Prologue

1 In the first account, most excellent Theophilus, I wrote of 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 to whom also, after His suffering, He presented Himself alive from the dead, granting2 many convincing proofs of His resurrection as He appeared to them over a space of forty days, and spoke to them of matters pertaining to the kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit Promised

Now when He was together with them all,3 He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard Me speak about;4 5 for while John baptized the people with water, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension

6 Therefore, when they had come together again, they 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 times or seasons, which the Father has set by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest reaches5 of the earth.”

9 Now when He had said these things, He was taken up before their very eyes,6 and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 But as He departed, while they were still gazing up into the sky, two men in white garments suddenly stood beside them; 11 and they said to them,7 “You men of Galilee, why are you standing here, staring up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in just the same way you saw Him depart for heaven.”

The Upper Room Prayer Meeting

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. So then, 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 These men all devoted themselves single-mindedly to prayer, together with the9 women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers.10

Matthias Chosen

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 had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17 for he was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man Judas acquired a field with the payment he received for his evil deed; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines spilled out. 19 And this became known to all who were 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 a desert; let no one live in it’;12 and, ‘Let another take his office.’13 21 Therefore, 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 until the day when He was taken up from us—one of these men must become a witness of His resurrection together with us.”

23 So they put forward two: Joseph called Barsabbas (who also was called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord—the One who knows every heart14— show us which of these two men You have chosen 25 to take on15 this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 Then they cast lots over them; and the lot fell on Matthias. So he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Notes

  1. Lit. The first (or former) word I made, O Theophilus, concerning
  2. Lit. with
  3. Lit. while being (assembled) together, or while eating together (see Luke 24:36f)
  4. Lit. which you have heard from Me
  5. Or utmost bound; lit. last
  6. Lit. while they were looking on, watching
  7. Lit. who also spoke
  8. Or city
  9. Or certain
  10. Or brothers and sisters
  11. Lit. a multitude of names
  12. Ps. 69:25
  13. Ps. 109:8
  14. Lit. the heart-knower of all
  15. Lit. take the place of

 

Coming of the Holy Spirit

2 Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully arrived,1 they were all assembled in one place. 2 And suddenly a great noise, like the rushing of a violent wind, came down from heaven; and it 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 one of them. And they all were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other tongues,4 as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

The Crowd’s Response

5 Now there were Jews residing in Jerusalem, devout men5 from every nation under heaven. And when this sound arose, the multitude came together; but they were thrown into confusion because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 Baffled and amazed, they began saying, “Look, all these men who are speaking, are they not Galileans? 8 How is it that we each hear them speaking in our own language to which we were born? 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 hear them all speaking in our own languages about the wonderful6 works of God.” 12 All of them continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “Whatever can this mean?” 13 But others, mocking the disciples, were saying, “They are full of new wine!”

Peter’s Sermon

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and may you 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 about through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘Now in the last days, says God,

It shall come to pass that I will pour forth of My Spirit 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 bondservants—both men and women—

I will pour forth of My Spirit in those days,

And they will prophesy.

19 And I will display wonders in the sky above,

And signs on the earth beneath:

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 come to pass that

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

 

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 well know— 23 this Man, handed over to His enemies by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you yourselves put to death, nailing Him to a cross at the hands of lawless men. 24 But God raised Him up, freeing Him from the pains of death,8 since it was not possible for Him to be held in its power. 25 For David speaks in His behalf:

 

‘Always I saw the Lord before My face,

For He is at My right hand, that I might not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced;

And what is more, my flesh also will live in hope,

27 For You will not abandon My soul to Hades,10

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 face11 You will fill Me with joy.’12

 

29 “Men and brothers, regarding 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 So then, 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 upon13 His throne, 31 he, seeing this ahead of time, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 Now this man Jesus, God has raised to life, 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 that you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, 35 till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’14 36 Therefore, let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made Him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you have crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart; and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brothers, what shall 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 to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he gave earnest testimony and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So those who received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to their number.

A Vital Church Grows

42 Now the disciples15 were constantly devoting themselves to the apostles’ doctrine and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 And holy fear came upon every soul, while many signs and wonders were being accomplished through the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 moreover, they began selling their property and belongings, and distributing the proceeds16 to all, as anyone had a need. 46 So then, continuing daily with one mind in the temple courts, and breaking bread from house to house, they took their food together17 with glad and sincere18 hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And day by day the Lord kept adding to their number19 those who were being saved.

Notes

  1. Lit. was being fulfilled
  2. Or distributing themselves
  3. Lit. it
  4. Or languages
  5. Or possibly people
  6. Or great, mighty, magnificent, majestic
  7. Joel 2:28–32
  8. Lit. loosening the birth pains of death
  9. Lit. unto, towards, for Him
  10. I.e., the nether world or the grave
  11. Or with Your presence
  12. Ps. 16:8–11
  13. Lit. would seat from the fruit of his loins upon
  14. Ps. 110:1
  15. Lit. they
  16. Lit. them
  17. Or partook of their food
  18. Or simple, humble
  19. Lit. them

 

A Lame Man Healed

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; day by day his friends would lay him down2 at the temple gate called “Beautiful” to beg alms from the people going in to the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to enter the temple, he began asking them for a gift. 4 But Peter, fixing his eyes on him (and John as well)—said to him, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his full attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up3 and walk.” 7 Then, taking him by the right hand, Peter lifted him up; and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 So he stood up with a leap and began to walk; and he entered the temple together with Peter and John, walking and leaping and praising God! 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 moreover, they recognized him as the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, begging for alms. So they were filled with wonder and awe at what had happened to him.

Preaching in Solomon’s Portico

11 Now while the man was clinging to Peter and John, all of the people came running together 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 and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to let Him go. 14 But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked instead for a murderer to be granted to you; 15 moreover, you put to death the Author5 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 Jesus6 has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, and your rulers as well. 18 But those things that God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets—that His Christ would suffer—He has fulfilled in this way. 19 So 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 He may send the Christ appointed for you—Jesus Himself21 who must remain in heaven until the time arrives for the restoration of all things,7 about which8 God spoke through the mouth of all His holy prophets of long ago. 22 Indeed, Moses himself said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your brothers; you must listen to everything He tells you. 23 And every soul that will not listen to that Prophet will be completely destroyed9 from among the people.’10 24 Yes, and all of the prophets—from Samuel and his successors on, as many as have spoken—they too have proclaimed these days. 25 You yourselves are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant that God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’11 26 When God raised up his His Servant, He sent Him to you first of all, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

Notes

  1. That is, 3 PM
  2. Lit. whom they would set down every day
  3. Some older mss omit rise up
  4. Or child
  5. Or Prince
  6. Lit. Him
  7. Lit. whom heaven must receive until times of restoration of all things
  8. Or cut off, uprooted
  9. Deut. 18:15, 18, 19
  10. Gen. 22:18; 26:4; 28:14

 

Peter and John Arrested

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 for they were angry and upset that the apostles1 were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. So they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day (for it was already evening). 4 But many of those who had heard their message2 believed; and the number of the men grew to be about five thousand.

Addressing the Sanhedrin

5 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, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a helpless man, and 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 Him3 this man stands here before you in perfect health. 11 This is the ‘stone that you, the builders, rejected, and that now has become the chief cornerstone.’4 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.”

The Name of Jesus Forbidden

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and when they realized that these were unschooled and untrained men, they were amazed; and then they began to realize that they had been with Jesus. 14 Seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, there was nothing they could say against it; 15 but when they had ordered them to step outside the council, they began conferring among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For it is clear to everyone living in Jerusalem that an outstanding miracle5 has indeed been accomplished through them, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to keep this matter from spreading further6 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 answered and said to them, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God. 20 As for us,7 we cannot stop speaking 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 because of what had happened, 22 for the man on whom this miracle of healing had been performed was over forty years old.

Prayer for Boldness

23 Now upon their release, Peter and John went back to the other believers8 and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 And when the believers heard of it, they lifted up their voices to God as one man, and said: “Sovereign Lord, You are the One who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them; 25 and You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of our forefather, Your servant David, 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 Christ.’9 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 prayed, the place where they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with freedom, confidence, and courage.10

Sharing in All Things

32 Now the entire company of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; and none of them would say that any of the things he owned belonged to him; rather, they held all things in common. 33 Also, with great power the apostles were bearing witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Indeed, great grace was upon them all, 34 for there was not a needy person among them; for all11 who owned property or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds from the sales to the apostles, 35 laying them at their feet. Then the money12 would be distributed to each person 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 land13 that he owned, brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Notes

  1. Lit. they
  2. Lit. the word
  3. Or by this name
  4. Ps. 118:22
  5. Lit. sign
  6. Lit. in order that it might not spread
  7. Lit. For
  8. Lit. they went to their own
  9. Ps. 2:1-2
  10. The Greek parresia denotes all three
  11. Or possibly for from time to time those
  12. Lit. it
  13. Lit. a field, farm

 

Lying to the Holy Spirit

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 some of the money for himself, then brought the rest of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep part of the money from the sale of the land for yourself? 4 While it 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 And when he heard these words, Ananias fell to the ground and breathed his last; and great fear came upon everyone who heard of it. 6 Then the younger men arose, wrapped3 him up, and 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 that you and Ananias4 received for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that the two of you have agreed to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.10 And immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. Now when the young men came in, they found her dead; so, carrying her out, they buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard about these things.

Continuing Power in the Church

12 Now many signs and wonders were taking place among the people through the hands of the apostles. And all who believed were gathering together5 in Solomon’s Portico. 13 (None of the rest of the people would dare to associate with them, even though they all held them in high regard). 14 And more and more believers in the Lord—multitudes of men and women—were being added to their number.6 15 As a result, they even carried those who were sick out into the streets and laid 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 surrounding Jerusalem were gathering in the city, bringing the sick and those who were afflicted by unclean spirits; and all of them were being healed.

Arrested, Freed, and Tried Again

17 Then the high priest rose up, along with all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), and they all were filled with jealousy, anger, and indignation.7 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 give the people the entire message about this new way of life.”8 21 And 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—the entire Senate9 of the children of Israel; and they sent orders to the jail to have the apostles brought before them. 22 But the officers who came for 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 a certain man, arriving suddenly, declared to them: “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 they feared 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 you10 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 upon 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 to11 His own right hand, to be both Leader12 and Savior, that He might grant repentance to Israel, and the forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Gamaliel’s Advice

33 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart13 and thought to kill them. 34 But a certain Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and ordered that the apostles14 be put outside for a few moments. 35 Then he said to them: “Men of Israel, think twice about what you are planning to do with these men. 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 After him,15 Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and incited some of the people to follow him; but He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So then, in the present case 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 of 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 when they had summoned the apostles and had them flogged, they ordered them to speak no more in the name of Jesus, and then they released them. 41 Therefore the apostles went out from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were considered worthy of suffering dishonor for the sake of the Name. 42 And day by day—both in the temple and from house to house—they kept right on teaching and proclaiming17 Jesus as the Christ.

Notes

  1. Lit. was it not in your authority?
  2. Lit. placed (i.e. like a seed)
  3. Or covered
  4. Lit. you (plural)
  5. Lit. And they were with one mind all in
  6. Or believers, both men and women, were being added to the Lord
  7. I.e. over the purity of their faith
  8. Lit. tell the people all the words of this life
  9. Or the Sanhedrin and the entire
  10. Some mss Did we not give you
  11. Or by
  12. Or Prince, Founder, Originator
  13. Or enraged
  14. Lit. men
  15. Lit. this man
  16. Lit. by him
  17. Lit. they were not ceasing to teach and proclaim

 

Seven Chosen to Serve

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 the entire community of the disciples together, and they said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3 Instead, carefully select from among yourselves, brothers, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we may set over this pressing need; but as for us, we will give ourselves completely 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 and they set them before the apostles. And when the apostles had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem continued to increase rapidly. Moreover, a large company of the priests were also becoming obedient to the faith.

Stephen Accused of Blasphemy

8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great signs and wonders among the people. 9 But certain men from what was called the 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 unable to stand up against the wisdom and the spirit with which4 he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 These men stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and falling upon him, they dragged him off and brought him before the Council. 13 They also put forward false witnesses, who said, “This man does not stop speaking words5 against this holy place and against the Law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and alter the customs that Moses handed down to us.” 15 And fixing their eyes upon him, all who were seated in the Council beheld his face as though it were the face of an angel.

Notes

  1. I.e. Greek-speaking Jews, friendly to Greek culture
  2. I.e. Native Jews who spoke Aramaic
  3. I.e. of food or money
  4. Or Spirit by whom
  5. Or saying things

 

Stephen’s Address: The Call of Abraham

Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 2 So Stephen replied, “Brothers and 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, ‘Go forth from your country and your relatives, and come, enter into the land that I will show you.’1 4 Then he went forth out of the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after the death of his father, God moved him into this land, the land where you now are living. 5 But He gave him no inheritance in it, not so much as a footstep’s worth of ground.2 Yet even when Abraham had no child, God promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and also to his descendants after him. 6 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 forth and serve Me in this place.’4 8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and as a result, Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.

The Patriarchs in Egypt

9 “Now when the patriarchs became jealous of Joseph, they sold him into Egypt; but God was with him. 10 So He delivered him out of all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and Pharaoh set him as ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 11 Now a famine came upon all Egypt and all Canaan, bringing great affliction; our fathers could find neither food nor fodder.5 12 So when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers for their first visit to that country. 13 And on the second, Joseph made himself known to his brothers; and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent word and called for his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five souls in all. 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 that Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.7

God Delivers Israel by Moses

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, this king oppressed our fathers, forcing them to expose their babies to the elements so that they would die.

20 “At this time Moses was born; and in the sight of God he was beautiful. For three months he was brought up in his father’s house; 21 but when he was set out to die, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up8 as her own son. 22 So Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and grew powerful in his words and deeds.

23 “Now as he was nearing forty years of age, it entered his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24 And when he saw one of them suffering unjustly at the hand of an Egyptian, he came to his defense and avenged the mistreated Israelite by striking down the Egyptian. 25 Moreover, he supposed that his brothers would understand that God was now granting them deliverance by his hand; but they did not understand. 26 Then, on the following day, he came upon two Israelites who were fighting.9 So he tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers! Why then are you hurting each other?’ 27 But the one 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 like you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’11 29 Now at that word, Moses fled and became a sojourner in the land of Midian, where he fathered two sons.

30 “And when forty years had passed, an Angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he began to wonder what it was that he was seeing;12 and as 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.’13 Then Moses began to shake with fear, and no longer could bring himself to look. 33 And the Lord said to him, ‘Take your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed beheld the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning; and I have come down to deliver them. So come now: I will send you back into Egypt.’14

35 “This same Moses whom they rejected—saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer through the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the burning bush. 36 This man led them out, performing signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.

Israel Rebels Against God

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.’15 38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; the one who received living oracles to pass along to you. 39 Yet our fathers were unwilling to obey him, but instead thrust 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 has become of this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt.’16 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 No, for you also took along the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of the god Rephan17—images that you made in order to worship them; but I will carry you beyond Babylon!’18

44 “Our fathers had the Tabernacle of the Testimony in the wilderness; it was constructed exactly as He who spoke to Moses had directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. 45 And when in turn they had received it, our fathers, together with Joshua, brought it into the territory then held by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David. 46 And David found favor in the sight of God, and asked that he might find a dwelling-place for the God of Jacob.19 47 But it was Solomon who built Him a house. 48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands. As the prophet says: 49 ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth a footstool for My feet. What sort of house could you build for Me?’ says the Lord, ‘and what place is there for Me to take my rest?20 50 Did not My hand make all these things?’21

Israel Resists the Holy Spirit

51 “O stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you constantly resist the Holy Spirit! As it was with your fathers, so it is with you! 52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? Moreover, they killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become—53 you who received the Law so as to live under ordinances of angels,22 and yet did not keep it.

Stephen the Martyr

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—beheld the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. 56 So he said, “Look! I can 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 then fell upon him as one man. 58 When they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 So they went on stoning Stephen, even as he was calling upon 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 this, he fell asleep.

As for Saul, he completely agreed with them in putting Stephen to death.

Notes

  1. Gen. 12:1
  2. Lit. not even a step of a foot
  3. Gen. 15:13-14
  4. Ex. 3:12
  5. Lit. were not finding sustenance (i.e. food, fodder)
  6. Lit. they
  7. Some mss in Shechem
  8. Or adopted him
  9. Lit. he was seen by them while fighting
  10. Lit. neighbor
  11. Ex. 2:14
  12. Lit. was marveling at the sight
  13. Ex. 3:6, 15
  14. Ex. 3:5, 7-8, 10
  15. Deut. 18:15
  16. Ex. 32:1, 23
  17. Many mss the star of your god Rephan (see LXX)
  18. Amos 5:25–27
  19. Some early mss the house of Jacob
  20. Lit. or what is My resting place
  21. Is. 66:1-2
  22. Lit. unto ordinances of (i.e. from, through) angels

 

Saul Persecutes the Church

8 Now on that very day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and all of them were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his grave, and made loud lamentation over him. But entering house after house, Saul began to ravage the church; and dragging off both men and women, he would commit them to prison.

Christ Is Preached in Samaria

4 Therefore1 those who had been dispersed went about from place to place proclaiming the good news of the word. 5 Now Philip went down to a city of Samaria2 and began to preach Christ to them. 6 And with one accord the crowds were giving their complete attention to the things Philip was saying, as they both heard and saw the miraculous signs that he was performing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with loud shrieks, were departing from many who had been demon-possessed; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were being healed. 8 And in that city there was great rejoicing.

The Sorcerer’s Profession of Faith

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, they all would give him their full attention, saying, “This man is the power of God that is rightly called ‘great.’” 11 They gave him their attention because he had amazed them with his magic arts for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they began getting baptized, both men and women alike. 13 Moreover, even Simon himself believed.3 After being baptized he stayed close to Philip; and as he beheld the signs and mighty works of power that were taking place, he was continually amazed.

The Sorcerer’s Sin

14 Now when the apostles who were 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 them that they might receive the Holy Spirit 16 (for He had not yet fallen upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in4 the name of the Lord Jesus). 17 Then they began to lay 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 apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power5 as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish together with you, because you thought you could acquire the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor share6 in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Therefore, 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 bound by iniquity.”8 24 Then Simon answered and said, “Please, both of you pray to the Lord for me, so that nothing of what you have said may 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.

Christ Is Preached to an Ethiopian

26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and travel south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he arose and went. And to his surprise, he came upon an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He 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 up to this chariot and join yourself to it.” 30 So Philip ran up to the chariot and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah; and he said, “Do you understand what you are 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 was the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;

And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,

So He opened not His mouth.

33 In humiliation the justice due Him was taken away.

And who can speak of His posterity,

For His life was taken from the earth?”9

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I beg of you, in saying this who is the prophet talking about: himself or some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture he proclaimed Jesus to him. 36 Now as they were going along the road, they came to some water. So the eunuch said, “Look, water! What is to keep me from being baptized?”10 38 So he ordered the chariot to 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 no longer saw him; but he continued on his journey, rejoicing. 40 As for Philip, he found himself11 at Azotus; and passing through that region, he proclaimed the good news in all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Notes

  1. Or then
  2. Or the (main) city of
  3. Or And Simon himself also believed
  4. Greek into
  5. Or authority
  6. Lit. allotment
  7. Or to the Lord that, if possible, the intent
  8. Lit. in a gall (bile) of bitterness and a fetter of iniquity
  9. Is. 53:7-8
  10. Some 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.”
  11. Or appeared

 

The Damascus Road

9 Meanwhile, Saul, still breathing out threat and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 But in the course of his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly shone1 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 said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; 6 but rise, enter the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 (As for the men who were travelling with him, they stood there speechless, hearing the sound2 of His voice, but seeing no one) 8 Then Saul got up from the ground; but when he opened his eyes,3 he could see nothing at all. Therefore, leading him by the hand, his companions brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Ananias Baptizes 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, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas about a man from Tarsus by the name of Saul; for behold, he is praying, 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and laying his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” 13 Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to take into custody4 all who call upon Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen vessel of Mine, to bring5 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 as you were coming to this city,6 has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And at once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. Then he arose and was baptized; 19 and when he had taken some food, his strength returned.

Saul Preaches Christ

Now Saul remained with the disciples in Damascus for some time, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God!” 21 All who heard of it7 were astonished, saying “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem sought to destroy those who call upon on this name; and did he not come here in order to bring them back as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul grew stronger and stronger in the faith, and was confounding and upsetting the Jews who lived in Damascus by demonstrating that this Jesus is indeed the Christ.

Escape from Damascus

23 Now when many days of this had passed,8 the Jews conspired to do away with him; 24 but their plot was made known to Saul. Moreover, the Jews were also9 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 at Jerusalem

26 Now when Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas, taking hold of him, brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road, how He had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul remained with them, circulating freely10 in Jerusalem, 29 speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. He also talked and disputed with the Greek-speaking Jews; but they began trying to put him to death. 30 And 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.

Aeneas Healed

32 Now as Peter was travelling throughout all the country, it happened that he also went down to the saints who lived in Lydda. 33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been confined to his bed for eight years. 34 So Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your bed!” And immediately he got up. 35 Then everyone who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.

Dorcas Restored to Life

36 Now in Joppa there was a certain disciple by the name of Tabitha (which, translated into Greek, means Dorcas).11 This woman abounded in the good deeds and charitable acts that she was continually performing. 37 But at that time it happened that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. 38 Now since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, and pleaded with him, saying, “Come to us without delay!” 39 So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all of the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing him the tunics and other garments that Dorcas used to make when she was with them. 40 So sending them all out, Peter knelt down and prayed; then, turning to the body, he 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 to them alive. 42 Now this 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.

Notes

  1. Or flashed
  2. Or voice; see Acts 22:9
  3. Or though his eyes were open
  4. Lit. bind
  5. Lit. bear, carry
  6. Lit. on the road in (by) which you came
  7. Or him
  8. Lit. Now as enough days were being fulfilled
  9. Or even
  10. Lit. coming in and going out
  11. Lit. gazelle or deer

 

Cornelius Sends a Delegation

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 whole household—a man who generously gave alms to the Jewish people, and who prayed to God at all times. Now about the ninth hour of the day1 he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” 4 Gazing upon him and growing fearful, he said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have gone up as a memorial before God. 5 Now dispatch some men to Joppa, and send for one Simon, who is also called Peter. He is lodging with a man named Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 So when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called for two of his household servants, as well as a devout soldier from the ranks of those who continually served2 him. 8 And when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter’s Vision

9 The next day, at about the sixth hour,3 while these men4 were making their journey and getting close to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray. 10 He became quite hungry and was desiring something to eat; but while they were preparing the meal, a vision came to him:5 11 He saw the sky6 opening up and a certain object7 like a great sheet being lowered to the earth8 by its four corners. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles9 of the earth, and birds of the air. 13 Moreover, a voice came to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”10 15 But 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 which12 the object was immediately taken up into heaven.

Summoned to Caesarea

17 Now as Peter was puzzling13 about the meaning of the vision he had just seen, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius, having inquired about Simon’s house, stood at the gate; 18 and calling out, they asked whether Simon, the one who was also called Peter, was lodging there. 19 Now as Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “See, three men are looking for you. 20 But as for you, arise, go downstairs, and accompany them without hesitation; for I have sent them.” 21 So Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is it that brings you here?” 22 They replied, “Cornelius the centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man who is well spoken of by the entire Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear a message from you.” 23 So inviting them in, he received them as his guests.14

The next day Peter arose and set out with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa; 24 and on the following day, he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius, having called together his relatives and close friends, was anxiously waiting for them. 25 And when at last Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Arise, for I myself am also a man.27 And as Peter continued to talk with him, 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 am not to call any man common or unclean. 29 For this reason, when you sent for me, I came without any objection. Permit me, then, to ask why you have summoned me.”

30 So Cornelius said, “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 call for Simon, who is also known as Peter. He is staying at Simon the tanner’s house, which is by the sea.” 33 So immediately I sent messengers to you, and you have been kind enough16 to come. Now then, we are all here in the presence of God to hear everything the Lord has commanded you to say.

Preaching to Cornelius’ Household

34 So Peter, opening his mouth, replied: “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 children of Israel, proclaiming peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all; 37 and you know the things that happened throughout all Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who then 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 killed by hanging Him on a tree. 40 But on the third day God raised Him up; and He 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 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and solemnly to 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, that everyone who believes in Him shall receive forgiveness of sins through His name.”

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening to his message.18 45 And believers from among the circumcision who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had also been poured out on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in other tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter responded, 47 “Can anyone withhold baptismal waters 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 stay with them for a few more days.

Notes

  1. I.e. 3 PM
  2. Or waited upon
  3. I.e. 12 noon
  4. Lit. they
  5. Lit. there took place upon him an ecstasy
  6. Or heaven
  7. Or vessel
  8. Lit. descending, being lowered to the earth (or ground)
  9. Lit. creeping things; e.g. snakes, lizards, toads, salamanders, etc.
  10. I.e. profane and unclean according ceremonial law
  11. Or consider
  12. Lit. and
  13. Lit. being perplexed within himself
  14. Or gave them lodging
  15. Lit. when I was sent for
  16. Lit. done well
  17. Lit. land (or countryside) of the Jews
  18. Lit. the word

 

Peter Defends God’s Grace

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, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them!” So Peter began to set before them, point by point, an account of what had happened, saying: “I was in the city of Joppa, praying; and in a vision I beheld a certain object like a great sheet coming down from heaven, lowered by its four corners; and it came to where I was.2 6 As I looked closely to see what was in it, I beheld four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 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.’ 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 And the Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. Moreover, these six brothers also came with me; and we entered the man’s house. 13 Then the man related to us how he had 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 upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘While John baptized with water, you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If, then, 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 these things they immediately dropped their objections5 and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has also granted to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life!”

Barnabas and Saul at Antioch

19 Now those who had been scattered due to the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews alone. 20 But there were some among them—men from Cyprus and Cyrene—who, when they arrived in Antioch, began to speak to the Greeks,6 proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, so that a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22 Now the news of these things reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem; and they sent out Barnabas to visit Antioch. 23 When he arrived and beheld the grace of God, he rejoiced; and he kept on encouraging them all, saying that with dedicated hearts they should continue on with the Lord 24 (for Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith). And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people; and in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Relief to Judea

27 Now at that time certain prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them, whose name was Agabus, stood up and signified by the Spirit that a great famine was about to come upon the entire inhabited world (this occurred during the reign of Claudius). 29 So the disciples, each according to his means, determined 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.

Notes

  1. Lit. those of the circumcision
  2. Lit. it came until (unto) me
  3. Lit. a second time
  4. Or they
  5. Lit. fell silent
  6. Many mss Hellenists (i.e. Greek-speaking Jews)
  7. Lit. that with purpose of heart they should continue with

Herod’s Violence to the Church

12 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand against certain members of the church, in order to mistreat them. Moreover, he had James, the brother of John, put to death with a sword. Seeing that this pleased the Jews, he went on to seize Peter as well. This took place during the Days of Unleavened Bread; so when Herod arrested him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, all the while intending to bring Peter before the people after the Passover. So Peter was held in prison; but the Church was continually making fervent prayer to God on his behalf.

Peter Freed from Prison

Now on the very night before Herod was to bring him out for trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; meanwhile, the guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood beside him1 and a light shone in the prison; and the angel struck Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Quickly, get up!”—and his chains fell off his hands! Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself 2 and strap on your sandals.” So he did. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” So Peter went out and followed him, but he did not realize that what was taking place through the angel was really happening; instead, he thought that 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, which opened for them all by itself! So they went out and were 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 see that the Lord really did send His angel, and that He has rescued me from the hand of Herod and from everything that the Jewish people were expecting!”

12 When Peter realized 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 Now when she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she didn’t even open the gate, but ran back in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind!”6 But she kept on insisting that it was so, while they kept on saying, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile, Peter continued to knock at the door; and when they finally opened it, they beheld him and were altogether 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 to the brothers.” And he departed and went to another place.

18 Now when morning arrived, there was no small disturbance 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 should be led away for execution.8 Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea to spend some time there.

Herod’s Violent Death

20 Now Herod was very angry9 with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So with one accord they presented themselves before him; and having won Blastus (the king’s chamberlain) to their side, they began asking Herod for peace, since their country’s food supply came from the king’s. 21 And on a day determined in advance, Herod put on his royal apparel, seated himself on his throne,10 and began to address them. 22 But the people started shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 And instantly an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give the glory to God; and he was eaten by worms and died.

24 But the word of God continued to grow11 and to multiply. 25 And when they had completed their ministry of famine relief, Barnabas and Saul returned from12 Jerusalem, taking John (who was also called Mark) along with them.

Notes

  1. Or appeared
  2. Probably with a belt, possibly with garments
  3. Or guard posts
  4. Lit. one
  5. Or lane, alley
  6. Or Are you out of your mind?
  7. Or led
  8. Or possibly to torture; See Acts 16:27; 27:42
  9. Or was quarrelling angrily
  10. Greek bema, judgment seat; Herod’s bema in Caesarea, from which he viewed the games and addressed the people, resembled a throne
  11. Or spread
  12. Some mss to

 

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. 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.” And when they had fasted, prayed, and laid their hands upon them, they sent them off.

Preaching in Cyprus

So having been sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. (John was also with them, serving as their assistant.) Now when they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain sorcerer,3 a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus. He was attending4 the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. Desiring to hear the word of God, this man summoned Barnabas and Saul. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) stood against them, trying to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul (also known as Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon 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 not stop perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, look: The hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind, unable to see the sun for an appointed time.” And at once a mist and darkness fell upon him, after which5 he began walking around, looking for someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then, seeing what had happened, the proconsul believed, for he was altogether amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

At Antioch in Pisidia

13 Now having put 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 word to them, 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: 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers; and when they dwelt as foreigners in the land of Egypt He exalted the people, and with an uplifted arm He led them out of that country. 18 Then for a space of about forty years He bore with them in the wilderness. 19 And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to His people by allotment, all of which took about four hundred and fifty years. 20 After these things He gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul, the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when He had removed him, He raised up David as their king, to whom He also bore witness, saying, ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, to be a man after My own heart; He will accomplish everything I desire’6 23 From this man’s seed, according to His promise, God brought 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, he would continually ask, ‘Who do you think that I am? I am not the Christ. But take note of this: He is coming after me, and I am not worthy to untie the sandals on His feet!’

26 “Men, brothers, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us the word of this salvation has been sent forth.7 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, along with their rulers—recognizing neither Him nor the sayings8 of the Prophets that are read to them every Sabbath—fulfilled those sayings by condemning Him. 28 And though they found no grounds whatsoever for putting Him to death, they urged Pilate to crucify Him.9 29 Now when they had fully carried out everything 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 are now His witnesses to our people.10 32 Therefore we bring you good news about the promise made to the fathers, namely, that 33 God has fulfilled this promise for us, their children, by raising up Jesus, as indeed it is written11 in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, this day I have begotten You.’12 34 Now as for the fact that God raised Him from the dead, never again to verge on corruption, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’13 35 Therefore in another psalm He also says, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’14 36 For David, after serving the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and did indeed see corruption; 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore, men and brothers, let it be known to you that through this Man the forgiveness of sins is now being proclaimed to you; 39 and that through Him everyone who believes is justified, freed from all the things from which you could not be freed15 by the law of Moses. 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,
A work that you would never believe,
Even if someone were to tell you in full.’”16

Blessing and Conflict at Antioch

42 Now as Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people begged them to speak about these matters on the next Sabbath. 43 And when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many among the Jews and God-fearing proselytes17 followed Paul and Barnabas, who both continued speaking with them, urging them to continue in the grace of God.

44 Now on the following Sabbath, nearly 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 kept on contradicting the things Paul was saying, slandering and reviling him. 46 Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, take note18—we are now turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying: ‘I have set you19 in place as a light for the Gentiles, that you should bring20 salvation to the very ends of the earth.’”21 48 And when the Gentiles heard that, they began to rejoice and give honor to the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

49 So the word of the Lord began to spread22 throughout the entire region. 50 But the Jews, stirring up the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city, instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. 51 But shaking off the dust of their feet against them, they went on to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Notes

  1. Or foster brother
  2. Or Separate to me at once
  3. Or magician (i.e. practitioner of various spiritual arts)
  4. Lit. was with
  5. Lit. and
  6. Ps. 89:20
  7. Lit. was sent forth
  8. Lit. voices
  9. Or execute Him; lit. lift Him up
  10. Lit. the people
  11. Or as also it was written
  12. Ps. 2:7
  13. Lit. the holy, trustworthy things of (to) David; Is. 55:3
  14. Ps. 16:10
  15. Lit. justified
  16. Hab. 1:5
  17. I.e. Gentile converts to Judaism
  18. Lit. behold
  19. The Greek is singular
  20. Lit. be for
  21. Lit. be carried
  22. Is. 49:6

 

At Iconium

14 Now in Iconium, as was their practice, Paul and Barnabas entered the Jewish synagogue; and they spoke in such a way that a great many believed, both Jews and Greeks. (However the Jews who refused to believe1 stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.) So Paul and Barnabas stayed on for a considerable time, speaking out boldly for the Lord,2 who would bear witness to the word of His grace by granting that miraculous signs and wonders should occur through their hands. But the people of the city were divided: Some sided with the Jews, some with the apostles. And when both the Gentiles and the Jews, along with their rulers, grew hostile and set out to mistreat and stone them, they learned of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia (that is, to Lystra and Derbe), and also to the surrounding region. And there they continued to proclaim the good news.

Idolatry at Lystra

Now in Lystra there sat a certain man with no strength in his feet, a man who was lame from his mother’s womb and who had never walked; and he was listening to Paul as he spoke. Now when Paul had carefully observed him and seen that he had faith to be healed, 10 he spoke out with a loud voice, saying, “Stand up on your feet!” And the man leaped up and began to walk. 11 Then 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 likeness of men!” 12 And they began calling 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 oxen3 and garlands to the city gates, intending to join with the crowds in offering sacrifices to them. 14 But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed into the crowd, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men with a nature just like yours! Moreover, we are bringing you good news, so that you will turn from these powerless idols4 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 and yet He did not leave Himself without a witness, in that He did you good, giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying you with food and filling your hearts with gladness.” 18 Yet despite having said these things, they could scarcely restrain the crowds from sacrificing to them.

Stoning, Escape to Derbe

19 Then Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium; and when they had won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 But while the disciples stood 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 gospel in that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch; 22 and they strengthened the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and telling them, “We must enter the kingdom of God through many afflictions.” 23 And when they had appointed elders in every church with prayer and fasting, 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 that they had now accomplished. 27 So when they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported everything5 that God had done with them, and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained there with the disciples for a considerable amount of time.

Notes

  1. Or obey
  2. Or with reliance upon the Lord; lit. upon the Lord
  3. Or bulls
  4. Lit. useless (worthless) things
  5. Or what great things

 

Conflict 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 cannot be saved.” So when 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. Therefore, having been sent to this task by the church, they began travelling through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy to all the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem, the church, the apostles, and the elders welcomed them; and then they reported everything2 God had done as He worked with them. 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

So the apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After much discussion and debate, Peter stood up and said to them: “Men and brothers, you know that in the early days3 God made a choice from among us,4 that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us; and in so doing5 He 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 laying upon the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 No, we believe it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

12 Then the entire gathering6 fell silent and began to listen as Barnabas and Paul told of all the miraculous signs and wonders God had performed through them among the Gentiles. 13 And after they had stopped speaking, James responded, saying, “Men and brothers, listen to me: 14 Simon has just told us how God first showed His concern for the Gentiles, His desire to take from among them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:

16 ‘After these things I will return
And raise 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 whom I have called to be my own,’7
Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.8

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 food9 polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For from generations long past Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him in every city, seeing that his writings are10 read in the synagogues each and every Sabbath.”

The Jerusalem Decree

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and elders, and to the whole church as well, to send men chosen from among them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas, leading men among the brothers; 23 and they sent this letter with them:11

The apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile believers12 living in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings!

24 Since we have heard that certain men—to whom we gave no such instruction—have gone out from among us13 and troubled you with their words, unsettling your souls, 25 it seemed good to us, having reached complete agreement on this matter, to send chosen brothers14 to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending along Judas and Silas, who themselves will convey to you these same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell.

Continuing Ministry in Syria

30 So when they were sent off, the chosen brothers15 went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 After reading it aloud, the people rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Moreover, Judas and Silas, who were also prophets themselves, encouraged, exhorted, and strengthened the brothers with a lengthy message. 33 Then, after spending some time there, they were sent back to those who had commissioned them with greetings of peace from the brotherhood.16 35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching (along with many others) the word of the Lord.

Division over John Mark

36 After some days, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit our brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas had in mind to take along John (also called Mark) as well. 38 But Paul thought it neither wise nor fitting to take along someone who had deserted them in Pamphylia and not gone on with them to the work. 39 So there arose between them such a sharp disagreement that they separated themselves from one another. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas; and after the brothers had commended them to the grace of God, Paul departed. 41 And he began travelling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Notes

  1. Or brothers; Lit. they
  2. Or what great things
  3. Or a good while ago; lit. in ancient days
  4. Lit. you
  5. Or moreover; lit. and
  6. Lit. crowd, multitude
  7. Lit. upon whom My name has been called
  8. Or possibly who performs these things known from long ago
  9. Lit. things
  10. Lit. he is
  11. Lit. having written by their hand
  12. Lit. to the brothers who are from the Gentiles
  13. Some mss certain men of our number, to whom
  14. Lit. men
  15. Lit. they
  16. Some mss add v. 34 But it seemed good to Silas to remain there.

 

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

16 So Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra. Now a certain disciple by the name of Timothy was living there, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. Now the brothers living in Lystra and Iconium all spoke well of him. So Paul wanted this young man to accompany him on his journey; and he took him and circumcised him, because the Jews living in those places1 all knew that his father was a Greek. Then, as they travelled from town to town,2 Paul and Timothy delivered to the Gentile believers3 the rulings that the apostles and elders at Jerusalem had decided they must observe. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.

The Macedonian Call

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden4 by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in the province of Asia; and when they had come to Mysia, they kept trying to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not permit it. So, bypassing5 Mysia, they came down to Troas. And at 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 And when he had seen the vision, we sought at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

Lydia Baptized at Philippi

11 So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the following day to Neapolis. 12 From there we travelled to Philippi, a Roman colony and a leading city of that district of Macedonia; and we stayed in that city for a number of days. 13 Now on the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the riverside, where we supposed there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began to speak to the women who had 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 heed the things that were spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me a true believer in the Lord,5 come and stay in my house.” And she prevailed upon us.

Paul and Silas Imprisoned

16 Now as we were going to the place of prayer, it happened that we met a certain slave girl who had a spirit of divination and was bringing her owners much profit by means of fortunetelling. 17 Following behind Paul and us, she kept crying out, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, proclaiming to you the6 way of salvation.” 18 And for many days she continued to do this. But Paul, having lost all patience for it, turned to her and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out in that very hour.

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 Then the crowd rose up as one7 against them; and the chief magistrates tore off their robes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them carefully against escape. 24 Therefore, having received orders such as these, he threw them into the inner cell8 and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Philippian Jailer 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 came loose. 27 Now when the jailer was roused 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 Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!”

29 Then the jailer called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas; 30 and when he had brought them outside, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, both you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him, together with all who were in his house. 33 And at that very hour of the night he took them and cleansed their wounds; then he and his entire family were immediately baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and having believed in God with his entire household, he greatly rejoiced.

Paul Refuses to Depart Secretly

35 Now at daybreak the chief magistrates sent their policemen to the jailer, saying, “Release those men.” 36 So the jailer related these orders to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you. Now then, come out and depart in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial—men who are Romans citizens—and have 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 policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. Now when the magistrates heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were struck with fear; 39 and when they arrived at the jail, they apologized9 to them. Then, after bringing them out, they repeatedly asked them to leave the city. 40 But once Paul and Silas had left the prison, they entered the house of Lydia; and seeing the brothers there, they encouraged them. Then they departed.

Notes

  1. Or in that area
  2. Lit. through the cities (towns)
  3. Lit. them
  4. Or prevented
  5. Or faithful to the Lord
  6. Lit. a way
  7. Or joined the attack
  8. Or prison, or part of the prison
  9. Or appealed

 

Preaching Christ at Thessalonica

17 Now when they had travelled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. According to his custom, Paul went in to them, and for three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving from the sacred writings that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and rise again from the dead. “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you,” he concluded, “is the Messiah.” 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.

Assault on Jason’s House

But the rest of the Jews became jealous; and taking with them certain wicked men from among the idlers at the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and once they had arrived at Jason’s house, they began trying to bring Paul and Silas out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the rulers of the city, crying out, “These men who have troubled the whole world have come here as well, and Jason has welcomed them as his guests! But all of them are acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, claiming that there is another king called Jesus.” In so speaking, they stirred up the crowd and the city officials who heard these things. Then, when they had received bail from Jason and the others, they let them go.

Ministering at Berea

10 So the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas off to Berea by night; 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 searched the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Therefore 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, inciting the crowds and stirring them up. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on a journey to the coast;1 but Silas and Timothy both remained in Berea. 15 The men who were conducting Paul on his journey brought him all the way to2 Athens; and when they had received a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as quickly as possible, they departed.

The Philosophers at Athens

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit within him was provoked to anger, seeing the city completely given over to idols. 17 Therefore he began reasoning with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles in the synagogue, and also in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be present. 18 Moreover, certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were continually engaging him. Some would ask, “What is this empty talker trying to say?” Others would say, “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, asking, “May we know what this new teaching you are presenting is all about? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas3 to our ears, so we want to know what these things mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and all the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing else but talking about or listening to some new thing.)

Addressing 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 devout4 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. Therefore, what you worship without knowing, this I now proclaim to you. 24 The God who created the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not inhabit 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 man5 He made every nation of the human race,6 and caused them to reside across the entire face of the earth, having ordained their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwelling-places. 27 He did this so that they would search after God, and in hopes that7 they would reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not 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.’8 29 Since, then, we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Being is like an image of gold, silver, or stone, formed by the art and ingenuity9 of man. 30 And so, though God previously overlooked such times of ignorance, He is now commanding all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has fixed a day on which He plans to10 judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof 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 However, certain men, having joined with him as disciples, believed. Among them were Dionysius (a member of the Areopagus council),11 a woman named Damaris, and others along with them.

Notes

  1. Lit. sent Paul away to go to the sea
  2. Or as far as
  3. Lit. things
  4. Or religious; the word can also mean superstitious
  5. Many later mss blood
  6. Lit. men
  7. Lit. if perhaps
  8. From Aratus (ca. 310-245 BC)
  9. Or imagination; lit. thought
  10. Or will soon, intends
  11. Lit. the Areopagite

 

Ministering at Corinth

18 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And there he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (for Claudius had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome). Paul went to see them, and because they were1 of the same trade, he lived and worked with them (for by occupation they both were tentmakers). And conversing in the synagogue every Sabbath day, he would seek to persuade both Jews and Greeks.

But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began to devote himself entirely to the proclamation of the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. But when they opposed and reviled him,2 Paul shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads! I am cleared of my responsibility;3 from now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Then he departed from there and went to the home of a certain man named Titius Justus, a God-fearing Gentile whose house was next door to the synagogue. Now Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord, along with his entire household; and hearing him,4 many of the Corinthians were coming to faith and getting baptized. And the Lord spoke to Paul at night in a vision, saying, “Don’t be afraid; keep on speaking out and do not fall silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will assault or harm you;5 for I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul settled in at 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 people6 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.7 15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, then look 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 of the Jews took hold of Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and began to beat him in front of the judgment seat. But none of these things were of any concern to Gallio.

Paul Returns to Antioch

18 So after spending many more days in Corinth, Paul finally 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 fulfilling8 a vow. 19 Then they arrived in Ephesus; and there Paul left Priscilla and Aquila behind. (But first he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews; 20 however, when they asked him to stay a while longer, he would not consent; 21 instead, he bid them farewell, saying, “God willing, I will return to you again.”) After this 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 when he had spent some time there, Paul departed and journeyed from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Ministry of Apollos

24 Now a certain Jew by the name of Apollos—a native of Alexandria and an eloquent speaker9—arrived in Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and was accurately speaking and teaching the facts about Jesus’ life10 with great fervor, though he himself knew only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 Now when he desired to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him; and they wrote to the disciples there, urging them to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who had believed through grace, 28 for he vigorously11 refuted the Jews in public, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.

Notes

  1. Lit. he was
  2. Or opposed (his message) and blasphemed
  3. Lit. I am clean, innocent
  4. Or hearing of it, or hearing Paul
  5. Lit. take hold of you to do you harm
  6. Lit. men
  7. Lit. to bear with you
  8. Lit. having, keeping
  9. Or a learned man
  10. Lit. the things concerning Jesus
  11. Or powerfully

 

Paul at Ephesus

19 Now while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul journeyed through the inland regions and arrived in Ephesus. Happening upon some disciples, he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? They replied, “No; in fact we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit!” So he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” So Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him—that is, in Jesus.” Now when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in other tongues1 and prophesy. (There were about twelve men in all.)

Then Paul went into the synagogue; and for three months he continued to speak out boldly, conversing with the Jews and seeking to persuade them concerning the kingdom of God. But when some of them became obstinate2 and refused to believe, speaking evil of the Way before the whole assembly, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him; and thereafter he began holding discussions with3 them daily in the school4 of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

Miracles Glorify Christ

11 Now God was working extraordinary miracles through Paul’s hands, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were being brought to the sick, with the result that the diseases left the sick and the evil spirits went out. 13 But some of the Jewish exorcists who travelled 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 preaches, I command6 you to come out.” 14 Now seven sons of a certain Jewish chief priest by the name of Sceva were doing this. 15 But one day 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 jumped on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them so completely that they fled from that house both naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to everyone living in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; so fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was increasingly held in high regard. 18 Also, many who had believed were coming forward, confessing and publicly declaring their misdeeds.7 19 And many of those who had practiced the magic arts were bringing their books together and burning them in the sight of all; after calculating their market value, they found that it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver! 20 Thus did the word of the Lord continue to grow in power and to prevail.

The Riot at Ephesus

21 After all these things had occurred, Paul resolved in the Spirit8 to go to Jerusalem by way of9 Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have 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 He called these men together, along with those who worked at similar trades, and said, “You men understand that our prosperity depends upon 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 large 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 vocation10 will fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana will be regarded as nothing, and also that she whom all Asia and the world worships will soon be cast down from her magnificence!”

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 in one accord all the people rushed into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. 30 But when Paul wanted to go in to the assembly, the disciples would not let him. 31 Moreover, some of the provincial rulers11 who were Paul’s friends sent word to him, urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 So then, some people were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in complete confusion; indeed, most of them did not even know why they had come together. 33 But some among the crowd concluded that it was due to Alexander,12 for the Jews had put him forward to speak. Now Alexander, having motioned with his hand, was intent on giving an explanation13 to the assembly. 34 But when they recognized14 that he was a Jew, a single cry arose from them all15 as for about two hours they kept on shouting, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

35 But when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: “People of Ephesus, who among men the world over does not 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 ought to stay 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. 39 But if you are looking for anything beyond that, it will have to be settled in the regular16 assembly of the people. 40 For in connection with today’s events we are even running the risk of being charged with an insurrection,17 since we can offer no justification for this disorderly gathering.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

Notes

  1. Or languages
  2. Or were hardened
  3. Or addressing
  4. Or lecture hall
  5. Lit. name
  6. Lit. adjure, implore
  7. Or evil practices
  8. Or in his (lit. the) spirit
  9. Lit. having passed through
  10. Lit. this lot (portion) of ours
  11. Lit. Asiarchs
  12. Or gave instructions to Alexander
  13. Or making a defense
  14. Or found out
  15. Lit. there came a voice one from all
  16. Or lawful; in Ephesus there were three annual assemblies
  17. Or rioting

 

Journeys in Greece

20 Now after the uproar had ceased, Paul called for the disciples; and when he had encouraged them and bid them farewell, he departed on a journey to Macedonia. When he had travelled through those regions, speaking many encouraging words to the believers,1 he came to Greece, where he stayed 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. He was accompanied by Sopater (the son of Pyrrhus) of Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica, Gaius of Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of the province of Asia. But these men had gone on ahead of us and were waiting for us at Troas; meanwhile, after the Days of Unleavened Bread, we ourselves sailed from Philippi; and within five days we joined them at Troas, where we remained for seven days.

Ministering at Troas

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 depart the next day, he prolonged his message until midnight. Now in the upstairs room where we were gathered there were many lamps; and seated in the window,3 sinking into a deep sleep, was a certain young man by the name 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 Rushing downstairs, Paul threw himself 4 upon him; and when he had taken him into his arms, he said, “Don’t be alarmed, for his life is still in him!” 11 Then Paul went back upstairs; and when he had broken bread, enjoyed a meal, and conversed at length with the disciples until dawn, he finally5 departed. 12 And they took the young man home alive, and were not a little comforted.

From Troas to Miletus

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 to6 Samos, and the day after that we arrived in 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 to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.

The Ephesian Elders Exhorted

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 entire time I was with you, from the very first day I set foot in the province of Asia; 19 how I served the Lord with all humility and with tears, even amidst7 the trials that I faced due to the plots of the Jews; 20 how I didn’t shrink back 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 the need for repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus.8 22 And now, behold, bound in spirit,9 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 on warning me, saying that chains and afflictions await me. 24 But I consider my life to be nothing at all, nor do I hold it dear to myself, as long as I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

25 “And now, take note: I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all.10 27 For I did not hesitate to declare to you the whole purpose and plan of God. 28 Watch out for yourselves and for the entire flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, with a calling to shepherd the church of God that He purchased11 with His own blood. 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 number12 men will rise up, speaking perverse things, trying to draw the disciples away after them. 31 Therefore keep constant watch, remembering that night and day for three years I did not cease to warn and admonish each one of you with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you the promised inheritance, together with 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 manner you are to uphold the weak, and also to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how13 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 kept kissing him goodbye, 38 sorrowing most of all over the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they began walking with him to the ship.

Notes

  1. Lit. them
  2. Lit. them
  3. Or possibly on the window sill
  4. Lit. fell
  5. Lit. thus
  6. Or crossed over to, arrived at
  7. Lit. and with
  8. Some mss Lord Jesus Christ
  9. Lit. bound in the spirit (or Spirit)
  10. Or of all men
  11. Lit. acquired, obtained
  12. Lit. selves
  13. Lit. that

 

Warnings on the Way to Jerusalem

21 Now after we had torn ourselves away from them, we set sail. And running a straight course, we came to Cos, on the day following to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. Then, finding a ship that was crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and put out to sea. After we had sighted the island of Cyprus and passed it on our left,1 we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload her cargo. Once we had found the disciples, we remained there for seven days; and through the Spirit the disciples kept on telling Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem. When our time there had come to an end, we set out in order to continue our journey; and all the brothers, together with their wives and children, accompanied us out of the city. When we had knelt down on the beach and prayed, we bid one another farewell. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned to their own homes.

When we had completed our voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, greeted the brothers, and stayed with them for a day. On the following day we departed and came to Caesarea; and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we lodged with him. Now 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 When he had come to see 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 those who were present with us2 began pleading with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul 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 since3 he would not be persuaded, we held our peace, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”

The Trip to Jerusalem

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 And when we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers received us with joy. 18 On the following day, Paul went with us to see James; and all the elders were present. 19 After Paul had greeted them, he began to relate in detail the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 Now when they heard this, they all began to glorify God. Then they said to him, “You can see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed; moreover, all of them are zealous observers of the Law. 21 But they have been informed4 that you are instructing all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them neither to circumcise their children, nor to walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? Since they will certainly hear that you have come, 23 please, follow the course of action that we commend to you. We have four men who are under a vow. 24 Take them and purify yourself along with them; also, pay their expenses so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to the things they have been told about you, but that you yourself are also living in an orderly manner, observing the Law. 25 But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote them a letter, having decided that they should keep themselves from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.” 26 So on the next day Paul took the men with him; and after purifying himself together with them, he entered the temple and gave notice as to when their days of purification would be fulfilled, at which time an offering was to be brought for each one of them.

Arrested in the Temple

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 whole crowd; and they laid their hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere, speaking out against our6 people, the Law, and this place; what’s more, he even7 brought Greeks into the temple precincts, and has 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 entire city was thrown into turmoil, and the people came running together from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him out of the temple area, after which the doors were immediately shut. 31 Now as they were trying to kill him, a report was sent up to the commander of the Roman cohort,8 that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 So at once he took some soldiers and centurions, and ran down to the crowd;9 and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came up and seized him, ordering that he be bound with two chains; and he began to inquire about who he was and what he had done. 34 But some in the crowd were shouting one thing, and some another. So when the commander could not ascertain the truth because of the uproar, he ordered him 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 Jews10 kept following behind, crying out, “Away with him!”

Addressing the Jerusalem Mob

37 Now as Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I have permission to speak with you?” He replied, “You know Greek! 38 Then you are not the Egyptian who a while back stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand members11 of the Assassins 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 you, please let me speak to the people.” 40 So when the centurion had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people with his hand. And when a great hush fell upon the crowd,12 he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect,13 saying:

Notes

  1. Lit. left it behind on our port side
  2. Or local residents
  3. Or when
  4. Lit. informed concerning you
  5. Lit. having a vow upon them
  6. Lit. the
  7. Or also
  8. I.e. an officer in charge of 600 troops
  9. Lit. them
  10. Lit. the people
  11. Lit. men; the Assassins (or Sicarii) were a group of violent Jewish nationalists
  12. Lit. a great hush occurred
  13. I.e. Aramaic

 

22 “Men, brothers, and fathers, listen to my defense which I now present to you.” (Now when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became all the more quiet.) Then Paul said: “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. 4I am a man who persecuted this Way to the death, arresting1 both men and women, and putting them in jail, 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,2 I even set out for3 Damascus to arrest those who were living4 there, and to bring them back to Jerusalem in chains5 to be punished.

“Now around noon, as I was continuing on my journey and drawing near to Damascus, suddenly an exceedingly bright light from heaven flashed all around me; then, after falling to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ (Now while those who were with me saw the light, they did not 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, ‘Rise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all you are appointed to do.’ 11 But since I could no longer see due to the brightness7 of that light, I was led along by the hands of the men who were with me, and finally came into Damascus.

12 “Then a certain Ananias—a devout man according to 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 and saw 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 His witness to all men concerning what you have seen and heard. 16 And now, what are you waiting for? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling upon 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 Lord9 saying to me, ‘Hurry, get out of Jerusalem at once,10 for they will not receive your testimony about Me!’ 19 So I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that as I went from one synagogue to the next I used to imprison and beat those who believe in You. 20 And when the blood of Your witness11 Stephen was being shed, I myself was standing nearby, giving my approval12 and watching over the cloaks of those who were putting him to death.’ 21 But He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away, to the Gentiles.’”

Paul’s Roman Citizenship

22 Now the people were listening to him until he made this remark. Then they lifted up their voices, shouting, “Away with such a man from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” 23 Then—while they were crying out, throwing their cloaks to the ground, and tossing dust into the air—24 the commander ordered that Paul be brought into the barracks, declaring that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out why they were shouting at him in this way. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the scourging,13 Paul said to the centurion standing by him, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a Roman citizen who has not been convicted in court?”14 26 And when the centurion heard that, he went to the commander and reported it, saying, “Do you realize what you are about to do? 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 acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” But Paul said, “And I myself was born as a citizen.” 29 Therefore the men who were about to examine Paul immediately withdrew from him; and the commander himself grew fearful when he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen, and that he had put him in chains.

The Sanhedrin Divided

30 Now on the next day, desiring to know exactly why the Jews were accusing Paul, the commander released him and ordered the chief priests and the entire Council to assemble; and bringing Paul down, he had him stand before them.

Notes

  1. Lit. binding
  2. Lit. the brothers
  3. Or was on my way to
  4. Lit. were
  5. Lit. having been bound, tied up
  6. Lit. hear (i.e. with understanding)
  7. Lit. glory
  8. Lit. hear a voice out of
  9. Lit. Him
  10. Lit. with speed
  11. Greek martyr
  12. Lit. and approving (or consenting)
  13. Lit. for (or with) the thong, lash
  14. Lit. a man who is Roman citizen and not condemned

 

23 So Paul, fixing his gaze upon the Council, said, “Men, brothers, I have lived my life1 in all good conscience before God to this very day.” Now at that the high priest (Ananias) ordered the men standing near him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is about to 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?” But the men standing near him said, “Will you revile God’s high priest?” So Paul said, “Brothers, I didn’t realize that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”2

But when Paul noticed that one part of them were Sadducees and the other part Pharisees, he began crying out in the midst of Council, “Men, brothers, I am a Pharisee, and a son of a Pharisee! I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection3 of the dead!” Now when he had said this, an argument broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. So there was a great uproar; and some of the scribes of Pharisee party rose up and began to protest4 fiercely, saying, “We find nothing wrong with 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 that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered a detachment of soldiers to go down, take him 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 solemn witness in Jerusalem to the truths5 surrounding Me, so too must you bear witness in Rome.”

The Plot Against Paul

12 Now when morning arrived, some of the Jews entered into6 a conspiracy and bound themselves under a curse,7 saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul; 13 and more than forty men were involved in devising this plot. 14 Then they came to the chief priests and elders; and they said, “We have solemnly bound ourselves under a curse,8 swearing that we will taste nothing whatsoever till we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Council are to request that the commander bring him down to you, as though you were intending to examine his case more thoroughly. As for us, we are ready to kill him before he ever comes near 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, for he has something to report to him.” 18 So the centurion took him and brought him to the commander; and the centurion said, “The prisoner Paul summoned me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to tell you.” 19 So the commander took him by the hand, drew him aside, and began questioning him in private, saying, “What is it that you want to report to me?” 20 The young man9 replied, “The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the Council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more thoroughly about him. 21 But you must not let them persuade you to do so, 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 elders10 are ready, waiting only for the word11 from you.” 22 So the commander dismissed the young man with this charge: “Tell no one that you have disclosed these things to me.”

Paul Sent to Felix

23 So the commander called for two of the centurions, saying, “Make ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night;12 24 also, prepare mounts for Paul to ride on, and bring him safely to Felix, the governor.” 25 Then he wrote a letter, which 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 came up to them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 Then, desiring to understand the charges they were bringing against him more perfectly, I brought him down to their Council. 29 I discovered that he was being accused in regard to certain questions about their Law, but was charged with nothing worthy of death or imprisonment. 30 And when I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, and also instructed his accusers to bring their charges against him before you.”

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris; 32 then, on the next day, they let the horsemen go on with him, while they themselves returned to the barracks. 33 And when the horsemen entered Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 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 arrived as well.” Then he ordered that Paul should be kept under guard in Herod’s Praetorium.13

Notes

  1. Or I have conducted myself as a citizen (of Israel)
  2. Ex. 22:28
  3. Lit. the hope and resurrection
  4. Or contend
  5. Lit. the things
  6. Lit. made, formed
  7. Or bound themselves with an oath
  8. Or bound ourselves with a solemn oath
  9. Lit. He
  10. Lit. they
  11. Lit. promise, consent
  12. I.e. 9 PM
  13. I.e. the governor’s official residence

 

Accused of Sedition

24 Now after five days, the high priest Ananias came down with some of the elders, together with a certain attorney by the name of Tertullus; and they presented their case1 against Paul to the governor. After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began bringing charges against him, saying to the governor: “Since through you, most excellent Felix, we have enjoyed a lengthy season of peace; and since, by your foresight, reforms are being carried out in our nation, we acknowledge this with all gratitude in every place and in every way. But in order to detain2 you no further, I beg you to grant us, in your customary kindness,3 a brief hearing. For we have found this man to be a real plague, someone who stirs up riots4 among all the Jews throughout the world, and who serves as a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to desecrate the temple, and for this reason we arrested him.5 8By examining him yourself you will be able to ascertain the truth concerning all the charges6 we are bringing against him.” The Jews also joined with Tertullus in pressing this attack, affirming that these things were so.

The Defense Before Felix

10 Then, when the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul replied: “Knowing full well that for many years you have been a judge for this nation, I am happy to supply a complete account of the events in which I was involved.7 11 As you can readily ascertain, it is no more than twelve days ago that I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 Moreover, neither in the temple precincts, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city did they ever find me arguing with anyone or gathering a mob. 13 Nor can they prove to you the charges that they now bring against me. 14 But this I 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 is 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 of all men.

17 “Now after several years I came to Jerusalem to bring alms to my own people8 and to present offerings; 18 and as I was engaged in these very activities,9 certain Jews from Asia found me in the temple, ritually purified, with neither a mob nor an uproar. 19 They ought to be here before you bringing charges, if indeed they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves declare what wrongdoing they found in me when I stood before the Council, 21 other than this one statement that I shouted out as I stood in their midst: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I stand trial before you today!’”

Felix Procrastinates

22 Then Felix, who had a more precise knowledge of the facts concerning the Way, postponed their hearing, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 Then 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 heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as Paul discoursed about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix grew fearful; so he said, “Go away for now, and when I find an opportune time, I will call for you.” 26 Yet even as he so spoke,10 Felix was hoping that Paul would give him money; moreover, for this very reason he would send for him as often as possible and converse with him. 27 But after two years had elapsed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, desiring to do the Jews a favor, left Paul in captivity.11

Notes

  1. Or brought charges
  2. Or weary
  3. Or impartiality, fairness
  4. Or argue
  5. 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.
  6. Lit. all these things
  7. Lit. the things concerning myself
  8. Or nation
  9. Lit. in which things
  10. Lit. at the same time
  11. Or prison; lit. bonds, chains

 

Paul Appeals to Caesar

25 Now three days after he arrived in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the chief priests and the leading men among the Jews brought charges against Paul; and petitioning Festus for a special concession1 against him, the Jews urged him to have Paul brought to Jerusalem (for they were planning an ambush in order to kill him along the way). Then Festus replied that Paul was being held in custody at Caesarea, and that he himself was planning to go there in just a little while. “Therefore,” he said, “let those in authority among you go down there with me; and if this man has done anything wrong, let them bring charges against him.”

Now after he had spent no more than eight or ten days among them, Festus went down to Caesarea; and on the following day, having taken his place on the judgment seat, he ordered Paul to be brought in. When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around Paul, bringing many serious charges against him, which they were powerless to prove. Meanwhile, Paul spoke up in his own defense, saying, “Neither against the Law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned in any way.” But Festus, desiring to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there stand trial before me concerning these matters?” 10 So Paul said, “I stand before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. In no way have I wronged the Jews, as you yourself know very well.2 11 If, then, I am indeed a wrongdoer, and have committed any crime worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if there is nothing to the charges that these men are bringing against me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” 12 Then, when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go!”

Paul Before Agrippa

13 Now after several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 And since they were spending considerable time3 there, 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 that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over anyone before the accused meets his4 accusers face to face and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charges. 17 Therefore, when the Jews had assembled here,5 I did not postpone the matter, but on the very next day took my place on the judgment seat and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 Now regarding his case, when his accusers stood up, they did not bring a single charge of such crimes as I was expecting, 19 but instead had some points of disagreement with him about their own religion, and about a certain Jesus who had died, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20 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 concerning these things. 21 But when Paul appealed to be held in custody6 for the decision of the Emperor,7 I ordered him to 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 said, “you shall hear him.”

23 Therefore on the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had arrived with great pomp, and when they had entered the audience hall together with the tribunes and the prominent men of the city, Festus gave the command and Paul was brought in. 24 Then Festus said, “King Agrippa, and all you leading men present here with us, you see this man, a man about whom the entire Jewish populace has petitioned me both in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, crying out that he must not be allowed to live any longer. 25 And yet I found that he had been doing nothing worthy of death; but since8 he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. 26 However, I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore, I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that when this hearing is concluded I may have something to write. 27 For it seems absurd to me to send along a prisoner without specifying9 the charges against him!”

Notes

  1. Or favor
  2. Lit. as also you well know
  3. Lit. many days
  4. Lit. the
  5. Or when they had come back here with me
  6. Or held over
  7. Greek Sebastos (i.e. Augustus; in this case, Nero)
  8. Or when
  9. Or clearly indicating

 

Paul’s Early Life

26 So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to offer his defense:

“King Agrippa, in regard to the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself blessed that I am about to present my case before you, especially since you have expert knowledge1 in all the customs and controversies pertaining to the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. So then, all the Jews are well acquainted with my way of life from my youth up, a life that from the beginning I spent among my own people and in Jerusalem. Moreover, having known me from the first, they can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived as a Pharisee. And now I am standing here on trial because of my hope in the promise that God made to our fathers, a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain by earnestly serving Him night and day. It is for this hope, O King, that the Jews are bringing charges against me. Why should you people find it incredible that God raises the dead? But to continue: I myself was fully convinced2 that I must do everything possible3 to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem: Not only did I lock up many of the saints in jail on the authority of the chief priests, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being sentenced to death.4 11 Moreover, I often went from synagogue to synagogue punishing them, and I tried to force them to blaspheme; indeed, being altogether5 enraged by them, I would pursue them even to foreign cities.

Paul Recounts His Conversion

12 “Now as I was on my way to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, engaged in these very activities, 13 at midday, O king, as I was on the road, I beheld a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me, and around those who were travelling with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect,6 ‘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 I have appeared to you for this reason, to appoint you as a servant and a witness, not only of the things you have seen, but also of the things I will yet reveal to you; 17 and I will deliver you7 from the Jewish people, and also from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn8 from darkness to light, and from the power9 of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Paul’s Post-Conversion Life

19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient10 to the heavenly vision, 20 but kept on declaring—first to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and the entire Judean countryside, and finally to the Gentiles—that they should repent and turn back to God, performing works worthy of repentance. 21 Because of these things, certain Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 And yet, having obtained the help that comes from God, to this very day11 I continue to stand, testifying both to small and great, declaring nothing other than those things which the prophets and Moses said would come to pass— 23 that the Christ would suffer, and that He, being the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

Agrippa Parries Paul’s Challenge

24 Now as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus spoke up 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 soberly utter words that are both true and reasonable. 26 For the king is well acquainted with these matters; moreover, I am speaking before him with complete confidence, for I cannot believe that any of these things has escaped his notice, seeing that this work is not being 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 time12 would you persuade me to become a Christian?” 29 But Paul replied, “Short time or long, I wish before God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become exactly as I am, except for these chains.”

30 So the king arose, along with the governor, Bernice, and those who were sitting with them; 31 and when they had stepped aside, they began talking 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 had not appealed to Caesar.”

Notes

  1. Lit. you are an expert
  2. Lit. truly thought in myself
  3. Lit. many things
  4. Or put to death, executed
  5. Lit. exceedingly, greatly
  6. I.e. Aramaic
  7. Lit. delivering you
  8. Or to turn them from
  9. domain, rule, authority
  10. Lit. become disobedient
  11. Or from God to this very day, I
  12. Or with so little discussion

 

The Voyage to Rome Begins

27 Now when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, Paul and certain other prisoners were handed over to a centurion by the name of Julius, an officer of the Augustan Cohort. Then, boarding an Adramyttian ship that was ready to sail for the ports along the coasts of Asia, we put out to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica. The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with kindness, allowing him to go to his friends and receive care. From there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, for the winds were against us. 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. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy, and he put us on board. For many days we sailed along slowly, arriving with difficulty off the coast of Cnidus; and since the wind would not allow us to proceed farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone. Then, sailing past Crete with difficulty, we came to a port called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

Paul’s Warning Ignored

Since much time had passed and the voyage had now become dangerous (for even the Fast celebrating the Day of Atonement was over), Paul began to admonish 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, hoping 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, supposing that they could now carry out their plan, they weighed anchor and began sailing along the coast of Crete, close to the shoreline.

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 After the crew had hoisted it on board, they used the ropes2 to undergird the ship; and fearing that they would 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 appeared for many days, and no small storm continued to batter us, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

21 Now after the men had gone without food for a long 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, thereby incurring all this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, only of the ship. 23 For this very night an angel of the God whom 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.”

27 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 suspect that they were drawing near some 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 that we might run aground upon some coastal rocks, they threw out four anchors from the stern and prayed3 for day to come. 30 But in an attempt to escape from the ship, some of the sailors had 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 stay in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it fall4 away.

33 Now until the day began to dawn, Paul kept encouraging everyone to eat, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in constant suspense and gone without food, eating nothing at all. 34 Therefore I urge you to take some food, seeing that your deliverance depends upon it; for not a hair on the head of any of you is going to 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 them were greatly encouraged, and they themselves took some food. 37 (Now all of us in the ship were 276 souls.) 38 So when they had eaten their fill, they began lightening the ship by throwing the wheat5 into the sea.

Shipwrecked on Malta

39 When day came, they were unable to recognize the land; but they did spot a certain bay that had a beach; and they decided to run the ship up onto it if they could. 40 So they tossed away the anchors, letting them slip into the sea; and at the same time they untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for shore. 41 But striking a sandbar6 where the two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the bow stuck fast and remained unmoved, while the force of the waves began breaking up the stern.

42 Now the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners so that none of them would swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, desiring to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their purpose; and he commanded that those who were able swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and that the rest should follow, some on planks and some on various articles from7 the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

Notes

  1. I.e. a hurricane force wind blowing down from the northeast
  2. Or cables; lit. supports
  3. Or wished, longed
  4. Or drift
  5. Or grain
  6. Or reef; lit. place
  7. Or pieces of

 

Paul’s Ministry on Malta

28 When all of us had been brought safely ashore,1 we learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they built us a fire and welcomed us all, seeing that it had begun to rain and was cold. But when 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. Now when the islanders saw the deadly creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer; and though he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself has not allowed him to live!” 5 But Paul simply shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 The islanders themselves were expecting Paul to swell up or suddenly fall down dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual2 happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

Now in the area surrounding 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 showed us great hospitality for three days. But it happened that Publius’ father was laying sick with a fever and dysentery. So Paul went in to see him, and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. And once this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who were sick or infirm began coming to Paul and getting healed. 10 Also, the islanders bestowed many honors upon us; and when we were about to set sail, they furnished3 us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

11 So after three months we put out to sea in an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers4 for 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 travelled all the way7 to the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and took courage. 16 And once we had entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself along with the soldier who was guarding him.

Paul’s Ministry at Rome

17 Now after three days Paul called for the leading men among the Jews to come to him; and when they had gathered together, he said to them: “Men and brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or against the customs of our fathers, I was nevertheless taken from Jerusalem and handed over as a prisoner to the Romans. 18 When the Romans had completed their investigation, they wanted to release me, because in my manner of life8 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 So then, this is why I have called for you, that I might see you and speak with you—for I am shackled to this chain because of the hope of Israel.” 21 Then the Jews said to him, “We have not received any letters about you from Judea, nor have any of the brothers themselves come from there to report or speak anything ill about you. 22 But we do want to hear your thinking on these matters, for we know that people everywhere are speaking out against this sect.”

23 So when they had settled on a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodging in still greater numbers; and from early morning till evening he placed his message before them, solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God, and trying to convince them, both from the Law of Moses and the Prophets, concerning Jesus. 24 And some of them were persuaded by what Paul said, but others would not believe.9 25 And so, being at odds with one another, they began to depart—but not before10 Paul had spoken this one concluding word:

“Rightly did the Holy Spirit speak to your fathers through the prophet Isaiah, 26 saying:

‘Go to this people and say,
“With hearing you will hear, but never understand,
With seeing you will see, but never 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 should heal them.”’

28 “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation from God has been sent to the Gentiles; and what is more, they will hear it!”12, 13

30 Now Paul remained there for two full years, living in his own rented quarters; and he would welcome everyone who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God to them, and teaching them the truths14 that pertain to the Lord Jesus Christ, unhindered and with complete openness.

Notes

  1. Lit. And having been saved through
  2. Or harmful
  3. Or possibly put on board
  4. I.e. the gods of navigation, Castor and Pollux
  5. Lit. cast off; many mss read moved about, made a circuit
  6. Lit. the brothers from there
  7. Lit. until, as far as; a journey of 43 and 33 miles
  8. Lit. in me
  9. Or continued in unbelief; lit. were not believing
  10. Lit. after
  11. Lit. with ears they hear with difficulty
  12. Is. 6:9-10
  13. Some mss add verse 29: When he had said these things, the Jews departed, engaged in a great dispute among themselves.
  14. Lit. things