Acts 22
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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

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