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The New International Version

Acts 21:37–22:29

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Paul Speaks to the Crowd

22:3–16pp—Ac 9:1–22; 26:9–18

37 As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks,q he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?”

“Do you speak Greek?” he replied. 38 “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wildernessr some time ago?”s

39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsust in Cilicia,u a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”

40 After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motionedv to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaica:w

22 “Brothers and fathers,x listen now to my defense.”

When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic,y they became very quiet.

Then Paul said: “I am a Jew,z born in Tarsusa of Cilicia,b but brought up in this city. I studied underc Gamalield and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors.e I was just as zealousf for God as any of you are today. I persecutedg the followers of this Wayh to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,i as the high priest and all the Councilj can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associatesk in Damascus,l and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.m I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’

“ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth,n whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light,o but they did not understand the voicep of him who was speaking to me.

10 “ ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’q 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.r

12 “A man named Ananias came to see me.s He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.t 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.

14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestorsu has chosen you to know his will and to seev the Righteous Onew and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witnessx to all people of what you have seeny and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptizedz and wash your sins away,a calling on his name.’b

17 “When I returned to Jerusalemc and was praying at the temple, I fell into a tranced 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’

19 “ ‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprisone and beatf those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyra Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’g

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”h

Paul the Roman Citizen

22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him!i He’s not fit to live!”j

23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaksk and flinging dust into the air,l 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks.m He directedn that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”o

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29 Those who were about to interrogate himp withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen,q in chains.r

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