New International Version

Acts 26

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

So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

“The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.

12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

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

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

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

Footnotes

  1. Acts 26:14 Or Hebrew

New American Standard Bible

Acts 26

Paul’s Defense before Agrippa

1Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense:

“In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today; [a]especially because you are an expert in all customs and [b]questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

“So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem; since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. And now I am [c]standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?

“So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And this is [d]just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the [e]saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to [f]foreign cities.

12 [g]While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, [h]brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the [i]Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? [j]It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have [k]seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

19 “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. 21 For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. 22 So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; 23 [l]that [m]the Christ was [n]to suffer, and [o]that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

24 While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus *said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! [p]Your great learning is [q]driving you mad.” 25 But Paul *said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words [r]of sober truth. 26 For the king [s]knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a [t]corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you [u]do.” 28 Agrippa replied to Paul, “[v]In a short time you [w]will persuade me to [x]become a Christian.” 29 And Paul said, “[y]I would wish to God, that whether [z]in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king stood up and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them, 31 and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one another, saying, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or [aa]imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Footnotes

  1. Acts 26:3 Or because you are especially expert
  2. Acts 26:3 Or controversial issues
  3. Acts 26:6 Lit being tried
  4. Acts 26:10 Lit also
  5. Acts 26:10 Or holy ones
  6. Acts 26:11 Or outlying
  7. Acts 26:12 Lit In which things
  8. Acts 26:13 Lit above the brightness of
  9. Acts 26:14 I.e. Jewish Aramaic
  10. Acts 26:14 An idiom referring to an animal’s futile resistance to being prodded with goads
  11. Acts 26:16 Two early mss read seen Me
  12. Acts 26:23 Lit whether
  13. Acts 26:23 I.e. the Messiah
  14. Acts 26:23 Lit subject to suffering
  15. Acts 26:23 Lit whether
  16. Acts 26:24 Lit The many letters
  17. Acts 26:24 Lit turning you to madness
  18. Acts 26:25 Lit of truth and rationality
  19. Acts 26:26 Or understands
  20. Acts 26:26 I.e. a hidden or secret place
  21. Acts 26:27 Lit believe
  22. Acts 26:28 Or With a little
  23. Acts 26:28 Or are trying to convince
  24. Acts 26:28 Lit make
  25. Acts 26:29 Or I would pray to
  26. Acts 26:29 Or with a little or with much
  27. Acts 26:31 Lit bonds