Acts 26 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
Paul Makes His Defense Before King Agrippa
2 “Concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate that before you I am about to defend myself today, 3 because[d] you are especially acquainted with both all the customs and controversial questions with respect to the Jews. Therefore I beg you[e] to listen to me with patience.
4 “Now all the Jews know my manner of life from my youth, that had taken place from the beginning among my own people[f] and in Jerusalem, 5 having known me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that in accordance with the strictest party of our religion I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial on the basis of hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve him[g] night and day. Concerning this hope I am being accused by the Jews, O king! 8 Why is it thought incredible by you people[h] that God raises the dead? 9 Indeed, I myself thought it was necessary to do many things opposed to the name of Jesus the Nazarene, 10 which I also did in Jerusalem, and not only did I lock up many of the saints in prison, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when[i] they were being executed, I cast my vote[j] against them.[k] 11 And throughout all the synagogues I punished them often and[l] tried to force[m] them[n] to blaspheme, and because I[o] was enraged at them beyond measure, I was pursuing them[p] even as far as to foreign cities. 12 In this activity[q] I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and full power of the chief priests. 13 In the middle of the day along the road, O king, I saw a light from heaven, more than the brightness of the sun, shining around me and those who were traveling with me. 14 And when[r] we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Aramaic language, ‘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 get up and stand on your feet, because for this reason I have appeared to you, to appoint you a servant and witness both to the things in which you saw me and to the things in which I will appear to you, 17 rescuing you from the people and from the Gentiles to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but to those in Damascus first, and in Jerusalem and all the region of Judea and to the Gentiles, I proclaimed that they should repent and turn to God, doing deeds worthy of repentance. 21 On account of these things the Jews seized me in[s] the temple courts[t] and[u] were attempting to kill me.[v] 22 Therefore I have experienced help from God until this day, and[w] I stand here testifying to both small and great, saying nothing except what both the prophets and Moses have said were going to happen, 23 that the Christ[x] was to suffer and that as the first of the resurrection from the dead, he was going to proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles.”
24 And as[y] he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Your[z] great learning is driving[aa] you insane!”[ab] 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but am speaking words of truth and rationality. 26 For the king knows about these things, to whom also I am speaking freely, for I am not convinced that these things in any way have escaped[ac] his notice, because this was[ad] not done[ae] in a corner. 27 Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you believe.” 28 But Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian?”[af] 29 And Paul replied, “I pray to God, whether in a short time or in a long time, not only you but also all those who are listening to me today may become such people as I also am, except for these bonds!”
30 Both the king and the governor got up, and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And as they[ag] were going out, they were talking to one another, saying, “This man is not doing anything deserving death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Acts 26 New International Version (NIV)
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”
25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”
32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”