1“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense before you.” 2When they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even quieter. # Ac 7:2; 21:40 3He # Ac 9:1-22; 26:9-18 continued, “I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city # Probably Jerusalem, but others think Tarsus at the feet of Gamaliel # Dt 33:3; Ac 5:34; 9:11; 21:39; 2Co 11:22; Php 3:5 and educated according to the strict view of our patriarchal law. Being 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, binding 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 bring those who were prisoners there to be punished in Jerusalem. # Lk 22:66; Ac 13:26; 1Tm 4:14
6“As # Ac 9:3-8; 26:12-18 I was traveling and near 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 the Nazarene, the One you are persecuting! ’ 9Now those who were with me saw the light, # 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“Then I said, ‘What should I do, Lord? ’
“And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything that is assigned for you to do.’
11“Since I couldn’t see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. # Ac 9:8; 16:30 12Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good reputation with all the Jews residing 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. 14Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers 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 sound of His voice. # Lit to hear a voice from His mouth 15For 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 delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins # Ac 2:38; 1Co 6:11; Heb 10:22 by calling on His name.’ # Ac 9:14; Rm 10:13
17“After I came back to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple complex, I went into a visionary state # 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 was standing by and approving, # Other mss add of his murder and I guarded the clothes of those who killed him.’ # Ac 7:58; 8:1; Rm 1:32
21“Then 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 word. Then they raised their voices, shouting, “Wipe this person off the earth — it’s a disgrace for him to live! ” # Ac 21:36; 25:24
23As they were yelling and flinging aside their robes 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 examined with the scourge, so he could 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.
29Therefore, those who were about to examine him withdrew from him at once. 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 # Other mss add from his chains and instructed the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to convene. # Mt 5:22; Ac 23:3-8 Then he brought Paul down and placed him before them.