November 21 Reading – Acts 24-26
Acts 24 ASV
1 And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with certain elders, and with an orator, one Tertullus; and they informed the governor against Paul.
2 And when he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy much peace, and that by the providence evils are corrected for this nation,
3 we accept it in all ways and in all places, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.
4 But, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I entreat thee to hear us of thy clemency a few words.
5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
6 who moreover assayed to profane the temple: on whom also we laid hold: and we would have judged him according to our law.
7 But the chief captain Lysias came, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,
8 commanding his accusers to come before thee. from whom thou wilt be able, by examining him thyself, to take knowledge of all these things whereof we accuse him.
9 And the Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that these things were so.
10 And when the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, Paul answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I cheerfully make my defense:
11 Seeing that thou canst take knowledge that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem:
12 and neither in the temple did they find me disputing with any man or stirring up a crowd, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city.
13 Neither can they prove to thee the things whereof they now accuse me.
14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the Way which they call a sect, so serve I the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets;
15 having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust.
16 Herein I also exercise myself to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always.
17 Now after some years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings:
18 amidst which they found me purified in the temple, with no crowd, nor yet with tumult: but [there were] certain Jews from Asia–
19 who ought to have been here before thee, and to make accusation, if they had aught against me.
20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrong-doing they found when I stood before the council,
21 except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question before you this day.
22 But Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way, deferred them, saying, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will determine your matter.
23 And he gave order to the centurion that he should be kept in charge, and should have indulgence; and not to forbid any of his friends to minister unto him.
24 But after certain days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus.
25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, and self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, Go thy way for this time; and when I have a convenient season, I will call thee unto me.
26 He hoped withal that money would be given him of Paul: wherefore also he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
27 But when two years were fulfilled, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and desiring to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in bonds.
1 Festus therefore, having come into the province, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
2 And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they besought him,
3 asking a favor against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem; laying a plot to kill him on the way.
4 Howbeit Festus answered, that Paul was kept in charge at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to depart thither shortly.
5 Let them therefore, saith he, that are of power among you go down with me, and if there is anything amiss in the man, let them accuse him.
6 And when he had tarried among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and on the morrow he sat on the judgment-seat, and commanded Paul to be brought.
7 And when he was come, the Jews that had come down from Jerusalem stood round about him, bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove;
8 while Paul said in his defense, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all.
9 But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
10 But Paul said, I am standing before Caesar’s judgment-seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou also very well knowest.
11 If then I am a wrong-doer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die; but if none of those things is true whereof these accuse me, no man can give me up unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Thou hast appealed unto Caesar: unto Caesar shalt thou go.
13 Now when certain days were passed, Agrippa the King and Bernice arrived at Caesarea, and saluted Festus.
14 And as they tarried there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the King, saying, There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix;
15 about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed [me], asking for sentence against him.
16 To whom I answered, that it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man, before that the accused have the accusers face to face, and have had opportunity to make his defense concerning the matter laid against him.
17 When therefore they were come together here, I made no delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment-seat, and commanded the man to be brought.
18 Concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charge of such evil things as I supposed;
19 but had certain questions against him of their own religion, and of one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
20 And I, being perplexed how to inquire concerning these things, asked whether he would go to Jerusalem and there be judged of these matters.
21 But when Paul had appealed to be kept for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be kept till I should send him to Caesar.
22 And Agrippa [said] unto Festus, I also could wish to hear the man myself. To-morrow, saith he, thou shalt hear him.
23 So on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and they were entered into the place of hearing with the chief captains and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus Paul was brought in.
24 And Festus saith, King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us, ye behold this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews made suit to me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
25 But I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death: and as he himself appealed to the emperor I determined to send him.
26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I may have somewhat to write.
27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not withal to signify the charges against him.
1 And Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth his hand, and made his defence:
2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, that I am to make my defense before thee this day touching all the things whereof I am accused by the Jews:
3 especially because thou art expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
4 My manner of life then from my youth up, which was from the beginning among mine own nation and at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5 having knowledge of me from the first, if they be willing to testify, that after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
6 And now I stand here to be judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers;
7 unto which promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. And concerning this hope I am accused by the Jews, O king!
8 Why is it judged incredible with you, if God doth raise the dead?
9 I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 And this I also did in Jerusalem: and I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them.
11 And punishing them oftentimes in all the synagogues, I strove to make them blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto foreign cities.
12 Whereupon as I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests,
13 at midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them that journeyed with me.
14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying unto me in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the goad.
15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16 But arise, and stand upon thy feet: for to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a minister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me, and of the things wherein I will appear unto thee;
17 delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I send thee,
18 to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me.
19 Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
20 but declared both to them of Damascus first and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judaea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.
21 For this cause the Jews seized me in the temple, and assayed to kill me.
22 Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, I stand unto this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses did say should come;
23 how that the Christ must suffer, and how that he first by the resurrection of the dead should proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles.
24 And as he thus made his defense, Festus saith with a loud voice, Paul, thou art mad; thy much learning is turning thee mad.
25 But Paul saith, I am not mad, most excellent Festus; but speak forth words of truth and soberness.
26 For the king knoweth of these things, unto whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him; for this hath not been done in a corner.
27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28 And Agrippa said unto Paul, With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian.
29 And Paul said, I would to God, that whether with little or with much, not thou only, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these bonds.
30 And the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
31 and when they had withdrawn, they spake one to another, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
32 And Agrippa said unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.