1“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense before you.” 2When they heard that he was addressing them in Aramaic,#22:2 Or Hebrew they became even quieter.#Ac 7:2; 21:40 3He#Ac 9:1-22; 26:9-18 continued, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel#Dt 33:3; Ac 5:34; 9:11; 21:39; 2Co 11:22; Php 3:5 according to the law of our ancestors. I was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.#Ac 26:5; Rm 10:2; Php 3:6 4I persecuted this Way#Ac 9:2; 24:14,22 to the death, arresting and putting both men and women in jail,#Ac 8:3; 22:19-20; 26:10 5as both the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. After I received letters from them to the brothers, I traveled to Damascus to arrest those who were there and bring them to Jerusalem to be punished.#Lk 22:66; Ac 13:26; 1Tm 4:14
6“As#Ac 9:3-8; 26:12-18 I was traveling and approaching Damascus, about noon an intense light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
8“I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, the one you are persecuting.’ 9Now those who were with me saw the light,#22:9 Other mss add and were afraid but they did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.#Dn 10:7; Ac 9:7; 26:13
10“I said, ‘What should I do, Lord?’
“The Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything that you have been assigned to do.’
11“Since I couldn’t see because of the brightness of the light,#22:11 Lit the glory of that light I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and went into Damascus.#Ac 9:8; 16:30 12Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, who had a good reputation with all the Jews living there,#Ac 9:10,17; 10:22 13came and stood by me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’ And in that very hour I looked up and saw him. 14And he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has appointed#Ac 3:13; 9:15; 26:16 you to know his will, to see#1Co 9:1; 15:8 the Righteous One,#Ac 3:14; 7:52 and to hear the words from his mouth, 15since you will be a witness for him to all people of what you have seen and heard.#Ac 23:11; 26:16 16And now, why are you delaying? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins,#Ac 2:38; 1Co 6:11; Heb 10:22 calling on his name.’#Ac 9:14; Rm 10:13
17“After I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance#Ac 9:26; 10:10 18and saw him telling me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’
19“But I said, ‘Lord, they know that in synagogue after synagogue I had those who believed in you imprisoned and beaten.#Mt 10:17; Ac 8:3; 22:4 20And when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I stood there giving approval#22:20 Other mss add of his murder and guarding the clothes of those who killed him.’#Ac 7:58; 8:1; Rm 1:32
21“He said to me, ‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ” #Ac 9:15; 13:46
Paul’s Roman Protection
22They listened to him up to this point. Then they raised their voices, shouting, “Wipe this man off the face of the earth! He should not be allowed to live!” #Ac 21:36; 25:24
23As they were yelling and flinging aside their garments and throwing dust into the air,#2Sm 16:13; Ac 7:58 24the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, directing that he be interrogated with the scourge to discover the reason they were shouting against him like this. 25As they stretched him out for the lash, Paul said to the centurion standing by, “Is it legal for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen and is uncondemned?” #Ac 16:37; 21:34; 22:29
26When the centurion heard this, he went and reported to the commander, saying, “What are you going to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.”
27The commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
“Yes,” he said.
28The commander replied, “I bought this citizenship for a large amount of money.”
“But I was born a citizen,” Paul said.
29So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately. The commander too was alarmed when he realized Paul was a Roman citizen and he had bound him.#Ac 16:38; 21:33
Paul before the Sanhedrin
30The next day, since he wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him#22:30 Other mss add from his chains and instructed the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to convene.#Mt 5:22; Ac 23:3-8 He brought Paul down and placed him before them.