the province of Asia. 19I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, and in the trials I faced through the plots of the Jews. 20I did not shrink back from declaring anything that was helpful to you as I taught you publicly and from house to house, 21testifying to Jews and Greeks alike about repentance to God and faith in our Lord Jesus.b

22And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23I only know that in town after town the Holy Spirit warns me that chains and afflictions await me. 24But I consider my life of no value to myself, if only I may finish my course and complete the ministry I have received from the Lord Jesus—the ministry of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

25Now I know that none of you among whom I have preached the kingdom will see my face again. 26Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole will of God.

28Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,c which He purchased with His own blood.d 29I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore be alert and remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

32And now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.

33I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34You yourselves know that these hands of mine have ministered to my own needs and those of my companions. 35In everything, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus Himself: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

36When Paul had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37They all wept openly as they embraced Paul and kissed him. 38They were especially grieved by his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

Footnotes:

15 a BYZ and TR include after remaining at Trogyllium
21 b TR the Lord Jesus Christ
28 c BYZ and Tischendorf of the Lord
28 d Or with the blood of his own Son.

Acts 21

Paul's Journey to Jerusalem

1After we had torn ourselves away from them, we sailed directly to Cos, and the next day on to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded it and set sail. 3After sighting Cyprus and passing south of it, we sailed on to Syria and landed at Tyre, where the ship was to unload its cargo.

4We sought out the disciples in Tyre and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they kept telling Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 5But when our time there had ended, we set out on our journey. All the disciples, with their wives and children, accompanied us out of the city and knelt down on the beach to pray with us. 6After we had said our farewells, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.

7When we had finished our voyage from Tyre, we landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day.

Paul Visits Philip the Evangelist

8Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea, and we went to stay at the home of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven. 9He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

10After we had been there several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands, and said, “The Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.

13Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14When he would not be dissuaded, we fell silent and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

15After these days, we packed up and went on to Jerusalem. 16Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to stay at the home of Mnason the Cypriot, an early disciple.

Paul's Arrival at Jerusalem

17When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us joyfully. 18The next day, Paul went in with us to see James, and all the elders were present. 19Paul greeted them and recounted one by one the things God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

20When they heard this, they glorified God. Then they said to Paul, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the Law. 21But they are under the impression that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe our customs. 22What then should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.

23Therefore do what we advise you. There are four men with us who have taken a vow. 24Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is no truth to these rumors about you, but that you also live in obedience to the Law.

25As for the Gentile believers, we have written them our decision that they must abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

26So the next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he entered the temple to give notice of the date their purification would be complete and the offering would be made for each of them.

Paul Seized in the Temple

27When the seven days were almost over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28crying out, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and against our Law and against this place. Furthermore, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” 29For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.

30The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31While they were trying to kill him, the commander of the Roman regiment received a report that all Jerusalem was in turmoil. 32Immediately he took some soldiers and centurions and ran down to the crowd. When the people saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

33The commander came up and arrested Paul, ordering that he be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done.

34Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, and some another. And since the commander could not determine the facts because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be brought into the barracks. 35When Paul reached the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36For the crowd that followed him kept shouting, “Away with him!”

Paul Speaks to the People

37As they were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?”

“Do you speak Greek?” he replied. 38“Aren’t you the Egyptian who incited a rebellion some time ago and led four thousand members of the ‘Assassins’ into the wilderness?”

39But Paul answered, “I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Now I beg you to allow me to speak to the people.”

40Having received permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. A great hush came over the crowd, and he addressed them in Aramaic:a

Footnotes:

40 a Or the Hebrew dialect

Acts 22

Paul's Defense to the Crowd
(Acts 9:1-9; Acts 26:1-23)

1“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense before you.” 2When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic,a they became even more silent.

Then Paul declared, 3“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but raised in this city. I was educated at the feet of Gamaliel in strict conformity to the Law of our fathers. I am just as zealous for God as any of you here today.

4I persecuted this Way even to the death, detaining both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5as the high priest and the whole Council can testify about me. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and I was on my way to apprehend these people and bring them to Jerusalem to be punished.

6About noon as I was approaching Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’

8‘Who are You, Lord?’ I asked.

‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied. 9My companions saw the light, but they could not understand the voice of the One speaking to me.

10Then I asked, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’

‘Get up and go into Damascus,’ He told me. ‘There you will be told all that you have been appointed to do.’

11Because the brilliance of the light had blinded me, my companions led me by the hand into Damascus. 12There a man named Ananias, a devout observer of the Law who was highly regarded by all the Jews living there, 13came and stood beside me. ‘Brother Saul,’ he said, ‘receive your sight.’ And at that moment I could see him.

14Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear His voice. 15You will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and wash your sins away, calling on His name.’

17Later, when I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance, 18and saw the Lord saying to me, ‘Hurry! Leave Jerusalem quickly, because the people here will not accept your testimony about Me.’

19‘Lord,’ I answered, ‘they know very well that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in You. 20And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’

21Then He said to me, ‘Go! I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’

Paul the Roman Citizen

22The crowd listened to Paul until he made this statement. Then they lifted up their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He is not fit to live!”

23As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, 24the commander ordered that Paul be brought into the barracks. He directed that Paul be flogged and interrogated to determine the reason for this outcry against him.

25But as they stretched him out to strap him down, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it lawful for you to flog a Roman citizen without a trial?”

26On hearing this, the centurion went and reported it to the commander. “What are you going to do?” he said. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes,” he answered.

28“I paid a high price for my citizenship,” said the commander.

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29Then those who were about to interrogate Paul stepped back, and the commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put a Roman citizen in chains.

30The next day the commander, wanting to learn the real reason Paul was accused by the Jews, released him and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul down and had him stand before them.

Footnotes:

2 a Or the Hebrew dialect

Acts 23

Paul Before the Sanhedrin

1Paul looked directly at the Sanhedrin and said, “Brothers, I have conducted myself before God in all good conscience to this day.”

2At this, the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth.

3Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit here to judge me according to the Law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck.”

4But those standing nearby said, “How dare you insult the high priest of God!”

5“Brothers,” Paul replied, “I was not aware that he was the high priest, for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’a

6Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. It is because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”

7As soon as he had said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8For the Sadducees say there is neither a resurrection, nor angels, nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.

9A great clamor arose, and some scribes from the party of the Pharisees got up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10The dispute grew so violent that the commander was afraid they would tear Paul to pieces. He ordered the soldiers to go down and remove him by force and bring him into the barracks.

11The following night the Lord stood by Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so also you must testify in Rome.”

The Plot to Kill Paul
(John 16:1-4)

12When daylight came, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13More than forty of them were involved in this plot. 14They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him down to you on the pretext of examining his case more carefully. We are ready to kill him on the way.”

16But when the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush, he went into the barracks and told Paul. 17Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.”

18So the centurion took him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner sent and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to tell you.”

19The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside, and asked, “What do you need to tell me?”

20He answered, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul to the Sanhedrin tomorrow, on the pretext of acquiring more information about him. 21Do not let them persuade you, because more than forty men are waiting to ambush him. They have bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him; they are ready now, awaiting your consent.”

22So the commander dismissed the young man and instructed him, “Do not tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

Paul Sent to Felix

23Then he called two of his centurions and said, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea in the third hour of the night. 24Provide mounts for Paul to take him safely to Governor Felix.” 25And he wrote the following letter:

26“Claudius Lysias,

To His Excellency, Governor Felix:

Greetings.

27This man was seized by the Jews, and they were about to kill him when I came with my troops to rescue him. For I had learned that he is a Roman citizen, 28and since I wanted to understand their charges against him, I brought him down to their Sanhedrin. 29I found that the accusation involved questions about their own Law, but there was no charge worthy of death or imprisonment.

30When I was informed that there was a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also instructed his accusers to present their case against him before you.”

31So the soldiers followed their orders and brought Paul by night to Antipatris. 32The next day they returned to the barracks and let the horsemen go on with him. 33When the horsemen arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and presented Paul to him.

34The governor read the letter and asked what province Paul was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers arrive.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s Praetorium.

Footnotes:

5 a Exodus 22:28

Acts 24

Tertullus Prosecutes Paul

1Five days later, the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, who presented to the governor their case against Paul.

2When Paul had been called in, Tertullus opened the prosecution: “Because of you, we have enjoyed a lasting peace, and your foresight has brought improvements to this nation. 3In every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with all gratitude. 4But in order not to burden you any further, I beg your indulgence to hear us briefly.

5We have found this man to be a nuisance, stirring up dissension among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, 6and he even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him.a 8By examining him yourself, you will be able to learn the truth about all our charges against him.”

9The Jews concurred, asserting that these charges were true.

Paul's Defense to Felix

10When the governor motioned for Paul to speak, he began his response: “Knowing that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I gladly make my defense. 11You can verify for yourself that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12Yet my accusers did not find me debating with anyone in the temple or riling up a crowd in the synagogues or in the city. 13Nor can they prove to you any of their charges against me.

14I do confess to you, however, that I worship the God of our fathers according to the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15and I have the same hope in God that they themselves cherish, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16In this hope, I strive always to maintain a clear conscience before God and man.

17After several years, then, I returned to Jerusalem to bring alms to my people and to present offerings. 18At the time they found me in the temple, I was ceremonially clean and was not inciting a crowd or an uproar. But there are some Jews from the province of Asia 19who ought to appear before you and bring charges, if they have anything against me. 20Otherwise, let these men state for themselves any crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin, 21unless it was this one thing I called out as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”

The Verdict Postponed

22Then Felix, who was well informed about the Way, adjourned the hearing and said, “When Lysias the commander comes, I will decide your case.” 23He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard, but to allow him some freedom and permit his friends to minister to his needs.

24After several days, Felix returned with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25As Paul expounded on righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “You may go for now. When I find the time, I will call for you.” 26At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe. So he sent for Paul frequently and talked with him.

27After two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

Footnotes:

6 a BYZ and TR include and we would have judged him according to our law. 7 But Lysias the commander came with great force and took him out of our hands, 8 ordering his accusers to come before you.

Acts 25

Paul's Trial Before Festus

1Three days after his arrival in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2where the chief priests and Jewish leaders presented their case against Paul. They urged Festus 3to grant them a concession against Paul by summoning him to Jerusalem, because they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way.

4But Festus replied, “Paul is being held in Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5So if this man has done anything wrong, let some of your leaders come down with me and accuse him there.”

6After spending no more than eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he sat on the judgment seat and ordered that Paul be brought in. 7When Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges that they could not prove.

8Then Paul made his defense: “I have committed no offense against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to stand trial before me on these charges?”

The Appeal to Caesar

10Paul replied, “I am standing before the judgment seat of Caesar, where I ought to be tried. I have done nothing wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11If, however, I am guilty of anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die. But if there is no truth to their accusations against me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12Then Festus conferred with his council and replied, “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

Festus Consults King Agrippa

13After several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice came down to Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14Since they were staying several days, Festus laid out Paul’s case before the king: “There is a certain man whom Felix left in prison. 15While I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews presented their case and requested a judgment against him. 16I told them it was not the Roman custom to hand a man over before he has an opportunity to face his accusers and defend himself against their charges.

17So when they came here with me, I did not delay. The next day I sat on the judgment seat and ordered that the man be brought in. 18But when his accusers rose to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19They only had some contentions with him regarding their own religion and a certain Jesus who had died, but whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

20Since I was at a loss as to how to investigate these matters, I asked if he was willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried there on these charges. 21But when Paul appealed to be held over for the decision of the Emperor, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.”

“Tomorrow you will hear him,” Festus declared.

Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice

23The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the auditorium, along with the commanders and leading men of the city. And Festus ordered that Paul be brought in.

24Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man. The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him, both here and in Jerusalem, crying out that he ought not to live any longer. 25But I found he had done nothing worthy of death, and since he has now appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him.

26I have nothing definite to write to our sovereign one about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this inquiry I may have something to write. 27For it seems unreasonable to me to send on a prisoner without specifying the charges against him.”


Acts 26

Paul's Testimony to Agrippa
(Acts 9:1-9; Acts 22:1-21)

1Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”

Then Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense: 2“King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today to defend myself against all the accusations of the Jews, 3especially since you are acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. I beg you, therefore, to listen to me patiently.

4Surely all the Jews know how I have lived from the earliest days of my youth, among my own people and in Jerusalem. 5They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I lived as a Pharisee, adhering to the strictest sect of our religion.

6And now I stand on trial because of my hope in the promise that God made to our fathers, 7the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to realize as they earnestly serve God day and night. It is because of this hope, O king, that I am accused by the Jews. 8Why would any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9So then, I too was convinced that I ought to do all I could to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And that is what I did in Jerusalem. With authority from the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were condemned to death, I cast my vote against them. 11I frequently had them punished in the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme. In my raging fury against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

12In this pursuit, I was on my way to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic,a ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15‘Who are You, Lord?’ I asked.

‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16‘But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen from Me and what I will show you. 17I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those sanctified by faith in Me.’

19So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 20First to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, then to everyone in the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I declared that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds worthy of their repentance. 21For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.

22But I have had God’s help to this day, and I stand here to testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen: 23that Christ would suffer, and as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Festus Interrupts Paul's Defense

24At this stage of Paul’s defense, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, “You are insane, Paul! Your great learning is driving you to madness!”

25But Paul answered, “I am not insane, most excellent Festus; I am speaking words of truth and sobriety. 26For the king knows about these matters, and I can speak freely to him. I am confident that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Can you persuade me in such a short time to become a Christian?”

29“Short time or long,” Paul replied, “I wish to God that not only you but all who hear me this day may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30Then the king and the governor rose, along with Bernice and those seated with them. 31On their way out, they said to one another, “This man has done nothing worthy of death or imprisonment.”

32And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Footnotes:

14 a Or the Hebrew dialect

Acts 27

Paul Sails for Rome

1When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Augustan Regiment. 2We boarded an Adramyttian ship about to sail for ports along the coast of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.

3The next day we landed at Sidon, and Julius treated Paul with consideration, allowing him to visit his friends and receive their care. 4After putting out from there, we sailed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5And when we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy, and he put us on board.

7After sailing slowly for many days, we arrived off Cnidus. When the wind impeded us, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8After we had moved along the coast with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

9By now much time had passed, and the voyage had already become dangerous because it was after the Fast.a So Paul advised them, 10“Men, I can see that our voyage will be filled with disaster and great loss, not only to ship and cargo, but to our own lives as well.”

11But contrary to Paul’s advice, the centurion was persuaded by the pilot and the owner of the ship. 12Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided to sail on, if somehow they could reach Phoenix to winter there. Phoenix was a harbor in Crete facing both southwest and northwest.

The Storm at Sea
(Jeremiah 6:10-21; Jeremiah 25:15-33; Jonah 1:4-10; Romans 1:18-32)

13When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had their opportunity. So they weighed anchor and sailed along, hugging the coast of Crete. 14But it was not long before a cyclone called the Northeaster swept down across the island. 15Unable to head into the wind, the ship was caught up. So we gave way and let ourselves be driven along.

16Passing to the lee of a small island called Cauda,b we barely managed to secure the lifeboat. 17After hoisting it up, the crew used ropes to undergird the ship. Fearing they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchorc and were driven along.

18We were tossed so violently that the next day the men began to jettison the cargo. 19On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the great storm continued to batter us, we abandoned all hope of being saved.

21After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete. Then you would have averted this disaster and loss. 22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because you will not experience any loss of life, but only of the ship. 23Just last night an angel of God, whose I am and whom I serve, stood beside me 24and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And look, God has granted you the lives of all who sail with you.’

25So take courage, men, for I believe God that it will happen just as He told me. 26However, we must run aground on some island.”

The Shipwreck

27On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea.d About midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28They took soundings and found that the water was twenty fathoms deep.e Going a little farther, they took another set of soundings that read fifteen fathoms.f 29Fearing that we would run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daybreak.

30Meanwhile, the sailors attempted to escape from the ship. Pretending to lower anchors from the bow, they let the lifeboat down into the sea. 31But Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men remain with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32So the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat and set it adrift.

33Right up to daybreak, Paul kept urging them all to eat: “Today is your fourteenth day in constant suspense, without taking any food. 34So for your own preservation, I urge you to eat something, because not a single hair of your head will be lost.”

35After he had said this, Paul took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36They were all encouraged and took some food themselves. 37Altogether there were 276g of us on board. 38After the men had eaten their fill, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.

39When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they sighted a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40Cutting away the anchors, they left them in the sea as they loosened the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41But the vessel struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was being tattered by the pounding of the waves.

42The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners so none of them could swim to freedom. 43But the centurion, wanting to spare Paul’s life, thwarted their plan. He commanded those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44The rest were to follow on planks and various parts of the ship. In this way everyone was brought safely to land.

Footnotes:

9 a That is, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement
16 b NE, BYZ, and TR Clauda
17 c Or the sails
27 d The Adriatic Sea referred to an area also extending well south of Italy.
28 e That is, about 120 feet or 37 meters
28 f That is, about 90 feet or 27 meters
37 g WH 76

Acts 28

Ashore on Malta

1Once we were safely ashore, we learned that the island was called Malta. 2The islanders showed us extraordinary kindness. They kindled a fire and welcomed all of us because it was raining and cold.

3Paul gathered a bundle of sticks, and as he laid them on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself to his hand. 4When the islanders saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “Surely this man is a murderer. Although he was saved from the sea, Justicea has not allowed him to live.” 5But Paul shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6The islanders were expecting him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

7Nearby stood an estate belonging to the Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8The father of Publius was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him, and after praying and placing his hands on him, he healed the man. 9After this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured as well.

10The islanders honored us in many ways and supplied our needs when we were ready to sail.

Paul Arrives in Italy

11After three months we set sail in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered in the island. It had the Twin Brothersb as a figurehead. 12Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there three days. 13From there we weighed anchor and came to Rhegium. After one day, a south wind came up, and on the second day we arrived at Puteoli. 14There we found some brothers who invited us to spend the week with them. And so we came to Rome.

15The brothers there had heard about us and traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and gave thanks to God.

Paul Preaches at Rome

16When we arrived in Rome,c Paul was permitted to stay by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

17After three days, he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered, he said to them, “Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, I was taken prisoner in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18They examined me and wanted to release me, because there was no basis for a death sentence against me. 19But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, even though I have no charge to bring against my nation. 20So for this reason I have called to see you and speak with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

21The leaders replied, “We have not received any letters about you from Judea, nor have any of the brothers from there reported or even mentioned anything bad about you. 22But we consider your views worth hearing, because we know that people everywhere are speaking against this sect.”

23So they set a day to meet with Paul, and many people came to the place he was staying. He expounded to them from morning to evening, testifying about the kingdom of God and persuading them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets.

24Some of them were convinced by what he said, but others refused to believe. 25They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit was right when He spoke to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:

26‘Go to this people and say,

“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;

you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”

27For this people’s heart has grown callous;

they hardly hear with their ears,

and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their hearts,

and turn,

and I would heal them.’d

28Be advised, therefore, that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”e

30Paul stayed there two full years in his own rented house, welcoming all who came to visit him. 31Boldly and freely he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Footnotes:

4 a Greek Dike, that is, the Greek goddess of justice
11 b Greek Dioscuri, that is, the Greek gods Castor and Pollux
16 c BYZ and TR include the centurion delivered up the prisoners to the captain of the barrack, but
27 d Isaiah 6:9,10
28 e BYZ and TR include 29 When he had said this, the Jews went away, disputing sharply among themselves.


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