The Acts of the Apostles
The promise of the Spirit – The Lord’s Ascension
1The first book I wrote, Theophilus, dealt with all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning, 2until the day in which he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After he suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God’s Kingdom. 4Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me. 5Indeed, John baptized in water, but not many days from now, you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.”
6Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
7Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has set by his own authority. 8However, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9After saying these things, as they were watching, he was taken up and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While they were gazing into the sky as he was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood by them. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into the sky? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into heaven.”
12Then, they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
The disciples in the upper room – Matthias is chosen to replace Judas
13After entering the city, they went up into the upper room where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14With one accord, all these were continuing steadfastly in prayer and supplication, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers.
15In those days, Peter stood up among the disciples, and the number of names was about one hundred and twenty, and said, 16“Brethren, it was necessary that this Scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit had spoken beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17For he was numbered with us and received his portion in this ministry.
18Now this man obtained a field with the reward for his wickedness, and falling headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines gushed out. 19It became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem that in their language that field was called ‘Akeldama,’ that is, ‘The field of blood.’
20For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his habitation be made desolate, And let no one dwell in it’; and, ‘Let another take his oversight’. (Psalms 68:25, 108:8)
21Therefore, of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John and to the day that he was taken up from us, of these, one must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23So, they put forward two: Joseph called Barsabbas who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit
1Now, when the day of Pentecost came, they were all with one accord in the same place. 2Suddenly, there came from heaven a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues that seemed like fire appeared and one rested on each of them. 4Then, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages , as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak. 5At that time, devout Jews from every nation under heaven were staying in Jerusalem. 6When this sound was heard, a crowd formed and people were bewildered because everyone heard them speaking in one’s own language. 7They were all amazed and marvelled, saying to one another, “Behold, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8How is it that we hear everyone in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the deeds of power of God.” 12They were all amazed and perplexed, saying one to another, “What does this mean?” 13Others, mockingly, said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, “Men of Judea, and all of you who are staying in Jerusalem, let this be explained to you and listen to my words. 15For these are not drunk, as you suppose. It is only the third hour of the day. 16But this is what has been announced through the prophet Joel,
17It will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions.
Your old men will dream dreams.
18Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days,
I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy.
19I will show wonders in the sky above,
and signs on the earth beneath;
blood, and fire, and billows of smoke.
20The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
21And it will be that whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved. (Joel 2:28-32)
22Men of Israel, listen to these words. Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God by deeds of power and wonders as well as signs which God accomplished through him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know. 23He was handed over by the predetermined counsel and foreknowledge of God, taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed. 24God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was impossible that he should be held by it. 25For David says concerning him,
I saw the Lord always before my face,
For he is on my right hand, so that I should not be moved.
26Therefore, my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover, my flesh also will dwell in hope;
27because you will not abandon my soul to hades,
neither will you allow your holy one to see decay.
28You made known to me the ways of life.
You will make me full of gladness with your presence. (Psalm 15:8-11)
29Brethren, I can tell you with confidence that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is with us even to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that from the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, God would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne. 31Foreseeing this, David spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul would not be left in hades and that his flesh would not see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus, and we are all witnesses of this fact. 33Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but as he himself declared,
35The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. (Psalm 109:1)
36Therefore, let all the house of Israel know with assurance that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37Now, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
38Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far away, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” 40With many other words, he was bearing witness and urging them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”
41Then, those who gladly received his word were baptized, and about three thousand souls were added on that day.
Life in common
42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. 43Fear came on every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had everything in common. 45They sold their possessions and goods, and shared them with all, according to everyone’s need. 46Day by day, they continued with one accord in the temple, and broke bread at home, partaking of their food with gladness and simplicity of heart. 47They praised God and were held in esteem by all the people. Every day, the Lord added to the Church those who were being saved.
The healing of a beggar at the temple gate
1Peter and John would go up into the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2A certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb was being carried. Every day, he was laid at the gate of the temple, the one which is called ‘Beautiful’, to ask alms from those entering the temple. 3Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4Then Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us.” 5He gave them attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have, I give to you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk.” 7Peter took the man by the right hand and raised him up. At once, his feet and ankles received strength. 8Leaping up, the man stood up and began to walk. He entered with them into the temple, walking, leaping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognised that it was the man who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, begging for alms; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11As the lame man who had been healed held on to Peter and John, all the people were greatly astonished and ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon’s.
12When Peter saw this, he answered to the people, “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Why do you gaze at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. 14But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you. 15Then you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16By faith in his Name, this man whom you see and know was made strong. Yes, the faith which comes through Jesus has given him this perfect soundness as you all can see.
17Now, brethren, I know that you did this in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18Yet, this is how God fulfilled what he had announced by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer.
19Repent, therefore, and turn back so that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20and that he may send Christ Jesus who was in advance ordained for you. 21He must remain in heaven until the times of restoration of all things, which God announced long ago by the mouth of his holy prophets. 22Indeed, Moses said to the fathers, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brethren. You shall listen to him in all that he tells you. 23And it shall be that every soul who will not listen to that prophet will be utterly cut off from among the people.’ (Deuteronomy 18:15,18-19) 24In fact, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel to those who followed after, have also announced these days. 25You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our fathers when he said to Abraham, ‘In your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.’ (Genesis 22:18; 26:4) 26God, having raised up his servant Jesus, sent him to you first, in order to bless you as everyone of you turns away from his wicked ways.”
Peter and John arrested
1As they were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came to them. 2They were upset because the they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3They arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was now the evening. 4But many of those who heard the word believed, and their number came to be about five thousand.
5In the morning, their leaders, elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem. 6Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and others that were relatives of the high priest. 7After placing them in the middle of them, they inquired, “By what power, or in what Name, have you done this?”
8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel; 9if we are examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man and by what means this man has been healed, 10let it be known to you all and to all the people of Israel that is it in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands here before you whole. 11He is ‘the stone which was regarded as worthless by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner.’ (Psalm 117:22) 12There is salvation in no one else, and there is no other Name under heaven that is given among mortals by which we should be saved.”
13Now, seeing the boldness of Peter and John, and perceiving that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognised that they had been with Jesus. 14Seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15But after instructing them to step out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16saying, “What shall we do to these men? Indeed, a remarkable miracle has been performed through them, as can plainly be seen by all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17Nevertheless, to prevent this from spreading any further among the people, let us threaten them so that from now on, they will no longer speak to anyone in this Name.” 18They called the apostles and ordered them not to speak at all or to teach in the Name of Jesus.
19But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves. 20But we cannot help telling the things which we saw and heard.”
21When they had further threatened the apostles, they let them go. They found no way to punish them on account of the people, because everyone glorified God for what had been done. 22Moreover, the man on whom this miracle of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.
The prayer of the apostles
23After being released, the apostles came to their companions and reported everything that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24When they heard it, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, you are God who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them; 25who by the mouth of your servant, David, said,
Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing?
26The kings of the earth take a stand,
and the rulers take council together, against the Lord, and against his Christ. (Psalm 2:1-2)
27For truly, in this city, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together against your holy child, Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did whatever your hand and counsel had foreordained to happen. 29And now, Lord, consider their threats and grant your servants to speak your word with complete boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal, and may signs and wonders may be performed through the Name of your holy child Jesus.”
31When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaimed the word of God with boldness.
Sharing in the community
32The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul. Not one of them claimed that anything he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. 33With great power, the apostles gave their witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34No one among them lacked anything because those who owned lands or houses sold them. They brought the proceeds of what was sold 35and laid it at the feet of the apostles. Then, distribution was made to each, according to everyone’s need. 36Joses, who was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles – which means ‘Son of Encouragement’ – was a Levite, a man of Cyprus by race. 37He sold a field that he owned and brought the money, laying it at the apostles’ feet.
The death of Ananias and Sapphira
1Now, a certain man named Ananias, along with his wife Sapphira, sold a possession. 2He kept back part of the price, of which his wife was also aware, and brought the rest, laying it at the apostles’ feet. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has filled your heart so as to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4As long as you kept it, was it not still your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your power? How is it that you have conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.”
5Upon hearing these words, Ananias fell to the ground and died. Great fear came on all who heard these things. 6The young men got up, wrapped him up, and carried him out to be buried. 7About three hours later, his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. 8Peter asked her, “Tell me, was this the price you sold the land for?”
She answered, “Yes, for that price.”
9Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
10At once, she fell down at Peter’s feet and died. The young men came in and found her dead; they carried her out and buried her next to her husband. 11Great fear came on the whole Church and on all who heard these things.
Apostolic signs and wonders
12Even more, many signs and wonders were performed among the people by the hands of the apostles, and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 13No one else dared to join them, even though they were honoured by the people. 14More believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. 15People even carried out the sick into the streets, placing them on cots and mattresses, so that as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16Crowds also formed from the cities around Jerusalem; they brought ill people, as well as those tormented by unclean spirits, and all were healed.
The apostles arrested – Before the Sanhedrin
17However, the high priest took action, along with all his associates, which is the sect of the Sadducees. Filled with jealousy, 18they had the apostles arrested and placed in the public jail. 19But an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors by night and brought them out, saying, 20“Go, stand in the temple, and speak to the people the whole message about this life.”
21When they heard this, they went to the temple at about daybreak, and they began to teach. Meanwhile, the high priest arrived, together which his associates, and called the Sanhedrin together, along with the council of the children of Israel. He then sent to the prison to have the apostles brought in. 22But the officers who came did not find them in the prison. They came back and reported, 23“We found the prison shut and locked, and the guards standing before the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”
24Now, when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these words, they were very perplexed about them, wondering what would come of this. 25One came forward and told them, “Behold, the men whom you put in prison are in the temple, standing and teaching the people.” 26Then, the captain went with the officers and brought them without using force because they were afraid that the people might stone them.
27Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin. The high priest questioned them, 28saying, “Did we not strictly order you not to teach in this Name? Behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God has exalted him with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour in order to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32We are his witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.”
33Hearing this, they were enraged and determined to kill them. 34But someone stood up in the council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was honoured by all the people. He instructed that the apostles be put out for a while. 35He said to them, “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago, Theudas arose, claiming to be someone. A number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves to him. He was killed, all those who obeyed him were scattered, and it all came to nothing. 37After this man, Judas of Galilee arose during the days of the census, and he led some people to follow him. He also perished, and all those who obeyed him were scattered abroad. 38Now I tell you: stay away from these men and leave them alone. If this plan or work is of human origin, it will be overthrown. 39But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow it, and you would find yourselves fighting against God.”
40They agreed with him. Summoning the apostles, they had them flogged and ordered them not to speak in the Name of Jesus; then, they released them. 41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of his Name.
42Every day, in the temple and at home, they never stopped teaching and preaching that Jesus is the Christ.
The apostles appoint seven assistants – About Stephen
1Now, in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, a complaint arose from the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily service. 2The Twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not appropriate for us to abandon the word of God in order to serve at tables. 3Therefore, select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will appoint them over this necessary task 4and devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
5These words pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7Thus, the word of God spread and the number of disciples greatly multiplied in Jerusalem, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
8Full of faith and power, Stephen performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9But some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen, as it was called, along with Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and men from Cilicia and Asia reacted. They began debating with Stephen, 10but they were not able to withstand the wisdom and spirit by which he spoke. 11Then, they secretly convinced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12Having stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes came against him and arrested him. They brought Stephen before the Sanhedrin 13and produced false witnesses who said, “This man is always uttering blasphemies against this holy place and the law. 14We have even heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” 15All the members of the council gazed at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
1The high priest asked, “Are these things so?”
2Stephen answered, “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3And God said to him, ‘Leave your land and your relatives, and come into a land which I will show you.’ (Genesis 12:1) 4This is how Abraham came out of the land of the Chaldaeans and lived in Haran. From there, when his father was dead, God moved him into this land, where you are now living. 5He gave Abraham no inheritance in this land, no, not so much as to set his foot on it. But God had promised that he and his descendants would possess this land, even when Abraham was still without child. 6God spoke in this way: that Abraham’s descendants would live as aliens in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. 7‘I will judge the nation to which they will be in bondage,’ said God, ‘and after that, they will they come out and worship me in this place.’ (Genesis 15:13-14) 8God also gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. Then Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the Twelve patriarchs.
9Filled with jealousy against Joseph, the patriarchs sold him into Egypt, but God was with him. 10He delivered him from all his afflictions and gave him favour and wisdom before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh appointed him governor over Egypt and his entire house. 11Now, a famine came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, along with great suffering, and our fathers could not find any food. 12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on a first visit. 13On their second visit, Joseph was revealed to his brothers and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14Joseph sent and called his father Jacob as well as all his relatives, seventy-five souls. 15So Jacob went down into Egypt where he died, along with our fathers. 16Later, they were brought back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had purchased for a price in silver from the children of Hamor of Shechem.
17As the time of the promise which God had sworn to Abraham came close, the people were growing and multiplying in Egypt. 18Then, a different king, one who did not know Joseph, came to power there. 19This king took advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers, forcing them to abandon their babies, so that they would not stay alive. 20At that time, Moses was born, and he was pleasing to God. For three months, he was nourished in his father’s house; 21and when he was thrown out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and raised him as her own son. 22Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and actions. 23But when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24Seeing one of them treated unjustly, he defended and avenged a man who was oppressed, striking the Egyptian. 25He supposed that his brethren would understand that God, by his hand, was giving them deliverance; but they did not understand.
26The following day, Moses presented himself to them as they are quarrelling and urged them to be at peace again, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’ 27But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ (Exodus 2:14) 29When he heard this, Moses fled and became a stranger in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
30When forty years were fulfilled, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight. As he came close to see, a voice of the Lord came to him: 32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ (Exodus 3:6) Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33The Lord said to him, ‘Take your sandals off of your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34I have indeed seen the affliction of my people in Egypt and heard their groaning. I have come down to deliver them. Now come, I will send you into Egypt.’ (Exodus 3:5,7-8,10)
35This Moses, whom they had rejected by saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—God sent as both a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36Having worked wonders and signs in Egypt, this man led them out in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37It is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord our God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers; you shall listen to him.’ (Deuteronomy 18:15) 38It is this Moses who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel that spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our fathers, receiving living oracles to give to us. 39But our fathers would not be obedient to him; they rejected him and in their hearts, turned back to Egypt. 40They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods that will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ (Exodus 32:1) 41They made a calf in those days and brought a sacrifice to the idol, rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42But God turned away and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets,
Did you offer me slain animals and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
43You took up the tabernacle of Moloch, the star of your god Rephan,
the figures to which you bowed down.
I will carry you away beyond Babylon. (Amos 5:25-27 LXX)
44Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness which the one who had spoken to Moses had commanded him to build according to the pattern that he had seen. 45It was handed down to our fathers, and in turn, they brought it with Joshua when they entered into the possession of the nations which God drove out before the face of our fathers. This tabernacle was there to the days of David, 46who found favour in the sight of God, and who prayed to find a habitation for the God of Jacob. 47Yet, it was Solomon who built him a house. 48However, the Most High does not dwell in places made with hands, as the prophet says,
49“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is a footstool for my feet.
What kind of house will you build for me?” says the Lord; “or what is the place of my rest? 50Did not my hand make all these things?” (Isaiah 66:1-2)
51You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, you do likewise. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become betrayers and murderers. 53You received the law as it was ordained by angels, and did not keep it.”
Stephen’s martyrdom – His vision
54Now, when they heard these things, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. 56He exclaimed, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57At this, they shouted with a loud voice, blocking their ears, and rushed at him with one accord. 58So they threw him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59As they were stoning Stephen, he called in prayer, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Kneeling down, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Having said this, he fell asleep.
Persecution against the Church
1Now, Saul was in full agreement with Stephen’s death. At that time, a great persecution arose against the Church which was in Jerusalem. They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. 2Devout men buried Stephen and greatly lamented over him. 3In the meantime, Saul was ravaging the Church, entering into every house and dragging both men and women off to prison.
Philip in Samaria – Simon the sorcerer
4As a result, those who had been scattered abroad began to travel around, preaching the word. 5Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed Christ to them. 6When the people heard and saw the signs which Philip was performing, they agreed to listen to what he was preaching. 7Indeed, unclean spirits were expelled from many of those who had them, and they came out shouting with a loud voice. Many who had been paralysed and lame were healed, 8and there was great joy in that city. 9But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city. He amazed the people of Samaria, claiming to be a great one, 10and all listened to him, from the least to the greatest. They said, “This man is the power of God, of the great kind.” 11People listened to him because for a long time, he had amazed them with his sorceries. 12But when they believed Philip, preaching the Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Simon himself also believed and after his baptism, he followed Philip closely. Seeing that signs and great miracles were taking place, he was amazed.
14Now, when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them, so that they might receive the Holy Spirit 16because he had not yet come upon any of them. They had only been baptized in the Name of Christ Jesus. 17Then, Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18Now, when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19saying, “Give me also this power, so that whoever I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money. 21You have no part or share in this because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness of yours and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23Indeed, I see that you are in the poison of bitterness and in the bondage of wickedness.”
24Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that none of the things which you have spoken happen to me.”
25After Peter and John had borne witness and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem and preached the Good News in many villages of the Samaritans.
26Then, an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise, and go toward the south, to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert.”
27So Philip arose and went; and behold, there was a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He was in charge of all her treasure and had come to Jerusalem to worship. 28He was returning and sitting in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah.
29The Spirit said to Philip, “Go near, and join yourself to this chariot.”
30Philip ran to the eunuch and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31The man replied, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” He then begged Philip to come up and sit with him. 32Now, the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this:
He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.
As a lamb before his shearer is silent, so he does not open his mouth.
33In his humiliation, his judgement was taken away.
Who will declare His generation?
For his life is taken from the earth. (Isaiah 53:7,8 LXX)
34The eunuch asked Philip, “Who is the prophet talking about? About himself, or about someone else?”
35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, he proclaimed Jesus to this man. 36As they went on the way, they arrived at some water, and the eunuch said, “Behold, here is water. What is keeping me from being baptized?”
37Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The man answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ 38He commanded the chariot to stand still, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch did not see him any more and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip was found at Azotus. Passing through, he preached the Good News to all the cities, until he reached Caesarea.
Road to Damascus: Saul’s conversion and baptism
1But Saul, still breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest. 2He asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus, that if he found anyone who belonged to ‘the Way,’ whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3As Saul was on his journey and approaching Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly shone around him. 4He fell on the earth and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
5He asked, “Who are you, Lord?”
The Lord answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6Now arise, go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7The men who were travelling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound, but seeing no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, and when his eyes were opened, he could not see anyone. His fellow-travellers led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9Saul was without sight for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.
10Now, a certain disciple named Ananias lived in Damascus. In a vision, the Lord said to him, “Ananias.”
Ananias answered, “Behold, it is I, Lord.”
11The Lord said to him, “Arise, and go to the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judah for someone named Saul, a man of Tarsus. For behold, he is praying, 12and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and laying his hands on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard about this man from many, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14Here, he has authority from the chief priests to bind all those who call upon your Name.”
15But the Lord said to him, “Be on your way, for he is my chosen vessel to bear my Name before nations and kings, and to the children of Israel. 16For I will show him how much he must suffer for my Name’s sake.”
17Ananias departed and entered into the house. Laying his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me, so that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18At once, something like scales fell from his eyes, and he received his sight. He arose and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he was strengthened.
After staying for several days with the disciples who were at Damascus, 20Saul immediately went into the synagogues to proclaim that Christ is the Son of God. 21All who heard him were amazed, and asked, “Is this not the man who did such damage in Jerusalem to those who called on this Name? And has he not come here intending to bring them bound before the chief priests?”
22But Saul grew even more in strength and confounded the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this is the Christ.
Saul escapes from Damascus – In Jerusalem
23After some time, the Jews conspired to kill Saul, 24but their plot became known to him. Day and night, they watched the gates in order to be able to kill him, 25but his disciples took him by night, and let him down through the wall, lowering him in a basket. 26When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join himself to the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. 27Nevertheless, Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. Saul told them how he had seen the Lord on the way, that the Lord had spoken to him, and how at Damascus he had boldly preached in the Name of Jesus. 28So he stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus. 29He talked and debated with the Hellenists, but they tried to kill him. 30When the brethren became aware of this, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him off to Tarsus.
Peace – Peter’s miracles: Aeneas and Tabitha/Dorcas
31And so, the Churches throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and were edified. Walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they continued to grow.
32Now, as Peter was travelling through all those regions, he also came down to the saints who lived in Lydda. 33There, he found a certain man named Aeneas, who was paralysed and who had been bedridden for eight years. 34Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” And immediately, he arose. 35All who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
36Now, there lived in Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which, when translated means Gazelle. This woman was full of good works and acts of mercy. 37But it happened that at this time, she became ill and died. She was washed and placed in an upper room. 38As Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, ‘Do not to delay in coming to help us.” 39So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, the disciples led him into the upper room. All the widows stood by him weeping, showing the coats and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40But having put everyone out, Peter knelt down and began to pray. Turning towards the body, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41Then Peter gave her his hand and raised her up. Calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43After this, he stayed in Joppa for a while, lodging with Simon, a tanner.
Cornelius receives a vision
1Now, there was a certain man in Caesarea whose named was Cornelius. He was a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2a devout man who feared God with his entire household. He gave generous alms to the people and always prayed to God. 3At about the ninth hour of the day, he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God coming to him, and saying to him, “Cornelius.”
4Gazing at the angel and being quite alarmed, Cornelius said, “What is it, Lord?”
The angel replied, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5Now, send men to Joppa, and get Simon who is called Peter. 6He is staying with a certain Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.”
7When the angel who had spoken to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among his attendants. 8Having explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
Peter receives a vision, travels to Caesarea
9Now, on the next day, as they were on their way and approached the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray at about noon. 10He became hungry and desired to eat, but while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11He saw heaven opened and something like a great sheet let down on the earth by four corners and descending to him. 12In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the air. 13Then a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.”
14But Peter said, “Not so, Lord. I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.”
15Again, a second time, the voice spoke to him, “What God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.” 16This happened three times, and immediately the vessel was taken up into heaven. 17As Peter was very perplexed regarding the meaning of the vision, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius found where Simon’s house was and stood at the gate. 18They called and asked whether Simon, who was called Peter, was lodging there. 19While Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20Arise and go downstairs. Accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”
21Peter went down to the men and said, “Behold, I am the one you are looking for. Why have you come?”
22They replied, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous man and one who fears God, someone well spoken of by all the nation of the Jews, was directed by a holy angel to invite you to his house and to listen to what you say.” 23Then Peter invited them in and gave them lodging. On the next day, Peter arose and went out with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24The following day, they entered into Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his relatives and close friends. 25When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet, and venerated him. 26But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up. I am also a man.” 27As he talked with Cornelius, he went in and found many people assembled. 28Peter said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or visit someone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. 29Therefore, I have come without complaint when I was sent for. And so, I ask, why did you send for me?”
30Cornelius replied, “Four days ago, I was fasting until this hour, and at the ninth hour, I was praying in my house. And behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31and he said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32Therefore, send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is staying in the house of Simon a tanner, by the seaside. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33And so, I sent for you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now, we are all here present in the sight of God to hear everything that God has commanded you.”
Peter’s speech – Cornelius and his household are baptized
34Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly, I perceive that God does not show favouritism; 35but in every nation, whoever fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him. 36God sent his word to the children of Israel, and the Good News of peace was preached by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37You know what happened since the Good News was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after baptism was preached by John. 38You know how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death, hanging him on a tree, 40but God raised him up the third day and allowed him to be seen. 41Yet, he was not manifest to all the people but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is to us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. 43It is to him that all the prophets bear witness: that through his Name, everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins.”
44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. 45The believers who had come with Peter and who were of the circumcision were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. 46Indeed, they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God.
At this, Peter said, 47“Can anyone refuse the water to these people, seeing that they have received the Holy Spirit as well as we had, and say that they should not be baptized?” 48He then ordered that they be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ. After this, they asked him to stay for a few days.
Peter returns to Jerusalem – He explains his actions in Caesarea
1Now, the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2When Peter returned to Jerusalem, those who were of the circumcision criticized him, 3saying, “You went into the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.”
4But Peter began to speak and explained things to them in order. 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision: a certain container like a great sheet was let down from heaven by four corners, descending and coming down as far as me. 6When I had looked intently at it and examined it, I saw the four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat.’ 8But I said, ‘Not so, Lord, for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered into my mouth.’ 9But a voice from heaven answered me the second time, ‘What God has cleansed, do not call unclean.’ 10This was done three times, and everything was drawn back into heaven. 11At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12The Spirit told me to go with them, without discriminating. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying to him, ‘Send to Joppa, and get Simon, who is called Peter. 14He will speak to you the words by which you will be saved, you and your entire household.’ 15As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, even as on us at the beginning. 16I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.’ 17And so, if God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to oppose God?”
18When they heard these things, they held their peace and glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles the repentance to life.”
In Antioch – Agabus announces a famine
19Now, those who had been scattered abroad by the oppression that arose in connection with Stephen had travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they were only proclaiming the word to Jews. 20But some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, spoke to the Greeks and preached the Lord Jesus when they arrived in Antioch. 21The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. 22News of these things came to the ears of the Church which was in Jerusalem. So, they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced. He encouraged them all to remain close to the Lord with a resolute heart. 24Indeed, Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many people were added to the Lord.
25Then Barnabas went out to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year, they assembled with the Church and taught many people. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
27Now, in these days, prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them, named Agabus, stood up and predicted through the Spirit that a great famine would take place all over the world; and it happened in the days of Claudius. 29According to their ability, each one of the disciples determined to send relief to the brethren who lived in Judea. 30This is indeed what they did, sending their gift to the presbyters through the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
Herod’s persecution – James is martyred
1About that time, King Herod took actions to oppress some of the Church. 2He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. 3When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he went on to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of unleavened bread. 4After arresting Peter, he put him in prison and delivered him to four squads of four soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. 5And so, Peter was kept in the prison, but constant prayer was made by the Church to God for him. 6The same night, when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison.
7Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke Peter up, saying, “Stand up quickly.”, and Peter’s chains fell off from his hands. 8The angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” and he did so. Then the angel said, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” 9Peter went out and followed the angel, but he did not realize that what was being done by the angel was real, thinking that he was seeing a vision. 10When they were past the first and second guard, they arrived at the iron gate which leads into the city, and it opened to them by itself. Having gone through, they went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
11When Peter came to himself, he exclaimed, “Now I truly know that the Lord has sent out his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12After pondering on this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and praying. 13When Peter knocked at the outer gate, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14When she recognised Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she did not open the door. Instead, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate.
15But they said to her, “You are crazy.” When she insisted that it was so, they said, “It is his angel.” 16Meanwhile Peter continued knocking. When they opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17But he motioned them with his hand to be silent and told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He said, “Tell these things to James, and to the brethren.” Then he departed, and went to another place.
18As soon as it was day, there was no small commotion among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19When Herod had Peter looked for and could not find him, he interrogated the guards and ordered that they should be put to death. Meanwhile, Peter went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.
20At that time, Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. With one accord, they came to him, and, having befriended Blastus, the king’s personal aide, they asked for peace because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them. 22The people shouted, “The voice of a god, not of a man.” 23Immediately, an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.
Barnabas and Saul – First travels
24Meanwhile, the word of God grew and multiplied. 25After completing their service, Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, and they also took with them John whose other name was Mark.
1Now, in the Church that was at Antioch, there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2As they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
3Then, after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. 4Being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. 5When they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues, with John as their attendant. 6After going through the island to Paphos, they met a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar Jesus. 7He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. Being an intelligent man, the proconsul called Barnabas and Saul in order to hear the word of God. 8However, Elymas the sorcerer – this is his name when translated – opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But filled with the Holy Spirit, Saul, who is also called Paul, fixed his eyes on him 10and said, “You are full of all deceit and cunning, you son of the devil and enemy of all righteousness. Will you not stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is against you. You will be blind, unable to see the sun for a season.”
At once, mist and darkness fell upon him, and he began to grope around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had taken place, he believed and was amazed by the teaching of the Lord.
13Now, Paul and his company set sail from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14Continuing from Perga, they came to Antioch of Pisidia. There, they went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. 15After the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent them a message, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, speak.”
Paul speaks in a synagogue
16So Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and said, “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people prosper when they lived as aliens in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm, he led them out of it. 18For a period of about forty years, he put up with them in the wilderness. 19After destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance, and this took about four hundred and fifty years. 20After this, he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21Then they asked for a king, and God gave to them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22After removing him, he raised up David to be their king, even bearing witness to him, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23From this man’s seed, God has brought salvation to Israel, according to his promise. 24This was before the coming of Jesus, when John first preached the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25As John was completing his work, he said, ‘Who do you suppose that I am? I am not he. But behold, one comes after me whose sandals I am unworthy to untie.’ 26Brethren, children of the line of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, this message of salvation has been sent to you. 27Indeed, those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognise him or the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath. Still, by condemning him, they fulfilled the prophets. 28Although they could find no cause for his execution, they asked Pilate to have him killed. 29After fulfilling all the things that were written about him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead, 31and he was seen for many days by those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are his witnesses to the people. 32And now, we bring you the Good News that the promise made to the fathers has come about: 33God has fulfilled it for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is also written in the second psalm,
You are my Son. Today I have become your father. (Psalm 2:7)
34That God raised him up from the dead to never again return to corruption, he has declared in these words, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ (Isaiah 55:3) 35Therefore, he also says in another psalm, ‘You will not allow your holy one to see decay.’ (Psalm 15:10) 36Then, after having in his own generation served God’s purpose, David fell asleep. He was laid with his fathers and saw decay. 37But he whom God raised up did not see decay. 38Therefore, may you know, brethren, that through this man the remission of sins is proclaimed to you. 39By him, everyone who believes is justified from everything, things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. 40Beware therefore, for fear that what is spoken in the prophets may come on you:
41Behold, you scoffers, be amazed, and perish.
For in your days, I shall accomplish a work,
which you will not believe, even if one would proclaim it to you. (Habakkuk 1:5)
42And so, as Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue of the Jews, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43Now, when the congregation was dismissed, many Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas who spoke to them and encouraged them to persevere in the grace of God. 44The next Sabbath, almost the entire city was gathered to hear the word of God. 45But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy and contradicted what Paul said with insults.
Turning to the Gentiles
46Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that God’s word should be spoken to you first. But since you are rejecting it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us, saying,
I have set you as a light for the Gentiles,
So that you should bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)
48When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the word of God, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49Thus, the Lord’s word was spread throughout the entire region. 50But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women as well as the leading men of the city. They instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their borders. 51So they shook off the dust of their feet against these people and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy with the Holy Spirit.
In Iconium and Lystra
1In Iconium, both Paul and Barnabas entered into the synagogue of the Jews. They spoke in such a way that a great multitude of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up and poisoned the souls of the Gentiles against the brethren. 3Therefore, Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord. Moreover, the Lord bore witness to the word of his grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. 4However, the city was divided. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5Then, a group of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, plotted to attack and stone them. 6But Paul and Barnabas became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, Derbe, and to the surrounding region. 7There, they continued to preach the Good News.
8At Lystra, there was a certain man sitting without strength in his feet. He was a cripple from his mother’s womb and he had never walked. 9He was listening to Paul speak when Paul fixed his eyes on him. Seeing that the man had faith to be healed, 10Paul said with a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet.” And the man jumped up and began to walk. 11When the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, shouting in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men.” 12They called Barnabas “Jupiter” and Paul “Mercury,” because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Jupiter, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and they wanted to offer a sacrifice along with the crowd. 14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed into the crowd, crying out, 15“Friends, why are you doing these things? We are men just like you, bringing you the Good News so that you should turn away from these vain things toward the living God who made the heaven, the earth and the sea, and all that is in them. 16In past generations, he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17However, he did not leave himself without witness: he did good and gave you rains from the sky as well as fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
18Even by saying these things, they could hardly prevent the multitudes from offering a sacrifice to them. 19Then, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking that he was dead. 20But as the disciples stood around him, Paul got up and returned into the city. On the next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
Return to Antioch
21After preaching the Good News to that city and having made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. 22They strengthened the souls of the disciples and exhorted them to continue in the faith, saying that “we must go through many afflictions to enter the Kingdom of God.” 23After appointing presbyters for them in every Church, with prayer and fasting, Paul and Barnabas committed them to the Lord in whom they placed their trust.
24They passed through Pisidia and arrived in Pamphylia. 25After preaching the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26From there, they sailed to Antioch from where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work which they had now fulfilled. 27When they arrived, they gathered the Church and reported all that God had accomplished with them, and that he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28They stayed there with the disciples for some time.
The council in Jerusalem
1Then, certain men came down from Judea and taught the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2As a result, Paul and Barnabas had no small dispute and controversy with them. Therefore, the brethren appointed Paul, Barnabas and some of their own to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and presbyters regarding this question. 3Having been sent on their way by the Church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, relating the conversion of the Gentiles and causing great joy to all the brethren. 4When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received by the Church, the apostles and the presbyters, and they reported all that God had accomplished with them.
5However, some believers from the sect of the Pharisees arose and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
6The apostles and the presbyters gathered together to discuss this matter. 7When there had been much discussion, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that some time ago, God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the nations should hear the word of the Good News and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he had done to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10And now, why do you put God to the test by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples, one which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”
12At this, the whole multitude kept silence. They listened to Barnabas and Paul report what signs and wonders God had accomplished among the nations through them. 13When they had finished, James said, “Brethren, listen to me. 14Simeon has reported how God first showed concern towards the Gentiles in order to take from them a people for his Name. 15This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written,
16After these things I will return.
I will again build the tabernacle of David, which has fallen.
I will again build its ruins.
I will set it up,
17so that the rest of the people may seek after the Lord;
all the Gentiles who are called by my Name,
says the Lord, who does all these things. (Amos 9:11-12)
18All his works are known to God from eternity.
19Therefore, I judge that we should not trouble those who turn to God from among the Gentiles. 20Instead, we should write to them to abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood. 21For from generations of old, Moses has had in every city those who preach him, being read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
The letter from Jerusalem – Envoys are sent to Antioch
22Then it seemed good to the apostles and the presbyters, along with the whole Church, to choose some of their own men and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. 23Through their hands, they wrote,
“The apostles, the presbyters, and the brethren; to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: greetings. 24We have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words and unsettled your souls by saying, ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law,’ although they had no such commission from us. 25Having assembled with one accord, it has seemed good to us to select men and to send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26men who have risked their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore, we have sent Judas and Silas, who will also tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose no greater burden on you than what is necessary: 29that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. If you abstain from these things, it will be well with you. Farewell.”
30Accordingly, the men were sent off and arrived in Antioch where they gathered the community and delivered the letter. 31The people read it and rejoiced over the encouragement. 32Judas and Silas, who were also prophets, encouraged the brethren with many words and strengthened them. 33After spending some time there, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles. 34But it seemed good to Silas to remain there. 35Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord with many others.
Parting of ways between Paul and Barnabas
36After some time, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us revisit our brethren in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.” 37Barnabas planned to take John, who was called Mark, along with them. 38However, Paul did not think that it was a good idea to take with them someone who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39Then, the disagreement became so intense that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40But Paul chose Silas and having been entrusted by the brethren to the grace of God, they departed. 41Paul went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the Churches.
1Paul then came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple named Timothy lived there. He was the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2This disciple was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. 3Paul wanted to have Timothy along on the journey, so he had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those parts, since all knew that his father was a Greek. 4As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them the decisions which had been ordained by the apostles and presbyters who were at Jerusalem, so that they might obey. 5As a result, the Churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number every day.
Paul’s vision – To Macedonia
6After going through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7When they arrived to the border of Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia but the Spirit did not allow them. 8So they passed by Mysia and came down to Troas. 9During the night, a vision appeared to Paul: a man of Macedonia was standing, begging him, and saying, “Come over into Macedonia and help us.” 10After Paul had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the Good News to them.
11Having set sail from Troas, we made a straight course to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis. 12From there, we sailed to Philippi which is a city of Macedonia, the foremost of the district and a Roman colony. We stayed for some time in this city.
13On the Sabbath day, we went outside the city by a riverside where we expected that there would be a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14A certain woman heard us: one named Lydia, a seller of purple, from the city of Thyatira. She feared God and the Lord opened her heart to listen to what Paul was saying. 15When she and her household were baptized, she begged us, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And so, she persuaded us.
An exorcism – Paul and Silas arrested
16As we were going to prayer, it happened that we encountered a certain girl who had a spirit of divination and who produced much profit to her masters by fortune telling. 17As she followed Paul and us, she cried out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us a way of salvation.” 18And she did this for many days. But Paul, becoming greatly annoyed, turned back and said to the spirit, “In the Name of Jesus Christ, I order you to come out of her.” And the spirit came out that very moment. 19When her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20Having brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These Jewish men are causing unrest in our city. 21They teach customs which it is not lawful for us Romans to accept or observe.”
22When the crowd also rose up against them, the magistrates had them stripped and flogged. 23After giving them a severe flogging, the magistrates had them thrown into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them securely. 24Having received such a command, he threw them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25But when it was about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once, all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were loosened. 27The jailer, awaken from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, began to draw his sword and he was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”
29Having asked for lights, the jailer rushed in and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all those who were in his household.
33Late as it was, the jailer washed their wounds and was immediately baptized, he and his entire household. 34He took them into his house and set food before them. He was filled with joy for believing in God, along with his entire household.
35But when day came, the magistrates sent the sergeants with the order, “Let those men go.”
36The jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent word to let you go. Now you may come out and go in peace.”
37But Paul said to them “They have beaten us in public, without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and you have thrown us into prison. And now they want to release us in secret? No indeed. Let them come themselves and bring us out.”
38The sergeants reported these words to the magistrates, and hearing that they were Romans, they became afraid. 39Therefore, they came and pleaded with them. When they had escorted them out, the officials asked them to leave the city. 40So, they left the prison and went to Lydia’s house where they met the brethren and encouraged them. Then, they departed.
Paul in Thessalonica
1After passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, Paul and Silas arrived in Thessalonica where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2As was his custom, Paul gave them his attention and for three Sabbath days, he reasoned with them from the Scriptures. 3He explained and showed that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, saying, “This Jesus whom I proclaim to you is the Christ.”
4Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas, together with a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5But the unconvinced Jews took along some wicked men from the marketplace, gathered a crowd and set the city in an uproar. Assaulting the house of Jason, they sought to bring them out to the people. 6But not finding them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city officials, shouting, “These people who have turned the world upside down have also come here, 7and Jason has received them. All of them act in opposition to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8The multitude and the city officials were troubled when they heard these things. 9After receiving a bond from Jason and the others, they let them go.
In Beroea – Praise of the Beroeans
10At once, the brethren sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue.
11Now, these were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica: they received the word with great eagerness of mind and examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were true. 12As a result, many of them believed, as well as some Greek women of high standing, and a fair number of Greek men. 13But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that Paul was also proclaiming the word of God at Beroea, they came there to stir up the crowds. 14Then, the brethren immediately led Paul away to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained there. 15But those who escorted Paul took him as far as Athens, and they left instructions for Silas and Timothy that they should join Paul very quickly. Then, they departed.
In Athens – Paul’s speech at the Areopagus
16Now, as Paul was in Athens waiting for them, his spirit was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17And so, he began to debate in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearers, and every day in the marketplace with the people that he met. 18Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also had discussions with him. Some said, “What is this babbler trying to say?”
Others suggested, “He seems to be advocating foreign deities,” because he was preaching Jesus and ‘the resurrection’
19So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching that you proclaim is all about? 20You certainly bring some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what all this is about.” 21Now, all the Athenians and the strangers living there spent their time doing nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
22So Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus, and said, “Athenians. I perceive that you are very religious in everything. 23In fact, as I passed along and observed your sacred monuments, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown God.’ What therefore you revere in ignorance, this is what I announce to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made with hands. 25Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all life, breath, and everything else. 26From one, he has made every nation to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, having determined the times and boundaries of their habitation. 27God did this so that people should seek the Lord and perhaps reach out for him and find him, although he is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’ 29Since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divinity is like gold, silver, or stone, engraved by human art and imagination. 30In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now, he commands that all people everywhere should repent, 31because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead.”
32Now, when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, “We want to hear you again on this matter.”
33Paul then left their company. 34Still, a few people joined with him and believed. Among them was Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
Paul in Corinth
1After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2There, he met a certain Jew named Aquila, a man of Pontus by race. He and his wife Priscilla had recently arrived from Italy because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3and since he practised the same trade – they were tent makers – he lived and worked with them. 4Every Sabbath, he reasoned in the synagogue and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. 5When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was dedicated to preaching, bearing witness to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6Then, when the Jews opposed Paul and blasphemed, he shook out his clothing and told them, “Your blood be on your own heads. I am clean. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles.”
7He departed and went into the house of a man named Titus Justus, one devoted to God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8Now, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with his entire household; and many Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized. 9One night, the Lord said to Paul by a vision, “Do not be afraid. Speak out and do not be silent. 10I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”
11Paul lived there for a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them 12However, when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews rose up with one accord against Paul and brought him before the judgement seat, 13saying, “This man convinces people to worship God in opposition to the law.”
14But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If you Jews were complaining about a matter of wrongdoing or about a wicked crime, it would be reasonable that I should bear with you. 15However, if these are questions about words and names and your own law, deal with it yourselves, for I do not want to be a judge of these matters.” 16And he had them removed from the court.
17Then, they turned on Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal, but Gallio did not care about any of these things.
Return to Antioch
18After this, Paul stayed some time longer. He then took his leave of the brethren and set sail from Corinth to Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. In Cenchreae, he shaved his head on account of a vow which he had made. 19Arriving in Ephesus, he left Priscilla and Aquila there, but he himself entered into the synagogue and debated with the Jews. 20When they asked him to stay with them a longer time, he declined. 21However, taking his leave of them, he said, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem, but I will come back to you if God wills.” He then set sail from Ephesus.
22After landing at Caesarea, he went to greet the Church, and then travelled down to Antioch. 23Having spent some time there, he departed and went through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia, in order, strengthening all the disciples.
24Now, a certain Jew named Apollos who was an Alexandrian by race and an eloquent man arrived in Ephesus, and he was powerful with the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, although he had only experienced the baptism of John. 26Apollos began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
27When Apollos had determined to cross over into Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he arrived there, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28for he powerfully refuted the Jews, publicly showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
Paul in Ephesus – Baptism and the Holy Spirit – Miracles
1It happened that, while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul had passed through the upper country and arrived in Ephesus. There, he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3Paul asked, “Then, into what were you baptized?”
They answered, “Into John’s baptism.”
4Paul said, “John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”
5After hearing this, they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. 7They were about twelve men in all. 8Then Paul visited the synagogue and spoke boldly for a period of three months, debating and presenting arguments concerning the Kingdom of God.
9But when some became hardened and disobedient, they began to speak evil of the Way in public. Then Paul departed from them and took the disciples apart; giving daily lectures in the school of Tyrannus. 10This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
11God worked remarkable miracles by the hands of Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and the evil spirits were expelled.
13Now, some of the itinerant Jews who were exorcists took it on themselves to invoke the Name of the Lord Jesus over those who had the evil spirits. They said, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14There were seven sons of a certain Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this. 15However, the evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” 16The man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them and overpowered them. He gave them such a beating that they escaped from that house naked and wounded. 17This became known to all who lived at Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. Fear fell upon them all, and the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18Many also of those who had believed came forward to confess and reveal their deeds. 19Many of those who practised magical arts brought their books and burned them in the sight of all. Their price was counted and found to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20In this way, the word of the Lord was growing and becoming powerful.
Paul’s intentions – The silversmiths in Ephesus
21Now, after these things had ended and after passing through Macedonia and Achaia, Paul firmly decided to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After going there, I must also see Rome.”
22Having sent into Macedonia two of his attendants, Timothy and Erastus, Paul stayed in Asia for a while longer. 23About that time, there arose a serious disturbance concerning the Way. 24A certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought much business to the craftsmen. 25He held a meeting with craftsmen of the same occupation and said, “Men, you know that we obtain our wealth through this business. 26As you can see and hear, not in Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has convinced and turned away many people, saying that our gods are no gods and that they are made with hands. 27Not only is there danger that our trade will lose its credit, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis whom all Asia and the world revere will be considered as nothing, and that her majesty will be destroyed.”
28When they heard this, they were filled with anger and shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.” 29The whole city was filled with confusion. The people rushed with one accord into the theatre and arrested Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel. 30But when Paul desired to go in to the people, the disciples did not allow him. 31Some of the officials of the province who were his friends sent word to him and begged him not to venture into the theatre. 32Some people shouted one thing, and some another as the assembly was in turmoil. Most of them did not know why they had come together. 33The Jews pushed Alexander and he was brought out of the multitude. He motioned his hand in order to present a defence to the people, 34but when they realized that he was a Jew, they all with one voice shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.” And they did this for about two hours.
35When the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 36Since these things cannot be denied, you should be quiet and do nothing rash. 37For you have brought these men here, who are neither temple-robbers nor blasphemers of your goddess. 38If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a case against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another. 39But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the lawful assembly. 40For indeed, we are in danger of being accused concerning today’s riot since there was no reason. Concerning it, we would not be able to give an account of this commotion.” 41After speaking these words, he dismissed the assembly.
In Greece – Troas – Eutychus falls from a window
1When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples. He then took leave of them and left for Macedonia. 2As he travelled through those parts, he encouraged the disciples with many words and arrived into Greece. 3After Paul had spent three months there, the Jews began to plot against him as he was about to set sail for Syria. He then determined to return through Macedonia. 4The following disciples accompanied him as far as Asia: Sopater of Beroea; Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; Gaius of Derbe; Timothy; Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5Then men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6But we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread and five days later, we met them at Troas where we stayed for seven days.
7On the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them. Since he intended to depart on the next day, he continued his speech until midnight. 8There were many lights in the upper room where we had assembled. 9A certain young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window, becoming drowsy. As Paul spoke still longer, the young man was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor. He was taken up dead. 10But Paul went down, fell down on him and took him in his arms, saying, “Do not be distressed. His soul is in him.”
11Paul went back upstairs, broke bread, ate, and talked with them a long while, even until daybreak. Then, he departed. 12The people brought the boy home alive, greatly comforted.
To Miletus – Paul’s address to the presbyters
13As for us who had gone ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there. This is what Paul had arranged since he intended to go there by land. 14When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and headed to Mitylene. 15The next day, we sailed from there and arrived opposite Chios. The following day, we touched at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium, and the day after we arrived in Miletus. 16Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus in order not to spend time in Asia because he was in a hurry: if possible he wanted to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.
17From Miletus, Paul sent a message to Ephesus and called to himself the presbyters of the Church. 18When they arrived, he told them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you all the time. 19I served the Lord with all humility, with many tears, and with trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews. 20I did not hesitate to proclaim to you anything that was profitable, teaching you publicly and from house to house. 21To both Jews and Greek, I bore witness to repentance before God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22Now, behold, I go to Jerusalem bound by the Spirit. I do not know what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24Yet, I do not focus on these things and I do not hold my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus to fully bear witness to the Good News of the grace of God.
25Now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the Kingdom will ever see my face again. 26And so, I testify to you today that I am clean from the blood of all men, 27for I did not hesitate to proclaim to you the whole counsel of God. 28Therefore, keep watch over yourselves and over the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops. Be shepherds of the Church of God which he has purchased with the blood of his own Son. 29For I know that after my departure, vicious wolves will enter in among you and they will not spare the flock. 30From among your own group, men will arise who will speak perverse things in order to draw away the disciples after them. 31Therefore, keep watch. Remember that for a period of three years, I did not cease night and day to warn everyone with tears. 32Now, brethren, I entrust you to God, and to the word of his grace which is able to build up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33I coveted no one’s silver, or gold, or clothing. 34You yourselves know that these hands served my needs and those who were with me. 35In everything, I have given you an example, that by this kind of hard work you should support the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, as he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36After saying these things, Paul knelt down and prayed with them all. 37They were all in tears, embracing Paul and kissing him. 38Most of all, they were sorrowful because of what he had said, that they would never see his face again. Then, they accompanied him to the ship.
In Tyre, Ptolemais and Caesarea
1After departing from them, we set sail and made a straight course to Cos. The next day, to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2Having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and continued our journey. 3When we arrived in sight of Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre where the ship was to unload her cargo. 4Since we found some disciples there, we stayed for seven days. Through the Spirit, these disciples told Paul that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 5When our time there was completed, we departed and went on our journey. All the disciples, with wives and children, escorted us on our way until we were out of the city. Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed. 6After saying goodbye to each other, we boarded the ship and they returned home.
7We continued the voyage from Tyre and arrived in Ptolemais. There, we greeted the brethren and spent the day with them. 8The following day, we, Paul’s companions, left and arrived in Caesarea.
We went to the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9Now, this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. 10As we stayed there for a few days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11Coming to us and taking Paul’s belt, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘Likewise, in Jerusalem, the Jews will bind the man who owns this belt and they will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”
12When we heard these things, both we and the disciples who lived there begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? Indeed, I am ready, not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus.”
14Since he would not be persuaded, we became silent, except to say, “The Lord’s will be done.”
Paul visits James in Jerusalem
15After these days, we took up our baggage and went up to Jerusalem. 16Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing an early disciple, Mnason of Cyprus, with whom we would be staying.
17When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18The next day, Paul went with us to visit James, and all the presbyters were present. 19After greeting them, Paul reported in detail what God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20When they heard it, they glorified God. They told him, “You see, brother, that there are many thousands among the Jews who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law. 21They have been informed about you, that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or to preserve the customs. 22What then? The Church must certainly meet since they will hear that you have arrived. 23Therefore, do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow. 24Take them, join in their purification rites, and pay for their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written our decision that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality.”
26So Paul took the men, and the next day, he purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfilment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them. 27When the seven days were almost completed, Jews from Asia saw Paul in the temple. They stirred up the entire crowd and laid hands on him, 28shouting, “Men of Israel, help. This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place. Moreover, he also brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” 29This was because they had seen Trophimus, the Ephesian, with Paul in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
Paul is arrested
30The entire city was in turmoil and the people came running. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the doors were shut. 31As they were trying to kill him, news came up to the commanding officer of the troops that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32Immediately, he took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to the crowd. When they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33Then, the commanding officer came near and arrested him. He gave orders that Paul should be bound with two chains, and inquired who he was and what he had done. 34From the crowd, some shouted one thing and some another. Since the commander could not find out the truth because of the noise, he commanded that Paul be taken into the barracks.
35When Paul reached the steps, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd. 36The whole mob followed them and shouted, “Away with him.” 37As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he asked the commanding officer, “May I speak to you?”
The man said, “Do you know Greek? 38Then, are you not the Egyptian who recently stirred people up to rebellion and led the four thousand Assassins into the wilderness?”
39So Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.”
40Having received permission from the commander, Paul stood on the steps and motioned with his hand to the people. When there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,
1“Brothers and fathers, listen to the defence which I now make to you.”
2When the people heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they were even more quiet.
Paul continued, 3“I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel. I was instructed according to the strict tradition of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as you all are this day. 4I persecuted this Way to death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as 5the high priest and the entire council of the elders can testify. I even received letters for their brethren in Damascus and travelled there to bring these people in chains to Jerusalem to be punished. 6It happened that, suddenly, as I was on my journey and approaching Damascus, at about noon, a great light shone from the sky around me. 7I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute.’
9Indeed, those who were with me saw the light and were afraid, but they did not understand the voice of him who spoke to me. 10I asked, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Arise, and go into Damascus. There, you will be told what you should do.’ 11Since I could not see because of the glory of that light, I was led by the hand of those who were with me and arrived in Damascus. 12Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well-spoken of by all the Jews, and who lived in Damascus, came to me. 13Standing by me, he said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ At that very moment, I was able to see him. 14He said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15For you will be a witness for him to all people, testifying to what you have seen and heard. 16Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the Name of the Lord.’
17It happened that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance. 18I saw the Lord saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not receive testimony concerning me from you.’ 19I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20When the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I too was standing by, consenting to his death and guarding the coats of those who killed him.’
21Then he said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you out far from here to the Gentiles.’”
22They listened to him until he said that; then they lifted up their voice, and shouted, “Rid the earth of this fellow, for he is not fit to live.”
Paul is arrested – His Roman citizenship
23As they were shouting and and throwing off their cloaks and dust into the air, 24the commanding officer ordered that Paul be brought into the barracks. He gave instruction that Paul should be interrogated under scourging, so that he might find out for what crime the people shouted against him in such a way. 25When they had tied him up with straps, Paul asked the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?”
26When the centurion heard this, he went to the commanding officer and told him, “Do you realize what you are about to do? This man is a Roman citizen.”
27Then the commanding officer came and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”
Paul replied, “Yes.”
28The commanding officer answered, “I bought my citizenship for a great price.”
“But I was born a Roman,” Paul replied.
29Immediately those who were about to interrogate him left him, and even the commanding officer was afraid when he realized that he had bound Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains. 30But on the next day, desiring to know the truth about why Paul was accused by the Jews, the officer freed him from the bonds and commanded the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to come together. He then brought Paul down and set him before them.
Paul before the Sanhedrin
1Looking straight at the Sanhedrin, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day.” 2Then Ananias, the high priest, ordered those who stood by him to strike Paul on the mouth.
3At this, Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall. Do you sit to judge me according to the law, and command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
4Those who stood by said, “Do you insult God’s high priest?”
5Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was high priest. For it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ (Exodus 22:28)” 6But when Paul realized that some were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. And I am being judged concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead.”
7When he said this, an argument arose between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees believe in all of these things. 9A great uproar began, and some of the teachers of the law who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up. They strongly argued, “We find no evil in this man. But if a spirit or angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”
10The dispute became so fierce that the commanding officer feared that they would tear Paul to pieces. He then ordered the soldiers to go down and remove Paul from the assembly by force, and to bring him into the barracks.
11The following night, the Lord stood by him, and said, “Rejoice, Paul. As you have borne witness to me at Jerusalem, you must also bear witness in Rome.”
Conspiracy exposed – Paul is taken to Caesarea
12When day came, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under a great curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13There were more than forty people who joined this conspiracy. 14They came to the chief priests and the elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great curse, to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15Now then, you with the Sanhedrin should petition the commanding officer to bring him down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to judge his case more exactly. We are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16But Paul’s nephew heard of their ambush. He came, entered into the fortress and told Paul. 17Calling one of the centurions, Paul said, “Bring this young man to the commanding officer. He has something to tell him.”
18Accordingly, the centurion took him and brought him to the commanding officer, saying, “Paul, the prisoner, called me and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to tell you.”
19The commanding officer took Paul’s nephew by the hand, and going aside, asked him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”
20He replied, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though intending to inquire somewhat more accurately concerning him. 21But to not give in to their request, for more than forty men lie in wait for Paul, and they have bound themselves under a curse neither to eat nor to drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for you to grant their request.”
22And so, the commanding officer let the young man go with this instruction, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.” 23He called to himself two of the centurions, and said, “Prepare two hundred soldiers to leave at the third hour of the night for Caesarea, along with seventy horsemen, and two hundred men armed with spears.” 24He asked them to provide animals in order set Paul on one, and to bring him safely to Felix the governor. 25He wrote a letter like this:
26“Claudius Lysias to the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings.
27This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28Desiring to know why they accused him, I brought him to their council. 29I found him to be accused about questions of their law, but not to be charged with anything worthy of death or imprisonment. 30When I was told that the Jews were about to ambush this man, I immediately sent him to you. I also instructed his accusers to bring their accusations against him before you. Farewell.”
31And so, the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32But on the next day, they left the horsemen to continue with him and returned to the barracks. 33When they arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and also presented Paul to him. 34After reading the letter, the governor asked what province Paul was from. Having learned that he was from Cilicia, he said, 35“I will hear you fully when your accusers also arrive.” He then commanded that Paul should be held in Herod’s palace.
Paul before Felix
1Five days later, the high priest, Ananias, came down with a group of elders and a professional speaker named Tertullus, and they informed the governor of their charges against Paul. 2Paul was then called in and Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “We have enjoyed much peace under you, and we see that excellent reforms are being carried out for this nation. 3Most Excellent Felix, we acknowledge this always and everywhere, with utmost gratitude. 4But, that I may not delay you, I entreat you to bear with us and hear a few words. 5As it is, we have found this man to be a plague, an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6He even tried to profane the temple, and we arrested him, desiring to judge him according to our own laws. 7However, the commanding officer, Lysias, arrived and with much violence took him out of our hands, 8commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself, you will be able to verify for yourself the truth of our accusations.”
9The Jews also joined in the deposition, affirming that these things were true. 10When the governor had motioned for him to speak, Paul answered, “Because I know that you have been a judge of this nation for many years, I gladly make my defence. 11As you can see, it has been no more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem. 12In the temple, they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the synagogues, or in the city. 13Moreover, they cannot prove to you the accusations they are making against me now. 14However, I do admit this to you, that after the Way which they call a sect, so do I worship the God of our fathers. I believe everything which is according to the law and which is written in the prophets. 15I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both upright and wicked. 16And so, I strive to always have a conscience without offence toward God and men. 17A few years later, I came to bring to my people gifts for the needy, and to present offerings. 18This is how certain Jews from Asia found me in the temple, ritually purified, with no mob or turmoil. But there are some Jews from Asia 19who should have been here before you to present their accusations if they had anything against me. 20Otherwise, let these men explain what injustice they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin. 21Or perhaps it is for what I cried out while standing among them, ‘I am being judged before you today regarding the resurrection of the dead.’”
22But Felix, being better informed concerning the Way, adjourned the case, stating, “When Lysias, the commanding officer, comes down, I will decide your case.”
Paul’s years in Caesarea
23He ordered the centurion that Paul should be kept in custody and that he should have some privileges: none of his friends should be forbidden from serving him or visiting him. 24A few days later, Felix came with his wife Drusilla who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and granted him a hearing concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. 25As Paul discoursed about righteousness, self-control, and the judgement to come, Felix became alarmed and said, “Go your way for this time. When it is convenient for me, I will summon you.” 26Meanwhile, he also hoped that Paul would offer him money for his release. For this reason too, he sent for him more often and discussed with him. 27But after two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and desiring to gain favour with the Jews, Felix left Paul imprisoned.
Paul appeals to Caesar
1Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. 2Then the high priest and the leaders of the Jewish people presented to him a report against Paul. They begged him 3and asked for his support against Paul, asking that he would transfer him to Jerusalem, plotting to kill him on the way. 4However, Festus replied that Paul would be kept in custody at Caesarea, and that he himself would leave shortly. 5He said, “Those who have authority among you should go down with me. And if the man has done anything wrong, let them accuse him.”
6Having stayed among them more than ten days, Festus returned to Caesarea. The following day, he sat on the judgement seat and ordered that Paul be brought in. 7When Paul arrived, the Jews who had travelled from Jerusalem stood around him and hurled against him many grave accusations which they could not prove. 8Paul then said in his defence, “I have not sinned in any way, against the law of the Jews, or against the temple, or against Caesar.”
9Then, desiring to gain favour with the Jews, Festus asked Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem in order to be judged by me there concerning these matters?”
10But Paul replied, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgement seat, where I should be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well. 11Now, if I have done wrong and committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die. But if none of those things they accuse me of are true, then no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
12At this, and after conferring with his advisers, Festus answered, “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go.”
Paul before King Agrippa
13A few days later, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and greeted Festus. 14Since Agrippa was spending some time there, Festus presented Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a certain man who was left as a prisoner by Felix. 15When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews presented a report about this man, asking me to condemn him. 16I answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to condemn anyone to death before the accused has met his accusers face to face and has had opportunity to make his defence in the case against him. 17Then, since they had come together here, I did not delay. On the following day, I sat on the judgement seat and commanded the man to be brought in. 18When the accusers stood up, they did not bring any of the charges I was expecting. 19Instead, they had some dispute against him dealing with their own religion, and about a certain Jesus who was dead, and who Paul affirms to be alive. 20I was puzzled as how to investigate such things and asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters. 21But Paul appealed that his case be reserved for the decision of the emperor, and so I gave orders that he be detained until I could send him to Caesar.”
22Agrippa said to Festus, “I too would like to hear this man.” “Tomorrow,”
Festus replied, “you shall hear him.”
23On the next day, after Agrippa and Bernice had made their entry with great pomp, they went to the place of hearing with the commanding officers and the leaders of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24Festus said, “King Agrippa, and all who are here present with us, you see this man. The entire Jewish community, both in Jerusalem and here, petitioned me about him, clamouring that he should not live any longer. 25But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and as he himself had appealed to his Imperial Majesty, I decided to send him to Rome. 26I have nothing certain to write to my lord concerning this man. Therefore, I have brought him forth before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after examination, I may have something to write. 27For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without also specifying the charges against him.”
1Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak for yourself.”
Then Paul held up his hand and made his defence. 2“I consider myself blessed, King Agrippa, that today, I am able to make my defence before you in response to all the accusations of the Jews, 3especially because you are an expert in all the customs and debates which take place among the Jews. Therefore, I beg you to hear me patiently.
4Indeed, all the Jews know about my way of life from my youth up, which was from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem. 5Since they have known me from the beginning, they could testify that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. 6And now, I stand here on trial because of the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7This is what our twelve tribes hope to attain as they constantly worship night and day. It is concerning this hope that I am accused by the Jews, King Agrippa. 8Why is it judged incredible that God raises the dead?
9As for myself, I certainly thought that it was my duty to oppose the Name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10I also did this in Jerusalem: having received authority from the chief priests, I had many of the saints imprisoned, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11Often I went to all the synagogues to have them punished and I tried to make them blaspheme. Filled with rage against them, I even persecuted them in foreign cities.
12Then, as I was travelling to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests, 13at noon, O king, I saw on the way a light from the sky. It was brighter than the sun and shone around me and those who were travelling with me. 14We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
He replied, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16Now arise and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you as a servant and a witness both of what you have seen and of what I will reveal to you. 17I will rescue you from the Jews and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, and receive remission of sins as well as an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. 20I first proclaimed this to the people of Damascus, Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea. Then, I also proclaimed it to the Gentiles; that they should repent, turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance. 21For this reason, the Jews arrested me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22Yet, having obtained God’s help, I stand to this day and bear witness to small and great alike. I only say what the prophets and Moses said would happen, 23how the Christ was to suffer, and how, by the resurrection of the dead, he would be first to proclaim light both to the Jews and to the Gentiles.”
24As Paul was presenting this defence, Festus exclaimed with a loud voice, “Paul, you are crazy. Your great learning is driving you insane.”
25But Paul replied, “I am not crazy, Most Excellent Festus, but boldly declare words of truth and good sense. 26Indeed, the king is aware of these things and I will also speak freely to him. For I am convinced that none of this is hidden from him, for this has not been done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”
28Agrippa then said to Paul, “With a little persuasion, are you trying to make me a Christian?”
29Paul answered, “I pray to God, that whether with little or with much, not only you but also all who hear me today might become as I am, except for these chains.”
30The king rose up with the governor, along with Bernice and those who sat with them. 31After retiring, they talked together and agreed, “This man has done nothing worthy of death or imprisonment.” 32Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Paul is sent to Rome – Shipwrecked in Malta
1When it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Imperial regiment. 2We boarded a ship from Adramyttium which was about to sail to various places on the coast of Asia and put to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, travelled with us. 3The next day, we landed at Sidon. Julius treated Paul with kindness and gave him permission to visit his friends and to be cared for. 4Putting to sea from there, we sailed under Cyprus because the winds were contrary. 5After sailing across the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we arrived in Myra, a city of Lycia. 6There, the centurion found a ship sailing from Alexandria to Italy, and he put us on board. 7After sailing slowly for many days, we arrived with difficulty near Cnidus. The wind did not allow us to go further, and we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone. 8We continued along the coast and arrived at a place called ‘Fair Havens’, near the city of Lasea.
9A great deal of time had been lost and the voyage was now dangerous because they were already being rationed with food. Paul gave them this warning: 10“Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will result in injuries and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also of our lives.” 11However, the centurion gave more heed to the master and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul was saying. 12Since the haven was not suitable to spend the winter, the majority was in favour of continuing and to do our utmost to reach Phoenix and winter there. This is a port of Crete which faces both the north-east and the south-east.
13When the south wind began to blow softly, they thought that their goal was within reach. Having lifted the anchor, they sailed along Crete, close to shore. 14But before long, a violent wind called ‘the northeaster’ rushed down from the island. 15The ship was caught and could not face the wind. We had to yield to the wind and the ship was driven along. 16Sailing under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, we were able, with difficulty, to secure the lifeboat. 17After the crew had hoisted it up, they used it to help reinforce the ship. Fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis sand bars, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship drift along. 18We were so battered by the storm that the next day, the men began to throw things overboard. 19On the third day, they threw out the ship’s tackle with their own hands. 20When neither sun nor stars had shone on us for many days, and with a major storm pressing on us, all hope that we would be saved was now taken away.
21As the men had been for a long time without food, Paul stood up among them and said, “Sirs, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete; then you would have avoided this injury and loss. 22Now, I encourage you to keep your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23For last night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship stood by me. 24He said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. Behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25Therefore, sirs, be of good cheer. For I believe God, that it will be just as it has been spoken to me. 26However, we must run aground on some island.”
27On the fourteenth night, at about midnight, as we were driven back and forth in the Adriatic Sea, the sailors surmised that they were approaching some land. 28They measured the depth of water and found twenty fathoms. A little while later, they took soundings again and found fifteen fathoms. 29Fearing that we would run aground on rocky ground, they let down four anchors from the stern, hoping to hold steady until daylight. 30Trying to escape from the ship, sailors lowered the lifeboat into the sea, pretending that they would lay out anchors from the bow. 31Paul then said to the centurion and to the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32So the soldiers cut away the ropes of the lifeboat and let it fall off.
33As the day was coming on, Paul begged them all to take some food, saying, “This day is the fourteenth day that you wait and continue fasting, taking nothing. 34Now, I urge you to take some food. This is for your safety, and not a hair will perish from any of your heads.” 35After saying this and having taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36At this, they all cheered up and also took food. 37In all, we were two hundred and seventy-six souls on the ship. 38When they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea. 39When day came, they did not recognise the land but noticed a cove with a beach, and they decided to try to drive the ship onto it. 40Casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time untying the rudder ropes. Hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 41But coming to a place with cross-currents, they beached the vessel. The front of the ship struck and remained immovable while the stern began to break up by the violence of the waves.
42The soldiers’ advice was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim out and escape. 43But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He gave orders that those who could swim should throw themselves overboard first and go to shore. 44The rest should follow, some on planks, and some on other things from the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to the land.
In Malta – Paul bitten by a snake
1Once safe on the shore, we learned that the island was called Malta. 2The natives showed us unusual kindness; they kindled a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3But as Paul was gathering a bundle of sticks and placing them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, “There is no doubt that this man is a murderer. He has escaped from the sea but Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5However, Paul shook off the creature into the fire and remained unharmed 6Nevertheless, they expected that he would have swollen or suddenly fallen down dead. After watching for a long time and seeing nothing bad happen to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
7Now, in the vicinity of that place were lands belonging to the leader of the island named Publius, who welcomed us and courteously hosted us for three days. 8It also happened that Publius’ father was bedridden, ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went to see him, prayed, and laying his hands on him, healed him. 9After this had taken place, the rest of the people who had diseases in the island also came, and they were cured. 10They honoured us in many ways, and when we sailed off, put on board the things that we needed.
11Three months later, we set sail in a ship from Alexandria which had wintered in the island, whose figurehead was “The Twin Brothers.” 12Touching at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13From there, we circled around and arrived at Rhegium. The following day, a south wind sprang up and on the second day, we arrived in Puteoli. 14There, we found brethren who entreated us to stay with them for seven days. And so, we approached Rome.
Arrival in Rome
15From there, having heard of us, the brethren came to meet us as far as The Market of Appius and The Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. 16When we reached Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard, but Paul was allowed to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him.
17Three days later, Paul called together those who were the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, although I have done nothing against the people or the customs of our fathers, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18After putting me on trial, the Romans wanted to release me because there was no grounds to put me to death. 19But when the Jews spoke against it, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything about which to accuse my nation. 20For this reason, therefore, I asked to see you and to speak with you, for it is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
21They answered him, “We have not received letters from Judea concerning you, and no brother has come here to make a report or speak any evil of you. 22But we desire to hear from you what you think because it is known to us that everywhere, people speak against this sect.”
23After making an appointment with Paul for a certain day, many more people visited him at his place of residence. From morning until evening, he explained and bore witness about the Kingdom of God. He also tried to convince them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. 24Some believed what was spoken, and others did not. 25Although disagreeing among themselves, they left after Paul had spoken one word, “Rightly did the Holy Spirit speak to our fathers through Isaiah the prophet, 26saying,
Go to this people and say:
You will keep on hearing but never understand.
You will keep on seeing but never perceive.
27For this people’s heart has grown callous,
their ears are dull of hearing,
and they have closed their eyes,
for fear that should see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
understand with their heart, and would repent,
and I would heal them. (Isaiah 6:9-10)
28Therefore, you should know that God’s salvation is sent to the nations; they will listen.”
29After Paul said these words, the Jews departed with a great dispute among themselves.
30So Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house, receiving everyone who came to visit him. 31With all boldness and without hindrance, he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.