1:1Theophilus, the first account I made covered virtually everything that Jesus did and taught,1:2right up to the day he was taken up. He was instructing the Ambassadors he had chosen through the Holy Spirit.1:3These are the ones to whom he presented himself alive after his suffering, with much indisputable evidence. They saw him at various times over a period of forty days, during which he told them things about the kingdom of God.
1:4Having brought them together he told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem; wait for what you heard me tell you that the Father promised.1:5Though John immersed people in water, before long you will be immersed in the Holy Spirit.”
1:6Those that got together with him asked, “Master, is now the time for you to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
1:7But he replied, “It is not for you to know the times or exact conditions the Father has set up by his own jurisdiction.11:8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. Then you will be my witnesses, not only in Jerusalem but also throughout Judea and Samaria— to the very ends of the earth.”
1:9Having said this, he was lifted up before their eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.1:10As they stared intently at the sky, suddenly two men in white clothing appeared beside them.1:11And they said, “You Galileans there! Why are you just standing here gazing into the sky? This very same Jesus who was lifted up from you into heaven will return the very same way you watched him go.”
1:12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about a mile away.21:13When they arrived they went into the upper room3 where these people were meeting: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alpheus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.1:14They were all persisting in unified prayer, along with the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ siblings.
1:15It was in those days that Peter stood up among the sisters and brothers (including a crowd that brought the total number to about a hundred and twenty)1:16and addressed them: “All of you, brothers and sisters: The scripture must be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke via David about Judas. He was the one who led those who arrested Jesus,1:17though he was counted as one of us and happened to be part of our assignment.”
1:18(He paid the price for a field with the wages he earned from his treachery. He fell head-first there, splitting open his body and splattering his guts.1:19Everyone in Jerusalem heard about it, so the place became known in the vernacular as “Acheldamach,” meaning “Field of Blood.”)4
1:20“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his living quarters be deserted; let no one live there!’, and, ‘Let his responsibility pass to someone else!’1:21So we must select his replacement from among the men who were with us the whole time Master Jesus walked among us,1:22starting from the immersion of John till the day Jesus was taken from us. One of them is to become a witness along with us of his resurrection.”
1:23So they nominated two: Joseph (also known as Barsabbas and Justus) and Matthias.1:24They prayed, “You, Master, the one who knows everyone’s heart, show us which of these two you have chosen,1:25to take this place of service and commission Judas violated to go where he belongs.”1:26They flipped a coin5 and the choice went to Matthias, so he was considered a member with the eleven Ambassadors.
2:1Now on the day of the Feast of Pentecost they were all in one place.2:2Suddenly from heaven came a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it completely filled the house where they were sitting.2:3What looked like tongues of fire split up and settled on each one of them,2:4and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. So they began to speak in different languages as the Spirit caused them to speak.
2:5Now there were Judeans staying in Jerusalem, godly folk from nations all over the region.2:6When they heard the sound, a huge crowd gathered. But they were confused, because each one heard them speaking in their own language.
2:7They were beside themselves and wondered aloud, “Look! Aren’t these who are speaking all Galileans?2:8So how are we hearing this in our native-born languages?2:9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia,2:10Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, repatriated Romans2:11(both Judeans and proselytes), Cretans, Arabs… we are hearing them speak the majestic things of God in our languages!”
2:12Still beside themselves, they were all baffled and said to each other, “What does this mean?”2:13But others sneered and said, “They’re just drunk on sweet wine!”
2:14Now Peter, standing with the Eleven, was inspired to speak up: “Judeans and all residents of Jerusalem, know this, and take heed to my words!2:15Of course these people are not drunk, as you presume; it’s still morning!2:16Rather, this is what the prophet Joel was inspired to predict:2:17
“ ‘And it will happen in the last days,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh: your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your youths will have visions, and your elders will have dreams.2:18In fact, even on my male and female slaves I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.2:19And I will give omens in the sky above, signs on the earth below: blood and fire and plumes of smoke.2:20The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the majestic appearing of the Master.2:21And it will come to pass that everyone who invokes the name of the Master will be saved.’”
2:22“People of Israel, hear these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a man proven to you to be from God by the powerful deeds, miracles, and signs God performed through him among you, as you well know.2:23In accordance with the deliberate plan and foresight of God, he was handed over to you, who convinced lawless people to crucify him.
2:24“But God raised him up, breaking the bonds of death that couldn’t possibly hold him.2:25David says about him,
“I always saw the Master before me, seeing that he is at my right hand, so I will not be shaken.2:26Therefore my heart was made glad and my tongue rejoiced, yet my flesh will pitch its tent on hope.2:27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades.6 Nor will you allow your Pure One to make the acquaintance of Decay2:28but rather the paths of Life; you will fill me with the joy of your presence.”
2:29“Brothers and sisters, let me speak bluntly to you regarding the patriarch David: he died and was buried, and his grave is still here today.2:30But he was in fact a prophet, and he knew that God swore an oath to him that one of his descendants would sit on his throne.2:31He foresaw this and spoke about the resurrection of the Anointed, who was not abandoned in Hades, nor did his flesh experience decay.2:32This is Jesus whom God raised, of which we are all witnesses.
2:33“So with him being exalted to the right hand of God, as well as obtaining the promised Holy Spirit from the Father, he poured out what you now see and hear.2:34For David did not ascend into heaven but said, ‘the Master said to my Master, “Sit to my right2:35until I make your enemies your footrest.”’2:36So let the whole house of Israel know for sure that God made him Master as well as the Anointed— this Jesus you crucified!”
2:37Upon hearing this, they were cut to the heart. So they said to Peter and the rest of the Ambassadors, “Sisters and brothers, what are we to do?”
2:38Peter answered, “Change your minds, each of you, and be immersed in the name of Jesus the Anointed for the pardon of your failures. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.2:39This promise is to you and your children, and to those far away— to whomever the Master our God invites.”2:40And with many more words he implored and encouraged them, saying “Be saved from this crooked generation!”
2:41Those who affirmed and accepted what he said were immersed, and about three thousand souls were added that day.2:42They continued in the Ambassadors’ teachings, in the partnership of sharing meals, and in prayers.2:43Fear came upon everyone as the ambassadors performed many miracles and signs.
2:44Now all those who believed stayed close to each other and shared everything.2:45They sold their possessions and properties and disbursed the proceeds to others according to their needs.72:46They continued in unity day after day in the temple, and from home to home sharing meals with one joyful heart,2:47praising God. They were favorable toward everyone, and the Master added more each day to the number being saved in that place.
3:1Now Peter and John went up into the temple compound at the prayer hour, in mid-afternoon.3:2And there was a certain man who had been born lame, who was placed each day near the temple compound door called Beautiful, to beg from those who entered.3:3When he spotted Peter and John as they were about to enter, he asked them for money.
3:4But Peter (with John) looked intently at him and said, “Look at us!”3:5So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something.3:6Instead, Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but I will give you what I do have: in the name of Jesus the Anointed from Nazareth, get up and walk!”3:7Then Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. Instantly his feet and ankle bones were made stable,3:8and he jumped up, stood, and walked.
He entered the temple compound with them, walking and jumping and praising God,3:9and all the people saw him do this.3:10They recognized him as the one who sat begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple compound, and they were filled with shock and amazement at what had happened to him.3:11As he clung to Peter and John, the whole crowd ran to them at Solomon’s Portico, utterly shocked.
3:12Seeing this, Peter spoke to the people: “People of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Why are you staring at us as though we made him walk by our own power or godliness?3:13The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob— the God of our ancestors— honored his child Jesus. You actually gave him up and disowned him in front of Pilate, who wanted to release him!3:14You disowned the Holy and Just One, and as a favor you asked for a murderer to be granted to you.3:15You killed the originator of life, whom God raised from the dead; we are witnesses of this.
3:16“It is by faith in his Name that this person— the one you’re looking at, the one you saw made strong— his Name and the faith that is through him is how this one has been completely healed before your eyes.3:17Now sisters and brothers, I know that you committed this in ignorance, as also your rulers did.3:18Yet it is by the suffering of his Anointed that he fulfilled what God promised ahead of time through all the prophets.
3:19“So change your minds and turn around! Then your failures can be erased and times of refreshing can come from the presence of the Master,3:20so that he may dispatch the One already chosen for you: Anointed Jesus.3:21Heaven must hold him in expectation until the time comes to restore everything, which God spoke long ago through his holy prophets.
3:22“In fact, Moses said that ‘The Master your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers and sisters. You must listen to everything he tells you.3:23But whoever does not listen to that prophet must be completely wiped out from among the people’.3:24Likewise, all the prophets from Samuel forward announced these days.
3:25“You are the offspring of the prophets and of the unilateral contract God ratified with your ancestors, as he said to Abraham: ‘And in your descendants all the tribes of the earth will be blessed’.3:26It was to you first that God, raising his child, commissioned him to bless you by turning each of you away from your evil ways.”
4:1Now as they spoke to the people, they were opposed by the priests, the magistrate of the temple compound, and the Sadducees.4:2They were disturbed about what they were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.4:3So they seized them and put them into custody overnight, since it was already dusk.4:4Many of those who heard what was said believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
4:5The next morning, the rulers, elders, and scripture scholars convened a meeting in Jerusalem.4:6In attendance were Annas the ruling priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and whoever else was part of the ruling priest’s family.4:7They had Peter and John stand in front of them to be interrogated: “By what power or in what name do you do this?”
4:8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke to them: “Rulers of the people, and elders!4:9If we are on trial today because of an act of kindness to a crippled person, and by what means he was restored to health,4:10then let it be known to you and to all the people of Israel: it was in the name of Jesus the Anointed from Nazareth, the one you crucified and whom God raised from the dead— it was in this name that this one stands before you healed.4:11Jesus is ‘the stone that the builders discarded but which has become the cornerstone’.84:12And there is no restoration from anyone else; there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
4:13They were surprised by the boldness of Peter and John, since they considered them to be uneducated peasants, but they noted that they had been with Jesus.4:14Yet they could not deny that the person who had been healed was standing right there.4:15So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin while they discussed their strategy:4:16“What can we do to these people? We cannot deny that a miracle was performed through them, and everyone in Jerusalem knows it.4:17But we must prevent this from spreading any more among the people, so we will threaten them that they must not speak any longer about this name to anyone.”
4:18So they called them back in and ordered them sternly to proclaim nothing and teach nothing concerning the name of Jesus.4:19But Peter and John retorted, “Judge for yourselves whether the right thing to do before God is to listen to you rather than to him!4:20We cannot help speaking about what we saw and heard.”
4:21The ones who were threatening them released them. They couldn’t devise a way to punish them since all the people were honoring God for what had happened,4:22and the person who received the miracle of healing was over forty years old.
4:23After their release they returned to their own people and reported what the ruling priests and elders had said to them.4:24Those who heard this lifted up their voices in unity to God and said, “Sovereign One— you who made the heaven, earth, sea, and all they contain—4:25you said by your Holy Spirit through the mouth of our ancestor David, your servant, ‘Why do the nations snarl, and why do the peoples mutter empty rhetoric?4:26The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers gathered in one place, against the Master and against his Anointed’.
4:27“Herod and Pontius Pilate actually conspired in this city against your holy child Jesus, whom you anointed. They joined with both the non-Judeans and people of Israel,4:28to do whatever your might and counsel had already decreed to happen.4:29So now, Master, take note of their threats and grant that your slaves will speak your word boldly.4:30Stretch out your hand so that healings and great miracles occur through the name of your dear holy child Jesus.”
4:31As they asked this, the place where they were gathered was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with great boldness.
4:32Now the whole believing community was one in heart and soul; not one of them said their possessions were their own but shared everything.94:33And with great power the Ambassadors retold what they witnessed of the resurrection of Master Jesus. Much favor was upon them all,4:34and there was not one needy person among them, because whoever owned land or houses sold them4:35and placed the proceeds at the Ambassadors’ feet. Then the money was distributed to each according to their needs.
4:36Take Joseph for example (the Ambassadors called him Barnabas, which means Consoling); he was a Levite and a native of Cyprus.4:37He sold a field that belonged to him, then took the proceeds and placed them at the Ambassadors’ feet.5:1Now there was a certain man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira who sold some property as well.5:2But they both conspired to present only part of the proceeds as if it were the whole amount.
5:3Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has filled your heart to the point that you lied to the Holy Spirit and kept back part of the money you got for selling your land?5:4Wasn’t the land yours to dispose of in whatever way you chose? Why did you entertain such a notion? You have not lied to people but to God!”5:5And as Ananias heard these words, he dropped dead. Then great fear came upon all who heard about this.5:6The young men came in, wrapped his body, and buried him.
5:7It just so happened that about three hours later his wife came in, unaware of what had happened.5:8So Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the full price you got for your land?”And she answered, “Yes, that is the amount.”
5:9Then Peter confronted her, “Why is it that you conspired to test the Spirit of the Master? Look! The feet of those who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out too!”
5:10Instantly she fell at his feet and died. When the young men came in and saw that she too was dead, they carried her out and buried her with her husband.5:11And so great fear came upon the whole Congregation and on all who heard about these events.
5:12The Ambassadors performed other signs and miracles among the people. They were in the habit of meeting in Solomon’s Portico,5:13but others didn’t dare to meet with them, though they held them in high esteem.5:14But the number of men and women putting trust in the Master multiplied.5:15It got to the point where people carried the infirm into the city squares and placed them on cots and mats, in the hope that Peter’s shadow would fall upon them as he went by.5:16A huge crowd came from the cities around Jerusalem, bringing the infirm and the demon-possessed, and they were all cured.
5:17Now the ruling priest and his allies among the Sadducees were filled with envy,5:18so they went and seized the Ambassadors, placing them under arrest.5:19But a Messenger of the Master came during the night. Opening the jail doors and leading them out,5:20he said, “Go, stand in the temple compound and speak to the people all about this life.”5:21Upon hearing this, they entered the temple compound early in the morning and taught.
Then the ruling priest and his allies got together and convened the Sanhedrin, including all the elders of Israel, and summoned for the prisoners to be brought before them.5:22But the deputies went out and could not find them in the jail.5:23So they returned and reported, “We found the prison locked securely and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them there was no one inside.”
5:24This report perplexed the officer of the temple compound and the ruling priests, who wondered what would come of all this.5:25Then someone else came along and told them, “Look! The men you had put in jail are standing in the temple compound and teaching the people!”5:26So the commander and the deputies came forward and escorted them away, but they didn’t use force because they were afraid that the people would stone them.
5:27So they brought them to stand in front of the Sanhedrin, and the ruling priest demanded,5:28“Didn’t we order you in no uncertain terms to stop teaching in this Name? But look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to lay the guilt of this man’s blood upon our heads!”
5:29But Peter and the Ambassadors replied, “We must obey God rather than people!5:30It was the God of our ancestors who raised Jesus, whom you seized and hung on a cross.5:31God exalted him to be Ruler and Savior at his right hand, to bring Israel to a change of mind so their failures can be pardoned.5:32We are witnesses to these declarations, along with the Holy Spirit that God gives to those who obey him.”
5:33Those who heard this were furious and wanted to execute them.5:34But a certain Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel stood up before the Sanhedrin; he was a teacher of the law who had the respect and honor of everyone. He had the accused dismissed temporarily while he addressed the group.
5:35And he said, “People of Israel, stop and think about what you intend to do with these people.5:36Some time ago Theudas rose up and claimed to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. But when he was killed, all those he had won to his cause were disbanded, and it came to nothing.5:37After that it was Judas of Galilee, in the days of the census. He drew people to himself, was killed, and then his followers were scattered.5:38So I tell you this: leave these people alone and let them be. For if this plan or effort is of human origin it will be destroyed,5:39but if it is of God, you will not be able to destroy them; in fact, you’d be opposing God.”
5:40His speech persuaded them. So they called in the Ambassadors, had them beaten, and ordered them to speak no more in the name of Jesus. Then they released them.5:41But the Ambassadors exited the Sanhedrin celebrating the fact that they were deemed worthy to be despised for the sake of the Name.5:42Day after day, in the temple compound and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and bringing the Gospel of Anointed Jesus.
6:1In those days when the number of disciples was multiplying, the Greeks began to complain to the Hebrews that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food distribution.6:2So The Twelve called everyone together for a meeting and said, “We do not want to neglect the Word of God in order to wait tables.6:3So, brothers and sisters, pick out seven respected men from among you, who are full of the Spirit and wisdom, for us to put in charge of this problem.6:4Then we can concentrate on prayer and dispensing the Word.”10
6:5This solution pleased the whole crowd, so they chose Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Prochoros, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas (a proselyte from Antioch).6:6They presented themselves to the Ambassadors, who prayed and dedicated them.6:7So the Word of God spread out, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem multiplied tremendously, including a sizable number of priests who heeded the faith.
6:8Now Stephen, full of favor and power, performed great miracles and signs among the people.6:9And then came some members of the Freed Collective, with residents of Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia and the province of Asia, debating with Stephen.6:10But they could not refute the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke.6:11So they planted some men in the crowd to say, “We have heard him speaking irreverent things against Moses and God!”
6:12They stirred up the people, along with the elders and scripture scholars who were standing nearby, and they seized him and took him to the Sanhedrin.6:13They also had false witnesses testify, “This person never stops speaking out against this holy place and the law.6:14For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”6:15And those seated in the Sanhedrin kept staring at him, because they saw that his face looked like the face of a Messenger.
7:1The ruling priest said, “How do you plead to these charges?”
7:2Stephen began his sworn testimony: “Folks, fellow believers, ancestors, hear me! The God of Majesty appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia before he settled in Haran.7:3And he told him, ‘Leave your land, your people, and your relatives, and move to the land I will show to you.’7:4So he left the land of the Chaldeans and moved to Haran. After his father died, God moved him to this land in which you are now settled.
7:5“But he did not give him any inheritance to enjoy, not even a place to set his foot. Yet he promised to give it to him later, to his descendants, though as yet he did not have a child.7:6He added that his descendants would be wanderers in a foreign land, where they would be enslaved and abused for four hundred years.7:7‘And the nation enslaving them will be judged,’ God said, ‘and afterwards the enslaved will leave there and offer divine service to me in this place.’
7:8“He gave him the unilateral contract of circumcision, and then Abraham fathered Isaac, whom he circumcised on the eighth day. Then Isaac fathered Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs.7:9But the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him;7:10he got him out of all his ordeals and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh (king of Egypt). Pharaoh made him governor over all of Egypt including his own household.
7:11“Now a famine came upon all of Egypt and Canaan; it was severe and our ancestors could find no provisions.7:12Then Jacob heard that there were stores of grain in Egypt, so he dispatched our ancestors the first time.7:13At the second time, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, which also revealed his nationality to Pharaoh.7:14So Joseph dispatched them to invite his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five people in all.7:15Jacob then went down to Egypt, where eventually he and our ancestors died.7:16They were transferred to Shechem and buried in the tomb Abraham purchased for a certain amount of silver from the tribe of Hamor there.
7:17“Now as the time drew near to fulfill the promise God had made to Abraham, the population multiplied in Egypt.7:18But then a different king came to power in Egypt, one who knew nothing of Joseph.7:19This one dealt treacherously with our ancestors and oppressed them, forcing them to let their babies die of exposure.7:20It was then that Moses was born (a divinely gifted child), and he stayed in his parents’ home for three months.7:21But when he was left to exposure, Pharaoh’s daughter took him in and raised him as her own son.7:22So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was accomplished in word and deed.
7:23“Now as he approached his forties, he decided to visit his people, the people of Israel.7:24He saw someone being mistreated and came to that person’s aid, avenging them by killing the Egyptian.7:25He presumed that his fellow Hebrews understood that God would rescue them through him, but they did not understand this.
7:26“The next day he saw two of them fighting, and he tried to make peace between them: ‘You men are of the same nation, so why are you hurting each other?’7:27But the one who was hurting the other pushed Moses away and retorted, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?7:28I suppose you intend to kill me just as you did to that Egyptian yesterday!’7:29Hearing this, Moses ran away and became a foreigner in the land of Midan, where he fathered two sons.
7:30“Forty years later, he saw a Messenger in the wilderness of mount Sinai, in the flame of a thorn bush fire.7:31As Moses studied it he was puzzled at the sight. But as he approached to examine it he heard the voice of the Master:7:32‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses began to shake and didn’t dare to examine it further.7:33Then the Master said to him, ‘Untie your sandals and remove them from your feet, for the place upon which you are standing is holy ground.7:34I have indeed seen the abuse of my people in Egypt; I heard their groaning and have come down to free them. So now, come here so I can send you back to Egypt.’
7:35“This is the Moses they had disowned by saying, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?’ This is the one God commissioned, via the Messenger he saw in the thorn bush, to be a ruler as well as a redeemer and judge.7:36He led them out, performing miracles and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea, and also in the wilderness for forty years.7:37This is the Moses who told the people of Israel, ‘God will raise up a prophet like me from among you.‘
7:38“This is the one who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the Messenger, who spoke to him and our ancestors at Mount Sinai; he is the one who received the living oracles to give to you.7:39But our ancestors were unwilling to listen, so they pushed him away and returned to Egypt in their hearts.7:40They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go ahead of us, because we don’t know what has become of this Moses who led us out of Egypt.’7:41So they made a calf in those days, and they sacrificed to the idol, happy with the thing they had made with their hands.
7:42“So God turned away and gave them over to offer divine service to the stars of the sky. As it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘House of Israel, was it to me that you offered slaughtered animals and sacrifices for forty years in the wilderness?7:43No, you pitched the tent of Molech and the constellation of your god Raiphan, of whom you made idols to worship. So I will exile you far beyond Babylon.’7:44Our ancestors had the Ark of the Testimony in the wilderness, which the One who spoke to Moses had him make according to the model he was shown.7:45Afterwards, our ancestors, with Joshua, carried it as they took possession of the lands of the nations God drove out before them.
“This continued till the time of David,7:46who was favored by God. He asked permission to build a dwelling place for the God of Jacob,7:47but it was Solomon who built it for him.7:48Yet the Most High does not live in what human hands build, as the prophet says:7:49‘Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footrest. What kind of house can you build for me?’, the Master says, ‘Or where do I stop to rest?7:50Is it not my hand that did all of this?’
7:51“You stiff-necked heathen!11 You continually oppose the Holy Spirit, just like your ancestors!7:52Name a prophet they didn’t persecute! They even killed those who predicted the arrival of the Just One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered—7:53you who received the law mandated by Messengers but failed to protect!”
7:54Upon hearing this, they were furious and ground their teeth at him.7:55But filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, he looked intently into heaven and saw the majesty of God, with Jesus standing at God’s right.7:56He exclaimed, “Look! I see the heavens opened up and the Human Being standing at God’s right!”
7:57Then, shouting loudly and covering their ears, they all rushed at him at once.7:58They threw him outside of the city and pelted him with rocks, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.7:59So they pelted Stephen with stones as he was calling on Jesus and saying, “Master Jesus, receive my spirit.”7:60He fell to his knees and shouted, “Master, don’t charge them with this sin!” Upon saying this, he passed away.
8:1Now Saul endorsed his execution. A great persecution against the Congregation in Jerusalem began in that day, and they were all (except the Ambassadors) scattered throughout the districts of Judea and Samaria.8:2Conscientious men carried Stephen away for burial, and they mourned deeply for him.8:3Saul, however, wreaked havoc on the Congregation, going into homes and dragging out both men and women to be jailed.
8:4As a result, those who were scattered went everywhere spreading the Word, the Gospel.8:5One was Philip, who went down into the city of Samaria to proclaim the Anointed to them.8:6The crowd was united in heeding the things they heard Philip say, and the miracles they saw him perform.8:7Many unclean spirits came out of those they had possessed, shrieking as they left; many who were paralyzed or lame were cured.8:8So great joy came upon that city.
8:9There was a certain man named Simon in the city, a practitioner of magic arts who was amazing the whole nation of Samaria. He claimed to be someone great,8:10and all of them, from peasant to prince, listened to him and said, “This one is the divine Great Power.”8:11They listened to him because of how long he’d been amazing them with magic arts.8:12But when Philip brought the Gospel of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus the Anointed, both men and women were immersed.8:13Even Simon believed and was immersed, and he stayed with Philip, watching with amazement the miracles and very powerful deeds being performed.
8:14Now the Ambassadors in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the Word of God, and they sent Peter and John to them.8:15They went down and prayed about them so that they could receive the Holy Spirit,8:16because to that point it had not come upon any of them since they had only been immersed in the name of Master Jesus.8:17Then they placed their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
8:18But when Simon saw that the Spirit was given by means of laying hands on people, he offered them money.8:19He said, “Give me this authority too, so that whoever I place my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.”
8:20But Peter told him, “May your money be destroyed along with you, because you thought you could purchase the gift of God!8:21You have no share or stake in this matter, since your heart is not right with God.8:22Change your mind, then, about this malice of yours. Pray to the Master and beg him to forgive you for this evil intent,8:23for I perceive that you are poisoned with bitterness and bound by injustice.”8:24So Simon responded, “Plead to the Master for my sake, so that nothing you said will come upon me.”
8:25So then, those that had validated and spoken the word of the Master returned to Jerusalem, and along the way they brought the Gospel to many Samaritan villages.8:26Then a Messenger of the Master spoke to Philip: “Get up and go at noon to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert road.”
8:27So Philip got up and went, and he saw a man who was an Ethiopian high official.12 He had considerable power under the Kandake (queen) of Ethiopia as chief finance officer. He had come to worship in Jerusalem,8:28and as he sat in his chariot on the return trip, he was reading words of the prophet Isaiah.
8:29Now the Spirit said to Philip, “Approach this chariot and stay with it.”8:30So Philip ran toward it and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Are you sure you comprehend what you’re reading?”
8:31“How could I, unless someone guides me?”, he replied. Then he invited Philip to step up and sit with him.
8:32The place of scripture he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to slaughter; like a lamb being sheered he made no sound, he did not open his mouth.8:33In his humble state, justice was denied, and who will tell the story of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
8:34Then the official asked Philip another question: “Please tell me who the prophet is talking about here, himself or someone else?8:35” So Philip began with that passage to explain the Gospel about Jesus.
8:36Now as they went along the road, they came to some water, and the official said, “Is there any reason I cannot be immersed?”8:378:38So he ordered the chariot to stop, and both he and Philip went down into the water, where Philip immersed him.8:39As they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Master snatched Philip away! The official never saw him again, but went on his way full of joy.8:40Philip, meanwhile, found himself at Azotus. So as he passed through, he brought the Gospel to all the cities up to Caesarea.
9:1Now Saul, continuing to breathe out murderous threats against the disciples of the Master, approached the ruling priest9:2to request letters to the synagogues in Damascus. He wanted permission to take any who were of The Way, whether men or women, as prisoners to Jerusalem.
9:3As he traveled and came close to Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.9:4Dropping to the ground, he heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you hounding me?”
9:5He replied, “Who are you, Master?”
“I am Jesus,” the voice replied, “the one you are chasing down!9:6But go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
9:7The men who were traveling with him stood there speechless; they heard the sound but saw no one.9:8Then Saul got up from the ground but he could see nothing at all when he opened his eyes. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus.9:9For three days he was blind, and he did not eat or drink anything.
9:10Now there was a certain disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Master called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”“Here I am, Master,” he replied.
9:11And the Master said, “Get up and go to Straight Street, and look for the house of Judas where there is someone from Tarsus named Saul, who is praying.9:12He has seen a vision of a man named Ananias coming to place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
9:13But Ananias objected, “Master, I’ve heard about him from many people, about the terrible things he did to your holy ones in Jerusalem.9:14And now he has jurisdiction from the ruling priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
9:15But the Master replied, “Go! For he is the instrument I have chosen to carry my name before nations and kings, as well as the people of Israel.9:16And I will tell him exactly how much he will suffer for my name’s sake.”
9:17So Ananias went away, and when he entered the house he placed his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Master Jesus whom you saw on your way here, has commissioned me so that you can receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”9:18And immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again! So he got up and was immersed.9:19He took nourishment and was strengthened, and he stayed with the disciples in Damascus for several days.
9:20Then Paul abruptly went into the synagogues to proclaim that Jesus is the God-Man.9:21This amazed everyone who heard it, because they said, “Isn’t this the one who wreaked havoc in Jerusalem on all who called upon this name? Didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them to the ruling priests?”
9:22But Saul became more and more powerful, throwing the Judeans living in Damascus into turmoil by arguing that this One is the Anointed.9:23And after this had continued for a long time, the Judeans conspired to assassinate him,9:24but Saul found out about their plot. They monitored the city gates day and night for the chance to kill him.9:25But one night the disciples lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
9:26Now when he came to Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples there. But they were afraid of him and didn’t believe he was a disciple like them.9:27So Barnabas vouched for him, telling the Ambassadors how he met the Master on the road, how the Master spoke to him, and how in Damascus he was speaking boldly in the name of Jesus.
9:28He continued to speak boldly in the name of Jesus,9:29debating the Greek-speaking Judeans,13 yet they conspired to assassinate him.9:30But the believers found out about it and took him to Caesarea, then sent him on his way to Tarsus.9:31So then the Congregation throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace. They were encouraged and continued in the fear of the Master, and their numbers multiplied with the help of the Holy Spirit.
9:32Now it happened that Peter, traveling about, came down to the holy ones living in Lydda.9:33There he found a certain paralyzed person called Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years.9:34So Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Anointed heals you! Get up and take care of your bed!” Immediately he got up,9:35and the news about this caused everyone living in Lydda and Saron to turn to the Master.
9:36Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (translated as Dorcas). She was always doing good deeds and charitable work.9:37And in those days it happened that she became ill and died. So they bathed her and placed her in an upper room.
9:38Now Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples heard that Peter was there. So they sent two men to him to say, “Hurry and come to us!”9:39Then Peter went with them, and they led him to the upper room, where all the widows were crying and displaying the tunics and other clothing Dorcas had made for them.
9:40Peter had them all leave the room. He knelt down to pray, and turning toward the body he said, “Tabitha, arise!” And she opened her eyes, looked at Peter, and sat up!9:41So Peter took her by the hand and helped her up. Then he summoned the holy ones and widows and presented her to them alive.9:42This event became known throughout all of Joppa, and many put their trust in the Master.9:43Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon.
10:1Now there was a certain man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a Roman army captain of the Italian Division.10:2He and his household feared God and performed many acts of charity to people, praying to God continually.10:3One afternoon he had a vision and clearly saw a Messenger of God coming to him and saying, “Cornelius!”10:4He stared at him in fright and said, “What is it, sir?”
“Your prayers and charitable acts have been noted and recorded by God,” the Messenger answered.10:5“Now send men to Joppa and have them ask for someone named Simon, who is also called Peter.10:6He is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.”
10:7When the Messenger who had spoken to him departed, he summoned two of his house servants and a devout soldier who was in his service.10:8He told them all about this and sent them off to Joppa.
10:9The next day, as they were approaching the city, Peter went up onto the housetop around mid-day to pray.10:10He became very hungry and wanted something to eat. But while the food was being prepared, he fell into a trance.10:11He saw heaven open, and descending from it was a container like a large sheet being lowered to the ground by its four corners.1410:12In it were all kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles of the earth and birds of the sky.
10:13Then he heard a voice: “Get up, Peter! Slaughter and eat!”
10:14“Absolutely not, Master!” Peter objected, “For I never ate anything lowly or unclean!”
10:15He heard the voice again: “What God has cleansed, do not call ‘contaminated’.”
10:16This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken up to heaven.
10:17Now while Peter was completely baffled about the meaning of the vision he had seen, suddenly the men who had been sent to him by Cornelius had asked the way to the house of Simon and were standing at the door.10:18They inquired as to whether Simon, who was also known as Peter, was staying in that place.10:19As Peter continued to be engrossed in the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Look! Three men are looking for you.10:20Now get up and go with them, without prejudice, for I have sent them.”
10:21So Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you’re looking for. Why are you here?”
10:22They replied, “Cornelius, a Roman army captain and a God-fearing, righteous man with a good reputation among the whole Judaic nation, was told by a holy Messenger to have you come to his house, so he could hear what you have to proclaim.”
10:23He invited them in for the night. Early the next day he went with them, accompanied by some of the fellow believers from Joppa.10:24The day after that he entered Caesarea, where Cornelius was waiting with the relatives and close friends he had gathered there.10:25As Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet to worship.10:26But Peter lifted him up and said, “Get up! I am only human!”
10:27He spoke to him briefly and went inside, where he found a large gathering.10:28So Peter said to them, “You know very well that it is illegal for a Judean to associate or join with another nationality. But God showed me that I must not call anyone contaminated or unclean.10:29For that reason I came without prejudice when I was sent for. So now I need to know why you sent for me.”
10:30Cornelius explained: “Four days ago at about this time, in the middle of the afternoon, I was fasting and praying in my house. Suddenly a man was standing in front of me, dressed in radiant clothing.10:31He said, ‘Cornelius! Your prayer has been heard and your charitable deeds have been noted and recorded before God.10:32So send people to Joppa to call for Simon who is known as Peter. He is staying at the house of a tanner named Simon, by the sea.’10:33I sent them to you right away, and you were good enough to come. So now, here we all are before God to hear everything you were ordered by the Master to say.”
10:34Then Peter began to speak: “Now I truly understand that God is impartial.10:35Regardless of the nation, it is the one who fears him and acts righteously that he accepts.
10:36“You are well aware of the word he sent to the people of Israel, bringing the Gospel of peace through Jesus the Anointed, who is Master of all.10:37You are aware of what happened throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the immersion proclaimed by John.10:38Jesus of Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power, went around helping and healing all who were victimized by the Adversary, for God was with him.
10:39“And we are witnesses of everything he did, throughout Judea and especially in Jerusalem, where they put him to death by crucifixion.10:40But God raised this One on the third day and allowed him to be seen—10:41not by all the people but by us, who were selected as witnesses beforehand by God, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.10:42And he made us responsible for proclaiming to the people that we vouch for this One who was singled out by God to judge the living and the dead.10:43The prophets all testify about this One, and everyone who puts their trust in him will receive pardon for their failures through his name.”
10:44While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the message.10:45Seeing that the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the non-Judeans amazed the Judean believers who had accompanied Peter,10:46for they heard them speaking in supernatural languages and praising God.
Then Peter responded:10:47“Can anyone prevent these people from being immersed in water, since they received the Holy Spirit just as we did?”10:48So he had them immersed in the name of Jesus the Anointed. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
11:1Now the Ambassadors and other believers who were in Judea heard that the non-Judeans also received the Word of God.11:2But when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the Judeans confronted him11:3and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
11:4So Peter gave them the order of events:11:5“I was praying in the city of Joppa, when I fell into a trance. I saw a vision of a container made of a large sheet held by its four corners coming down to me from heaven.11:6I examined it closely and saw the four-footed animals of the earth, the wild animals, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.11:7Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter! Slaughter and eat!’
11:8“But I objected, ‘Absolutely not, Master! Nothing contaminated or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’11:9Yet the voice from heaven responded a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, do not call contaminated!’11:10This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven.
11:11“Suddenly there were three men waiting at the house where we were, having been sent to me from Caesarea.11:12Then the Spirit told me to go along with them without prejudice. These six fellow believers also came with me, and we entered the man’s house.11:13He reported to us how he saw the Messenger standing in his house and saying, ‘Send people to Joppa to ask for Simon who is also called Peter.11:14He will proclaim to you how you can be saved— you and your entire household.’
11:15“But as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as it did on us at the beginning.11:16And then I remembered what the Master declared when he said, ‘John did indeed immerse you in water, but you will be immersed in the Holy Spirit’.11:17So since God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we put our trust in Master Jesus the Anointed, who was I to get in God’s way?”
11:18Upon hearing all this, they calmed down and praised God: “So it is, that God has also granted the non-Judeans the option to change their minds toward life!”
11:19Now it happened that those who had been scattered, due to the persecution that began over Stephen, went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. But they had only spoken the Word to Judeans.11:20However, some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene who went into Antioch and spoke to the Greeks as well, telling them the Gospel about Master Jesus.11:21The power of the Master was with them, and as a result a great number who believed turned toward the Master.
11:22This report reached the Congregation in Jerusalem, so they dispatched Barnabas to Antioch.11:23Arriving there, he saw the favor of God and was very happy, and he passionately urged everyone to remain with the Master.11:24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a sizable crowd was added to the Master.11:25Then he went away to Tarsus to look for Saul.11:26When he found him, he took him to Antioch. It turned out that they stayed a whole year with that Congregation, teaching a large crowd. And it was at Antioch that the disciples were first labeled Christians.15
11:27Now in those days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.11:28One of them, named Agabus, stood up and indicated through the Spirit that a great famine was about to come upon the whole inhabited world; this occurred during the rule of Claudius.11:29So the disciples, in proportion to how each had prospered, set funds aside to be distributed to the sisters and brothers living in Judea.11:30They chose to send it to the elders via Barnabas and Saul.
12:1In that time King Herod used his power to mistreat some of the Congregation.12:2He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword.12:3And when he saw that this pleased the Judeans, he proceeded to arrest Peter as well (this was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread).12:4Upon his arrest he was put in jail under the guard of four groups of four soldiers each. Herod’s intention was to make an example of him after the Passover.
12:5But while Peter was kept in jail, the Congregation was in intense prayer to God about him.12:6On the night before Herod was ready to lead him to be punished, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound by two chains, and there were also guards at the door of the jail.12:7Suddenly a Messenger of the Master was standing there, lighting up the room! He struck Peter on the side to wake him up and said, “Quick, get up!” And the chains fell from his wrists.
12:8Then the Messenger said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals,” so he did. And the Messenger added, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”12:9They came out and he followed, but he was not sure whether he was actually seeing the Messenger or having a vision.
12:10So they passed through the first post and then the second, then came to the iron gate that leads to the city— which opened all by itself. They went out and then up one street, when the Messenger suddenly left him.12:11Then Peter came to his senses and said, “Now I know for sure that the Master sent his Messenger to rescue me from Herod’s clutches and all the schemes of the Judeans!”12:12As this dawned on him, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John who is also called Mark, where a sufficient number of people had come for a prayer meeting.
12:13Now as Peter knocked on the door, a servant named Rhoda came to answer it.12:14When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she forgot to open it and ran in to report that he was standing at the door.12:15But though they told her she was crazy, she kept insisting that it was true. So they decided maybe it was his Messenger.12:16Meanwhile, Peter kept on knocking, and they finally opened it and were shocked to see him.12:17But he motioned for them to be quiet, then told them how the Master led him out of the jail. And he added, “Report all of this to James and the rest of the believers.” Then he went someplace else.
12:18At daybreak there was no small disturbance among the soldiers over what could have become of Peter.12:19When Herod could not find him after a search, he interrogated the guards and then had them executed. Then he went down from Judea into Caesarea and stayed there.
12:20It happened that he was in a fierce fight with the people of Tyre and Sidon. But they joined together and persuaded Blastus, the king’s personal attendant, to ask for peace, because their country depended upon the king’s for food.12:21And on a set day, Herod, dressed in his royal attire, sat on his throne and made a speech to them.12:22But the people all shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not a human!”12:23So immediately a Messenger of the Master struck him, because he did not give honor to God. His insides were eaten by worms, and then he died.
12:24But the Word of God grew and multiplied.12:25Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem after they had completed their service, and they brought along John who is also called Mark.
13:1Now in the Congregation in Antioch, there were prophets and teachers, including Barnabas, Simon who was called Black, and Lucius the Cyrenian, as well as Manaen the foster brother of Herod the regional ruler, and Saul.13:2During their fasting and divine service to the Master, the Holy Spirit said, “So now, separate Barnabas and Saul to me for the work to which I have called them.”13:3So after fasting and praying, they dedicated them and dismissed them.
13:4Having been sent by the Holy Spirit, they came down into Seleucia. Then from there they sailed away to Cyprus.13:5Arriving at Salamis, they proclaimed the Word of God in the synagogues of the Judeans, assisted by John.
13:6Now as they traveled throughout the whole island up to Paphos, they found a certain man, an Official Advisor and false prophet, a Judean by the name of Bar-Jesus.13:7He was with the regional governor Sergius Paul, an educated man, who called for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the Word of God.
13:8Now Elymas, the Official Advisor (that is what his name means), opposed them and intended to deflect the regional governor from the faith.13:9But Saul (also called Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said,13:10“You minion of the False Accuser, full of all kinds of treachery and mischief! You will never stop twisting the straight ways of the Master!13:11Now look! The hand of the Master is on you, and you will be blind and not see the sun until the appointed time.”13:12Then suddenly, poor vision and darkness fell upon him, and he went around trying to find someone to lead him by the hand.13:13Setting out from Paphos, Paul and his companions came to Perga of Pamphylia. But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.13:14Then they passed through Perga to Antioch in Pisidia, where they entered the synagogue on the Day of Sabbaths and sat down.13:15Now after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent for them and said, “Gentlemen, fellow believers, if you have any words of comfort for the people, speak up.”
13:16So Paul got up. Gesturing with his hand he said, “People of Israel and those who fear God, hear me!13:17The God of Israel chose our ancestors, and lifted up the people living as foreigners in the land of Egypt. With a great show of strength he led them out of it,13:18and for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness.13:19He destroyed seven nations in Canaan and apportioned their land.13:20After about four hundred and fifty years, he gave them judges up to the time of the prophet Samuel.13:21Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years.
13:22“After Saul was deposed, God raised up David to be their king, about whom he said this: ‘I found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my own heart, and he will do what I say.’13:23From this one’s Descendant and according to the Promise, God brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.13:24Before Jesus was first presented, what John had proclaimed to all the people of Israel was the immersion that indicates a change of mind.13:25But as John was finishing his ‘race’ he said, ‘I’m not what you think I am. But coming next is the One whose sandals I am unworthy to untie.’
13:26“People of Israel, descendants of the line of Abraham, and those of you who fear God: The word of this salvation was assigned to us.13:27The residents of Jerusalem and their rulers were wrong about this One, and by condemning him they fulfilled what was prophesied— and those prophecies are read on every Sabbath.13:28Though they could find no grounds for the death penalty, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
13:29“Now when they had accomplished everything that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb.13:30But God raised him up from the dead;13:31he was seen over the course of many days by those who went up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are now his witnesses to the people.
13:32“So we bring you the Gospel which was promised to our ancestors,13:33that God has completely fulfilled this to us, their children, by raising Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are my son; today I have fathered you.’13:34Seeing that he has raised him from the dead and will in no way return to decay, he has thus declared, ‘I will give you the clean and trustworthy [blessings]16 of David.’.13:35“So also in another place he said, ‘You will not allow your clean one to experience decay.’13:36But after he had served his own generation according to God’s counsel, David was laid to rest with his ancestors and did indeed experience decay.13:37Yet the One God raised did not experience it.
13:38“Let this be clear to you, folks, that the pardon of failures is being proclaimed through this One.13:39Though the Law of Moses could not acquit you of your failures, everyone who trusts in this One is acquitted.13:40But be careful that what was declared by the prophets will not come upon you:13:41
“Look here, you mockers; be amazed and then vanish! I will achieve something in your days, the likes of which you would never believe even if someone told you.”
13:42As they left the synagogue the people encouraged them to speak of these things the next Sabbath.13:43When the gathering had broken up, many of the Judeans and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and convinced them to remain in the favor of God.
13:44On the next Sabbath nearly the whole city had gathered to hear the Word of the Master.13:45But the Judeans saw the crowd and were filled with envy, so they slandered Paul and contradicted what he said.13:46Then Paul and Barnabas boldly retorted, “We had to speak the Word of God to you first. But now that you are pushing it away and have judged yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, watch this! We are turning to the non-Judeans!13:47For this is the command of the Master to us: ‘I have appointed you as a light to the non-Judeans, to bring salvation to the farthest reaches of the earth.’ ”
13:48Upon hearing this, the non-Judeans were very happy and honored the Word of the Master, and whoever was aligned with eternal life believed.13:49So the Word of the Master was spread throughout the whole country.13:50But again, the Judeans goaded the devout and respected women and city dignitaries into persecuting Paul and Barnabas, who were deported beyond their borders.13:51So they shook the dust from their feet to insult them, then went to Iconium.13:52And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
14:1But the same thing happened in Iconium, when they entered into the synagogue of the Judeans and spoke to them in such a way that multitudes of both Judeans and Greeks believed.14:2The hostile Judeans agitated the non-Judeans and provoked them into opposing the believers.14:3Nevertheless, they stayed a long time and spoke boldly concerning the Master, who confirmed his favorable Word by granting that they would perform signs and miracles.
14:4The population of the city was split over this, some siding with the Judeans and others with the Ambassadors.14:5So the non-Judeans, with the Judeans and their rulers, hatched a plot to abuse them and then execute them by stoning.14:6But they were made aware of the plot and ran for refuge in the Lyconian cities Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area,14:7spreading the Gospel.
14:8There was a certain man sitting in Lystra who was born with lame feet and had never walked.14:9He heard Paul speaking, who then looked directly at him and perceived that he had the faith to be restored.14:10Paul shouted, “Get up on your feet!” And he jumped up and walked.
14:11The crowd saw what Paul had done, so they shouted in Lyconian, “The gods have come down to us in human form!“14:12They called Barnabas ”Zeus“ and Paul ”Hermes,” since he was the leading speaker.14:13In addition, the priest of Zeus for the whole city brought bulls and wreaths to the gates, intending to lead the crowd in sacrifice.
14:14Now when the Ambassadors Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothing17 and rushed into the crowd saying,14:15“Folks, why are you doing all this? We too are human beings just like you! We bring you the Gospel so that you will renounce these worthless things in favor of the living God who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything they contain.14:16In past generations God let the nations go their own ways.14:17But he never left himself without a testimony of good deeds, such as bringing rain from the sky and crops in their seasons, filling us with food and happiness.”14:18But even after saying this, they could hardly stop the crowd from sacrificing to them.
14:19When Judeans from Antioch and Iconium arrived, they persuaded the crowd to stone Paul. Presuming him dead, they dragged him outside the city.14:20But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and entered the city! The next day, he left along with Barnabas for Derbe.14:21Having given the Gospel to that city and making a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch.14:22They greatly encouraged the disciples and urged them to remain in the faith: “It is through many pressures that we must enter into the kingdom of God.”
14:23They designated elders for each Congregation. Praying and fasting, they committed them to the Master in whom they had put their faith.14:24Then they passed through Pisidia and into Pamphylia.14:25Once they had spoken the Word of the Master in Perga, they went down to Attalia.14:26And from there they sailed off to Antioch, where they had first been commissioned by the favor of God for the work they had now completed.14:27Upon their arrival they called a meeting of the Congregation and told them of all that God had done through them, including opening the door of faith to the non-Judeans.14:28And they stayed a long time with the disciples.
15:1Now some people came down from Judea, who were teaching the brothers and sisters that “If you are not circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”15:2And there was a big dispute going on among them as Paul and Barnabas arrived. So those two and some others were sent to Jerusalem to see the Ambassadors and elders in Jerusalem about this matter.
15:3Having been sent out by the Congregation, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, and as they went along they described in great detail how the non-Judeans were being converted. This made all the believers very happy.15:4When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the Congregation, the Ambassadors, and the elders, and they gave detailed reports of all that God had done through them.15:5But some from the Pharisee sect who had come to faith stood up and insisted that the non-Judeans were to be circumcised, and to keep the whole law of Moses.
15:6So the Ambassadors and elders convened a meeting to resolve the matter.15:7After much discussion Peter stood up and addressed them: “Folks, fellow believers, you are well aware that early in the beginning God chose me from among you to speak to the non-Judeans and tell them the Word of the Gospel so they could believe.15:8And God, the one who knows people’s hearts, testified on their behalf by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.15:9He did not draw any distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.15:10So why are you now provoking God by putting on their necks a harness that neither we nor our ancestors could bear?15:11No, it is through the favor of Master Jesus that we believe and are saved, the same way they are.”
15:12The entire crowd listened in silence as Barnabas and Paul then gave their account of all the signs and miracles God did among the non-Judeans through them.15:13When they were done, James responded: “Folks, fellow believers, hear me!15:14Simon informed us about how God first visited the non-Judeans, to obtain a people belonging to him.15:15This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written:15:16
“‘After this I will turn back and rebuild David’s fallen sanctuary; I will rebuild and restore its ruins15:17so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Master— all the nations who call on my name’, says the Master who does all of this,15:18whose work he had known before the ages.”
15:19“Therefore, it is my judgment that we should not harass the non-Judeans who are turning toward God.15:20Instead, let us write a letter to them, saying that they should abstain from ceremonial pollution with idols, with promiscuity, and with any animal that has been strangled or still has its blood.15:21For the laws of Moses have been proclaimed from ancient times in every city, and they are read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
15:22Then the Ambassadors and elders, along with the whole Congregation, thought it best to choose men from among them to go to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas: Judas (also called Bar-Sabbas), and Silas, leading men from among the believers.15:23Here is the text of the letter:
“From the Ambassadors, elders, and fellow believers,“To the non-Judean fellow believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:“Greetings!
15:24“It has come to our attention that some people came without our sanction and disturbed you with unsettling words that troubled your souls.15:25So after we reached an agreement about this, we thought it best to choose men to send to you, along with our dear Barnabas and Paul—15:26people who have dedicated their lives for the sake of the name of our Master Jesus the Anointed.
15:27“We have therefore commissioned Judas and Silas to give this report verbally as well.15:28It was the conclusion of the Holy Spirit and us to put no heavier burden upon you except these essentials:15:29to abstain from idol sacrifices, from animals that were strangled or still have their blood, and from promiscuity. You will do well to carefully observe these requirements.
15:30After they were sent on their way, they came down to Antioch and called everyone to a meeting. They handed over the letter,15:31and after it was read they were all very happy and relieved.15:32Then Judas and Silas, who were both prophets, spoke many words to comfort and strengthen the believers.15:33And after spending some time, the believers send them back in peace to those who had commissioned them.15:3415:35Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch with many others to teach and spread the Gospel of the Word of the Master.
15:36Now after some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, “We really should go back to check on the believers in all the cities where we have proclaimed the Word of the Master, to see how they’re doing.”15:37Barnabas wanted to take John (also called Mark) along,15:38but Paul saw no point in working with this one who had deserted them in Pamphylia.15:39They had such a sharp disagreement that they decided to part company. So Barnabas took Mark with him, sailing off to Cyprus,15:40while Paul chose Silas once the believers had entrusted them to the favor of the Master.
15:41Paul passed through Syria and Cilica, strengthening the Congregations.16:1When he arrived at Derbe and then Lystra, he came across a certain disciple there by the name of Timothy, whose mother was a Judean believer and whose father was a Greek.16:2He had a good reputation among the believers in Lystra and Iconium.
16:3Paul wanted Timothy to come along with him, and he circumcised him on account of the Judeans in the area, since they all knew his father was a Greek.1816:4Now as they went through the cities, they handed out the stipulations that had been agreed upon by the Ambassadors and elders in Jerusalem.16:5So the Congregations were firmly established in the faith, and their numbers increased exponentially each day.
16:6Then they passed through Phrygia and the province of Galatia, but they were prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the Word in the province of Asia.16:7They arrived in Mysia and then tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow it,16:8so they bypassed it and went down into Troas.16:9During the night, Paul had a vision of a certain man in Macedonia who was standing and pleading, “Cross over into Macedonia; help us!”16:10After he saw the vision, we19 tried to go to Macedonia immediately, since we were convinced that God had called us to bring the Gospel to them.
16:11We set out from Troas and made a straight run to Samothrace, and the next day to Neapolis.16:12From there we went to Philippi, which is a Roman colony and the most prominent city in that region of Macedonia, and we stayed there for a while.16:13On one of the Sabbaths we went out beyond the gate to a riverside at a place where we expected to find a prayer meeting.20 We sat down and spoke to the women gathering there.16:14One of the listeners was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth in the city of Thyatira. She revered God, and the Master put it into her mind to pay attention to what Paul was saying.2116:15Having been immersed then, along with her entire household, she pleaded with us: “If you consider me faithful to the Master, stay in my house.” She was quite adamant about it.
16:16Another time as we were going out to prayer, we were met by a certain slave girl who had a Python spirit.22 Her divination was a great source of income for her masters.16:17And she kept following Paul and us, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Supreme God, and they are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!”16:18This went on day after day, until Paul became exasperated and turned around to confront the spirit: “I command you in the name of Jesus the Anointed to come out of her!” And it left right away.
16:19But her masters realized that all their hopes of income had just disappeared. So they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the officials at the marketplace.16:20Upon arrival they said, “These people, these Judeans, have put our city into an uproar!16:21They are proclaiming customs that are forbidden for us Romans.”
16:22Then the crowd united against them, and the officials had their clothes torn off and ordered them to be beaten with rods.16:23After they had inflicted them with many strikes, they threw them into jail and solemnly charged the jailer to guard them securely.16:24Upon hearing this he threw them into the innermost cell and locked their feet in the stocks.
16:25Now around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing festive songs to God, and the other prisoners were listening.16:26Suddenly there was a tremendous earthquake, which shook the prison down to its foundations. Instantly all the cell doors were opened, and everyone’s shackles became loose.16:27But when the jailer awoke and saw that all the cell doors were opened, he drew his sword with the intent to kill himself, since he presumed all the prisoners had escaped.
16:28But Paul shouted out, “Do not harm yourself; we are all still here!”16:29The jailer called for lights and then, shaking, he rushed in and fell down before Paul and Silas.16:30He led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”16:31And they replied, “Put your trust in Master Jesus and you will be saved— you and your entire household!”16:32Then they spoke the Word of the Master to him and his whole household.
16:33At that very hour of the night he washed their wounds, and then immediately he and his whole household were immersed.16:34After taking them into his house, he set a table before them. He and his household were overjoyed due to their trust in God.
16:35Now the next day the officials sent word to the jailers, “Release those people.”16:36So the jailer passed on the message to Paul: “The officials have sent word to have you released. Come now, go in peace.”16:37But Paul replied to them, “They lashed us publicly, though we are innocent Roman citizens, and threw us into jail. And now they want to release us quietly? No! Let them escort us out themselves!”
16:38The jailers reported these words to the officials, who were alarmed to hear that they were Romans.16:39So they came and placated them, led them out, and asked them to leave the city.16:40Leaving the jail, then, they went to Lydia’s house. They consoled the believers there and then left.
17:1Traveling across Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came into Thessalonica, where there was a Judean synagogue.17:2It was Paul’s habit to join them, and for three Sabbaths he debated the scriptures with them.17:3He showed conclusively that the Anointed had to suffer and then rise from the dead, and that “this Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah.”17:4Some of them were convinced and sided with Paul and Silas, including a great number of devout Greeks, a significant portion of which were prominent women.
17:5But this filled the Judeans with envy, so they collected some troublemakers and formed a mob to start a riot in the city. Then they prepared to attack Jason’s house and hunt down Paul and Silas so they could be taken to a public trial.17:6But they couldn’t find them, so they dragged Jason and some believers to the city officials and claimed, “These people who are turning the whole world upside down have now come here too,17:7and Jason took them into his home! They are defying the decrees of Caesar and saying there is another king called Jesus.”17:8When they heard these things, the crowd and the city officials were very upset.17:9So they made Jason and the rest post bail, then released them.
17:10The believers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night into Berea, where they went to the Judean synagogue.17:11But these people were of more noble character than the Thessalonians. They eagerly accepted the Word and studied the scriptures each day to make sure these things were so.17:12In fact, many of them came to faith, including respectable Greek women and a significant number of men.
17:13But when the Judeans in Thessalonica found out that Paul was now proclaiming the Word of God in Berea, they went there too, stirring up the crowd.17:14So again the believers immediately sent Paul all the way to the coast, while Silas and Timothy stayed behind.17:15Those who escorted Paul took him as far as Athens, and then they were instructed to tell Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible.
17:16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he became intrigued with the opportunity presented by this idol-saturated city.2317:17He held debates with the Judeans in the synagogue, with devout people, and with whoever happened to show up in the markets each day.17:18But then some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers had discussions with him. Some said “What is this babbler trying to say?” while others said “He seems to be proclaiming foreign gods,” since he brought them the Gospel about Jesus and his resurrection.
17:19So they took him to the Areopagos24 and said, “Tell us more about this new teaching you’ve been talking about.17:20It sounds very strange to us, and we really want to know more about it.”17:21(The residents of Athens, both permanent and transitory, loved nothing more than to discuss new ideas.)
17:22So Paul stood in the center of the Areopagos and addressed them: “People of Athens! I couldn’t help but notice how very focused you are on all sorts of spiritual things.17:23As I passed through and considered your shrines, I found a particular one with this inscription: ‘To The Unknown God’. Allow me to introduce you to the One you venerate without knowing.
17:24“The God who made the world and all it contains is the Master of heaven and earth. So he does not live in temples made by human hands,17:25nor does he need help from human hands. The One who gives life and breath to all has no need of anything.17:26Further, from just one [person]25 he made every ethnic group there is, all over the world. He determined their appointed eras and boundaries17:27so that they might seek him out and find him— though certainly he is not far from any of us.17:28For it is due to him that we live and move and exist. Your own poets26 have said the same: ‘We too are his offspring’.
17:29“So then, being the offspring of God, we should not suppose that the divine is like gold, silver, or stone, or anything crafted by human design.17:30Now God did in fact grant a pass to such ignorance before, but now he requires everyone everywhere to change their minds.17:31For he has set a day in which he will fairly judge all the inhabitants of the world via the man he appointed. God vouched for him by raising him from the dead.”
17:32Now when they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some jeered but others said, “We would like to hear more about this again sometime.”17:33So Paul left,17:34but some folks joined him because they believed. Among them were Dionysius (a member of the Areopagos), a woman named Damaris, and various others.
18:1After this Paul left Athens and came to Corinth.18:2There he found a certain Judean named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had expelled all the Judeans from Rome.18:3He formed a partnership to work with them because he and they were all tent makers by trade.
18:4On every Sabbath he debated in the synagogue, and he persuaded both Judeans and non-Judeans.18:5Now when both Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul gave his full devotion to the Word, proving to the Judeans that Jesus was the Anointed.18:6But due to their opposition and slander against God, he shook out his clothing to insult them and said, “You have condemned yourselves!27 I am hereby absolved of all responsibility for you. From now on I will go to the non-Judeans!”
18:7So he left there and entered the home of a certain Titus Justus, a man devoted to God, whose house adjoined the synagogue.18:8Crispus the synagogue ruler put his trust in the Master, as did his whole household. Many Corinthians heard, believed, and were immersed.
18:9One night the Master spoke to Paul in a dream: “Do not be afraid; speak and do not be silent,18:10for I am with you. No one will attack and mistreat you, because many people in this city belong to me.”18:11So he stayed there for a year and a half, teaching the Word of God among them.
18:12When Gallio was the regional governor of Achaia, the Judeans banded together and assaulted Paul, then took him to the courthouse.18:13The charge they brought was this: “This person is convincing people to serve God in illegal ways!”18:14But as Paul opened his mouth to speak, Gallio retorted to the Judeans, “You Judeans, if this were a real crime or malicious mischief, I might have a reason to hear your plea.18:15But if these are just matters of semantics or one of your laws, it’s your problem! I will not be a judge of such things.”18:16And he expelled them from the courtroom.18:17So they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the courthouse. But Gallio couldn’t have cared less.
18:18So Paul stayed there for many days with the believers. Then he sailed off for Syria along with Priscilla and Aquila, after he had his head shaved in Cenchrea due to a vow he had taken.18:19He parted company with them in Ephesus and went into the synagogues to debate the Judeans.18:20They asked him to stay but he was not willing,18:21and he left with the promise, “I will come back to you again if God allows.”
Then he left Ephesus18:22and went down to Caeserea. After greeting the Congregation he then went to Antioch.18:23After some time he left again, passing through the province of Galatia and then Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
18:24Now a certain Judean named Apollos, a native of Alexandria and an eloquent man with great skill in handling scripture, arrived in Ephesus.18:25He had been told about the way of the Master, and he passionately gave accurate teachings about Jesus. But he only knew up to the immersion of John,18:26and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. Upon hearing him, Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and carefully filled him in on the full account.
18:27When the believers heard of his intention to pass through into Achaia, they wrote to the disciples and encouraged them to welcome him. Upon his arrival he discussed many things with those who had come to faith through God’s favor.18:28And he vigorously and thoroughly refuted the Judeans in public debate, demonstrating through the scriptures that Jesus was the Anointed.
19:1Now it happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the upper districts down to Ephesus. He found some disciples19:2and said, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”“No,” they replied, “we have heard nothing about a Holy Spirit.”
19:3So he asked, “Then by what name were you immersed?”
And they replied, “John’s immersion.”
19:4“John immersed for the purpose of telling people to change their minds and put their trust in the One coming after him, meaning Jesus,” Paul responded.19:5Upon hearing this they were immersed in the name of Master Jesus.19:6And when Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they began to speak in other languages and to prophesy.19:7There were about twelve men in all.
19:8Entering the synagogue, Paul spoke boldly for three months, debating and persuading on matters concerning the kingdom of God.19:9But some were obstinate and hostile, and they spoke abusively against the Way in front of the crowd. So Paul left them and separated the disciples from them as well, and debated each day in the hall of Tyrannos.19:10This went on for two years, to the point that everyone living in the province of Asia, both Judeans and non-Judeans, heard the Word of the Master.
19:11God performed extraordinary powers through Paul’s hands.19:12For example, when cloths or handkerchiefs that had touched his skin were taken to the infirm, they were cured of their illnesses. Even evil spirits were exorcised.
19:13But some of the Judeans who traveled around doing exorcisms took it upon themselves to invoke the name of Master Jesus over the possessed: “I exorcise you28 by Jesus, whom Paul is proclaiming!”19:14The ones doing this were seven sons of Sceva, a Judean and ruling priest.19:15But the evil spirit snarled, “I do know Jesus, and I’m familiar with Paul, but who are you?”19:16Then the possessed person pounced on them. He was too strong for them and overpowered them, and they ran from the house naked and wounded.
19:17This incident became known to everyone, both Judeans and non-Judeans, living in Ephesus. They were all gripped with fear, and their respect for the name of Master Jesus was intensified.19:18Many who had already believed now openly confessed their former practices,19:19including a significant number of those who had practiced divination. They collected their books and burned them where everyone could see, and the value of them was estimated to be in the millions.2919:20So it was with great power that the Word of the Master grew and became strong.
19:21After all of that happened, Paul was prompted in spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia, and then on to Jerusalem. “And from there,” he said, “I must see Rome as well.”19:22When he had sent two of his attendants (Timothy and Erastus) to Macedonia, he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.
19:23Now around that same time there was a serious controversy about the Way.19:24A certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines to Artemis, made quite a nice income for the craftspeople.19:25He called a meeting of all who worked in related trades and said, “Folks, you are well aware that our standard of living depends upon this craft.19:26And you have seen and heard that this Paul, not only in Ephesus but throughout almost the entire province of Asia, has convinced and drawn away a large number of people, by saying that things made by hands are not gods.
19:27“Not only does this put our association at risk of being viewed with contempt, it also reduces the temple of the great goddess Artemis to nothing. Her Majesty is about to be demolished— she who is revered by the whole province of Asia and the entire world!”19:28Upon hearing this, they were all infuriated and shouted out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”19:29The whole city was thrown into confusion. They grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus who were traveling companions of Paul, and rushed as one into the theater.
19:30Now Paul wanted to appear before the people but the disciples would not allow it.19:31In addition, some of his friends who were rulers in the province of Asia sent word to him, advising him not to enter the theater.19:32The assembly30 was in confusion: some were shouting one thing and some another. Most of them didn’t even know why they were gathered there!
19:33Then the Judeans got together and pushed forward Alexander out from the crowd. He gestured with his hand to signal the crowd that he would make his defense.19:34But when they realized he was a Judean, they all shouted together for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”19:35Then the scripture scholar got the crowd to calm down, and he addressed them: “People of Ephesus! Everyone knows that the city of Ephesus is the custodian of the temple of the great Artemis, [whose image] fell to us from heaven.3119:36Since these things cannot be denied, you must compose yourselves and not do anything rash.
19:37“You brought these men here though they didn’t rob the temple or slander our goddess.19:38So then, if Demetrius and his associates have a charge to bring against anyone, the courts are in session there are regional governors. Let them bring charges against each other!19:39But if you have any other matter to bring up, it must be settled by legal assembly.19:40As it is, we are liable of being charged for today’s uproar, since we have no grounds to justify it.”
20:1After the disturbance ended, Paul sent for the disciples. When he had consoled and greeted them he went away to Macedonia.20:2Passing through those areas and encouraging them with many words, he came into Greece.20:3After he had spent three months there, the Judeans plotted against him as he was about to set out for Syria. So he decided instead to return through Macedonia.20:4He was to be accompanied as far as the province of Asia by Sopater the son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, also Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.
20:5These people all went on ahead and waited for us in Troas.20:6But we set sail from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread and met up with them at Troas five days later, where we stayed for seven days.
20:7Now on one of the Sabbaths when we gathered to share a meal, Paul debated with them. And since he intended to leave the next day, he extended his speech until midnight.20:8There were many lamps in the upper room where we had gathered,20:9and a certain youth named Eutychus, who was sitting in a window, sank into a deep sleep. As Paul went on and on, the still-sleeping youth fell down from the third story and was found dead.20:10But Paul went down, threw himself upon him and took him in his arms. “Don’t panic!” he said, “He is alive!”20:11Then Paul went back upstairs to eat, and he spoke for a long time, up to daybreak, then he left.20:12The very-relieved people took the youth home alive.
20:13We went on ahead to the ship and set out for Assos, where we intended to pick up Paul, because it had been agreed that he would go there on foot.20:14When he met up with us at Assos we took him into Mitylene.20:15Sailing on from there, we arrived the next day across from Chios. The day after that we arrived at Samos, and the next day we came to Miletus.20:16Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not be detained in the province of Asia, because if he hurried he thought it might be possible for him to reach Jerusalem by the Day of Pentecost.20:17Then from Miletus he sent for the elders of the Congregation in Ephesus.
20:18When they came to him he said to them, “You are well aware of how I always behaved among you from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia.20:19I served the Master in humility, and through many tears and the trials I endured due to the plots of the Judeans.20:20Under no circumstances did I ever hold back any vital information from you. I taught you in public places and private homes,20:21solemnly charging both Judeans and non-Judeans with changing their minds toward God and putting their trust in our Master Jesus.
20:22“And now, you must understand that I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem, and I don’t know what will happen to me there.20:23What’s more, the Holy Spirit has assured me that in every city, confinement and suffering await me.20:24But I have nothing to say about it, and I don’t consider my life more precious than finishing the race and fulfilling the service I was given from Master Jesus: to solemnly testify to the Gospel of the favor of God.
20:25“I now know that none of you among whom I have gone around proclaiming the Kingdom will see my face again.20:26For that reason I testify to you this day that I am not liable for anyone’s life,20:27because under no circumstances did I ever try to get out of telling you the whole counsel of God.
20:28“Pay close attention to yourselves and to the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit appointed you as guardians. Shepherd the Congregation of God, which he purchased with his own blood.20:29I know that as soon as I’m out of reach, oppressive wolves will invade you and show no mercy to the flock.20:30Men will also rise up from among you and say twisted things in order to acquire disciples to follow them.20:31So keep your eyes open, and remember that for three years, day and night, I never stopped warning each of you, with tears.20:32And now I present you to God and to the Word about his favor, which is able to build you up so you can enjoy the inheritance of all who have been set apart for divine service.
20:33“I have not wanted to take anyone’s silver, gold, or clothing.20:34You know that with my own hands I have supplied my own needs as well as those of my companions.20:35By my example I have demonstrated to all of you how you must work and support the infirm. And remember what Master Jesus said: “There is more joy in giving than in receiving.”
20:36Having said these things, he knelt to pray with them.20:37They all cried and cried, hugging and kissing Paul fondly,20:38and were especially grieved at what he had said about them not seeing his face again. Then they sent him off to the ship.
21:1After we had torn ourselves away from them, we set out and made a straight run for Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes, and then went on to Patara.21:2We found a ship crossing all the way over to Phoenicia, so we got on board and set out.21:3We sighted Cyprus but passed it by on the left. We sailed on to Syria, then down to Tyre where the ship was to unload its cargo.21:4Discovering that there were disciples there, we stayed for seven days. But through the Spirit they told Paul not to get on board for Jerusalem.
21:5When we were fully prepared we went away again. We were sent off by everyone, including the women and children, who accompanied us to the city limits. We all knelt on the beach and prayed,21:6then said our goodbyes and boarded the ship, with the others returning to their homes.21:7At the end of our voyage we went down from Tyre to Ptolemais, where we greeted the fellow believers and stayed with them for a day.
21:8The next day we left again and came to Caesarea, where we entered the home of Philip, the Gospel proclaimer who was one of The Seven, and stayed with him.21:9He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.21:10And after we had stayed a few days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Jerusalem.21:11He came to us, took Paul’s belt and bound his own hands and feet with it, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: The owner of this belt will be bound in this manner by the Judeans in Jerusalem, and they will hand him over to the non-Judeans.”
21:12When we heard this, we and the locals pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.21:13But Paul responded, “Why are you doing this to me, crying and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem, for the sake of the name of Master Jesus!”21:14When we could not dissuade him, we quieted down and said, “May the will of the Master be done.”
21:15After that we packed our bags and went to Jerusalem,21:16and some disciples from Caesarea came along with us. They took us to stay with Mnason, a Cyprian, who had been a disciple from the beginning.21:17We were warmly greeted by the believers in Jerusalem.21:18The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders came as well.21:19After greeting them, Paul retold each detail in order concerning all the things God had done among the non-Judeans through his service.
21:20Those who heard this gave honor to God, but then they said, “You are aware, brother, that tens of thousands of Judeans have believed, yet they are all still very dedicated to the Law.21:21They have heard about you, that you teach all the Judeans in other nations to depart from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or keep the traditions.
21:22“What are we to do about this, since they will surely find out you have come?21:23Follow our instructions: There are four men here who have taken a vow.21:24Take them along and join in their purification ritual, and pay to have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there’s nothing to what they’ve heard about you, since you strictly observe the Law.21:25As for the non-Judean believers, we have written them a letter instructing them to stay away from idol sacrifice, from eating animals with blood still in them or that had been strangled, and from promiscuity.”
21:26So Paul took the men the next day and purified himself along with them. Then he entered the temple compound to record the completion date of the purification period, and he made an offering for each one of them.21:27When the seven days were nearly over, Judeans from the province of Asia spotted him in the temple compound. They agitated the crowd by taking hold of Paul21:28and yelling, “People of Israel, help us! This is the one who spreads teachings to everyone everywhere against our people, the Law, and this place. And what’s more, he brought non-Judeans into the temple compound and has contaminated this sacred place!”21:29(Earlier they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they presumed Paul had taken him into the temple compound.)
21:30The whole city was in an uproar, and the people formed a mob. They seized Paul and removed him from the temple compound, then quickly locked the gates.21:31While they were trying to kill him, a report reached the commander of the garrison that all of Jerusalem was in turmoil.21:32So he took soldiers and legion commanders down to them immediately. When the mob saw them, they stopped beating Paul.
21:33Then the legion commander approached Paul and took custody of him, having him bound with two chains. He demanded to know who he was and what he had done,21:34but the mob shouted conflicting things. So because he couldn’t figure out what was going on, he ordered Paul to be taken to the citadel.21:35When he reached the stairway the soldiers had to carry him because the mob had become too violent,21:36and they followed along shouting, “Put him to death!”32
21:37As he was about to be taken into the citadel, Paul asked the legion commander, “May I have a word with you?”
“You speak Greek,” he responded.21:38“So you must not be the Egyptian who led an insurrection some time ago and took four thousand men of the Assassins into the wilderness.”
21:39“I am in fact a Judean from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city,” Paul replied. “So please let me speak to the people.”
21:40He granted permission, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. When they had completely settled down, he began his speech to them in the Hebrew dialect:22:1“Folks, brothers and sisters, parents, listen now to my defense!”22:2Now when they heard him speaking in the Hebrew dialect they became very still, and he continued.
22:3“I am a Judean man born in Tarsus of Cilicia but raised in this city under the strict training of Gamaliel concerning the ancestral law. I was very enthusiastic for God, as all of you are today.22:4I persecuted this Way to the point of death, capturing both men and women to be handed over and jailed.22:5The ruling priest can attest to this, along with the group of elders from whom I received letters to their associates in Damascus, which authorized me to arrest any I found there and take them to Jerusalem to be punished.
22:6“Now it happened that as I came near Damascus around noon, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed all around me!22:7I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?’
22:8“ ‘Who are you, sir?’ I asked.“ ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene’, he replied, ‘the one you are persecuting!’
22:9“Those who had accompanied me did see the light, but they didn’t hear the voice of the one speaking to me.22:10So I asked, ‘What must I do, sir?’“ ‘Get up and go into Damascus’, he answered, ‘There you will be told everything you have been assigned to do.’
22:11“Then I could see nothing because of the brilliance of the light, and my companions led me by the hand into Damascus.
22:12“Now there was a certain Ananias, a devout observer of the Law and well-regarded by all the Judeans living there.22:13He came and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And right away I could see him.22:14Then he added, ‘The God of our ancestors has already chosen you to know his will, to perceive the Righteous One, and to hear what he has to say,22:15because you will bear witness for him to all people about what you’ve seen and heard.22:16So now, what are you waiting for? Get up and be immersed; wash away your failures and call on his name.’
22:17“When I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the temple compound and fell into a trance.22:18And I saw him speaking to me: ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’
22:19“And I said, ‘Master, they know very well that I was jailing and punishing those in every synagogue who had put their trust in you.22:20And when the blood of your witness Stephen was shed, I was standing there giving my full approval, and also guarding the clothing of those who executed him.’
22:21“But he said to me, ‘Go! I am sending you far away to the non-Judeans.’ ”
22:22They listened to him until he said that, then shouted, “Rid the earth of someone like that! He is not fit to live!”22:23Then as they were shouting, flinging off their outer clothing, and throwing dust into the air,22:24the legion commander ordered that he be taken into the citadel. He was to be interrogated under flogging in order to determine the reason for their reaction.
22:25But as they were strapping him down for flogging, Paul asked the Roman army captain standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen without a trial?”22:26When the Roman army captain heard this he went to the legion commander and said, “What are you doing? This is a Roman citizen!”
22:27So the legion commander went over to Paul and asked, “Is it true that you’re a Roman citizen?”“Yes,” Paul replied.
22:28“I paid a huge amount of money to become a citizen,” replied the legion commander.
“But I was born a citizen!” Paul replied.22:29And immediately those who were about to question him withdrew from him. And the legion commander was afraid, because he had taken a Roman citizen into custody.
22:30The next day the legion commander, determined to find out what Paul was actually being accused of by the Judeans, released him and ordered the ruling priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene. Then he took Paul there to stand before them.23:1And Paul faced the Sanhedrin and said, “Folks, brothers and sisters, I have lived in good conscience as a citizen before God to this day.”23:2But the ruling priest Ananias ordered those standing near him to punch him in the mouth.
23:3“God is about to beat you, you whitewashed wall!” Paul exclaimed. “You sit in judgment of me according to the law, but you broke the law by having me punched!”
23:4But those standing nearby retorted, “That is the ruling priest of God you’re insulting!”
23:5“I was not aware he was the ruling priest,” Paul replied. “For it is written: ‘You must not speak evil of your people’s ruler’.”
23:6Then it occurred to Paul that one half the Sanhedrin was composed of Sadducees, and the other of Pharisees. So he shouted to the Sanhedrin, “Folks, brothers and sisters, I am a Pharisee, and the son of a Pharisee. I am being judged because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead!”33
23:7When he said this, there was a great commotion among the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the crowd was split.23:8(The Sadducees say there is no resurrection or Messengers or spirits, but the Pharisees affirm them.)23:9Then it erupted into a shouting match, with some of the scripture scholars among the Pharisees contending, “We find no grounds for the charges against this person. What if a spirit or Messenger spoke to him?”
23:10The situation became so volatile that the legion commander feared that Paul might be torn apart by the crowd. So he ordered troops to come down and snatch him away from them and take him to the citadel.23:11That night, the Master stood beside him and said, “Take courage! For just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so also must you do in Rome.”
23:12As the next day began, the Judeans conspired together and bound themselves with an oath, that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul.23:13(This cabal had over forty members.)23:14They went to the ruling priests and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with an oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul.23:15So here is the plan: Tell the legion commander and the Sanhedrin to take him down to you under the pretext of further interrogation. But we will be ready to kill him before he gets there!”
23:16Now the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush, and he went to the citadel to report it to Paul.23:17So Paul called for one of the Roman army captains and said to him, “Take this youngster to the legion commander; he has information for him.”23:18So he escorted him to the legion commander and reported: “The prisoner Paul called me to him and asked me to take this youngster to you, because he has something to tell you.”
23:19The legion commander took him by the hand to speak with him privately, and he asked, “What is it that you have to report to me?”
23:20And he replied, “The Judeans have conspired to ask you to take Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow, under the pretext that they want more accurate information about him.23:21But don’t let them talk you into it, because more than forty of their men will be waiting in ambush, and they have bound themselves with an oath to neither eat nor drink until they have assassinated him. They are ready now in the expectation that you will agree to this.”
23:22Then the legion commander dismissed the youngster and warned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you revealed this to me.”
23:23He then summoned two Roman army captains and said, “Prepare two hundred soldiers to go as far as Caesarea, along with seventy mounted troops and two hundred guards armed with spears. They are to depart around nine o’clock tonight.23:24Give Paul animals to ride as well, so he will be brought safely to governor Felix.”
23:25He also wrote the following letter:23:26
“[From] Claudius Lysias“To the most honorable Governor Felix: Greetings!
23:27“This man was apprehended by the Judeans and they were about to kill him. But I came along with the troops and got him out of there when I realized he was a Roman citizen.3423:28In the interest of determining the charges against him, I took him down to their Sanhedrin.23:29It turns out that the indictment concerned questions about their law, but it was certainly nothing deserving of death or imprisonment.23:30Then I was informed about a plot against this man, so I sent him to you at once. I also demanded that the accusers present their case before you.”
23:31So the soldiers followed their orders and took Paul during the night to Antipatris.23:32The next morning they returned to the citadel, while the mounted troops continued on.23:33When they reached Caesarea they handed over the letter to the governor and presented Paul to him.23:34After reading the letter he asked what province Paul was from. When he learned that it was Cilicia23:35he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” Then he ordered him to be kept under guard in Herod’s headquarters.
24:1Five days later, Ananias the ruling priest came down with some elders and an orator by the name of Tertullus, and they presented to the governor their case against Paul.24:2When he was called in, Tertullus began his prosecution: “We have come into a long time of peace through you, and your foresight has brought many reforms to this nation.24:3In every way and everywhere, most honorable Felix, we accept this with all gratitude.
24:4“But in the interest of not taking too much of your time, I ask that you would be so kind as to listen to us briefly.24:5We have found this man to be a pest and troublemaker among Judeans all over the world, as well as a ringleader in the Nazarene sect.24:6He even tried to desecrate the temple compound as well, so we detained him.24:724:8Upon examining him yourself, you will be able to verify every charge we are bringing against him.”24:9The Judeans agreed, alleging that these things were true.
24:10Then the governor nodded to Paul to speak, and he said, “Since I know you have been judging this nation for many years, I confidently make my defense.24:11You can easily see that no more than twelve days have passed since I went up to worship in Jerusalem.24:12But no one found me arguing with anyone or forming a mob in the temple compound, in the synagogues, or in the city.24:13They can present no evidence to support their accusations.
24:14“Yet I will admit this to you: that according to this Way, which they call a sect, I do offer divine service to the God of our ancestors and believe everything written in the Law and the Prophets.24:15My hope in God, the same as theirs, is in the coming resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.24:16It is in this hope that I continually press on with a clear conscience before God and people.
24:17“When some years had passed, I came to do charitable things for my nation and bring offerings.24:18That’s when they found me in the temple compound— purified, not with a mob or a riot!24:19And there are some Judeans from the province of Asia who ought to be here to accuse me in your presence if they have any case against me.24:20Otherwise, let these people themselves state what crime they discovered when I stood in front of the Sanhedrin,24:21beyond this one thing I shouted while I stood among them: ‘It is about the resurrection of the dead for which you are judging me today’ .”
24:22Then Felix called to adjourn the court. He was well-informed of the details about the Way, and he added, “When Lysias the legion commander arrives, I will decide your case.”24:23He ordered the Roman army captain to put Paul under guard, but to allow him some comfort, including having his friends attend to his needs.
24:24A few days later Felix arrived, along with his wife Drusilla, who was a Judean. He sent for Paul and listened to him speak about putting trust in Anointed Jesus.24:25But as he gave arguments about righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became alarmed and said, “You may go now, and if I have time I will call for you.”24:26(He was hoping that Paul would bribe him, which is why he kept sending for him frequently and talking with him.)24:27Now when two full years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. But because he wanted to curry favor with the Judeans, he left Paul in custody.
25:1Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.25:2The ruling priests and leading Judeans there informed him of their complaint against Paul,25:3and they asked him a favor: to transfer Paul to Jerusalem. (They had planned to kill him in an ambush along the way.)25:4But Festus told them that Paul would be kept in Caesarea, though he himself was about to return there at once.25:5And he added, “Whoever is able may go with me, and if there is anything about the man that doesn’t add up, let them submit a charge.”
25:6After staying with them for no more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. The next day he took his seat to hold court and summoned Paul to be brought in.25:7When he arrived, the Judeans who came down from Jerusalem stood around him and hurled many serious charges at him, but they could not prove any of them.25:8In his defense Paul stated, “I have committed no crime against the law of the Judeans, against the temple compound, or against Caesar.”
25:9Now since Festus wanted to curry favor with the Judeans, he responded to Paul by asking, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to face trial there concerning these charges?”
25:10“I am standing in the court of Caesar where I should be judged,” Paul replied. “I have wronged none of the Judeans, which you know better than anyone.25:11But if I have in fact done wrong and committed something worthy of death, I do not refuse to die. Yet if there is nothing to these accusations they are bringing against me, no one can hand me over to them as a favor. I appeal to Caesar!"
25:12Then Festus, after consulting the council, said, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go!”
25:13After a few days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and greeted Festus.25:14After they had been there for a few days, Festus brought Paul’s case to the king’s attention: “There is a certain man who was left here as a prisoner by Felix.25:15When I came to Jerusalem the ruling priests and Judean elders brought charges against him and asked for a conviction.25:16But I replied that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering someone as a favor, without first giving the accused a chance to face their accusers and give a defense against the charges.25:17So when they gathered in this place, I wasted no time but convened the court the next day and took my seat, and then I summoned him.
25:18“But when his accusers stood around him, they did not bring up even one of the terrible charges I had expected.25:19Instead, it was all about violations of their own religion, and it concerned a certain Jesus who died but who Paul claimed was alive.25:20Now since I had no understanding of such questions, I asked whether he’d be willing to go to Jerusalem to face trial over this.25:21But when Paul appealed to have his case examined by the imperial court, I ordered that he be held until I can send him to Caesar.”
25:22Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I’d like to hear this person myself.”“You will hear him tomorrow,” he replied.
25:23The next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived with much pageantry, entering the audience hall accompanied by legion commanders and prominent citizens. At Festus’ command, Paul was brought in,25:24and then Festus began to speak:
“King Agrippa, and all ladies and gentlemen here with us! You see before you this one about whom all the Judeans have interceded with me, both here and in Jerusalem, to be put to death.25:25I determined that he had done nothing worthy of death, but since he appealed to the imperial court, I decided to send him there.
25:26“But I have nothing specific to write to the Sovereign.35 So I have put him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that through further examination I may find something to write.25:27For it seems pointless to me to send off a prisoner without listing specific charges against him.”
26:1Then Agrippa told Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense:
26:2“On the matter of charges made against me by the Judeans, King Agrippa, I am pleased to present my defense before you today,26:3especially since you are an expert on the customs and controversies concerning Judaism. Therefore I humbly ask that you patiently listen to me.
26:4“The manner in which I’ve lived my life, from my early youth in my nation as well as in Jerusalem, is something the Judeans are well aware of.26:5And having known me before from the beginning, they would have to admit that I lived as a Pharisee in the strictest sense of the word.26:6And now, it is because of my hope in the promise that came from God to our ancestors that I stand trial.26:7The twelve tribes of our people offer divine service night and day in this same hope, O King, yet here I am on trial for it!26:8How can you all consider it unbelievable that God should raise the dead?
26:9“I had considered it my duty to commit many acts against the name of Jesus the Nazarene,26:10including in Jerusalem. I even locked up many of the holy ones in jail, having obtained jurisdiction from the ruling priests, and I voted in favor of the death penalty.26:11I pursued them in the synagogues to punish them and force them to commit slander against God. I was in such an insane rage against them that I also persecuted them in foreign cities.
26:12“During one such persecution I was on my way to Damascus with the jurisdiction and permission of the ruling priests.26:13While on the road around noon, O King, a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shone all around me and my traveling companions.26:14When we had all dropped to the ground I heard a voice say to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me? Resistance is futile!’36
26:15“So I said, ‘Who are you, sir?’
“ ‘I am Jesus’, he answered, ‘the one you are persecuting!26:16Now get up and stand on your feet, because the reason I appeared to you is that you were prepared in advance to be a slave and a witness, both of what you have seen and of what I will show you.26:17I will set you apart from the Judeans, as well as from the non-Judeans to whom I am commissioning you.26:18You are to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the jurisdiction of The Adversary to that of God, and to obtain for them an acquittal for their failures and an inheritance along with those who have been made holy by faith in me.’
26:19“King Agrippa, I did not react to this heavenly vision with hostility,26:20but went at once to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem, to those throughout the province of Judea, and to the non-Judeans. I proclaimed that they must change their minds and turn back to God, and then live accordingly.26:21It was on this account that the Judeans took hold of me to arrest me when I was in the temple compound.
26:22“But because God has come to my aid to this day, I stand here testifying to both the lowly and the exalted. I have said nothing beyond what Moses and the prophets said would happen:26:23that the Anointed would suffer, and that as the first to rise from the dead he would proclaim light to Judeans and non-Judeans alike.”
26:24As he was presenting his defense, Festus shouted, “You’re insane, Paul! Too much education has driven you mad!”
26:25“On the contrary, great Festus,” Paul replied, “I am speaking divinely-given rational truth.26:26Since the king is adept at what I’ve been talking about so boldly, I’m sure that none of this has escaped his notice; this whole affair did not happen in a corner.26:27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do!”
26:28“Do you think that you can persuade me to become a Christian37 in such a short time?” Agrippa asked Paul.
26:29“Short time or long,” Paul replied, “My intent before God is that not only you but all who have heard me today will become as I am, except for these chains!”
26:30Then the king, the governor, Bernice, and those sitting with them stood up,26:31and as they left the court they said to each other, “This person has done nothing worthy of the death penalty or imprisonment.”26:32And Agrippa said to Festus, “He could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
27:1When it was determined that we were to sail off to Italy, they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a Roman army captain named Julius of the Imperial Division.27:2We boarded a ship from Adramyttium which was about to depart for stops along the cost of the province of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.
27:3On another day we were taken down to Sidon. Julius was kind to Paul and allowed him to visit friends to care for his needs.27:4Setting out from there, we sailed near the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us.27:5Then we went out to the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, then down to Myra of Lycia.27:6The Roman army captain found an Alexandrian ship there which was headed to Italy, and he put us on board.
27:7Sailing was very slow for many days, and we were barely able to reach Cnidus. But the winds were unfavorable for us to leave there, so we sailed along the lee of Crete across from Salome.27:8We sailed along the coast with great difficulty until we came to a place called Fair Harbors near the city of Lasea.27:9Now since so much time had passed and sailing was already hazardous, and since Paul had already missed The Fast,38 he pleaded with them:27:10“Gentlemen, it seems to me that sailing is going to result in much damage and loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also of our lives.”
27:11But the Roman army captain was persuaded by the navigator and the one who chartered the ship over what Paul had said.27:12The harbor was unfit for making berth for the winter, so the majority decided to set out from there in the hope that they might be able to spend the winter at Phoenix. It was a harbor at Crete which faced both northwest and southwest.27:13And when a gentle south wind came up, they thought they had what they were looking for, so they weighed anchor and stayed near the coast along Crete.
27:14Not long afterwards a violent wind of hurricane force, called a Northeaster, slammed into the island.27:15The ship was caught up in it and could not face into the wind, so we just let the wind carry it along.27:16We came under the lee of a small island called Cauda, but we were barely able to secure the lifeboat.27:17When they had hoisted it aboard they ran ropes to reinforce the ship.
Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the anchor and we were driven along.27:18But we were so violently tossed around by the storm that they jettisoned the cargo the next day,27:19and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands.27:20When neither sun nor stars appeared for another four days due to the continuing storm, we were robbed of all hope of being rescued.
27:21After they had gone without food for a long time, Paul stood among them and said, “Gentlemen, you should have listened to me when I told you not to set out from Crete, so you could have avoided this damage and loss.27:22But now I urge you to cheer up, because not one life among you will be lost, but only the ship.27:23Last night a Messenger of the God I belong to, and to whom I offer divine service, stood beside me27:24and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar, so God has favored you by granting you the lives of everyone sailing with you.’27:25So cheer up, gentlemen! For I trust God that it will happen just as I have been told.27:26However, we must run aground on some island.”
27:27On the fourteenth night we were still being driven all over the Adriatic Sea, when around midnight the sailors sensed that we were approaching land.27:28So they took a sounding and it measured twenty fathoms deep, and when they took another one a while later it measured fifteen fathoms.27:29Fearing that we might crash against the rocks, they pitched four anchors off the stern on the presumption that daylight was approaching.
27:30Now some of the sailors tried to escape the ship by lowering the lifeboat to the sea under the pretext of dropping anchors from the bow.27:31But Paul warned the Roman army captain and the soldiers, “If any of these don’t stay with the ship, none of you will be saved!”27:32So the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drop.
27:33When it was almost dawn the next day, Paul encouraged everyone to eat something: “Today marks the fourteenth day that you’ve eaten nothing because of worry.27:34So I urge you all to eat something in order to preserve yourselves, for not a hair on your heads will be lost!”27:35Having said this, Paul took some bread and thanked God for it in front of them, then broke it and began to eat.27:36This made them all take heart and eat.27:37(The total number of people on board the ship was two hundred seventy-six.)27:38And when they were full, they lightened the ship further by tossing the grain into the sea.
27:39When it was light enough to see the land, they did not recognize it. But they noticed a bay with a beach and thought they might be able to run the ship aground there.27:40So they let the anchors slip while also loosening the ropes on the rudders, then hoisted the foresail to catch the wind and head for the beach.27:41But when they got to a channel where two seas met, the bow ran aground and was stuck firmly while the stern was being broken apart by the force of the waves.
27:42Now the soldiers decided that they should kill the prisoners so that no one could swim out and escape.27:43But the Roman army captain was determined to bring Paul safely through and he thwarted their plans. In addition, he ordered that those who could swim were to dive off first and go to land,27:44while others would use planks or other parts of the ship. So everyone made it safely to land.
28:1When we had come safely through, we found out that the island was called Melita.28:2The people there showed us unusual kindness, kindling a fire and taking us in due to the rain and cold.28:3But as Paul twisted together a bundle of kindling and put it on the fire, a poisonous snake came away from the heat and fastened itself to his hand.
28:4Now when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand they said to each other, “This person must certainly be a murderer. Though he came safely out of the sea, Justice will not let him live.”28:5But he shook it off and into the fire without suffering any harm.28:6They were expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after waiting quite a while without incident, they decided instead that he was a god.
28:7The land nearby belonged to the leader of the island, Publius. He welcomed us kindly and lodged us for three days.28:8Now it happened that Publius’ father was bedridden with fever and dysentery. But Paul came to him, and after praying and placing his hand on him, miraculously healed him.28:9After this happened, the rest of the islanders with infirmities came and were cured.28:10They gave us many honors, and when it came time to set sail they supplied our needs.
28:11After three months we set out on an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of Castor and Pollux,39 which had wintered at the island.28:12After landing at Syracuse we stayed for three days,28:13then circled around to arrive at Rhegium. When the south wind came up the next day, we reached Puteoli the day after.28:14We found some believers there, who invited us to stay with them for seven days. Then finally we came to Rome.28:15The believers there had heard about us and came to meet us as far as the Appii Forum and Three Taverns. When Paul saw them he thanked God and took courage.28:16And when we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live on his own, along with the soldier assigned to guard him.
28:17Now it happened that three days later he called together the leaders of the Judeans. When they arrived he said to them, “Folks and fellow believers, I, who have done nothing contrary to our people or traditions, was taken prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.28:18They tried me and intended to release me since there was no basis for the death penalty against me.28:19But when the Judeans spoke against me I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any complaint against my people.28:20This is the reason I called you here, to see you and speak to you, because I am in chains due to the hope of Israel.”
28:21But they responded, “We have not received any letters about you from Judea, and none of the believers that have come along have said anything good or bad about you.28:22But we still want to hear your thoughts about this sect which is being spoken against everywhere.”28:23A day was set for a meeting, and even more people came to where he was staying. He expounded and testified about the kingdom of God from morning to evening, persuading them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets.
28:24Some were indeed convinced by what he said, while others were not.28:25They disagreed among themselves and were dismissed after Paul made this one declaration: “The Holy Spirit truly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your ancestors:28:26‘Go to this people and say,
“You will always hear but never understand; you will always see but never perceive.28:27For these people’s minds are calloused; their ears are plugged; they squint with their eyes. Otherwise they might see clearly, listen intently, and understand completely. Then I would turn around and heal them.”’
28:28“Let it be known to you, then, that this salvation of God was sent to the non-Judeans, and they will listen!”28:29
28:30He stayed there for two whole years in his own rented house. He welcomed all who came to him28:31and proclaimed the kingdom of God, teaching about Master Jesus the Anointed, unhindered and with great boldness.