The Acts of the Apostles
1 In the first account, O Theophilus, I wrote about 1 all that Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up into heaven, having previously given commands by the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 I also told of about how he presented himself alive to these men after his suffering, granting2 many convincing proofs of his resurrection as he appeared to them over the space of forty days and spoke to them of matters pertaining to the kingdom of God.
The Promise of the Spirit
4 Now when Jesus was together with them all, he instructed them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, “of which,” he said, “you have heard me speak; 5 for while John baptized in3 water, you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 So when they had come together, the disciples began to inquire of him, saying, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 But he said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority; 8 but when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest ends4 of the earth.”
9 Now when he had spoken these things, he was taken up before their very eyes,5 and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 But as he departed, while they were still gazing up into the sky, behold, two men in white garments were standing beside them! 11 They said to them,6 “You men of Galilee, why are you standing here, staring up into the sky? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will return just as you saw him depart.”7
Prayer in the Upper Room
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey from the city. 13 And when they had entered the house,8 they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Now Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James were there. 14 All these gave themselves single-mindedly to prayer, together with the9 women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers.10
Matthias Takes Judas’ Place
15 Now during those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (a sizeable company11 were present, about a hundred and twenty in all). And he said, 16 “Men and brothers, the scripture which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who became a guide to the men who arrested Jesus, had to be fulfilled; 17 for he was numbered among us, and was allotted a share in this ministry.” 18 (Now Judas12 acquired a field with the payment he received for his evil deed; and after falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his intestines spilled out. 19 This became known to everyone living in Jerusalem, so that in their own language the people called that field Hakeldama, or “Field of Blood”.) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his dwelling-place become desolate, and let no one live in it,’13 and, ‘Let another take his office.’14 21 Therefore it is necessary for one of the men who accompanied us the entire time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning with the baptism of John right up to the day when the Lord15 was taken up from us—to become a witness of his resurrection together with us.”
23 So they put forward two disciples: Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed and said, “O Lord, you know every heart.16 Show us which of these two men you have chosen 25 to take on17 this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 Then they cast lots over the two of them, and the lot fell on Matthias. So Matthias was numbered with the eleven apostles.
- Lit. The first word I made, O Theophilus, concerning
- Lit. with
- Or with
- Lit. to the last of the earth
- Lit. while they were looking on
- Lit. who also spoke
- Lit. depart into (for) heaven
- Or city
- Or certain
- Or brothers and sisters
- Lit. a multitude of names
- Lit. this man
- Ps. 69:25
- Lit. overseership; Ps. 109:8
- Lit. he
- Lit. are the heart-knower of all
- Lit. take the place of
The Birth of the Church
2 Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully arrived,1 they all were assembled in one place. 2 And suddenly a great noise, like the rushing of a violent wind, came down from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then tongues, as if of fire, appeared to them and spread out among them,2 so that fire3 came to rest on each of them. 4 And they all were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages4 as the Spirit granted them special utterance.5
5 Now there were Jews residing in Jerusalem, devout men6 from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound arose, the multitude came together; but they were confused and bewildered, for each one was hearing them speak in his own native language. 7 Baffled and amazed, they said, “Look, all these men who are speaking: Aren’t they Galileans? 8 How is it that each of us is hearing them speak in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, together with visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we all hear them in our own languages recounting the wonderful works7 of God.” 12 And they all stood amazed and in great perplexity, saying to one another, “Whatever can this mean?” 13 But others, scoffing, kept saying, “They’re full of new wine!”
Peter’s Sermon on Pentecost
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and solemnly declared to them, “Men of Judea, and all who live in Jerusalem: Let this be known to you, and listen carefully to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘Now in the last days, says God, it shall come to pass8 that I will pour out my Spirit9 on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even upon my bond-servants—both men and women—I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 And I will display wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth below: blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious Day of the Lord arrives. 21 And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’10
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God through miracles, wonders, and signs that God performed through him in your midst—as you yourselves know—23 this man, who was handed over to his enemies according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you put to death, nailing him to a cross by the hands of lawless men. 24 But God raised him up, freeing him from the pains of death,11 since it was not possible for him to be held in its power. 25 For referring to him, David says: ‘I always saw the Lord before my face, for he is at my right hand, that I may never be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover, my flesh will also live in hope, 27 for you will not abandon my soul to Hades,12 nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; with the sight of your face13 you will fill me with joy.’14
29 “Men and brothers, in regard to the patriarch David I can say to you with complete confidence that he both died and was buried, and that his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, because he was a prophet, and because he knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that he would seat one of his descendants on15 his throne, 31 David, seeing this ahead of time, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, declaring that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised from the dead, of which we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured forth this which you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into heaven, yet he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand 35 till I make your enemies your footstool.”’16 36 So then: Let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when the people heard this, they were cut to the heart; and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men, brothers, what should we do?” 38 So Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, your children, and all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” 40 And with many other words he continued to testify17 and exhort them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So those who received his word were baptized; and on that day about three thousand souls were added to their number.
Life in the Infant Church
42 Now those who were saved18 continually devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and also to fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul as many signs and wonders were being performed through the apostles. 44 All who believed stayed together and held all things in common; 45 moreover, they were selling their properties and other belongings, and distributing the proceeds19 to all who were in need.20 46 So continuing daily with one mind in the temple courts, and breaking bread from house to house, they took their food together21 with glad and sincere22 hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And day by day the Lord kept adding to their number23 those who were being saved.
- Lit. was being fulfilled
- Or distributed themselves, were distributed
- Or possibly a tongue; lit. it
- Lit. tongues
- Lit. dignified and elevated discourse
- Or possibly people
- Lit. great (mighty, magnificent, majestic) things
- Lit. it shall be
- Lit. pour out from my Spirit; also v. 18
- Joel 2:28-32
- Lit. loosening the birth pains of death
- I.e. the nether world or the grave
- Or with your presence
- Ps. 16:8-11
- Lit. would seat from the fruit of his loins upon
- Ps. 110:1
- Or charge, warn
- Lit. they
- Lit. properties (possessions) and belongings, and distributing them
- Lit. according as anyone had a need
- Or partook of their food
- Or simple, humble
- Lit. to them
Healing at the Beautiful Gate
3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour,1 the hour of prayer. 2 And a certain man, lame from his mother’s womb, was being carried along, for day by day they would lay him down2 at the temple gate (the gate called “Beautiful”) so that he could ask for alms from those who were entering the temple. 3 Now when he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he began to ask them for a gift. 4 But Peter (and John as well) fixed his eyes on him and said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his full attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and3 walk.” 7 Then, taking him by the right hand, Peter lifted him up; and all at once the man’s feet and ankles received strength. 8 So with a leap he stood up and began to walk; and he entered the temple grounds with Peter and John, walking and leaping and praising God! 9 Now all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the man who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple asking for alms. So they were filled with wonder and amazement over what had happened to him.
Preaching in Solomon’s Colonnade
11 Now while the man was clinging to Peter and John, all the people came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade, utterly amazed. 12 But when Peter saw it, he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? And why are you staring at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of our fathers—has glorified his servant4 Jesus, whom you handed over to his enemies and disowned in the presence of Pilate, even though5 Pilate had decided to let him go. 14 But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked that a man who was a murderer be granted to you; 15 moreover, you put to death the Author6 of life, whom God raised from the dead—of which we ourselves are witnesses. 16 His name, through faith in his name, has strengthened this man whom you both see and know; yes, the faith that comes through Jesus7 has given him this perfect health, as all of you can plainly see.8
17 “And now, brothers, I realize that you acted in ignorance, as did your rulers. 18 But the things that God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets—that his Anointed One would suffer—he has fulfilled in this way. 19 So then: Repent and turn back to God, that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that God may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 who must remain in heaven9 till the times of the restoration of all things, times of which God has spoken10 through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.11 22 Indeed, Moses himself said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers; everything he says to you—whatever it may be—you must hear and obey. 23 And every soul that will not listen to that prophet must be completely destroyed12 from among the people.’13 24 Yes, and all the prophets—from Samuel and his successors on, as many as have spoken—they too have announced these days. 25 You yourselves are the sons of the prophets, and also of the covenant that God made with our fathers when he said to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed.’14 26 When God raised up his Servant, he sent him to you first of all, in order to bless you by turning each one of you from his15 wicked ways.”
- I.e. 3 PM
- Lit. whom they would set down every day
- Some older mss omit rise up and
- Or child
- Or when
- Or Prince
- Lit. him
- Lit. in the sight (presence) of you all
- Lit. whom heaven must indeed receive
- Lit. spoke
- Lit. from (the) age
- Or cut off, uprooted
- Deut. 18:15, 18-19
- Gen. 22:18, 26:4, 28:14
- Lit. your (plural)
Before the Sanhedrin
4 Now while Peter and John1 were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees came up to them, 2 angry and upset that the apostles2 were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 So they seized them and had them put in jail until the next day (for it was already evening). 4 But many of those who heard their message3 believed; and the number of the men grew to about five thousand.
5 Now on the next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem. 6 The high priest, Annas, was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all the rest of the high priest’s family. 7 And when they had stood Peter and John in the midst of the assembly, they began to interrogate them. “By what power, or in what name, did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, saying, “Rulers and elders of the people: 9 If we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a helpless man, and concerning the means by which he was healed, 10 then let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth—whom you crucified, and whom God raised from the dead—by him4 this man stands here before you in perfect health. 11 This Jesus is the stone which you, the builders, rejected, and which now has become the chief cornerstone.5 12 Moreover, there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
“We Cannot Help But Speak”
13 Now when the leaders6 saw the boldness of Peter and John, and understood that these were unschooled and untrained men, they were amazed. But then they began to realize that these men had been with Jesus; 14 and seeing the man who was healed standing there with them, they also realized there was nothing they could say against it. 15 But when they had ordered the apostles to step outside the council hall, they began to confer with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For it is clear to everyone living in Jerusalem that an outstanding miracle7 has indeed been performed through them, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to keep this matter from spreading any further8 among the people, let us warn them never again to speak to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied and said to them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in the sight of God for us to listen to you instead of him.9 20 As for us,10 we cannot help but speak about the things we have seen and heard.” 21 So when the leaders had threatened them further, they let them go, having found no way to punish them, since all the people were glorifying God over what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this miracle11 had been performed was over forty years old.
A Prayer for Boldness to the Sovereign Lord
23 Now when they were released, Peter and John went back to the other believers12 and reported everything the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard, they lifted up their voices in unison to God, and said: “Sovereign Lord, you are the one who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them, 25 and who spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of our forefather David, your servant, saying, ‘Why did the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth stood side by side, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Anointed.’13 27 For both Herod and Pontius Pilate—along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel—did indeed gather together in this city against your Holy Servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 to do whatever your hand and your purpose predestined to occur. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to your bond-servants that they may speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and while signs and wonders are accomplished through the name of your Holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had finished praying, the place where they were gathered was shaken; and they all were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking the word of God with freedom and boldness.14
The Grace of Sharing
32 Now the entire company of believers was of one heart and one soul; and not one of them would say that anything he owned belonged to himself alone, but in their sight all things were held in common.15 33 Also, the apostles were bearing witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power. Indeed, great grace was upon all the people,16 34 for not a single needy person was found among them; for those17 who owned property or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sale to the apostles and 35 lay them at their feet. Then the money18 would be distributed to each, as anyone had need. 36 And Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, whom the apostles also called Barnabas (which is translated “Son of Encouragement”), 37 sold a piece of land19 that he owned, brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
- Lit. they
- Lit. they
- Lit. the word
- Or by this name
- Ps. 118:22
- Lit. they
- Lit. sign
- Lit. in order that it might not spread
- Lit. God
- Lit. For
- Lit. sign
- Lit. they went to their own
- Ps. 2:1-2
- Lit. freedom, confidence, courage
- Lit. but it was to them all things in common
- Lit. upon them all
- Lit. for as many as
- Lit. it
- Lit. a field (farm)
Lying to the Spirit of Truth
5 But a certain man named Ananias, along with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; 2 and with his wife’s full knowledge he kept back some of the money for himself and then brought the rest and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit by keeping back part of the money from the sale of the land for yourself? 4 While the land remained unsold, did it not belong to you? And after it was sold, was not the money yours to do with as you wished?1 Why then have you conceived2 this evil act in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.” 5 Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon everyone who heard of it. 6 Then the younger men got up, wrapped his body,3 carried him out, and buried him.
7 Now about three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 So Peter addressed her: “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias4 received for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that’s the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that both of you have agreed to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And at once she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. So when the young men came back in, they found her dead; and carrying her out, they buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear fell on the whole church, and on everyone who heard about these things.
Power and Growth in the Church
12 Now many signs and wonders, performed at the hands of the apostles, were taking place among the people. And bound as one, all the believers were gathering together5 in Solomon’s Portico. 13 (None of the rest of the people dared to join them, but they held them in high regard.) 14 And more and more believers in the Lord—multitudes of both men and women—were being added to their number. 15 As a result, people were even carrying the sick out into the streets and laying them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter passed by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 Moreover, a great many people from the towns near Jerusalem were gathering in the city, bringing the sick and those who were afflicted with unclean spirits; and all of them were being healed.
Arrested, Freed, and Tried Again
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation.6 18 So they seized the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, led them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts, and proclaim to the people the entire message about this way of life.”7 21 So when they heard that, they entered the temple precincts early in the morning and began to teach.
Now when the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin (that is,8 the entire Senate of the sons of Israel), and they sent to the jail to have the apostles brought before them. 22 But the officers who came to get them did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 saying, “We found the jail securely locked, and the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed, wondering what would come of this. 25 But when a certain man arrived, he gave them a report, saying, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courts and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain and the officers went out and brought them back, but not by force, for fear of being stoned by the people.
27 Now when they had brought them back, they stood them before the council. Then the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you9 strict orders not to teach in this name; and look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man’s blood on us!” 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you men seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 But God has exalted this same Jesus to10 his own right hand as Prince11 and Savior, to grant to Israel both repentance and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so too is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
33 Now when they heard that, they were cut to the heart12 and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a certain Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law who was highly respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and ordered that the apostles13 be put outside for a few moments. 35 Then he said to them: “Men and Israelites, think twice about what you’re intending to do with these men.14 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men—about four hundred of them—rallied to him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 And after him,15 Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and incited a band to follow after him; but he too perished, and all his followers were scattered. 38 So regarding the matters now before us, I say to you: Stay away from these men and leave them alone, for if this purpose or movement has its origin in man, it will come to nothing. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them; indeed, you may even be found fighting against God!” And they were persuaded by his counsel.16 40 So after calling for the apostles and having them flogged, they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 Then the apostles went out from before the council greatly rejoicing, seeing that they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name. 42 And day after day—both in the temple and from house to house—they kept right on teaching and proclaiming17 Jesus as the Christ.
- Lit. was it not in your authority?
- Lit. placed (i.e. like a seed)
- Lit. wrapped (covered) him
- Lit. you (plural)
- Lit. And they all were with one mind
- Lit. zeal (i.e. for the Jewish faith)
- Lit. tell the people all the words of this life
- Or the Sanhedrin and
- Some mss Did we not give you
- Or by
- Or Leader, Pioneer, Founder, Originator
- Or enraged
- Lit. men
- Lit. take heed to yourselves, what you intend (are about) to do against (in the case of) these men
- Lit. this man
- Lit. by him
- Lit. they were not ceasing to teach and proclaim
The First Deacons
6 Now in those days, when the disciples were growing in number, there arose a complaint on the part of the Hellenists1 against the Hebrews,2 because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.3 2 So the twelve called for the whole community of disciples and said, “It isn’t right for us to neglect the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, carefully choose from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we may set over this pressing need; 4 but as for us, we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 Now this saying pleased the entire community. So they chose Stephen—a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit—and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 Then they stood them4 before the apostles; and when the apostles had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God kept spreading, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem continued to grow rapidly. Moreover, a large company of the priests were also becoming obedient to the faith.
Stephen Accused and Arrested
8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great signs and wonders among the people. 9 But certain men from the so-called Synagogue of the Freedmen—both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as Jews from Cilicia and Asia—rose up and began to dispute with Stephen; 10 but they were powerless to stand against the wisdom and spirit with which5 he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 So these men stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and gathering around Stephen, they seized him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They also brought forward false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking out6 against this holy place and the Law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the temple7 and alter the customs that Moses handed down to us.” 15 Now when those who were seated in the Council chamber fixed their gaze on Stephen, they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.8
- I.e. Greek-speaking Jews, friendly to Greek culture
- I.e. Native Jews who spoke Aramaic
- I.e. of food or money
- Lit. whom they stood
- Or the Spirit by whom
- Lit. saying things, speaking words
- Lit. this place
- Lit. on him, they saw his face as a face of an angel
Stephen’s Defense: The Call of Abraham
7 Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 2 But Stephen replied, “Men, brothers, fathers: Listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 And he said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come to the land I will show you!’1 4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after the death of his father, God moved him to this land, where you now live. 5 But he gave him no inheritance in it, no, not so much as a footstep’s worth of ground.2 Yet even when Abraham had no child, God promised that he would give the land as a permanent possession to him, and to his descendants after him. 6 And God spoke to this effect, that Abraham’s descendants would be strangers in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved, oppressed, and mistreated for four hundred years. 7 But God also said, ‘The nation to whom they are in bondage I will judge;3 and after that, they will come out and serve me in this place.’4 8 Then he gave him the covenant of circumcision. So Abraham fathered Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac fathered Jacob, and Jacob fathered the twelve patriarchs.
The Family of Jacob in Egypt
9 “Now when the patriarchs grew jealous of Joseph, they sold him into Egypt; but God was with him. 10 So God delivered him out of all his troubles and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt, and over his entire household. 11 Then a famine struck all Egypt and all Canaan, bringing great affliction; and our fathers could not find enough food.5 12 So when Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers out on their first journey to that country. 13 And during the second visit, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and Pharaoh learned about his family. 14 Then Joseph sent word and called for his father Jacob and all his relatives: in number seventy-five souls. 15 So Jacob went down to Egypt. And he died there, both he and our fathers; 16 and their remains6 were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a certain sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.7
Moses: Sent By God, Rejected by His Brothers
17 “But as the time drew near for God to fulfill the promise he had made to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18 until another king who knew nothing of Joseph rose to power. 19 Dealing treacherously with our people, that king oppressed our fathers, forcing them to expose their infants so that they would die.
20 “At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in the sight of God. For three months he was brought up in his father’s house; 21 but when he was set out in a basket, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and raised him8 as her own son. 22 So Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was powerful in his words and deeds.
23 “Now as he was nearing forty years of age, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24 And when he saw one of them suffering unjustly, he came to his defense and avenged the mistreated Israelite by striking the Egyptian down. 25 Moreover, he assumed his brothers would understand that God was granting them deliverance by his hand; but they did not understand. 26 Then, on the following day, he came upon two Israelites as they were fighting.9 So he tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers! Why then are you hurting each other?’ 27 But the man who was mistreating his fellow Israelite10 pushed Moses aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you mean to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’11 29 Now when Moses heard him say that,12 he fled and became an exile13 in the land of Midian, where he fathered two sons.
30 “Now when forty years had passed, a Messenger appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he marveled14 at the sight. And when he drew near to look more closely, the voice of the Lord came to him, 32 saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’15 But Moses, afraid and trembling, did not dare to look further. 33 And the Lord said to him, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt, and have heard their groaning; and I have come down to deliver them. So come now: I will send you to Egypt.’16
35 “This same Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’— this is the man God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Messenger who appeared to him in the burning bush. 36 So he led them out, all the while performing signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.
A History of Rebellion
37 “This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’17 38 This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the Messenger who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and this is he who received living oracles to pass along to you. 39 Yet our fathers were unwilling to obey him, but instead pushed him aside; and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us; for we have no idea what’s become of this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt.’18 41 Moreover, in those days they made an idol in the form of a calf, sacrificed to it, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42 But God turned away from them and handed them over to worship and serve the host of heaven. As it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘O house of Israel, was it to me that you offered animal sacrifices for forty years in the wilderness? 43 You also carried along the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of the god Rephan19—images you made for the purpose of worshiping them; but I will carry you beyond Babylon!’20
44 “Our fathers had the tent of the testimony in the wilderness, constructed exactly as he who spoke to Moses had instructed him to make it, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 And once our fathers had received it, they, together with Joshua, brought it into this land when they dispossessed the nations, nations that God drove out before the face of our fathers up until the days of David. 46 Now David found favor in the sight of God, and asked that he might search out a dwelling place21 for the God of Jacob.22 47 But it was Solomon who built him a house. 48 Nevertheless, the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands. As the prophet says: 49 ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth is a footstool for my feet. What sort of house could you build for me?’ says the Lord, ‘or what place could serve as the place of my rest?23 50 Did not my hand make all these things?’24
51 “You stiff-necked men, uncircumcised in heart and ears! You constantly resist the Holy Spirit! As with your fathers, so also with you: 52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? Indeed, they killed the men who foretold the coming of the Righteous One; and now you have become his betrayers and murderers, 53 you who received the Law in ordinances given through angels,25 and yet did not keep it!”
54 Now when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart and began gnashing their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen—full of the Holy Spirit and gazing intently into heaven—saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 So he said, “Look! I see the heavens opened wide, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 But crying out with a loud voice, they covered their ears and rushed upon him as one man; 58 and when they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him. (Now the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.) 59 So they went on stoning Stephen, while he himself kept calling on the Lord and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then, falling to his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” And when he had said that, he slept.
- Gen. 12:1
- Lit. not even a step of a foot
- Gen. 15:13-14
- Ex. 3:12
- Lit. were not finding sustenance (i.e. food and fodder)
- Lit. they
- Some mss in Shechem
- Or adopted him
- Lit. he was seen by them while fighting
- Lit. neighbor
- Ex. 2:14
- Lit. and at that word
- Or alien, foreigner, stranger
- Or marveled
- Ex. 3:6, 15
- Ex. 3:5, 7-8, 10
- Deut. 18:15
- Ex. 32:1, 23
- Many mss the star of your god Rephan (see LXX)
- Amos 5:25-27
- Or provide a dwelling place; lit. find a tabernacle (tent)
- Some early mss the house of Jacob
- Lit. or what place is my resting place
- Is. 66:1-2
- Lit. in (by) ordinances of angels
- Lit. God’s
The Church is Scattered
8 Now Saul was in complete agreement with Stephen’s death. (Moreover, on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and all of them, except for the apostles, were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.) 2 Then devout men carried Stephen to his grave; and they made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul, entering house after house, began to ravage the church; and dragging off both men and women, he would commit them to prison.
Philip Preaches in Samaria
4 So1 those who were scattered went from place to place preaching the word. 5 Now Philip went down to a city of Samaria2 and proclaimed the Christ to them. 6 And with one accord the crowds gave their full attention to the things Philip was saying, as they both heard and saw the miraculous signs he was performing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, were coming out of many who had them; and many who were paralyzed and lame were being healed. 8 And in that city there was great rejoicing.
Simon the Magician
9 Now there was a certain man by the name of Simon, who formerly practiced magic arts in the city, and who amazed the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 From the least to the greatest of them, all the people would give him their full attention, declaring, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God!”3 11 And they would do so because he had amazed them with his magic arts for quite some time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he was preaching the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they began to receive baptism, both men and women alike. 13 Moreover, even Simon himself believed.4 Now after he was baptized, he stayed close to Philip; and as he observed the signs and mighty works of power that were taking place, he stood amazed.
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them; 15 and these two went down and prayed for the people to receive the Holy Spirit 16 (for he had not yet fallen on any of them, for they had only been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus). 17 Then the apostles laid hands on them, and the people began to receive the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostle’s hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power5 too, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands will receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish along with you, because you thought you could acquire the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share6 in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord: Perhaps the intent7 of your heart may yet be forgiven you. 23 For I can see that you are filled with poison and chained to iniquity.”8 24 Then Simon answered and said, “Both of you, please pray to the Lord for me, so that nothing of what you have said will come upon me!”
25 So after Peter and John had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back for Jerusalem; and along the way they were proclaiming the good news to many of the Samaritan villages.
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Get up and travel south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he got up and went. And suddenly he saw a man: an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official serving under Candace (the queen of the Ethiopians), and in charge of her entire treasury. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and was now on his way home; and sitting in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 So the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join yourself to this chariot.” 30 And when he had run up to it, Philip heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. So he said, “Do you understand the things you’re reading?” 31 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now this is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and just as a lamb before its shearer is silent, he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation, justice was taken from him.9 And who can speak of his offspring, for his life was taken from the earth?”10
34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I beg of you: Who is the prophet talking about when he says this:11 himself or some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this very scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 Now as they were going along the road, they came to some water. So the eunuch said, “Look, water! What is there to prevent me from being baptized?”12 38 So he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more; but he went on his way, rejoicing. 40 As for Philip, he appeared13 at Azotus; and as he passed through that region, he proclaimed the good news in all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
- Or then
- Or the (main) city of
- Lit. This man is the power of God that is called great
- Or And Simon himself also believed
- Or authority
- Lit. allotment
- Or to the Lord that, if possible, the intent
- Lit. you are in a gall of bitterness and a fetter of iniquity
- Lit. his judgment (justice) was removed (taken away)
- Is. 53:7-8
- Lit. concerning whom does the prophet say this?
- Some later mss add all or most of verse 37: Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
- Or found himself; lit. was found
Saul Sees the Light
9 Meanwhile, Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for1 letters addressed to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he could bring them to Jerusalem, bound as prisoners. 3 But in the course of his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly shone2 all around him; 4 and when he had fallen to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 So he replied, “Who are you, Lord?” And he answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; 6 but get up, go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 (As for the men who were traveling with him, they stood there speechless, hearing the sound,3 but seeing no one.) 8 Then Saul got up from the ground; but when he opened his eyes,4 he could see nothing at all. So leading him by the hand, his companions brought him to Damascus; 9 and for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Ananias Sent to Saul
10 Now in Damascus there was a certain disciple by the name of Ananias. And the Lord spoke to him in a vision, saying, “Ananias!” So he answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Get up, go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas about a man from Tarsus named Saul. For behold, he is praying; 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias entering the house and laying hands on him so that he may see again.” 13 Ananias replied, “Lord, I’ve heard from many people about this man: how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here in Damascus he has authority from the chief priests to take into custody5 all who call upon your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen vessel of mine, to bring6 my name before Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I myself will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias went his way and entered the house; and when he had laid his hands on him, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you took to get here,7 has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And at once something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. Then he got up and was baptized; 19 and after taking some food, his strength returned.
Saul Preaches in Damascus
Now Saul stayed with the disciples in Damascus for some time; 20 and at once he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God!” 21 And all who heard of it8 were amazed, saying “Isn’t this the man who in Jerusalem sought to destroy everyone9 who calls on this name; and didn’t he come here to bring them back as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul grew stronger and stronger, and was confounding and upsetting the Jews who lived in Damascus by demonstrating that this Jesus is indeed the Christ. 23 But when this had gone on for some time,10 the Jews conspired to do away with him; 24 but Saul learned of their plot. Now they also11 were watching the city gates day and night, in order to kill him; 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
Saul Returns to Jerusalem
26 Now when Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they all were afraid of him, for they did not believe that he really was a disciple. 27 But taking hold of him, Barnabas brought Saul to the apostles and told them the whole story: how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them, circulating freely12 in Jerusalem 29 and speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. What’s more, he spoke and disputed with the Hellenistic Jews; so they undertook to do away with him.13 30 But when the brothers learned of this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.
31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoyed peace and was being built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it grew and grew.
The Further Ministry of Peter
32 Now as Peter was traveling through all parts of the country, it so happened that he also went down to visit the saints living in Lydda. 33 And there he came upon a certain man by the name of Aeneas, a paralytic confined to his bed for eight years. 34 So Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ14 heals you. Get up and make your bed!” And at once he got up. 35 And everyone who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him; and they15 turned to the Lord.
36 Now in Joppa there was a certain disciple by the name of Tabitha (which, when translated, means “gazelle”);16 and she abounded in the works of kindness and mercy that constantly engaged her. 37 But at that time she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. 38 Now when the disciples heard that Peter was in Joppa, they sent two men to him (for Joppa was near Lydda). And the men pleaded with him, saying, “Come to us without delay!” 39 So Peter got up and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing him the tunics and other garments Dorcas had made when she was with them. 40 But sending them all out, Peter knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, arise!” So she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 Now this miracle became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. 43 So Peter remained in Joppa for many days, staying with a certain Simon, a tanner.
- Lit. asked from him
- Or flashed
- Or voice; see Acts 22:9
- Or though his eyes were open
- Lit. bind
- Lit. bear, carry
- Lit. on the road in which you came
- Or heard him
- Lit. those
- Lit. Now as many (enough) days were being fulfilled
- Or even
- Lit. coming in and going out
- Or were
- Some mss Jesus, the Messiah (Christ)
- Lit. who (then)
- Lit. dorcas
The Vision of Cornelius
10 Now in Caesarea there was a certain man by the name of Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Cohort. 2 He was a devout and God-fearing man, as was his entire household; a man who generously gave alms to the Jewish people, and who prayed to God at all times. 3 Now about the ninth hour of the day,1 in a vision, he clearly saw an angel of God coming into the room and saying to him, “Cornelius!” 4 Gazing at him, and gripped with fear, Cornelius said, “What is it, my lord?” So the angel said to him, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have ascended before God, and are remembered.2 5 Now then: Dispatch some men to Joppa, and send for one Simon, who is also called Peter. 6 He is lodging with a man named Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 So when the angel who had spoken with him departed, Cornelius called for two of his household servants, as well as a devout soldier from the ranks of those who served3 him. 8 And when he had related all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.
The Vision of Peter
9 The next day at about the sixth hour,4 while these men were completing their journey5 and drawing near to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray; 10 and he grew hungry and wanted to eat. But while they were preparing the meal, a vision came to him:6 11 He saw the sky7 opening up and a certain object8 like a great sheet being lowered to the earth by its four corners. 12 Inside were all kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles9 of the earth, and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice came to him, saying, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord! For I’ve never eaten anything common or unclean.”10 15 But once again, for a second time, the voice came to him, saying, “What God has cleansed you must not call11 common.” 16 This happened three times, after which the object was immediately taken up into heaven.
Peter Sent to Gentiles
17 Now as Peter was puzzling12 about the meaning of the vision he had just seen, behold, the men sent by Cornelius, after inquiring about the location of Simon’s house, stood at the gate; 18 and they called out, asking whether Simon, the one known as Peter, was lodging there. 19 Now as Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 But as for you, get up, go downstairs, and accompany them without misgivings; for I have sent them.” 21 So Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the man you are looking for; what is it that brings you here?” 22 They replied, “Cornelius the centurion—a righteous and God-fearing man, well spoken of by the entire Jewish nation—was instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house and hear a message from you.” 23 So inviting them in, he received them as his guests.13
The next day Peter got up and set out with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa; 24 and on the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius, who had called together his relatives and close friends, was anxiously waiting for them. 25 And when at last Peter entered his house, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up, for I too am a man, just like you.”14 27 And as Peter was speaking with Cornelius, he went in and found many people gathered together. 28 So he said to them, “You yourselves know very well how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to associate with a foreigner, or to visit him; yet God himself has shown me that I mustn’t call any man common or unclean. 29 For this reason, when you sent for me, I came without objection. I ask, then: Why have you done so?”
30 Then Cornelius replied, “Four days ago, to this very hour, as I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer at my house, a man in shining garments suddenly stood before me; 31 and he said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your works of mercy have been remembered before God. 32 Therefore send messengers to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is also known as Peter. He is staying at Simon the tanner’s house, which is by the sea.’ 33 So I immediately sent messengers to you, and you have been kind enough15 to come. Now then: We all are here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to say.”
Peter Preaches to Gentiles
34 So opening his mouth, Peter declared: “Truly I now see that God is no respecter of persons, 35 but that in every nation the one who fears him and does what is right is welcomed by him! 36 You know the message that God sent to the sons of Israel, proclaiming peace through Jesus Christ (but he is Lord of all). 37 And you know the things that happened all throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism proclaimed by John: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he16 went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of everything he did, both in the Judean countryside17 and in Jerusalem—this Jesus whom they also put to death by hanging him on a tree. 40 But on the third day God raised him again, and also granted that he might be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had chosen beforehand—by us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 Moreover, he commanded us to preach to the people, and to solemnly testify that he himself is the one whom God has ordained to be the judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness, declaring that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
The Spirit Falls on the Gentiles
44 Now while Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on everyone listening to his message.18 45 And believers from the circumcision who had come with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles as well; 46 for they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God. Then Peter responded, 47 “Can anyone withhold the water of baptism from these who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to remain with them for a few more days.
- I.e. 3 PM
- Lit. gone up as a memorial before God
- Or waited upon
- I.e. Noon
- Lit. journeying along
- Lit. there took place upon him an ecstasy
- Or heaven
- Or vessel
- Lit. creeping things (e.g. snakes, lizards, toads, salamanders, etc.)
- I.e. according Jewish ceremonial law
- Or consider
- Lit. being perplexed within himself
- Or he gave them lodging
- Lit. I myself also am a man
- Lit. done well
- Lit. who
- Or land of the Jews
- Lit. the word
Peter Defends His Ministry
11 Now the apostles and the brotherhood throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles too had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter came up to Jerusalem, the Jewish believers1 took him to task, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them!” 4 But Peter began to explain to them, point by point, exactly what had happened, saying: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa, praying; and in a vision I saw a certain object like a great sheet coming down from heaven, lowered by its four corners; and it came right to where I was.2 6 As I looked closely to see what was in it, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7 And I also heard a voice, saying to me, ‘Arise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But once again3 the voice spoke to me from heaven, saying, ‘What God has cleansed, you must not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, after which everything was drawn back up into heaven. 11 Now at that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, stood in front of the house where we were staying. 12 So the Spirit told me to go with them with no misgivings. Moreover, these six brothers also came with me; and we all entered the man’s house. 13 Then the man explained to us how he’d seen an angel standing in his house, saying, ‘Send messengers to Joppa and call for Simon, who is also known as Peter: 14 He will speak words to you by which you and your whole household will be saved.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he did on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how he used to say, ‘Whereas John baptized with water, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift that he gave to us when we4 believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?” 18 Now when they heard all these things, they immediately dropped their objections5 and glorified God, saying, “Then God has indeed6 granted to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life!”
Church Growth in Antioch
19 Now those who were scattered due to the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to none but Jews alone. 20 But there were some among them—men from Cyprus and Cyrene—who, after arriving in Antioch, began speaking to the Greeks,7 proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, such that a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
22 Now the news of these things reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem; so they sent out Barnabas to visit Antioch. 23 And when he arrived and observed the grace of God, he rejoiced; and he kept8 encouraging them all to cling to the Lord with resolute hearts9 24 (for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith). And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Saul met with the church and taught a great many people; and in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
Famine Relief for Judea
27 Now at that time certain prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them—a brother by the name of Agabus—stood up and signified by the Spirit that a great famine would soon come upon the entire inhabited world (this occurred during the reign of Claudius). 29 So the disciples, each according to his means, decided to send relief to the brotherhood living in Judea. 30 And this they did, sending it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
- Lit. those of the circumcision
- Lit. it came until (unto) me
- Lit. a second time
- Or they
- Lit. fell silent
- Or also, even
- Many mss Hellenists (i.e. Greek-speaking Jews)
- Or began
- Lit. that with purpose of heart they should go on with the Lord
Herod’s Outstretched Hand
12 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand against certain members of the church, in order to mistreat them. 2 Moreover, he had James, the brother of John, put to death with a sword. 3 And seeing that this pleased the Jews, he went on to seize Peter as well. Now this took place during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So after arresting Peter, Herod put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, all the while intending to bring him before the people after the Passover. 5 So Peter was held in prison; but the Church offered fervent prayer to God on his behalf.
Peter Delivered from Prison
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out for trial, on that very night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; meanwhile, the guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood beside him,1 and a light shone in the prison. Then the angel struck Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly!”—and his chains fell off his hands. 8 The angel said to him, “Gird yourself2 and strap on your sandals.” So Peter did. Then the angel said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 So Peter went out and followed him; but he didn’t understand that what was happening to him through the help of the angel was real; instead, he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 Now when they had gotten past the first and second guards,3 they came to the iron gate that leads into the city; and it opened for them all by itself. So they went out and started walking down a certain4 narrow street,5 when all at once the angel left him. 11 And when Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know that the Lord truly did send his angel, and that he has rescued me from the hand of Herod, and from all that the Jewish people were expecting to happen!”
12 Once Peter understood this, he went to the house of Mary (the mother of John, who was also called Mark), where many disciples were gathered together, praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the outer gate, a servant-girl by the name of Rhoda came to answer. 14 But when she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she didn’t stop to open it, but ran back in and declared that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You’re out of your mind!”6 But she kept insisting that it was so, whereas they were saying, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile, Peter kept knocking at the door; and when they finally opened it, they saw him and were utterly amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to quiet down, he described for them how the Lord had brought7 him out of the prison. Then he said, “Go and bring word of these things to James and the brothers.” Then he left and went to another place.
18 Now when morning arrived, there was no small stir among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 And when Herod had searched for him and failed to find him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away for execution.8 Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea to spend some time there.
Herod Struck Down
20 Now Herod was very angry9 with the people of Tyre and Sidon; so they came and appeared before him as one man. And having won over Blastus (the king’s chamberlain) to their side, they began asking Herod for peace, since their own country’s food supply came from the king’s. 21 Then, on a certain day arranged in advance, Herod put on his royal garments, seated himself on his throne,10 and began to address them. 22 But the people started11 shouting, “The voice of a god and not a man!” 23 So in that very instant an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he failed to give the glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.
24 But the word of God continued to grow and be multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul, having completed their ministry of famine relief to Jerusalem, returned to Antioch,12 taking John, the one who was also called Mark.
- Or appeared
- Probably with a belt, possibly with garments
- Or guard posts
- Lit. one
- Or lane, alley
- Or Are you out of your mind?
- Or led
- Or possibly to torture; see Acts 16:27, 27:42
- Or was quarrelling angrily
- Greek bema, judgment seat; Herod’s bema in Caesarea resembled a throne
- Or kept
- Or returned to Jerusalem, having completed their mission; some mss returned from Jerusalem
13 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (called Niger), Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (a childhood companion1 of Herod the tetrarch), and Saul. 2 And while they were fasting and worshiping the Lord, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate Barnabas and Saul to me2 for the work to which I have called them.” 3 And when they had fasted, prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them off.
4 So having been sent out by the Holy Spirit, Saul and Barnabas went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. (John was with them as well, serving as their assistant.) 6 Now when they had traveled through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain sorcerer,3 a Jewish false prophet by the name of Bar-Jesus, 7 who was attending4 the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. Now after calling for Barnabas and Saul, the proconsul expressed a desire to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) stood against them, trying to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul (also known as Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him 10 and said, “O man full of all deceit and all trickery—you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness—will you never stop perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, behold: The hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind, unable to see the sun for set amount of time.” And at once a mist and darkness fell on him, after which5 he began walking about, looking for someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then, after seeing what had happened, the proconsul believed, for he stood amazed at the teaching concerning the Lord.
In Pisidian Antioch
13 Now after putting out to sea from Paphos, Paul and his companions came to Perga in Pamphylia; but John, leaving the others behind, returned to Jerusalem. 14 Going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch; and on the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and took their seats. 15 Then, after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation or encouragement for the people, please speak it.”
16 So Paul stood up; and motioning with his hand, he said, “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen carefully. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and raised the people to greatness when they lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. Then he led them out of that country with an uplifted arm; 18 and for a span of about forty years he bore with them in the wilderness. 19 And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he distributed their land to his people by allotment. 20All of this took about four hundred and fifty years. Now after these things he gave them judges up until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 But then they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul, the son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled for forty years. 22 And after removing him, God raised up David as their king, to whom he also bore witness, saying, ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I desire.’6 23 From this man’s seed, according to his promise, God gave Israel a Savior, who is Jesus. 24 Now before Jesus came, John preached a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 But in the course of fulfilling his mission, John would constantly ask, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not he. But know this:7 There is one who comes after me, and I am not worthy to untie the sandals on his feet!’
26 “Men and brothers, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God: The news of this salvation is now sent out to us all! 27 For those who live in Jerusalem, together with their leaders—recognizing neither him nor the words8 of the prophets that are read to them every Sabbath—fulfilled those words by condemning him. 28 And though they found no grounds whatsoever for putting him to death, they urged Pilate to crucify him;9 29 and once they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead; 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who now serve as his witnesses to our people.10 32 So then:11 We bring you good news about the promise made to our12 fathers, namely, that 33 God has now fulfilled that promise for us, their children, by raising up Jesus—as indeed it is written13 in the second Psalm: ‘You are my Son; this very day I have begotten you!’14 34 Now as for the fact that God raised him from the dead, never again to verge on corruption, he has spoken in this manner: ‘I will give all of you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’15 35 And for this reason he also says in another psalm, ‘You will not permit your Holy One to see decay.’16 36 For David, after serving the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and did indeed see decay; 37 but he whom God raised up saw no decay. 38 Therefore, men and brothers, let it be known to you that through this man the forgiveness of sins is now proclaimed to you, 39 and that through him everyone who believes is freed17 of everything from which the Law of Moses could not free you. 40 See to it, then, that what was spoken by the prophets does not come upon you: 41 ‘Behold, you scoffers: Marvel and perish! For in your days I am performing a work that you would never believe, even if someone were to tell you in full.’”18
Blessing, Conflict, and Joy
42 Now as the brothers were leaving, the people begged them to speak about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 And when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes19 followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they talked with them, kept urging20 them to continue in the grace of God.
44 Now on the following Sabbath, almost the entire city assembled to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; so they started to contradict the things Paul was saying, slandering and reviling him. 46 Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first; but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life—take note of this21—we are now turning to the Gentiles. 47 For thus the Lord has commanded us, saying: ‘I have put you22 in place as a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring23 salvation to the very ends of the earth.’”24 48 Now when the Gentiles heard that, they began to rejoice, and also to celebrate25 the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
49 So the word of the Lord spread26 throughout the entire region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout women of prominence, as well as the leading men of the city; and they instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. 51 But shaking the dust off their feet against them, they went on to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
- Or foster brother
- Or Separate to me at once
- Or magician (i.e. practitioner of various spiritual arts)
- Lit. was with
- Lit. and
- Ps. 89:20
- Lit. But behold!
- Lit. voices
- Lit. lift him up
- Lit. the people
- Lit. And
- Lit. the
- Or as also it was written
- Ps. 2:7
- Lit. the holy trustworthy things of David; Is. 55:3
- Ps. 16:10
- Lit. justified
- Hab. 1:5
- I.e. Gentile converts to Judaism
- Lit. persuading
- Lit. behold
- The Greek is singular
- Lit. be for
- Is. 49:6
- Or praise, glorify, magnify, honor
- Lit. was being carried
14 Now the same thing happened in Iconium: Paul and Barnabas entered the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great many believed, both Jews and Greeks. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe1 stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So the two of them stayed on for quite some time, speaking out boldly for the Lord,2 who bore witness to the message of his grace by granting that miraculous signs and wonders should take place through their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided: Some sided with the Jews, some with the apostles. 5 And when both the Gentiles and the Jews, together with their rulers, grew hostile and set out to mistreat and stone them, 6 Paul and Barnabas learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe—cities of Lycaonia—and to the surrounding countryside. 7 And they went on proclaiming the good news there.
8 Now in Lystra, seated out in the open, there was a certain man with no strength in his feet; he had been lame from his mother’s womb, and so had3 never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke; and when Paul fixed his eyes on him and saw that he had the faith to be healed, 10 he said in a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet!” And the man leapt to his feet and began to walk. 11 So the crowds, seeing what Paul had done, lifted up their voice in the Lycaonian language and said, “The gods have come down to us in the form of men!” 12 And they began to call Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because Paul was the chief speaker.
13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was situated at the entrance to the city, brought oxen4 and garlands to the city gates, intending to join with the crowds in offering sacrifices to them. 14 But when Barnabas and Paul, the apostles, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed into the crowd, crying out 15 and saying, “Why are you men doing these things? We too are men with a nature just like yours! What’s more, we are bringing you good news, so that you will turn away from these powerless idols5 to the living God, who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In generations past he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways; 17 yet he never left himself without a witness, doing you good by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and by satisfying you with food and filling your hearts with gladness.” 18 But even after saying all this,6 they could barely restrain the crowds from sacrificing to them.
The Journey Back to Antioch
19 Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium; and after winning over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city; and on the next day he departed with Barnabas for Derbe. 21 Now when they had preached the good news and made many disciples in that city, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying to them, “Through many tribulations7 we must enter the kingdom of God.” 23 And when they had appointed elders in every church, with prayer and fasting8 they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia; 26 and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the city where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. 27 So when they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported on all that9 God had done through10 them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there with the disciples for quite some time.11
- Or obey
- Or with reliance upon the Lord; lit. upon the Lord
- Lit. who had
- Or bulls
- Lit. useless (worthless) things
- Lit. these things
- Or afflictions, persecutions, hardships
- Or every church with prayer and fasting, they
- Or what great things
- Lit. with
- Lit. no little time
A Great Debate Over Circumcision
15 But certain men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers, saying, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you can’t be saved.” 2 Now after Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in no small debate and disagreement, the church1 appointed Paul, Barnabas, and certain others from among them to go up to Jerusalem and consult with the apostles and elders about this controversy. 3 So after being sent on their way by the church, they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles, and bringing great joy to the entire brotherhood. 4 And when they arrived in Jerusalem, the church, the apostles, and the elders all welcomed them; and they reported on all that2 God had done through3 them. 5 But certain believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.”
The Jerusalem Council
6 So the apostles and the elders were convened in order to look into this matter. 7 Then, after much discussion and debate, Peter stood up and said to them: “Men and brothers, you know that in the early days4 God chose from among us,5 so that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the message of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did us; 9 moreover, in doing so, he6 made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 So then: Why are you now putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 No, we believe that we are saved through grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”
12 Then the entire assembly7 fell silent and began to listen as Barnabas and Paul recounted all the miraculous signs and wonders that God had performed through them among the Gentiles. 13 Then, when they had finished speaking, James responded, saying, “Men and brothers, listen to me: 14 Simon has just related how God first demonstrated his desire to take from among the Gentiles a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree; as it is written, 16 ‘After these things I will return and raise up once again the fallen tent of David; I will rebuild its ruins and rear it up again, 17 so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by my name,8 says the Lord, 18 who makes these things known from long ago.’9
19 “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food10 polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things that have been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient times11 Moses has had those who proclaim him in every city, since his writings are12 read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”
The Jerusalem Decree
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and elders—and to the whole church as well—to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; and they chose Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas, leading men among the brothers. 23 And by their hand they wrote the following:13
The apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile believers14 living in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings! 24 Since we have heard that certain men—to whom15 we gave no such instruction—have gone out from among us, troubling you with their words and unsettling your souls, 25 it seemed good to us, having reached complete agreement on this matter, to send you chosen brothers,16 along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Accordingly, we are sending along Judas and Silas, who will themselves convey to you these same instructions by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things that were strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell.
Further Ministry in Antioch
30 So when they had been sent off, they went down to Antioch; and after assembling the whole congregation, they delivered the letter. 31 Now after they had read it aloud, the people rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Moreover, Judas and Silas—who were also prophets—encouraged, exhorted, and strengthened the brotherhood through many talks. 33 And after spending some time there, they were sent off in peace from the brothers17 to those who had commissioned them.18 35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, as did19 many others as well.
A Dispute Over John Mark
36 After some days, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit our brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas had in mind to take along John (the one called Mark) as well. 38 But Paul thought it neither wise nor fitting to take someone who had deserted them in Pamphylia, and who had not gone on with them to the work. 39 As a result, such a sharp disagreement arose between them that they separated from one another. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 while Paul chose Silas. And after the brothers had commended the two of them to the grace of God, Paul departed. 41 Then he began traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
- Or brothers; lit. they
- Or what great things
- Lit. with
- Or a good while ago; lit. in ancient days
- Lit. God chose among you
- Or moreover, he
- Lit. crowd, multitude
- Lit. upon whom my name has been called
- Or possibly who performs these things known from long ago; Amos 9:11-12
- Lit. things
- Lit. generations of old
- Lit. he is
- Lit. having written by their hand
- Lit. to the brothers who are from the Gentiles
- Some mss certain men of our number, to whom
- Lit. men
- Or with a blessing of peace from the brothers; lit. sent with (a) peace from the brothers
- Lit. sent them; some mss add verse 34: But it seemed good to Silas to remain there.
- Lit. with
Timothy Joins the Two Apostles
16 So Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra. Now a certain disciple by the name of Timothy was living there. He was the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek; 2 and all the brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. 3 Now Paul wanted Timothy to come with him to the work, so he took him and had him circumcised,1 since all the Jews living in that area2 knew his father was Greek. 4 Then, as they traveled from town to town,3 Paul and Timothy delivered to the Gentile believers4 the rulings that the apostles and elders in Jerusalem had decided they must observe. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number day by day.
“Come Over and Help Us!”
6 Now since the Holy Spirit had forbidden them to speak5 the word in the province of Asia, they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia. 7 And when they came to Mysia, they kept trying to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow it. 8 So passing through6 Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And during the night a vision appeared to Paul. A man of Macedonia was standing before him, pleading with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 So after Paul had seen the vision, we immediately sought to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them as well.
The Lord Opens Lydia’s Heart
11 So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the following day came to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and a leading city of that district7 of Macedonia; and we stayed in that city for a number of days. 13 Now on the Sabbath we went out beyond the city gate to the riverside, where we expected to find a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking with the women assembled there. 14 And a certain woman by the name of Lydia—a seller of purple fabrics from the city of Thyatira, and a worshiper of God—was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to embrace the things spoken by Paul. 15 Then, when she and her household had been baptized, she entreated us, saying, “If you consider me a true believer in the Lord,8 come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded us to do so.
Paul and Silas Imprisoned
16 Now as we were heading for the place of prayer, it so happened that we met a certain slave girl who had a spirit of divination; and she brought her owners much profit through her fortune-telling. 17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, proclaiming to you the9 way of salvation.” 18 And she continued to do so for many days. So Paul, having lost all patience with this, turned to her and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And in that very hour it came out.
19 Now when her owners realized that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 And when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men—who are Jews—are throwing our city into confusion; 21 moreover, they are advocating customs which are not lawful for us—who are Romans—to accept or observe.” 22 So the crowd rose up as one10 against them; and the chief magistrates tore off their robes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23Then, after laying many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them under close guard. 24 And having received such a command, he threw them into the inner cell11 and fastened their feet in the stocks.
“What Must I Do to be Saved?”
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God; and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a strong earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the prison doors were opened and everyone’s chains fell off. 27 Now when the jailer woke from his sleep and saw the prison doors standing open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, for he assumed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But with a loud voice Paul cried out, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we’re all here!”
29 Then the jailer called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas; 30 and after bringing them outside, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 Now in that very hour of the night he took them and cleaned their wounds, after which he and all the members of his household were baptized. 34 Then he brought them back into the house and12 set food before them; and together with his entire household he rejoiced that he had come to believe in God.
Paul Confronts the Philippian Magistrates
35 Now at daybreak the chief magistrates sent their officers13 to the jailer, saying, “Release those men.” 36 Then the jailer informed Paul of these orders, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you. So come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to the officers, “They’ve beaten us in public without a trial—men who are Roman citizens—and they’ve thrown us into prison. And now they want to send us away in secret? No indeed! Let them come themselves and bring us out.” 38 So the officers reported these words to the chief magistrates; and when the magistrates heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were terribly afraid. 39 So when they arrived at the jail, they apologized14 to them; and after bringing them out, they kept pleading with them to leave the city. 40 But after Paul and Silas had come out of the prison, they entered Lydia’s house; and when they saw the brothers and sisters, they encouraged them, after which they went their way.
- Or circumcised him
- Lit. in those places
- Lit. through the cities (towns)
- Lit. them
- Or prevented them from speaking
- Or passing by
- Or a city of the first district
- Lit. have judged me to be faithful to the Lord
- Lit. a way
- Or joined the attack
- Lit. inner prison
- Lit. And having brought them into the house, he
- Lit. the lictors (i.e. constables, police officers)
- Or appealed
17 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where the Jews had a synagogue. 2 According to his custom, Paul went in to them and reasoned with them on three Sabbaths, 3 explaining and proving from the Scriptures that the Messiah had to suffer and rise again from the dead. “This Jesus whom I proclaim to you,” he concluded, “is the Messiah.” 4 And some of them were persuaded. Moreover, a great many of the God-fearing Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined with Paul and Silas as disciples.
5 But the rest of the Jews grew jealous. So taking with them certain wicked men from among the idlers in the marketplace, they formed a mob and threw the city into an uproar; and when they arrived at Jason’s house, they tried to bring Paul and Silas out to the people. 6 But when they didn’t find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city rulers, shouting, “These men who have turned the whole world upside down have come here too, 7 and Jason has welcomed them as his guests! But they all are acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, claiming that there is another king called Jesus.” 8 And they stirred up the crowd and the city officials who heard these things; 9 but after the officials1 had taken security from Jason and the others, they let them go.
10 So at once the brothers sent off Paul and Silas by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were of nobler character than those of Thessalonica, for they received the word with great enthusiasm, and they searched the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 As a result, many of them believed, along with some prominent Greek women and a considerable number of men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God at Berea, they came there as well, continually inciting the crowds and stirring them up. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast;2 but Silas and Timothy both stayed in Berea. 15 Now the men who were conducting Paul on his journey brought him all the way to3 Athens; and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.
16 Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit within him was roused to anger as he observed how the city was completely given over to idols. 17 So he started reasoning with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles in the synagogue; and he did the same in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be present there. 18 Moreover, certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers kept engaging him. Some of them would ask, “What is this empty talker trying to say?” Others would remark, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign deities” (for Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection). 19 So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching that you are presenting is all about? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas4 to our ears; therefore we want to know what these things mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians, and all the foreigners who lived there, would spend their time doing nothing else but talking about, or listening to, some new thing.)
Paul Addresses the Areopagus
22 So standing up in the midst of the Areopagus, Paul said, “Men of Athens, I can see that in every respect you are a devout5 people; 23 for as I was walking through your city and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar bearing this inscription: To the Unknown God. So then: What you worship without knowing, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who created the world and everything in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made with human hands; 25 nor is he served with human hands, as if he stood in need of anything at all, since he himself gives to everyone life, breath, and all things. 26 Moreover, from one man6 he made every nation of the human race,7 and caused them to reside across the entire face of the earth, having ordained both their predetermined times and the precise boundaries of the places where they would live. 27 He did this so that they would search for God, in hopes that8 they would reach out for him and find him, though he isn’t far from each one of us, 28 for in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said: ‘For we too are his offspring.’9 29 Seeing, then, that we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Being resembles an image of gold, silver, or stone,10 formed by the art and ingenuity11 of man. 30 For this reason, though God previously overlooked such times of ignorance, he is now commanding all men everywhere to repent, 31 for he has fixed a day on which he intends to12 judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, giving proof13 of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard about a resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff and jeer; but others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” 33 So Paul went out from among them. 34 But some of them,14 after joining with him, believed. Among them were Dionysius (a member of the Areopagus council),15 a woman named Damaris, and others along with them.
- Lit. they
- Lit. sent Paul away to go to the sea
- Or as far as
- Lit. For you bring some foreign things
- Or religious; the word can also mean superstitious
- Many later mss blood
- Lit. men
- Lit. if perhaps
- From Aratus (ca. 310-245 BC)
- Lit. is like gold or silver or stone; an image
- Or imagination; lit. thought
- Or soon will
- Or assurance
- Lit. But certain men
- Lit. the Areopagite
18 After these things Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And there he found a certain Jew by the name of Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (for Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome). Paul went to see them; 3 and because he belonged to the same trade, he stayed and worked with them (for by occupation they were tentmakers). 4 And discoursing in the synagogue Sabbath by Sabbath, he would try to persuade both Jews and Greeks.
5 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself exclusively to the preaching of the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed and reviled1 him, Paul shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood is on your own heads! I am cleared of my responsibility;2 from now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 Then he left that place and went to the home of a certain man named Titius Justus, a God-fearing Gentile whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Now Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord, together with his entire household; and many of the Corinthians, hearing of this,3 came to faith and were baptized. 9 Then the Lord spoke to Paul at night in a vision, saying, “Don’t be afraid, but keep speaking out, and do not be silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will assault you or harm you,4 for I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul resided in Corinth for a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
12 But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews rose up as one man against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, 13 saying, “This man is persuading people5 to worship God contrary to the Law.” 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of some criminal act or of serious misdemeanors, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to hear your complaint.6 15 But if it’s a question of words and names and your own law, then see to it yourselves: I am not willing to be a judge of such matters.” 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Jews took hold of Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But none of these things moved Gallio at all.
Back to Antioch
18 So after spending many more days in Corinth, Paul took leave of the brothers and put out to sea for Syria; and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. In Cenchrea he had his hair cut, for he was fulfilling a vow. 19 Then they arrived in Ephesus, and Paul left Priscilla and Aquila there. (But first he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 But when they asked him to stay a while longer, he would not consent; 21 instead, he bid them farewell,7 saying, “God willing, I will return to you again.”) After that, he put out to sea from Ephesus; 22 and when he had landed at Caesarea, he first went up and greeted the church in Jerusalem; then he went down to Antioch. 23 And after spending some time there, Paul left and journeyed from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
The Ministry of Apollos
24 Now a certain Jew by the name of Apollos—a native of Alexandria and a gifted speaker8—arrived in Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great fervor was accurately speaking and teaching the facts about Jesus’ life,9 though he himself knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. 27 Now when he wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples living there, urging them to welcome him. And when he arrived, he was of great help to those who had believed through grace, 28 for he vigorously10 refuted the Jews in public, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.
- Or opposed (his message) and blasphemed
- Lit. I am clean (innocent)
- Or hearing of it; hearing Paul
- Lit. take hold of you to do you harm
- Lit. men
- Lit. to bear with you
- Or took leave of them
- Or a learned man
- Lit. the things concerning Jesus
- Or powerfully
19 Now while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul journeyed through the inland regions and arrived at Ephesus. And happening upon some disciples, 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? They replied, “No; in fact we’ve not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit!” 3 So he said to them, “Into what, then, were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 So Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people they should believe in the One who would come after him—that is, in Jesus.” 5 Now when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in other languages1 and to prophesy. 7 (In all, there were about twelve men.)
8 Then Paul went into the synagogue; and for three months he spoke out boldly, reasoning with the Jews and trying to persuade them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some of them grew obstinate2 and refused to believe, speaking evil of the Way before the whole assembly, Paul withdrew from them, took the disciples, and conversed with them3 daily in the school4 of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, with the result that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
The Seven Sons of Sceva
11 Now God was effecting extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul, 12 so much so that when people simply brought handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin to those who were sick, the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. 13 But certain Jewish exorcists who traveled from place to place also undertook to invoke5 the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “By the Jesus whom Paul proclaims, I command6 you to come out.” 14 Now seven sons of a certain Jewish chief priest by the name of Sceva were doing this very thing. 15 But on a certain occasion the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I know about Jesus, and I am aware of Paul; but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit sprang on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them so completely that they fled from that house naked and wounded. 17 Now this became known to everyone living in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; and great fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was honored more and more.7 18 Also, many of those who had believed came forward, confessing and publicly declaring their misdeeds.8 19 And a good number of those who had practiced the magic arts were bringing their scrolls together and burning them in the sight of all. (After calculating their market value, they found it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.) 20 Thus did the word of the Lord continue to grow and prevail in mighty power.
A Riot in Ephesus
21 After all these things had taken place, Paul resolved in the Spirit9 to go to Jerusalem by way of10 Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I’ve been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 But when he had sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, into Macedonia, he himself stayed on in Asia for a while longer.
23 Now around that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a certain man by the name of Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing a good deal of business to the craftsmen. 25 Gathering these men together, along with those who worked at similar trades, he said, “You men well understand that our prosperity depends on this business. 26 Moreover, you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but also in nearly all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with human hands are no gods at all. 27 As a result, there is now a danger, not only that our vocation11 will fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana will be held in contempt, and that she whom all Asia and all the world worships will soon be deposed from her divine majesty!”
28 Now when they heard this, they were filled with rage and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Indeed, the whole city was filled with confusion; and with one accord the people rushed into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. 30 But when Paul wanted to enter the public assembly, the disciples would not let him. 31 Moreover, some of the provincial rulers12 who were Paul’s friends sent word to him, urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 Now some people were shouting one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in complete confusion; indeed, most of them didn’t even know why they had come together. 33 But some in the crowd concluded that it had to do with Alexander,13 since the Jews had put him forward to speak. Now Alexander, after motioning with his hand, was was intent on giving explanation14 to the assembly. 34 But when they recognized15 that he was a Jew, a single cry rose up from them all,16 as they kept on shouting for about two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”
35 But after the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: “People of Ephesus, who among men the world over doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is the guardian of the temple of the great goddess Artemis, and also of the image that fell down from Zeus? 36 Seeing then that these things are beyond dispute, you should remain calm and do nothing rash. 37 For these men whom you have brought here are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If, then, Demetrius and his fellow artisans have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open and the proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another there. 39 But if you are seeking anything more than that, it will have to be settled in the regular17 assembly of the people. 40 For in regard to today’s events we are actually running the risk of being charged with an insurrection,18 since we can offer no justification for this disorderly gathering.” 41 And after saying these things, he dismissed the assembly.
- Lit. tongues
- Or were hardened
- Or to address them daily
- Or lecture hall
- Lit. name
- Lit. adjure, implore
- Lit. was being magnified
- Or evil practices
- Or possibly in his spirit
- Lit. having passed through
- Lit. this lot (portion) of ours
- Lit. Asiarchs
- Or gave instructions to Alexander
- Or making a defense
- Or found out
- Lit. there came a voice one from all
- Or lawful; in Ephesus there were three annual assemblies
- Or rioting
In Macedonia and Greece
20 Now after the uproar had ceased, Paul called for the disciples; and when he had encouraged them and bid them farewell, he set out for Macedonia. 2 After he traveling through those regions and encouraging the believers1 with many words, he came to Greece, 3 where he remained for three months. But as he was about to sail for Syria, the Jews devised a plot against him; so he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied by Sopater of Berea (the son of Pyrrhus), Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica, Gaius of Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of the province of Asia. 5 These men had gone on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas; 6 but we ourselves sailed from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread. And within five days we joined them at Troas, where we remained for seven days.
Eutychus Survives a Fall
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began speaking to the disciples;2 and since he was planning to leave the next day, he prolonged his message until midnight. 8 Now in the upstairs room where we were gathered, there were many lamps; 9 and seated in the window,3 sinking into a deep sleep, was a certain young man by the name of Eutychus. As Paul continued to speak at length, Eutychus was finally overcome with sleep, fell from the third story, and was picked up dead. 10 But after rushing downstairs, Paul threw himself4 on him; and after taking him into his arms, he said, “Don’t be alarmed, for his life is in him!” 11 Then Paul went back upstairs. And after breaking bread, enjoying a meal, and conversing at length with the disciples until dawn, he went his way.5 12 So they took the young man home alive, and were greatly6 comforted.
Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders
13 But as for us, having gone on ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul on board there (for so he had arranged it, since he himself was planning to travel there by land). 14 When he met us in Assos, we took him on board and went on to Mitylene. 15 Setting sail from there, we arrived the following day off the coast of Kios. The next day we drew near to7 Samos, and the day following we arrived at Miletus, 16 for Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus in order to avoid spending time in the province of Asia; for he was hurrying so that, if possible, he could be in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost.
17 From Miletus he sent word to Ephesus, calling for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the very first day I set foot in the province of Asia: 19 how I served the Lord in all humility and with tears, even in the midst of8 all the trials I faced because of the plots of the Jews; 20 and how I never shrank from declaring to you anything that was profitable, or from teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 solemnly testifying, both to Jews and Greeks, about repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus.9 22 And now, behold: bound in spirit,10 I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that in every city the Holy Spirit keeps warning me, saying that chains and afflictions await me. 24 But I think of my life as nothing at all, nor do I hold it dear to myself, as long as I can complete my race and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
25 “And now, take note of this: I know that none of you among whom I went about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. 26 Therefore, this day I testify to you that I am innocent of the blood of all.11 27 For I never hesitated to declare to you the whole purpose and plan of God. 28 Watch out for yourselves and for the whole flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, with a calling to shepherd the church of God12 that he purchased13 with his own blood.14 29 For I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 indeed, from among your own number15 men will rise up, speaking perverse things, trying to draw away the disciples after them. 31 So keep constant watch, remembering that night and day for three years I never ceased to warn and admonish each one of you with tears. 32 And now I entrust you to God, and to the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you the promised inheritance, together with16 all who have been sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands provided for my own needs, and for the needs of those who were with me. 35 In all these things I showed you that by laboring in this way you must support the weak, and must also remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how17 he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
36 Now when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 Then they all began to weep freely; and falling on Paul’s neck, they kissed him goodbye, 38 sorrowing most of all over the word he had spoken, that they would never see his face again. Then they walked with him to the ship.
- Lit. them
- Lit. them
- Or possibly on the window sill
- Lit. fell
- Lit. thus he departed
- Lit. not a little
- Or crossed over to; arrived at
- Lit. and with
- Some mss Lord Jesus Christ
- Or Compelled by the Spirit; lit. bound in (by) the spirit (Spirit)
- Or of (you) all
- Some mss the Lord
- Or acquired, obtained
- Or with the blood of his own (Son)
- Lit. selves
- Lit. among, with
- Lit. that
On the Way to Jerusalem
21 Then, after tearing ourselves away from the brothers,1 we set sail. And running a straight course, we came to Cos, then to Rhodes on the following day, and from there to Patara. 2 Then, finding a ship that was crossing over to Phoenicia, we went on board and put out to sea. 3 And after we had sighted the island of Cyprus and passed it on our left,2 we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for the ship had to unload her cargo there. 4 Once we had found the disciples, we stayed there for seven days; and through the Spirit some of them were telling Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem. 5 When our time there had come to an end, we left and continued on our journey; and all the brothers, together with their wives and children, escorted us out of the city. And after we had knelt down on the beach and prayed, 6 we bid one another farewell. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned to their own homes.
7 When we had completed our voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, greeted the brothers, and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the following day we left and came to Caesarea; and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we lodged with him. 9 (This man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.)
10 Now during our stay of several days, a certain prophet by the name of Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And when he had come to us, he took off Paul’s belt, tied up his own hands and feet, and said, “Here is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘This is how the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man who owns this belt, and then deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” 12 Now when we heard these things, both we and the people there3 started pleading with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then he answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be tied up, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since4 he would not be dissuaded, we held our peace, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”
Paul Arrested in the Temple
15 Now after those days we gathered our belongings and began to go up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea came along as well, and they took us to the home of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge. 17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us with joy. 18 Then, on the following day, Paul went in with us to see James; and all the elders were present. 19 Now after Paul had greeted them, he began to relate in detail the things God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard, they glorified God. Then they said to him, “You can see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed; and all of them are zealous observers of the Law. 21 But they have been informed5 that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done, since they will surely hear that you have arrived? 23 Therefore, do as we now tell you.6 We have here four men who are under a vow. 24 Taking these men with you, go and purify yourself, together with them; and pay their expenses so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to the things they’ve been told about you, but that you yourself are also walking in good order, observing the Law. 25 But as for the Gentile believers, we wrote them a letter, having decided that they should keep themselves from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from anything strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
26 So the next day Paul took the men with him; and after purifying himself along with them, he entered the temple and gave notice as to when the days of their purification would be fulfilled, after which an offering7 would be presented8 for each of them.
27 Now when the seven days were almost over, the Jews from the province of Asia, seeing Paul in the temple precincts, began to stir up the entire crowd. Moreover, they took hold of him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone in every place, speaking out against our9 people, the Law, and this temple.10 What’s more, he has even11 brought Greeks onto the temple grounds and defiled this holy place!” 29 (For previously they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.) 30 So the whole city was thrown into turmoil, and the people rushed together to form a mob; and having seized Paul, they dragged him out of the temple area, after which the doors were immediately shut.
31 Now as the people were trying to kill him, a report went up to the commander of the Roman cohort,12 that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 So at once he gathered some soldiers and centurions, and ran down to the crowd;13 and when the people saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came up and arrested him, ordering him to be bound with two chains; and he began to inquire about who Paul was and what he had done. 34 But some in the crowd were shouting one thing, and some another. So when he couldn’t determine the truth because of the uproar, he ordered Paul to be brought into the barracks. 35 But when Paul reached the stairway, he had to be carried up by the soldiers due to the violence of the mob; 36 for the entire multitude of the Jews14 kept following behind, crying, “Away with him!”
Paul Addresses the People of Jerusalem
37 Now as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I have permission to speak with you?” So the commander exclaimed, “You know Greek! 38 Then you’re not the Egyptian who some time back stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand members15 of the Assassins16 out into the wilderness?” 39 But Paul replied, “I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg of you, please let me speak to the people.” 40 So after the centurion had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people with his hand. And when a great hush had fallen on the crowd,17 he addressed them in the Hebrew dialect,18 saying:
- Lit. them
- Lit. and left it behind on our port side
- Or the local residents
- Or when
- Lit. informed concerning you
- Lit. So do this that we say to you
- Or sacrifice
- Or brought
- Lit. the
- Lit. place
- Or also
- I.e. an officer in charge of 600 troops
- Lit. them
- 14. the people
- Lit. men
- The Assassins (or Sicarii) were a group of violent Jewish nationalists
- Lit. a great hush occurred
- I.e. Aramaic
22 “Men, brothers, and fathers: Listen to the1 defense I now make before you.” 2 (Now when they heard him addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they grew even more quiet.) Then Paul said, 3 “I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but raised in this city and trained at the feet of Gamaliel in strict accordance with the Law of our fathers; and I was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, arresting2 both men and women, and putting them in jail, 5 as indeed the high priest and the entire Council of the elders can testify concerning me. Moreover, after receiving from them letters written to our Jewish brothers,3 I even set out for4 Damascus to arrest those who were living there, and to bring them back to Jerusalem in chains5 to be punished.
6 “But around noon, as I was making my journey and nearing Damascus, something happened: An exceedingly bright light from heaven suddenly flashed all around me. 7 And after falling to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 So I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 (Now those who were with me saw the light, but they didn’t discern6 the voice of the One who was speaking to me.) 10 So I said, ‘What should I do, Lord?’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that you have been appointed to do.’ 11 But since I could no longer see due to the brightness7 of that light, I entered Damascus led along by the hands of the men who were with me.
12 “Then a certain Ananias—a devout man by the standards of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews living in that city—13 came to me and stood beside me, saying, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very moment I looked up at him! 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear a command from8 his own mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for9 him, testifying to all men about the things you’ve seen and heard. 16 And now, what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name!’
17 “Now when I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance; 18 and I saw the Lord10 speaking to me, saying, ‘Hurry, get out of Jerusalem at once,11 for they will not receive your testimony about me!’ 19 So I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that as I went from synagogue to synagogue I would imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your witness12 Stephen was being shed, I myself was standing there, giving my approval and watching over the cloaks of the men who were putting him to death.’ 21 But he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away—to the Gentiles!’ ”
Paul Claims His Rights as a Roman
22 Now up until Paul said that, the people were listening to him; but then13 they lifted up their voices, shouting, “Away with such a man from the earth, for he isn’t fit to live!” 23 Then—while they were crying out, throwing their cloaks on the ground, and tossing dust into the air—24 the commander ordered that Paul be led into the barracks; and he told the soldiers to examine him by scourging in order to find out why the people were shouting at him in this way. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the scourging,14 Paul said to the centurion standing beside him, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a Roman citizen with no verdict against him?”15 26 Now when the centurion heard that, he went to the commander and reported it, saying, “What are you doing?16 For this man is a Roman citizen!” 27 Then the commander went to Paul and said, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” Paul said, “Yes.” 28 The commander replied, “I paid a large sum of money to acquire this citizenship.”17 But Paul said, “But I myself was born as a citizen.” 29 So the men who were about to examine him immediately stepped away from him; and the commander himself grew fearful when he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen, and that he had put him in bonds.18
Paul Divides the Sanhedrin
30 Now on the next day the commander released Paul and ordered the chief priests and the entire Council to assemble, for he wanted to know exactly why the Jews were accusing him. So bringing Paul down, he had him stand before them.
- Lit. my
- Lit. binding
- Lit. the brothers
- Or was on my way to
- Lit. having been bound; tied up
- Lit. hear (i.e. with understanding)
- Lit. glory
- Lit. hear a voice out of
- Or to
- Lit. him
- Lit. with speed
- Greek martyr
- Lit. and
- Lit. for the thong, lash
- Lit. a man who is a Roman citizen and not condemned
- Lit. What are you about (intending) to do?
- Lit. With a large sum of money I acquired this citizenship
- Or chains
23 Then Paul, fixing his gaze on the Council, said, “Men and brothers: To this very day I have lived my life1 in all good conscience before God.” 2 Now at that the high priest (Ananias) ordered the men standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! Will you sit there, judging me according to the Law, and then, in violation of the Law, order me to be struck?” 4 But the men standing beside him said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” 5 So Paul said, “Brothers, I didn’t realize he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”2
6 But when Paul noticed that one part of them were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the Council chamber, “Men, brothers: I am a Pharisee, and a son of Pharisees! I am on trial for the hope of the resurrection3 of the dead!” 7 Now after he said this, an argument broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, whereas the Pharisees acknowledge them all.) 9 So there was a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisee party stood up and began to protest4 fiercely, saying, “We find no evil in this man; what if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 But as the argument grew more and more heated, the commander, fearing they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered a detachment of soldiers to go down, take him away from them by force, and bring him back into the barracks. 11 But on the following night, the Lord stood at Paul’s side and said, “Take courage; for just as you have borne witness to the truth about me5 in Jerusalem, so too you must bear witness in Rome.”
A Plot Formed and Foiled
12 Now when morning arrived, some of the Jews entered into6 a conspiracy and bound themselves under a curse,7 saying they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty men involved in8 this plot; 14 and they went to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have solemnly bound ourselves under a curse,9 swearing we will taste nothing at all till we have killed Paul. 15 Now then: You and the Council must ask the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were intending to examine his case more thoroughly. But as for us, we are ready to kill him before he ever gets close to this place.”
16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard about their ambush, he came to the barracks, went inside, and reported it to Paul. 17 Then Paul called for one of the centurions; and he said, “Take this young man to the commander; he10 has something he wants to report to him.” 18 So the centurion took him and brought him to the commander; and the centurion said, “The prisoner Paul called for me and asked me to bring you this young man because he has something to tell you.” 19 So the commander took him by the hand, drew him aside, and began to question him in private, saying, “What is it you want to report to me?” 20 The young man11 replied, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Council tomorrow, as if they were going to inquire about him more thoroughly. 21 But you mustn’t let them persuade you to do it, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him, men who have bound themselves under a curse, swearing that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed Paul; and even now the chief priests and elders12 are ready, awaiting word13 from you.” 22 So the commander dismissed the young man with this charge: “Tell no one that you’ve informed me about these things.”
Paul Sent to Felix
23 So the commander called for two of the centurions, saying, “Prepare a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to leave for Caesarea at the third hour of the night.14 24 Prepare mounts for Paul to ride on, and bring him safely to Felix, the governor.” 25 Then the commander wrote a letter that went as follows:
26 “Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor, Felix: Greetings. 27 When the Jews seized this man and were about to kill him, I went up to them with the soldiers and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 Then, desiring to understand the charge they were bringing against him, I brought him down to their Council. 29 I found that he was being accused in relation to certain questions pertaining to their Law, but charged with nothing worthy of death or imprisonment. 30 And when I was informed that there was a plot against this man, I immediately sent him to you, and also instructed his accusers to state their charges against him in your presence.”
31 So carrying out their orders, the soldiers took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the horsemen go on with him, while they themselves returned to the barracks. 33 When the horsemen entered Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 Now when the governor read the letter, he asked what province Paul was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a full hearing when your accusers have also arrived.” Then he gave orders for Paul to be kept under guard in Herod’s Praetorium.15
- Or I have conducted myself as a citizen (of Israel)
- Ex. 22:28
- Lit. the hope and resurrection
- Or contend
- Lit. the things concerning me
- Lit. made, formed
- Or bound themselves with an oath
- Lit. who had formed
- See note 7
- Lit. for he
- Lit. He
- Lit. they
- Lit. promise, consent
- I.e. 9 PM
- I.e. the governor’s official residence
Paul Charged With Sedition
24 Now after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some of the elders, and with a certain attorney by the name of Tertullus; and they presented their case1 against Paul to the governor. 2 After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began bringing charges against him, saying, “Since through you, most excellent Felix, we have enjoyed a lengthy season of peace, and since by your foresight reforms are being accomplished in our nation, 3 we welcome these things in every place and in every way, with all gratitude. 4 But to detain2 you no further, I beg you to grant us, in your customary kindness,3 a brief hearing. 5 For we have found this man to be a constant troublemaker, someone who stirs up riots4 among the Jews all over the world,5 and who serves as a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to desecrate the temple, for which reason6 we arrested him.7 8By examining him yourself you will be able to ascertain that all the charges8 we are bringing against him are true.” 9 And the Jews joined in the attack as well, affirming that these things were so.
Paul Defends Himself to Felix
10 So when the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul gave his reply: “Knowing full well that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I am happy to give a complete account of the events in which I was involved.9 11 As you can readily ascertain, it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 Moreover, they never found me arguing with anyone or gathering a mob, whether in the temple precincts, the synagogues, or the city. 13 Nor can they prove to you the charges they are now bringing against me. 14 But this I do confess to you, that according to the Way—which they call a sect—I worship the God of my fathers, believing everything that accords with the Law, and that stands written in the Prophets; 15 and I have a hope in God, which these men themselves also cherish, that there will indeed be a resurrection, both of the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 For this reason I myself strive at all times to maintain a clear conscience in the sight of God and men.
17 “Now, after several years I came to Jerusalem to bring alms to my own people,10 and to present offerings. 18 And as I was engaged in these very things,11 they found me in the temple, ritually purified, with neither a crowd nor a disturbance. 19 But among them were certain Jews from Asia, who should be here before you bringing charges, if in fact they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves declare what wrongdoing they discovered in me when I stood before the Council, 21 unless it was this one thing that I shouted as I was standing in their midst: ‘I am on trial before you today for the sake of12 of the resurrection of the dead!’”
Felix Procrastinates, Paul Languishes
22 Then Felix, who had a more precise knowledge of the facts concerning the Way, postponed their hearing, saying, “When Lysias the commander has come down, I will decide your case.” 23 So he ordered the centurion to keep Paul in custody, but also to give him a measure of liberty, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to his needs.
24 Now some days later, when Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla (who was Jewish), he sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as Paul conversed with him13 about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix grew fearful. So he said, “Leave me for now, and when I find an opportune time I will call for you.” 26 Yet even as he said this,14 Felix was hoping that Paul would give him money; indeed, for this very reason he would send for him as often as possible and spend time talking with him. 27 But after two years had elapsed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul in captivity.15
- Or brought charges
- Or weary
- Or impartiality, fairness
- Or a (true) plague, someone who stirs up dissensions
- Lit. all the Jews throughout the inhabited world
- Lit. and
- Many mss, with variations, add verse 7: And we wanted to judge him according to our own Law, but Lysias, the commanding officer, came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands and ordered his accusers to come before you.
- Lit. all these things
- Lit. the things concerning myself
- Or nation
- Lit. offerings; in which things
- Lit. concerning, with reference to
- Or discoursed
- Lit. at the same time
- Or prison; lit. bonds, chains
“I Appeal to Caesar!”
25 Now three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 So the chief priests and the leading men among the Jews brought their charges against Paul; 3 and they asked Festus to favor them over Paul by having him brought1 to Jerusalem (for they were planning to have him killed in an ambush along the way). 4 Then Festus replied that Paul was being held in custody at Caesarea, and that he himself would be going there soon. 5 “Therefore,” he said, “let your leaders go down with me; and if this man has done anything wrong, let them bring charges against him there.”
6 Now after Festus had spent no more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea; and on the following day, after taking his place on the judgment seat, he ordered that Paul be brought in. 7 When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around Paul, bringing many serious charges against him, charges they were unable to prove. 8 Meanwhile, Paul spoke up in his own defense, saying, “I have done nothing wrong—neither against the Law of the Jews, nor the temple, nor Caesar.” 9 But Festus, desiring to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there regarding these matters?” 10 But Paul said, “I am standing before the judgment seat of Caesar, where I should be judged. In no way have I wronged the Jews, as you yourself well know.2 11 So then: If I truly am a wrongdoer, and if I have done anything worthy of death, I am not unwilling to die.3 But if there is nothing at all to the charges these men are bringing against me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” 12 Then, after conferring with his council, Festus replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go!”
Before King Agrippa
13 Now after several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 And in the midst of their lengthy stay,4 Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying: “There is a certain man whom Felix left here as a prisoner; 15 and when I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews presented their case against him, asking that he be condemned. 16 I answered them by saying it is not the custom of the Romans to convict someone5 before the accused has met his6 accusers face to face, and he is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charges. 17 So when the Jews had assembled here,7 I declined to postpone the matter, but took my place on the judgment seat the next day and ordered that the man be brought in. 18 But when his accusers stood up, they did not accuse him of any of the crimes I expected, 19 but instead had some points of disagreement with him over their own religion, and over a certain Jesus who had died, but whom Paul kept insisting8 was alive. 20 So then: Being at a loss as to how I should investigate such matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges.9 21 But when Paul appealed to be held in custody10 for the decision of the Emperor, I ordered that he be kept under guard until I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I too would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he replied, “you shall hear him.”
23 So on the next day, after Agrippa and Bernice had arrived amidst great pomp, and after they had entered the hall together with the tribunes and the prominent men of the city, Festus gave orders and Paul was brought in. 24 Then Festus spoke out: “King Agrippa, and all you men who are present with us, you see this man about whom the entire Jewish populace has petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, crying out that he should no longer be allowed to live. 25 But upon examining him, I found he that had done nothing worthy of death; but since11 he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him. 26 However, I have nothing definite to write my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially you, King Agrippa, so that when this hearing is over I may have something to write. 27 For it seems absurd to me to send along a prisoner without specifying12 the charges against him.”
- Lit. asking a favor (concession) against him, that he be brought
- Lit. as also you well know
- Lit. I do not seek to escape dying
- Lit. and while they were spending many days
- Lit. hand someone over
- Lit. the
- Or had come back here with me
- Or kept claiming, asserting
- Lit. concerning these things
- Or held over
- Or when
- Or clearly indicating
Paul’s Pre-conversion Life
26 So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and opened his defense:
2 “King Agrippa, in regard to the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I count myself blessed that I am able to present my case before you, 3 especially since you have expert knowledge1 of all the customs and controversies of the Jews. For this reason I beg you to hear me patiently. 4 Now then: All of the Jews are well acquainted with my way of life from my youth up, a life which, from the very beginning, I spent among my own people, and in Jerusalem. 5 Moreover, since they have known me for so long a time,2 they can testify—if they’re willing to do so—that in accordance with the strictest sect of our religion I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I am standing here on trial because of the hope engendered by the promise3 that God gave to our fathers, 7 a promise which our twelve tribes hope to attain by earnestly serving him night and day. In regard to this hope, O King, the Jews are pressing charges against me. 8 Why should you all find it incredible that God raises the dead? 9 But to continue: I myself was fully convinced4 that I must do everything possible5 to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem: Not only did I imprison6 many of the saints on the authority of the chief priests, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being sentenced to death.7 11 Moreover, by punishing them time and again in all the synagogues, I tried to make them blaspheme; and maddened with rage against them, I would pursue them even to foreign cities.
Paul’s Conversion and New Life in Christ
12 “Now as I was on my way to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, and as I was engaged in these very activities, 13 at midday, O King, while I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me, and also around the men who were traveling with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect,8 ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But arise and stand on your feet, for this is why I have appeared to you: to appoint you as a servant and a witness, not only of the things you have seen, but also of the things I am going to reveal to you. 17 And I will deliver you9 from the Jewish people, and also from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,10 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn11 from darkness to light, and from the power12 of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but kept on declaring—first to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and all Judea, and finally to the Gentiles—that they must repent and turn back to God, taking up practices consistent with13 repentance. 21 And because of these things, certain Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22So then: Having received help from God, to this very day I14 take my stand, testifying both to small and great, declaring nothing other than what the prophets and Moses said would take place15— 23 that the Messiah would suffer, and that he, by being the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light, both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
Paul Pleads With King Agrippa
24 Now as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice: “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad!” 25 But Paul said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but am solemnly speaking words both true and reasonable. 26 For the king is well acquainted with these matters; and I speak before him with complete confidence, for I cannot believe that any of these things have escaped his notice, since this work has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do!” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “In so short a time16 would you persuade me to become a Christian?” 29 But Paul replied, “Short or long, I pray to God17 that not only you, but also everyone hearing me today, might become exactly as I am, except for these chains.”
30 So the king, the governor, Bernice, and all who were sitting with them stood up; 31 and when they had stepped aside, they began to talk among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing worthy of death or imprisonment.” 32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.”
- Lit. you are an expert
- Lit. from the first
- Lit. because of (the) hope of the promise
- Lit. truly thought in myself
- Lit. many things
- Lit. lock up (confine) in jail
- Or put to death, executed
- I.e. Aramaic
- Lit. delivering you
- Or possibly I will send you
- Or eyes, to turn (them)
- Lit. domain, rule, authority
- Lit. practicing works worthy of
- Or from God to this very day, I
- Or would soon take place
- Or with so little discussion
- Or I would to God; I desire before God
Paul Embarks for Rome
27 Now when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, Paul and certain other prisoners were placed in the custody of a centurion by the name of Julius, an officer of the Augustan Cohort. 2 And boarding an Adramyttian ship that was about to sail for the ports along the coasts of Asia, we put out to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica. 3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with kindness, allowing him to go to his friends and receive care. 4 From there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, for the winds were against us. 5 And when we had sailed across the open sea off the coasts of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we put in at Myra, a city in the region of Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy, and he put us on board. 7 For many days we sailed along slowly, arriving with difficulty off the coast of Cnidus; and since the wind would let us go no further, we sailed beneath the shelter of Crete, off Salmone. 8 Then, sailing past Crete with difficulty, we came to a port called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
Paul Warns of Disaster
9 But since a great deal of time had passed, with the result that the voyage was now perilous (for even the Fast of the Day of Atonement was over), Paul began to warn them, 10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end in disaster and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion was more persuaded by the captain and the owner of the ship than by the things that Paul said. 12 And since the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority settled on a plan to put out to sea from there, in hopes that somehow they could reach Phoenix (a harbor of Crete facing both southwest and northwest) and spend the winter there. 13 And when a gentle south wind began to blow, they felt sure they could carry out their plan; so they weighed anchor and began sailing along the coast of Crete, close to the shoreline.
Despair, Testing, and Hope in a Great Storm
14 But not long after this, a fierce wind called “the Euraquilo”1 swept down from the island; 15 and when the ship was caught in the storm and unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along. 16 Running under the shelter of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat; 17 and after the crew had hoisted it on board, they used the ropes2 to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they might run aground in the shallows of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let themselves be driven along.
18 The next day, as we were battered and tossed about by the storm, the sailors began to jettison the cargo; 19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 Then, when neither sun nor stars had appeared for many days, and no small storm continued to rage against us, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
21 Now when they all had gone without food for some time, Paul stood up in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not put out to sea from Crete, thus incurring all this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to take heart, since there will be no loss of life among you, only of the ship. 23 For this very night an angel of the God I belong to, and whom I serve, stood at my side, 24 saying, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all who are sailing with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will turn out exactly as I was told. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on a certain island.”
Shipwrecked on Malta
27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, while we were still being driven here and there in the Adriatic Sea, at about midnight the sailors began to sense that they were nearing some kind of land. 28 So they took soundings and found that the water was twenty fathoms deep; and going on a little farther, they again took soundings and found it was fifteen fathoms deep. 29 Then, fearing we might run aground on some coastal rocks, they threw out four anchors from the stern and prayed3 for day to arrive. 30 But in an attempt to escape from the ship, some of the sailors lowered the ship’s boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to throw out anchors from the bow. 31 So Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men remain on the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.” 32 And with that, the soldiers cut the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it fall4 away.
33 Now as day was about to dawn,5 Paul began urging everyone to eat, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you’ve been on watch6 and gone without food, eating nothing at all. 34 So I urge you to take some food, for your survival depends on it; for not a hair on any of your heads will perish.” 35 After saying these things, Paul took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it, he began to eat. 36 Then all of the men were encouraged, such that they themselves began to partake of food. 37 (Now all of us in the ship were 276 souls.) 38 And after eating their fill, they began to lighten the ship by throwing the wheat7 into the sea.
39 Now when day came, they were unable to recognize the land; but spotting a certain bay that had a beach, they decided to run the ship aground there, if they could. 40 So cutting away the anchors, they let them fall into the sea; and at the same time they untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail into the wind and made for shore. 41 But striking a sandbar8 where the two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the bow stuck fast and could not be moved, while the force of the waves began to break up the stern.
42 Now the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners so that none of them could swim away and escape; 43 but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul through to safety, kept them from their purpose. He commanded those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land; 44 and he ordered the rest to follow, some on planks and some on various articles from9 the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.
- I.e. a hurricane force wind blowing down from the northeast
- Or cables; lit. supports
- Or wished, longed
- Or drift
- Lit. Now until the day was about to come
- Or in constant suspense
- Lit. grain
- Or reef; lit. place
- Or pieces of
Ministry on Malta
28 When we all had been brought safely ashore,1 we learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The native population showed us unusual kindness, for since it was cold and had started to rain, they built us a fire and welcomed us all. 3 But after Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 Now when the islanders saw the deadly creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to each other, “Surely this man is a murderer; and though he escaped from the sea, Justice herself has not allowed him to live!” 5 But Paul simply shook the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 As for the islanders, they were expecting him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead; but after waiting for quite some time and seeing nothing unusual2 happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god!
7Now in the area around that place there were fields belonging to the chief official of the island, a man by the name of Publius. He welcomed us as his guests, and for three days he showed us great hospitality. 8 Now it so happened that Publius’ father was lying sick with a fever and dysentery. So Paul went in to see him; and when he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 And once this had taken place, the rest of the islanders who were sick or infirm also came to Paul and were being healed. 10 The islanders also favored us with many honors; and when we were about to set sail, they furnished3 us with the supplies we needed.
Paul Arrives in Rome
11 So after three months we put out to sea in an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which bore the Twin Brothers4 as its figurehead. 12 Landing at Syracuse, we stayed on for three days. 13 From there we weighed anchor5 and arrived at Rhegium. A day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we arrived in Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to stay with them for seven days. And so it was that we came to Rome. 15 Now when the brothers who lived in that city6 heard the news about us, they traveled all the way to7 the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and was much encouraged. 16 And once we had entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier guarding him.
Ministry in Rome
17 Now after three days Paul called together the leading men among the Jews; and when they had assembled, he said to them: “Men and brothers: Though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, I was taken from Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans as a prisoner. 18 But when they had completed their investigation, they wanted to release me, since in my conduct8 there were no grounds whatsoever for a sentence of death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar (not that I had any charges to bring against my own people). 20 Here, then, is why I asked to see you and speak with you: It is for9 the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain!”
21 Then the Jews said to him, “We haven’t received any letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brothers themselves come to us to report or say anything bad about you. 22 But we do desire to hear your thinking on these matters, for we know that people everywhere are speaking out against this sect.”
23 So after the Jews had settled on a day to meet with Paul, they came to him at his lodging in even greater numbers. And from early morning till evening he laid his message before them, solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God, and trying to convince them about Jesus, both from the Law of Moses and the Prophets. 24 And some of them were persuaded by what Paul said; but others would not believe.10 25 And so, being much at odds with each other, they began to leave, but only after Paul had spoken one final word: “The Holy Spirit spoke well to your fathers through the prophet Isaiah, 26 when he said:
‘Go to this people and say:
“With hearing you will hear, but by no means understand;
with seeing you will see, but by no means discern.
27 For the heart of this people has grown dull.
Their ears can barely hear,11 and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
understand with their heart, and turn back,
and I would heal12 them.”’13
28 “Therefore, let it be known to you all that this salvation from14 God has been sent to the Gentiles; and they will listen!”15
30 Now for two full years Paul stayed there, living in his own rented quarters. And he welcomed everyone who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the various truths16 about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete openness17 and with no hindrance at all.
- Lit. And having been saved through
- Or harmful
- Or possibly put on board
- I.e. the gods of navigation, Castor and Pollux
- Lit. cast off; many mss read moved about, made a circuit
- Lit. the brothers from there
- Lit. until, as far as; journeys of 43 and 33 miles
- Or in my case; lit. in me
- Lit. for because of
- Or continued in unbelief; lit. were not believing
- Lit. with ears they hear with difficulty
- Lit. and I will heal
- Is. 6:9-10
- Lit. of
- Or hear (it); some mss add verse 29: When he had said these things, the Jews departed, engaged in a great dispute among themselves.
- Lit. teaching the things
- Or boldness, freedom