Paul’s Defense before Agrippa
1Agrippa said to Paul, “It is permitted for you to speak for yourself.”
Then Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense: 2“I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that today I am going to make a defense before you about everything I am accused of by the Jews, 3especially since you are an expert in all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4“All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem. # Ac 6:14; 25:19; Gl 1:13 5They had previously known me for quite some time, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I lived as a Pharisee. # Ac 22:3; 23:6; Php 3:5 6And now I stand on trial for the hope # Ac 24:15; 28:20 of the promise # Ac 13:32; Rm 15:8 made by God to our fathers, 7the promise our 12 tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve Him night and day. King Agrippa, I am being accused by the Jews because of this hope. # Php 3:11; 1Th 3:10; 1Tm 5:5; Jms 1:1 8Why is it considered incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? 9In fact, I myself supposed it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. # Jn 16:2; 1Tm 1:13 10I actually did this in Jerusalem, and I locked up many of the saints in prison, since I had received authority for that from the chief priests. When they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. # Ac 8:3; 9:13-14,21; 22:5,20 11In all the synagogues I often tried to make them blaspheme by punishing them. # Ac 25:21,25; 26:32; 28:19 I even pursued them to foreign cities since I was greatly enraged at them.
Paul’s Account of His Conversion and Commission
12“I was traveling to Damascus under # Ac 9:3-8; 22:6-11 these circumstances with authority and a commission from the chief priests. 13King Agrippa, while on the road at midday, I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me. 14We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ # Sharp sticks used to prod animals, such as oxen in plowing # Ac 9:7; 21:40
15“Then I said, ‘Who are You, Lord? ’
“And the Lord replied: ‘I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting. 16But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of what you have seen # Other mss read things in which you have seen Me and of what I will reveal to you. # Ezk 2:1; Dn 10:11; Ac 22:14-15 17I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles. I now send you to them # 1Ch 16:35; Jr 1:8,19; Ac 9:15 18to open their eyes # Is 35:5; 42:7 so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that by faith in Me they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified.’ # Ac 20:32; Eph 5:8; Col 1:13; 1Pt 2:9
19“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 20Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance. # Mt 3:8; Lk 3:8; Ac 9:19-20,22,26-29; 13:46; 22:17-20 21For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple complex and were trying to kill me. 22To this very day, I have obtained help that comes from God, and I stand and testify to both small and great, saying nothing else than what the prophets and Moses said would take place # Lk 24:27; Ac 10:43; 24:14 — 23that the Messiah must suffer, and that as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles.” # Lk 24:26; 1Co 15:20,23; Col 1:18; Rv 1:5
Not Quite Persuaded
24As he was making his defense this way, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, “You’re out of your mind, # 2Kg 9:11; Jn 10:20; 1Co 1:23; 2:14; 4:10 Paul! Too much study is driving you mad! ”
25But Paul replied, “I’m not out of my mind, most excellent Festus. On the contrary, I’m speaking words of truth and good judgment. # Ac 23:26; 24:3 26For the king knows about these matters. It is to him I am actually speaking boldly. For I am convinced that none of these things escapes his notice, since this was not done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe.”
28Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily? ”
29“I wish before God,” replied Paul, “that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am — except for these chains.” # Ac 11:26; 21:33; 1Co 7:7
30So the king, the governor, Bernice, and those sitting with them got up, 31and when they had left they talked with each other and said, “This man is doing nothing that deserves death or chains.” # Ac 23:9,29; 25:23
32Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.” # Ac 25:11; 28:18