1“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”
2When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: 3“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,
5as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. 6“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.
7I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me,
8“ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “
9My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
10“ ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “
11My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me. 12“A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.
13He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him. 14“Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.
18and saw the Lord speaking to me.
20And when the blood of your martyr
21“Then the Lord said to me,
Paul the Roman Citizen 22The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” 23As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this.
25As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
26When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
27The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I am,” he answered.
28Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
29Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains. Paul Before the Sanhedrin 30The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.