Amplified Bible

Acts 26

Paul’s Defense before Agrippa

1Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are [now] permitted to speak on your own behalf.” At that, Paul stretched out his hand [as an orator] and made his defense [as follows]:

“I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, since it is before you that I am to make my defense today regarding all the charges brought against me by the Jews, especially because you are an expert [fully knowledgeable, experienced and unusually conversant] in all the Jewish customs and controversial issues; therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

“So then, all the Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation [the Jewish people], and in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time, if they are willing to testify to it, that according to the [a]strictest sect of our religion, I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. Which hope [of the Messiah and the resurrection] our twelve tribes [confidently] expect to realize as they serve and worship God in earnest night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews! Why is it thought incredible by [any of] you that God raises the dead?

“So then, I [once] thought to myself that it was my duty to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; I not only locked up many of the saints (God’s people) in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being condemned to death, I [b]cast my vote against them. 11 And I often punished them [making them suffer] in all the synagogues and tried to force them to blaspheme; and in my extreme rage at them, I kept hunting them even to foreign cities [harassing and persecuting them].

12 “While so engaged, as I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission and full power of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven surpassing the brightness of the sun, shining all around me and those who were traveling with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the Hebrew dialect (Jewish Aramaic) saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? [c]It is hard for you to kick [repeatedly] against the [d]goads [offering pointless resistance].’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 Get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you [to serve] as a minister and as a witness [to testify, with authority,] not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you, 17 [choosing you for Myself and] rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their [spiritual] eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified (set apart, made holy) by faith in Me.’

19 “So, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but I openly proclaimed first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent [change their inner self—their old way of thinking] and turn to God, doing deeds and living lives which are consistent with repentance. 21 Because of this some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had help from God to this day, and I stand [before people] testifying to small and great alike, stating nothing except what the Prophets and Moses said would come to pass— 23 that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to suffer, and that He by being the first to rise from the dead [with an incorruptible body] would proclaim light (salvation) both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

24 While Paul was making this defense, Festus said loudly, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great education is turning you toward madness.” 25 But Paul replied, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent and noble Festus, but [with a sound mind] I am uttering rational words of truth and reason. 26 For [your majesty] the king understands these things, and [therefore] I am also speaking to him with confidence and boldness, since I am convinced that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner [hidden from view, in secret]. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the [writings of the] Prophets [their messages and words]? I know that you do.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time [and with so little effort] you [almost] persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 And Paul replied, “Whether in a short time or long, I wish to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

30 Then the king stood up, and [with him] the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them; 31 and after they had gone out, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or [even] of imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to [e]Caesar (Emperor Nero).”

Notas al pie

  1. Acts 26:5 Paul probably is referring to the school of Shammai, which flourished from 30 b.c. to a.d. 20. Gamaliel, Paul’s teacher in the school of Hillel (22:3), discussed and interpreted the teachings of both schools, and often agreed with the teachings of Shammai, so Paul was familiar with Shammai as well as Hillel.
  2. Acts 26:10 Lit cast down my (black) pebble. In ancient times a vote cast by throwing a white pebble meant acquittal, and a black one, condemnation.
  3. Acts 26:14 An ancient Greek proverb dating back to the time of Euripides.
  4. Acts 26:14 These were wooden shafts (like broomsticks) with a pointed piece of metal on one end, used by the farmer to keep an ox going in the right direction as it pulled a plow. Jesus was “prodding” Paul to take the proper direction in his life, and Paul had been resisting.
  5. Acts 26:32 Nero was the fifth and last of the Roman emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He ruled after the death of Claudius and actively persecuted Christians. Both Paul and Peter were martyred during Nero’s reign (a.d. 54-68).

O Livro

Atos 26

1Agripa dirigiu­se então a Paulo: “Diga­nos o que tem a declarar”. Paulo, estendendo a mão, apresentou a sua defesa:

2/3 “Considero­me feliz, rei Agripa, por poder responder na sua presença por tudo aquilo de que sou acusado pelos judeus, sobretudo sabendo eu que é conhecedor das leis e costumes judaicos. Rogo­lhe, portanto, que me ouça com paciência!

4/5 Os judeus conhecem a educação judaica que recebi desde a mocidade em Jerusalém. Se o quiserem confessar, sabem que sempre fui dos fariseus mais escrupulosos na obediência às leis e costumes dos judeus. 6/7 E agora por eu esperar o cumprimento da promessa de Deus aos nossos antepassados estou a ser julgado aqui. As doze tribos de Israel lutam noite a dia por alcançar essa esperança que eu tenho! No entanto, Majestade, é essa a acusação que os judeus me fazem! Pois quê? Será assim difícil crer na ressurreição dos mortos?

9/11 Eu antes julgava ser um dever fazer muita coisa contra os seguidores de Jesus de Nazaré. E foi o que fiz em Jerusalém. Autorizado pelos chefes dos sacerdotes pus muitos dos crentes nas prisões; e quando eram condenados à morte, votava contra eles. Servi­me da tortura para tentar obrigar os cristãos, por todas as sinagogas, a amaldiçoarem o nome de Cristo. Era tão forte o ódio que lhes tinha, que cheguei a persegui­los em cidades de países estrangeiros.

12/14 Uma missão dessas levou­me a Damasco, tendo recebido autoridade e ordens dos principais sacerdotes. De caminho, cerca do meio­dia, ó rei, brilhou sobre mim e os meus companheiros uma luz do céu, luz essa mais forte do que a do próprio Sol. Caímos por terra e ouvi uma voz que me dizia em hebraico:

‘Saulo, Saulo, porque me persegues? Não é bom ser­se obstinado’.

15 ‘Quem és tu, Senhor?’, perguntei.

E o Senhor respondeu: ‘Sou Jesus, aquele a quem persegues. 16 Levanta­te, pois apareci­te para te nomear meu enviado e minha testemunha. Deverás contar ao mundo isto que agora te acontece. E, no futuro, ainda hei­de aparecer­te mais vezes e anunciarás o que vires. 17 Proteger­te­ei tanto dos teus compatriotas como dos não­judeus. Sim, vou enviar­te até aos gentios, 18 para lhes abrires os olhos, para que possam sair das trevas para a luz e do poder de Satanás para Deus. Então receberão o perdão dos seus pecados e terão um lugar entre o povo de Deus, que está santificado pela sua fé em mim.’

19/20 E assim, ó rei Agripa, não fui desobediente a essa visão celestial! Preguei primeiro em Damasco, depois em Jerusalém e em toda a Judeia, e também aos gentios, anunciando­lhes que todos devem abandonar os seus pecados e converter­se a Deus, provando o arrependimento com a prática de boas acções. 21/23 Os judeus prenderam­me no templo por causa disto e tentaram matar­me, mas Deus protegeu­me, pelo que agora aqui estou vivo, hoje, para contar estes factos a toda a gente, a grandes e a pequenos. Só ensino o que os profetas e Moisés disseram: que o Messias haveria de sofrer e ser o primeiro a ressuscitar da morte, para levar a luz tanto aos judeus como aos gentios.”

24 De repente Festo gritou: “Paulo, você está louco! Tanto estudo fê­lo perder o juízo!”

25 Paulo respondeu: “Não estou louco, não, Excelência. Falo a linguagem da verdade e do bom senso. 26 E o rei Agripa conhece estas coisas. Falo com ousadia porque estou certo de que estas coisas lhe são familiares. Estas coisas não foram feitas às escondidas. 27 Rei Agripa, crê nos profetas? Sei que crê.”

28 Agripa, porém, interrompeu­o. “Por mais um pouco convencia­me a fazer­me cristão!”

29 E Paulo: “E o que eu peço a Deus é que, por pouco ou por muito, tanto o rei como todos quantos aqui estão a ouvir­me sejam como eu, mas sem estas correntes”.

30 Então o rei, o governador, Berenice e todos os outros ali presentes levantaram­se e saíram. 31 Conversando depois sobre o caso, concordaram: “Este homem nada fez que mereça morte ou prisão”. 32 E Agripa disse a Festo: “Bem podia ser posto em liberdade se não tivesse apelado para César!”