1 In my first book, O Theophilus, I gave you a full account of what Jesus did and taught from the beginning of his mission 2 until the day he ascended into heaven. Before his Ascension he gave his final instructions about the Holy Spirit to the Apostles he had chosen. 3 For after his Passion he had appeared to them alive beyond any doubt. He had revealed himself to them repeatedly during a period of forty days. He had preached to them about the Kingdom of God.
4 While he was staying with them, he ordered them, saying: “Do not leave Jerusalem. But wait for the fulfillment of the promise of the Father about which I have spoken to you. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then those who were assembled asked him: “Lord, will you now restore the kingdom of Israel?” 7 He answered them: “It is impossible for you to know the times and the periods of events which the Father has kept within his own providence. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit descends upon you. Then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem in all Judea, in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 With these words, while they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While they were gazing after him into the sky, two men in white robes suddenly appeared beside them, 11 and said: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who ascended into heaven, will come down in the same way as you saw him go up.”
12 Then the Apostles returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is a Sabbath day’s journey from that city. 13 They entered the house where they were staying, and went up to an upper room. Among those present were Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James. 14 They were all united in prayer and supplication with the women, with Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
15 Thereupon, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples gathered together, who were about one hundred and twenty persons, and said: 16 “Brethren, the Scriptures had to be fulfilled according to the prediction of the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David concerning Judas. He acted as guide to those who arrested Jesus, 17 although he was one of our number and shared our ministry.
18 “Now this man bought a field with the price of his betrayal. But he fell headlong, he burst in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 This fact is well known to all residents of Jerusalem. Therefore that field is called in their language Akeldama, that is to say, The Field of Blood. 20 For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘His habitation will be desolate. No man will dwell therein. And another man will take his office.’
21 “Therefore another man must replace him as a witness to the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. This person must be one of the disciples who has been associated with our company all the time our Lord Jesus dwelt among us, 22 from his Baptism by John to the day of his Ascension.”
23 So they proposed two men, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, and said: “O Lord, you who know all hearts, show us which one of these two men you have chosen 25 to assume the burden of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas has fallen away and gone to his own doom.”
26 Subsequently, they cast lots between them. The lot fell to Matthias. So he took his place with the eleven Apostles.
1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, all the Apostles gathered together in unity of mind. 2 Suddenly, there came from heaven a sound like the blast of a mighty wind, which filled the whole house where they were assembled. 3 Thereupon, they saw tongues of fire which were distributed and settled on each one of them. 4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign languages, as the Spirit inspired them to express themselves.
5 At that time there were devout Jews from every part of the world living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard this sound, they all gathered in great excitement, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
7 They were perfectly amazed and said in their astonishment: “All these who speak are Galileans. 8 Yet each one of us hears them speaking in his own native tongue: 9 Parthians, Medians, Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10 Phrygla, Pamphyha, Africa, and Cyrene; visitors from Rome, Jews, Proselytes, 11 Cretans, and Arabs – we all hear them tell in our native languages the mighty deeds of God.”
12 They were perplexed and puzzled. They asked one another: “How do you explain this miracle?” 13 Others derisively said: “They are drunk with new wine.”
PETER’S FIRST SERMON
14 Then Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them: “Men of Judea, and all inhabitants of Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and pay attention to my words. 15 These men are not drunk as you imagine. For it is only nine o’clock in the morning.
16 “On the contrary, this was predicted by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days, God declares, I will pour out my Spirit upon all mankind. Then your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will see dreams. 18 Yes, I will pour out my Spirit on my servants and my handmaids, and they will prophesy also. 19 I will show portents in the heaven above and miracles in the earth below, blood, fire, and clouds of smoke. 20 The sun will turn to darkness, and the moon to blood, before that great and splendid day of the Lord comes. 21 Then, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth was a man whom God has revealed to you by means of miracles, wonders, and mighty deeds, which he performed in your midst as yourselves know. 23 This man was betrayed to you according to the predetermined design and foreknowledge of God. You murdered him by crucifying him through the hands of sinful men.
24 “But God raised him up and released him from the pangs of death, because death could not overpower him. 25 For David says concerning him: ‘I saw the Lord always before me. He stands at my right hand and strengthens me. 26 Therefore my heart has rejoiced, my tongue has exulted, and my flesh will rest in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, and you will not allow your faithful servant to suffer death. 28 You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
29 “Brethren, I assure you that the patriarch David died and was buried. His tomb is known to us to this day. 30 He was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that Christ, one of his descendants, would be raised from the dead and sit upon his throne. 31 So, as he foresaw the Resurrection of Christ, he said that he was not abandoned to Hades, and that his flesh was not allowed to suffer death.
32 “This Jesus was raised up by God, of which we all are witnesses. 33 He has been exalted at the right hand of God. He has received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out as you see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into heaven. But he says: ‘The Lord said to my Master: Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.’ 36 Therefore, let all the house of Israel know most certainly that God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
37 When they heard this statement, they were deeply moved, and asked Peter and the other Apostles: “Brethren, what must we do?” 38 Peter answered: “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you will receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. 39 For this promise has been made to you, to your children, and to the inhabitants of distant countries whom the Lord our God will invite.” 40 And with many other sermons he urged them and exhorted them, saying: “Save yourselves from this perverse generation.”
41 Then those who gladly received his message were baptized. On that day about three thousand souls joined them. 42 They all persevered in the teachings of the Apostles, their fellowship, their common meals, and their prayer meetings.
43 Every soul was struck with awe by the many miracles and wonders which the Apostles had performed.
44 All the believers held together and shared everything in common. 45 They sold their property and distributed the proceeds to their brethren according to their special needs. 46 Day by day they worshipped regularly in the temple. They broke their bread together in their homes. They enjoyed their food with gladness and simplicity of heart. 47 They praised God constantly. They won the favor of all the people continually. The Lord multiplied every day the number of those who were saved.
THE LAME BEGGAR
1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour of prayer. 2 Now, a certain man, lame from his birth, was carried and placed daily at the entrance of the temple, which is called the Beautiful Gate, to beg alms from those who entered the sanctuary. 3 When he saw Peter and John on their way into the temple he asked for alms.
4 Peter fastened his eyes on him, as John did also, and said: “Look at us.” 5 He looked at them attentively, hoping that they would give him something. 6 But Peter told him: “I have no silver and gold. But I will give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
7 Then he seized him by the right hand and lifted him up. At once his feet and ankles were strengthened. 8 He sprang up and began to walk. Then he entered the temple with them walking, leaping, and praising God.
9 All the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 They recognized him as the man who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and amazed at the miracle which healed him.
PETER’S SECOND SERMON
11 The healed man clung to Peter and John. All the crowd gathered around them in what is called Solomon’s Porch in utter amazement. 12 When Peter saw them, he said to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this miracle? And why do you stare at us as if we had enabled him to walk by our own power or piety?
13 “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You betrayed him and denied him in the presence of Pilate when he decided to release him. 14 You disavowed the holy and righteous man. You demanded the pardon of a murderer. 15 And you killed the author of life. But God has raised him up from the dead. We are witnesses of his Resurrection. 16 His name and faith in him have healed this man whom you see and know. Yes, faith in him has given this man perfect health in the presence of you all.
17 “Now, brethren, I know that you and your rulers acted in ignorance. 18 Thus God has fulfilled the predictions of all the Prophets about the Passion of his Messiah.
19 “Therefore repent and turn to God. Then your sins will be forgiven. Happier days will come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and he will send back Jesus the Messiah, who was appointed for you. 21 For the time being, he must remain in heaven until the time of the universal restoration, of which God spoke through the mouth of the holy Prophets of old.
22 “For Moses said to our fathers: ‘The Lord your God will raise up a Prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. You must listen to everything that he tells you. 23 Whoever does not listen to that Prophet will be exterminated from among the people.’
24 “All the Prophets who have spoken from Samuel down have foretold these days. 25 You are the sons of the Prophets and the heirs of the covenant which God made with your fathers when he said to Abraham: ‘Through your descendants all the races of the earth will be blessed.’ 26 Therefore, God raised up his servant Jesus and sent him to you first to bless you and turn away everyone of you from your wickedness.”
PETER AND JOHN
1 As the Apostles were preaching to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to them 2 greatly disturbed, because they were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead through Jesus.
3 So they arrested them and put them in jail until the following day. For it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard their message believed. Their number grew to about five thousand.
5 On the following day the Jewish leaders, elders, and scribes met in Jerusalem 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and the members of the high priest’s family. 7 They placed the Apostles in the midst and asked them: “By what power and in what name have you done this healing?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them: “Leaders of the people and elders of Israel, 9 we are under investigation today concerning a benefit done to a cripple, and the means by which he was healed. 10 Let me tell you all and all the people of Israel that this man is standing restored before you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead. 11 He is the Scriptural stone which was rejected by your builders, and which has now become the cornerstone. 12 No one else can give you salvation. His name is the only means under heaven by which we men can be saved.”
13 The Jews were astonished, when they saw the intrepidity of Peter and John. They noticed that they were uneducated and plain men. They recognized them as Disciples of Jesus. 14 But they had nothing to say against the man who had been healed and was standing with them.
15 So they ordered them out of the council-chamber and conferred among themselves, 16 saying: “What shall we do with these men? We cannot deny that they performed a notable miracle. That is manifest to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 17 But this report must not be spread any further among the people. Therefore we must warn them with threats to preach no more to anyone in this name.”
18 Thereupon, they called them in and ordered them not to speak or preach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them: “Judge for yourselves whether it would be right for us in the sight of the Lord to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help telling what we have seen and heard.”
21 But after further threats they released them. They could find no way to punish them on account of the people. All of them were glorifying God for what had happened. 22 For the man who had been miraculously healed was more than forty years old.
23 When the Apostles were released, they returned to their companions and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard their report, they raised their voices together to God and said: “Master, creator of heaven, earth, sea, and everything in them, 25 you have said through the mouth of our father David, your servant, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit: ‘Why did the Gentiles rage and the nations plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rose up, and the rulers conspired together against the Lord and against his anointed.’
27 “Indeed, in this very city, Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel have conspired against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you have anointed, 28 to carry out what your hand and your will had predetermined. 29 Now, O Lord, observe their threats, and grant to your servants the power to proclaim your message fearlessly, 30 to heal the sick through your outstretched hand, and to perform miracles and wonders in the name of your servant Jesus.”
31 After their prayer, the place in which they were assembled was shaken. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and fearlessly proclaimed the message of God.
32 All the company of the believers had one heart and soul. No one of them claimed anything as his own property. They shared everything in common. 33 The Apostles proclaimed the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus with the divine power and grace they possessed. No one among them was needy. 34 For all the owners sold their lands and their houses. 35 They put the proceeds at the disposal of the Apostles, who distributed them to the brethren according to their special needs. 36 One of them was Joseph, surnamed by the Apostles Barnabas, that is to say Son of Consolation, a Levite and a native of Cyprus. 37 He sold the land he owned and put the proceeds at the disposal of the Apostles.
ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA
1 Now a man named Ananias with his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s connivance he appropriated a part of the price received. Then he brought the other part and laid it at the feet of the Apostles.
3 But Peter said to him: “Ananias, Satan tempted you to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to appropriate a part of the price of the lot. 4 As long as it was unsold, it was yours. And after it was sold, the money was under your control. How could you think of committing such a sin? You have not lied to men, but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and expired. Those who witnessed the event were appalled. 6 Then the young men rose, wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
7 About three hours later, his wife, ignorant of what had happened, came in. 8 Peter asked her: “Tell me whether you sold the lot for such and such a price?” She answered: “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Peter said to her: “Then, how is it that you conspired together to defy the Holy Spirit? Look, there at the door are the footsteps of those who buried your husband. They will carry you out also.”
10 She fell down at his feet immediately and expired also. When the young men entered, they found her dead. So they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 All the members of the church and all those who heard this story were terrified.
12 The Apostles performed many wonders and miracles among the people. They usually met together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 None of the leaders dared to associate with them. But the common people held them in high honor. 14 Men and women in increasing numbers believed in the Lord and joined them. 15 They carried out the sick into the streets. They laid them on beds and mats, hoping that Peter’s shadow would fall on some of them as he went by. 16 Crowds flocked together to Jerusalem from the neighboring towns bringing the sick and those afflicted by unclean demons. All of them were healed.
ARREST OF THE APOSTLES
17 The high priest and his supporters, who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were aroused and filled with jealousy. 18 So they arrested the Apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But an Angel of the Lord opened the jail doors in the night, let them out, and said to them: 20 “Go, stand in the temple, and proclaim all the doctrines of the Gospel to the people.”
21 Thereupon, they entered the temple and began to preach. In the meantime, the high priest and his assistants came in and called together the council and the whole senate of the sons of Israel. Then they sent the officers to the jail to have the Apostles brought in.
22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison. So they returned, 23 and reported: “We found the prison securely locked and the sentries standing at the doors. But when we went in, we found no one inside.”
24 When the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard this report, they wondered what had become of them. 25 Thereupon, someone came in and told them: “The men whom you put in prison are standing right here in the temple preaching to the people.”
26 Then the captain and his men went out and brought them in, but without using violence. For they were afraid of being stoned by the people. 27 When they brought them before the council, the high priest 28 said to them: “We strictly forbade you to preach in his name. Yet, here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and accuse us as responsible for this man’s death.”
29 Peter and the Apostles answered: “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by crucifying him. 31 God has exalted him with his right hand as our leader and Savior, in order to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel. 32 We and the Holy Spirit, whom God gave to those who obey him, are witnesses of his Gospel.” 33 When they heard this statement, they were furious, and wanted to put them to death.
34 But a Pharisee and a doctor of the Law named Gamaliel, who was highly respected by the people, stood up before the council and asked them to send the Apostles out for a short time.
35 Then he said to them: “Men of Israel, think well before you take any action against these men. 36 Remember that some time ago Theudas arose, and claimed to be a divine messenger. A group of about four hundred followers joined him. He was slain. All his followers were scattered and their movement was suppressed.
37 “After him, during the days of the census, Judas the Galilean arose and persuaded the people to revolt under his leadership. He perished also, and all his followers were dispersed.
38 “So in the present case I advise you to let these men alone. For if their movement is of human origin, it will be wrecked inevitably. 39 If it is of divine origin, you cannot put it down. And you do not want to fight God by any means.”
40 The chief priests were persuaded by his arguments. So they called the Apostles, flogged them, ordered them not to preach the Gospel of Jesus, and released them. 41 The Apostles left the council chamber, rejoicing that they had suffered indignity for the sake of Jesus. 42 Therefore they kept on preaching every day in the temple and at home and proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah.
1 In those days, while the disciples were increasing in number, the Greek-speaking Jews complained against the native Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food.
2 So the twelve Apostles convoked the whole body of the disciples and said to them: “It is not desirable that we should give up preaching the message of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, pick out from your number seven men of good standing, full of wisdom and of the Holy Spirit. We will put them in charge of this service, 4 while we devote ourselves to prayer and to preaching.”
5 This recommendation met with the approval of the whole body. So they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochor, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas, a convert from Antioch. 6 They brought them before the Apostles who prayed for them and laid their hands on them.
7 In the meantime, the message of God continued to spread. The number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a great number of priests accepted the faith.
8 Now Stephen, full of faith and power, performed great miracles and wonders among the people. 9 Then some members of the synagogue known as the Freedmen, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, the Cilicians, and the Asians arose and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not meet the wisdom and the inspiration with which he spoke.
11 So they instigated some men to say: “We have heard him utter blasphemous statements against Moses and against God.” 12 Thus they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes against him, set upon him, arrested him, and brought him before the council.
13 Then they put forward false witnesses, who said: “This man is constantly uttering blasphemous statements against this holy temple and against the Law. 14 For we have heard him say that Jesus of Nazareth will tear this sanctuary down and change the customs which have been handed down to us by Moses.”
15 All those who sat at the council gazed at him, and saw that his face was like that of an angel.
1 Then the high priest asked him: “Is this accusation true?” 2 Stephen answered: “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our forefather Abraham in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Harran, 3 and said to him: ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come to the country I am going to show you.’
4 “So he left the country of the Chaldeans and went to live in Harran. After his father’s death, God made him emigrate from there into this land in which you are now dwelling. 5 He gave him no property in it, not even a foot of space. But he promised to give it as a possession to him and to his descendants, though as yet he had no son.
6 “God said to Abraham: ‘Your descendants will be strangers, living in a foreign land. They will be enslaved and ill-treated for four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation that has enslaved them. Then they will be liberated and worship me in this place.’ 8 Later on, God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. Abraham begot Isaac and circumcized him on the eighth day. Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.”
9 “The patriarchs, envious of Joseph, sold him as a slave to the Egyptians. 10 But God helped him and rescued him from all his afflictions. He enabled him to win favor and show his wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him governor over Egypt and over all his household.
11 “Then a famine and great distress came over all Egypt and Canaan. Our forefathers could not find any food. 12 But Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt. So he sent our forefathers there on their first journey. 13 On their second journey Joseph made himself known to them, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 Then Joseph sent for his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five souls in all. 15 So Jacob went into Egypt, where he and our forefathers died. 16Afterwards, they were removed to Shechem, and were buried in the tomb which Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.”
17 “The time approached for the fulfillment of the promise God had made to Abraham. Our people in Egypt increased and multiplied. 18 Another king, who knew nothing of Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He oppressed our people and outraged our forefathers. He compelled them to expose their infants and let them die.
20 “At this period Moses was born. He found favor in the presence of God. For three months he was nursed in his father’s house. 21 When he was exposed, he was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter who brought him up as her own son. 22 So Moses was educated in all the Egyptian culture. He was mighty in speech and in action.
23 “When he was forty years old, it occurred to him to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 When he saw one of them maltreated, he defended him and avenged him by killing his Egyptian oppressor. 25 He supposed that his brethren would understand that he was foreordained by God to liberate them. But his brethren failed to understand his mission.
26 “On the following day, he came across two of them quarrelling and tried to reconcile them, saying: ‘Men, you are brethren. Why do you injure one another?’ 27 But the aggressor thrust him aside, saying: ‘Who appointed you our ruler and arbiter? 28 Do you mean to murder me as you murdered the Egyptian yesterday?’
29 “At these words Moses fled, and lived in the land of Midian in exile where two sons were born to him. 30 Forty years later, an Angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31 Moses wondered at the spectacle. As he approached to examine it he heard the voice of the Lord, 32 who said to him: ‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.’ Moses was terrified and turned away his face. 33 Then the Lord said to him: ‘Take off your shoes, for the spot upon which you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groans. And I have come down to deliver them. So get ready! I am going to send you to Egypt as my messenger.’
35 “So this Moses, who was rejected by his own people, was appointed by God as their leader and their redeemer through the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 This man led them out through wonders and miracles in the land of Egypt at the Red Sea and in the desert for forty years. 37 This was the Moses who said to the sons of Israel: ‘God will raise for you a Prophet like me from among your brethren.’
38 “This was the Moses who took part in the assembly of our forefathers in the desert, who heard the message of the Angel on Mount Sinai, who received the eternal commandments and delivered them to us. 39 But our forefathers refused to obey him. On the contrary, they repudiated him. Their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 For they said to Aaron: ‘Give us gods to lead us. For we do not know what has become of Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt.’
41 “In those days, they fashioned a calf, they offered sacrifice to this idol, and they celebrated a holiday in honor of their own handiwork. 42 So God turned his back on them and abandoned them to worship the demons of the sky, as the Book of the Prophets tells us: ‘You did not offer me victims and sacrifices in the desert for forty years, O sons of Israel. 43 On the contrary, you carried about the tabernacle of Moloch, the statues you fashioned yourselves. Therefore I will deport you beyond Babylon.'”
44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle in the desert as the Lord had directed Moses to build it according to the pattern he had seen. 45 When the Gentiles had been dispossessed by God, our forefathers under Joshua brought the tabernacle as an heirloom into the land they conquered. So it was until the days of David. 46 Then David, who found favor in the sight of God, endeavored to find a dwelling-place for the God of Jacob.
47 “Solomon built a house for him. 48 But God does not live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says: 49 ‘Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool. What house can you build for me? says the Lord. Or what is the place where I can rest? 50 For my hand created all the universe.'”
51 “Stubborn people with pagan hearts and ears! You are always opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your forefathers did. 52 Your forefathers persecuted all the Prophets. They killed the men who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have recently betrayed and murdered. 53 You have received the Law and its commandments from the Angels, but you did not obey them.”
54 When they heard these accusations, they were furious and ground their teeth at him. 55 But he gazed into heaven, full of the Holy Spirit, saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at his right hand, 56 and said: “Look, I see the heavens opened, and the Messiah standing at the right hand of God.”
57 They screamed loudly, stopped their ears, rushed together upon him, 58 cast him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 As they were stoning him, Stephen prayed: “Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down, and exclaimed: “O Lord, do not count this sin against them.” With these words he fell asleep. Saul approved his murder.
1 In those days, a severe persecution broke out against the Church in Jerusalem. With the exception of the Apostles, all the believers were dispersed throughout the districts of Judea and Samaria.
2 Some pious men buried Stephen and made a loud lamentation over him. But Saul harassed the members of the Church. 3 He searched house after house, dragged out men and women and put them in prison. 4 Now those who were dispersed proclaimed the Gospel as they wandered from place to place.
5 Then Philip went down to a city of Samaria and proclaimed Christ to them. 6 When the people heard and saw the miracles he performed, they listened attentively and unanimously to what he told them. 7 Unclean spirits, crying aloud, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great rejoicing in that city.
9 Now there was a man named Simon, who had amazed the people of that city by practicing magic. He pretended to be a great man. 10 They all respected him, from the least to the greatest, and said: “This man possesses the great power of God.” 11 They respected him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.
12 When Philip preached the Gospel about the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women believed him and were baptized. 13 Even Simon himself believed, was baptized, and followed Philip. He was astonished by the great miracles and wonders he saw him perform.
14 When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the Gospel, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 They came down and prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 He had not descended on any of them, because they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 So they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the imposition of the Apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying: “Give me also this power, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter answered him: “May your money perish with you. For you have thought that the gift of God can be obtained with money. 21 You have no share or part in our mission. For your heart is not honest before God. 22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to God that, if possible, this sinful purpose of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are a bitter poison and a bundle of iniquity.”
24 Simon said to Peter: “Pray for me to the Lord that nothing of what you have said may happen to me.”
25 Then, when they had testified and preached the message and the Gospel of the Lord to many towns of Samaria, they returned to Jerusalem.
26 Then an Angel of the Lord said to Philip: “Rise and go toward the south to the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. It is a road running through the desert.”
27 So he rose and went. There he found an Ethiopian eunuch, a minister and chief treasurer of Candace, the queen of Ethiopia. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and was on his way home. He was sitting on his chariot and was reading the book of the Prophet Isaiah.
29 Then the Spirit said to Philip: “Go up and stay near that chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the Prophet. Then he asked him: “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 He answered: “How can I, if nobody explains it to me?” Then he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 Now, the passage of the Scripture he was reading was the following: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. Like a lamb, dumb before its shearer, he did not open his mouth. 33 He was humiliated and unjustly condemned. Who will tell the story of his generation? For his life has perished from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip: “Tell me, of whom is the Prophet speaking, of himself, or of someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this passage of the Scripture, he preached to him the Gospel of Jesus.
36 As they went along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said: “Look, here is some water! What hinders me from being baptized?” 37 Philip answered him: “If you believe with all your heart, you may be baptized immediately.” The eunuch said: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38 Thereupon, he ordered the chariot to stop. Then Philip and the eunuch stepped down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away and the eunuch saw him no more. Then the eunuch proceeded on his way joyfully.
40 On the other hand, Philip found himself at Azotus. He passed through that region and preached in all the cities until he came to Caesarea.
1 In the meantime, Saul, still uttering murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked him to give him letters to the synagogues of Damascus. He wanted to find all the men and women who belonged to the new way of life, and bring them in chains to Jerusalem.
3 In the course of his journey, as he was approaching Damascus, suddenly a light flashed from heaven around him like lightning. 4 He fell upon the ground and heard a voice saying to him: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 He asked: “My Lord, who are you?” He answered: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. You hurt yourself when you kick against the pricks.”
6 Trembling and dazzled, Saul asked: “My Lord, what do you want me to do?” He answered: “Rise, go into the city, and you will be told what to do.”
7 His fellow-travelers stood bewildered. For they heard the voice, but they could not see anyone. 8 Saul arose from the ground and opened his eyes. But he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 For three days he could not see and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was in Damascus a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called him in a vision: “Ananias!” He answered: “My Lord, here I am.”
11 Then the Lord said to him: “Rise up, go to the Straight Street, and inquire at the house of Judah for a man named Saul of Tarsus. He is now praying. 12 For he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias who entered and laid his hands upon him to help him recover his eyesight.”
13 Ananias replied: “My Lord, I have heard from many people about this man. He has done a good deal of harm to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 Now he is here with authority from the chief priests to put in chains all those who invoke your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him: “Go, for he will now become my chosen missionary. He will proclaim my Gospel to the Gentiles, to the kings, and to the sons of Israel. 16 Moreover, as I will show him, he will suffer martyrdom for my name.”
17 So Ananias departed, entered the house, laid his hands on him, and said: “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me to help you recover your sight and receive the Holy Spirit.”
18 Immediately, something like scales dropped from his eyes, and he regained his eyesight. Thereupon, he rose and was baptized. 19 Then he took some food and recovered his strength. He remained with the Disciples for a few days.
PAUL PREACHING THE GOSPEL
20 Immediately, he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were amazed, and said: “Is not this the man who persecuted in Jerusalem those who invoked this name, and who came here for the express purpose of bringing them in chains to the chief priests?”
22 But Saul grew more and more energetic, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah. 23 After several days, they formed a conspiracy to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. They watched the gates day and night to murder him. 25 But the disciples took him by night and let him down over the wall in a basket.
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples. But they were all afraid of him. For they did not believe that he was really converted. 27 Barnabas, however, took him in charge and introduced him to the Apostles. He told them how on his journey Saul had seen the Lord in a vision, how the Lord had spoken to him, and how he had boldly preached in the name of Jesus at Damascus.
28 Subsequently, he associated freely with the Apostles in Jerusalem. 29 He preached fearlessly in the name of the Lord. He also spoke and debated with the Greek-speaking Jews. But they endeavored to murder him. 30 When, however, the brethren became aware of it, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 So the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoyed peace, were built up, and increased in numbers, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
32 As Peter was traveling about among them all, he happened to visit also the saints who resided at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic, who had been bedridden for eight years. 34 Peter said to him: “Aeneas, Jesus Christ has healed you. Rise, and make your bed.” He rose immediately. 35 All the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
36 Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas, that is, Gazelle. She was entirely occupied in good works and acts of charity. 37 But it happened at that time that she fell sick and died. So they washed her and laid her in an upper room.
38 Lydda was near Joppa. The disciples had learned that Peter was there. They sent two men to him with the entreaty to come over without delay. 39 Peter arose and went with them. On his arrival they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood around him weeping and showing him the shirts and garments which Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
40 But Peter put them all away, knelt down and prayed. Then, turning to her, he said: “Tabitha, rise.” Thereupon, she opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then, calling the saints and the widows, he presented her alive to them. 42 This miracle became known through all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Peter remained in Joppa for many days at the house of a tanner named Simon.
1 There was at Caesarea a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian regimen. 2 He and all the members of his household were devout and pious people. He gave a great deal in alms to the poor, and prayed always to God.
3 In a vision, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, he saw clearly an Angel of God, who came in and called him: “Cornelius!” 4 He gazed at him terrified and asked him: “What is it, my Lord?” The Angel answered him: “Your prayers and your alms have been remembered by God. 5 So, now send men to Joppa to fetch Simon surnamed Peter, 6 who is lodging at the house of Simon the tanner by the seaside. He will tell you what you must do.”
7 When the Angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier, who was one of his personal attendants, 8 told them the whole story, and sent them to Joppa.
9 On the following day, while they were traveling and approaching the town, Peter went up to the housetop at about noon to pray. 10 Then he felt very hungry and wanted something to eat. While they were preparing it, he fell into an ecstasy.
11 He saw the heaven open and a bundle like a great sheet coming down, lowered by the four corners to the earth. 12 It contained all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds of the sky. 13 Then a voice said to him: “Rise, Peter, kill, and eat.”
14 But Peter answered: “No, Lord, for I have never eaten anything profane and unclean.” 15 The voice said to him for the second time: “You must not call profane what God has cleansed.” 16 This happened three times. Then the bundle was immediately taken up to heaven.
17 Peter was wondering what his vision meant. In the meantime, the men sent by Cornelius inquired their way to Simon’s house and stopped at the door. 18 They called and asked whether Simon surnamed Peter was lodging there. 19 While Peter was pondering over his vision, the Holy Spirit said to him: “Listen! Three men are looking for you. 20 Rise, go down, and accompany them without hesitation.”
21 Peter went down to the men whom Cornelius had sent to him, and said to them: “I am the man you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?”
22 They answered him: “Cornelius the centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man, who is well attested by the entire Jewish nation, was instructed by a holy Angel to invite you to his house and hear your advice.”
23 So he invited them in and entertained them as his guests. On the following day, Peter started off with them, accompanied by some brethren from Joppa. 24 The day after, they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them with his relatives and his close friends whom he had invited.
25 When Peter came in, Cornelius welcomed him, fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, and said: “Stand up, I am also a man.”
27 As he talked with him, he went in, found many persons gathered, 28 and said to them: “You know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with, or visit, a Gentile. But God has taught me that I should call no man profane or unclean. 29 So I came without hesitation when you invited me. May I ask you now for what reason you have sent for me?”
30 Cornelius answered him: “Four days ago from this hour, I was fasting and keeping the ninth hour of prayer in my house. Suddenly, a man stood before me in dazzling garments, 31 and said to me: ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered by God. 32 Therefore send men to Joppa and invite Simon surnamed Peter, who is lodging in the house of Simon the tanner by the seaside. He will come and speak to you.’
33 “At once I sent men to you, and you have been kind enough to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to hear everything that the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
34 Peter answered: “I see clearly that God makes no distinction between persons. 35 On the contrary, he welcomes every man from every nation who fears him and does what is right. 36 He sent his message to the sons of Israel, he preached the Gospel through Jesus Christ who is the Lord of the universe.
37 “You know the story which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism preached by John. 38 I mean the story of Jesus of Nazareth, whom God has anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good, healing those who were tortured by the devil. For God was with him.
39 “We are witnesses of all his deeds in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. Yet they killed him by hanging him on the Cross. 40 But God raised him up on the third day and revealed him, 41 not to the people at large, but to us, the witnesses whom God had foreordained. We ate and drank with him after his Resurrection.
42 “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that God has appointed him judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the Prophets testify that everyone who believes in him will obtain remission of sins through his name.”
CONVERSION OF GENTILES
44 While Peter was speaking these words, the Holy Spirit descended on all those who were listening to his message. 45 The Jewish believers who accompanied Peter were amazed. The gift of the Holy Spirit had been showered even upon the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in foreign languages and proclaiming the greatness of God. Then Peter declared: 47 “No one can refuse water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he commanded his companions to baptize them in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to remain for some days with them.
1 The Apostles and the brethren in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the Gospel. 2 So, when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the advocates of circumcision criticized him, 3 saying: “You have visited uncircumcized men and eaten with them.”
4 Thereupon, Peter told them the story point by point from the beginning: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, when I fell into a trance and saw a vision. A bundle, like a great sheet, lowered down from heaven by four corners, came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals of the earth, reptiles, and birds of the sky. 7 Then I heard a voice saying to me: ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat.’
8 “I answered: ‘No, my Lord. For nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips.’ 9 Then the voice from heaven told me for the second time: ‘You must not call profane what God has cleansed.’ 10 This happened three times. Then all was drawn up again into heaven.
11 “At that very moment, three men, sent to me by Cornelius from Caesarea, arrived at the house in which we were lodging. 12 The Holy Spirit advised me to go with them without hesitation. Accompanied by these six brethren, we went to the house of Cornelius. 13 This man related to us that an Angel had appeared in his house and said to him: ‘Send to Joppa and fetch Simon surnamed Peter. 14 For he will give you a message which will bring salvation to you and to all your family.’
15 “As I began to speak to them, the Holy Spirit descended upon them, just as he did upon us at the beginning of our mission. 16 Then I remembered that the Lord said to us: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Now, if God gave them the same gift which he gave us when we believed in our Lord Jesus Christ, then of course I had no power to stay the hand of God.”
18 When the Apostles and the brethren heard this statement, they were persuaded, and glorified God, saying: “Then surely God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles also.”
THE FIRST CHRISTIANS
19 In the meantime, the Apostles were scattered because of the persecution which arose over Stephen, and traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. But they preached the Gospel only to the Jews. 20 Yet some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who had come to Antioch, preached the Gospel of the Lord Jesus to the Gentiles also. 21 The hand of God was with them. So a great number of men believed and turned to the Lord.
22 The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and exhorted them all to remain steadfast and faithful to the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. So a considerable number of people were converted to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas proceeded to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 He found him and brought him to Antioch. They met for a whole year in that church and preached to large numbers of people. Now it was in Antioch that for the first time the disciples were called Christians.
27 About that time prophets from Jerusalem came down to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and foretold through the Holy Spirit that a great famine was going to occur all over the world. This famine took place in the days of Claudius. 29 Therefore the disciples, each according to his ability, decided to send relief to the brethren who lived in Judea. 30 They did so, and sent it to the elders through the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
PETER IN PRISON
1 At that time, Herod the king persecuted violently some members of the Church, 2 and beheaded James, the brother of John. 3 When he saw that the Jews were pleased, he proceeded to arrest Peter also during the festival of the Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison and committed him to the custody of four squads of soldiers, as he intended to bring him out to the people after the Passover. 5 Peter was kept in jail, but fervent prayer was made to God by the Church in his behalf.
6 The very night Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers while sentinels before the door were guarding the prison.
7 Suddenly an Angel of the Lord stood at his side, and light illumined the cell. He struck Peter on the side, woke him, and said: “Rise up quickly.” Thereupon, his chains fell from his hands. 8 Then the Angel said to him: “Put on your belt and your sandals.” Peter did so. Then he said to him: “Now put on your mantle and follow me.”
9 Peter went out following him. But he did not realize that what was done by the Angel had really occurred. He supposed that he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city which opened to them of its own accord. Then they went out and passed along one street, when suddenly the Angel disappeared.
11 Then Peter came to himself, and said: “Now I am certain that the Lord has sent his Angel and rescued me from the power of Herod and from the persecution of the Jewish people.”
12 When Peter realized his situation, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, surnamed Mark, where many disciples were gathered together and were praying.
13 When he knocked at the door of the gateway, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. 14 She recognized Peter’s voice. She was so overjoyed that she did not stop to open the door. She ran in and announced to the disciples that Peter was standing at the gate.
15 They told her: “You are mad.” But she insisted that it was so. Then they said: “It may be his angel.”
16 In the meantime, Peter kept on knocking. When they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. 17 But he motioned to them with his hand to be silent, and related to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He added: “Report this news to James and to the brethren.” Then he left and went to another place.
18 When day came, the soldiers were greatly disturbed over Peter’s disappearance. Herod searched for him, but failed to find him. 19 He cross-examined the sentries and ordered them to be put to death. Then he left Judea and went down to Caesarea, where he remained for a short while.
20 At that time Herod was very angry with the Tyrians and the Sidonians. But they approached him in a body and sued for peace through Blastus, the king’s chamberlain whom they had won over. For their cities depended upon the king’s dominions for their food supplies. 21 A day was fixed for an audience. Herod, arrayed in royal robes and sitting on the throne, received their delegates and delivered an oration to them. 22 They all applauded and shouted: “You speak to us like a god, and not like a man.”
23 Thereupon, the Angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give the honor to God, but to himself. He died immediately and was eaten by worms.
24 In the meantime the disciples of the divine Gospel increased and multiplied. 25 When Barnabas and Saul had fulfilled their mission, they returned from Jerusalem to Antioch, and brought with them John surnamed Mark.
PAUL IN ANTIOCH
1 The Church of Antioch had as its prophets and teachers Barnabas, Simeon surnamed Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were fasting and worshipping the Lord, the Holy Spirit told them: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So, after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
4 Thus, designated by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed for Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they preached the divine Gospel in the synagogues of the Jews. They were assisted by John.
6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a certain magician and false prophet, a Jew, named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence who had sent for Barnabas and Saul as he desired to hear the divine Gospel.
8 Elymas the magician, for that was what his name meant, opposed them, and sought to turn away the proconsul from the faith. 9 But Saul, who is also called Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him, 10 and said: “Son of the devil, enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and trickery, stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord. 11 For the hand of the Lord is upon you. Now you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately, a mist and darkness fell upon him. So he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had occurred, he believed and was overcome with awe at the Gospel of the Lord.
IN ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA
13 Paul and his company set sail from Paphos and came to Perga of Pamphylia. Thereupon, John left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 But they passed on from Perga and came to Antioch of Pisidia. On the Sabbath day, they went to the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the lesson from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying: “Brothers, if you want to make any exhortation to the people, proceed.”
PAUL’S FIRST SERMON
16 Then Paul stood up, waved his hand for silence, and said: “Men of Israel and God-fearing brothers, listen. 17 The God of this people of Israel chose our forefathers, uplifted our people during their residence in the land of Egypt, and led them out of that country with upraised arm. 18 He took care of them in the desert for about forty years.
19 “He destroyed seven nations in Canaan, and gave them their land as an inheritance for about four hundred and fifty years. 20 Afterwards, he gave them judges until the time of Samuel the Prophet. 21 Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul, the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin who reigned for forty years.
22 “When God had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, and testified about him, saying: ‘I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart who will fulfill all my desires.’ 23 From his descendants, as he had promised, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus. 24 John had prepared the way for his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25 “As John reached the end of his career, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the Messiah as you think. But certainly he is coming after me. He is so superior to me that I am not worthy to untie the lace of his sandals.’
26 “Brethren, sons of Abraham and God-fearing men, this message of salvation was sent to you. 27 But the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize him. They did not understand the predictions of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath day. But they fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 Although they could not find him guilty of a capital crime, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
29 “When they had carried out all the Scriptural prophecies dealing with him, they took him down from the Cross and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead. 31 He was seen for many days by those who had come with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Now these men are his witnesses before the people. 32 We also proclaim to you that God has fulfilled for us the promises which he made to our forefathers. 33 He raised Jesus from the dead, as it is written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my Son. I have begotten you today.’
34 “Moreover, he confirmed his Resurrection and his immortality by saying: ‘I will grant you the blessings I promised to David.’ 35 In another Psalm he says: ‘You will not allow your holy servant to undergo decay.’
36 “Now David, after serving his divine mission in his own generation, fell asleep in the Lord, was laid among his forefathers, and did undergo decay. 37 But our Lord whom God raised from the dead did not undergo decay at all.
38 “Therefore, brethren, you must understand that forgiveness of sins has been proclaimed to you through Jesus. 39 Moreover, every believer is liberated by Jesus from all the obligations of the Law of Moses. 40 Therefore be careful, and do not incur the reproach of the Prophet who says: 41 ‘Listen, you scoffers, you will be amaze and confounded. For I am doing in your times a deed which you will never believe when it is related to you.'”
42 As Paul and his companions left, they were implored by the people to preach the same message on the next Sabbath day. 43 When the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many devout Jews and converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas. They preached to them again and urged them to persevere in the grace of God.
JEWS AND GENTILES
44 On the following Sabbath day, almost all the inhabitants of the city had assembled to hear the Gospel. 45 When the Jews saw the crowd they were jealous, and contradicted the statements of Paul with blasphemies. 46 Thereupon, Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said: “We were bound to preach the Gospel to you first. But since you reject it and declare yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is the commandment the Lord has given us: ‘I have appointed you to enlighten the Gentiles and to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”
48 The Gentiles were delighted by this statement, and glorified the Gospel of the Lord. Many of them who were foreordained to everlasting life joined the company of believers. 49 So the Gospel of the Lard was disseminated all over that region.
50 But the Jews stirred up the pious ladies of high standing and the leading men of the city, started a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their district. 51 The Apostles shook off the dust from their feet in protest and went to Iconium. 52 They were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
1 At Iconium the disciples went to the Jewish synagogue together and preached the Gospel to the people. A great number of Jews and Gentiles joined the company of believers. 2 But the unbelieving Jews poisoned the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. 3 The Apostles remained there for a long time. They preached fearlessly the Gospel of the Lord, who confirmed their gracious message by enabling them to perform wonders and miracles.
4 The inhabitants of the city were divided. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the Apostles. 5 Soon both the Gentiles and the Jews, in concert with their rulers, conspired to abuse them and stone them. 6 But the Apostles became aware of it, and fled to Lystra, Derbe, and the neighboring cities of Lycaonia, 7 where they continued to preach the Gospel.
8 At Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He had been lame from his birth and had never walked. 9 He was listening to Paul’s sermon. Paul looked at him, saw that he had faith in his salvation, 10 and said to him loudly: “Stand upright on your feet.” Thereupon, he sprang up and began to walk.
11 When the people saw Paul’s miracle, they raised their voices and said in Lycaonian: “The gods have come down to us in human form.” 12 They called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercury, because he was the chief spokesman.
13 The priest of Jupiter, whose temple stood at the entrance of the town, brought bulls and wreaths to the gates to offer them sacrifice with the people.
14 When the Apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments, ran out among the people, 15 and shouted: “Men, why are you making all this fuss? We also are mortal men like yourselves. We are preaching the Gospel to you so that you may turn from these superstitions to the living God, who created the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.
16 “In past generations he allowed the Gentiles to follow their own ways. 17 But he has not left us without some proof of what he is. He helped us with his bounties. He sent us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons. He filled our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they could hardly restrain the people from offering sacrifices to them.
19 But some Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium. They won over the people to their side, stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city where they left him for dead. 20 But while the Apostles were standing around him, he rose up and entered the city.
On the following day, Paul went on to Derbe with Barnabas. 21 They preached the Gospel to that city and made many disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. 22 They fortified the souls of the disciples, exhorted them to perverse in the faith, and reminded them that we have to enter the Kingdom of God through many sufferings. 23 With fasting and prayer they ordained priests in every Church. Then they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
24 Passing through Pisidia and Pamphylia, 25 they preached the Gospel in Perga, and went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had first received the divine grace for the mission which they had accomplished.
27 On their arrival they called a meeting of the Church, and told them the story of all the work that God had achieved through them by opening the door of the faith to the Gentiles. 28 They stayed there a considerable time with the disciples.
1 In the meantime, some persons who had come from Judea, began to tell the brethren: “Unless you are circumcised in accordance with the Mosaic doctrine you cannot be saved.” 2 Paul and Barnabas had a great argument and controversy with them. So it was resolved that Paul, Barnabas, and some of their opponents should go up to consult the Apostles and Presbyters at Jerusalem about this question.
3 The members of the local Church saw them off on their journey. As they travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the pagans, and caused great rejoicing to all the brethren. 4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the members of the Mother Church, the Apostles, and the Presbyters. They told them how God had helped them in their mission.
5 But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees rose up and said: “The converts must be circumcised and they must be ordered to observe the Law of Moses.”
6 The Apostles and the Presbyters held a meeting to consider the matter. 7 After a long discussion, Peter rose and said to them: “Brethren, you know that from the early days God has chosen me as the Apostle through whose lips the Gentiles should hear the message of the Gospel and believe.
8 “Moreover, God who knows the hearts of men testified in their behalf by granting the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them. He cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 So we cannot call into question this act of God by placing upon the neck of the converts a yoke which neither our forefathers nor we were able to bear. 11 On the contrary, we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, just as they will.”
12 All those who attended the meeting were silent, and listened to Barnabas and Paul who told them what miracles and wonders God had performed through them among the Gentiles.
13 After they had finished their reports, James replied to them: “Brethren, listen to me. 14 Peter has told us that God himself was the first one who tried to convert the Gentiles to the worship of his name. 15 The Prophets agree with him. For the Lord tells through them: 16 ‘Then I will return and raise up the fallen tabernacle of David. I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again. 17 Then all mankind will seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles will worship my name. 18 So says the Lord, who made these predictions in the days of old.’
19 “Therefore, in my opinion, we should not overburden the Gentiles who are converted to God. 20 We should only write them to abstain from sacrifices of idols from fornication, from meat of strangled animals, and from blood-meat. 21 These prescriptions of the Law of Moses have been preached from ancient times in every city, and are being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”
22 Then the Apostles, the Presbyters, and the members of the Mother Church of Jerusalem resolved to select representatives and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. So they sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, both of them leading men among the brethren. 23 They were the bearers of the following letter: “The brethren, Apostles, and Presbyters of Jerusalem send greetings to the Gentile brethren of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.
24 “We have learned that some persons from our city without our authorization have disturbed you and have confused your minds with their teachings. 25 Therefore we have unanimously resolved to select representatives and dispatch them to you with our beloved brethren Barnabas and Paul. 26 These men, as you well know, have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we have sent Judas and Silas who will confirm our message by word of mouth. 28 The Holy Spirit and we have decided to lay upon you only the following indispensable burdens: 29 You must abstain from sacrifices of idols, from blood-meat, from meat of strangled animals, and from fornication. If you observe these rules, you will have done your part. Farewell.”
30 So they took their leave and went to Antioch. 31 Then they called a meeting and delivered the letter. When the brethren of Antioch read the letter, they rejoiced at this encouragement. 32 Judas and Silas, who were inspired preachers, exhorted the brethren and strengthened their faith. 33 After remaining there for some time, they were allowed to depart in peace from the brethren of Antioch to the Apostles of Jerusalem who had sent them. 34 Silas, however, preferred to stay in Antioch. So Judas set out for Jerusalem alone. 35 Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Gospel of the Lord with many other missionaries.
36 After some days, Paul said to Barnabas: “Let us go back now and visit the brethren in every city in which we have preached the Gospel of the Lord to see how they are doing.”
37 Barnabas wanted to take with them John surnamed Mark. 38 Paul, however, thought it was not advisable to take him along. For he had deserted them at Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in their mission. 39 So sharp was their disagreement, that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus.
40 Paul selected Silas for his companion and went on his journey. All the brethren commended him to the grace of the Lord. 41 He traveled through Syria and Cilicia where he confirmed the Churches in the faith.
1 Then Paul visited Derbe and Lystra. Here he met a disciple named Timothy, son of a believing Jewish mother and a Gentile father. 2 He was highly esteemed by the brethren in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul decided to take him as a companion on his mission. So he had him circumcized on account of the Jews who lived in that region. For they all knew that his father was a Gentile. 4 As they traveled through the cities, they urged the brethren to observe the decisions which had been reached by the Apostles and the Presbyters in Jerusalem. 5 So the Churches were confirmed in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
THE MACEDONIAN VISION
6 Thus they crossed Phrygia and Galatia. But the Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching the Gospel in Asia. 7 When they reached Mysia, they attempted to proceed to Bithynia. But the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to do it. 8 So they crossed Mysia and went down to Troas.
9 During the night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian appeared to him and implored him: “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Immediately, after this vision we endeavored to set out for Macedonia. For we were persuaded that God had summoned us to preach the Gospel in that country.
11 So we sailed from Troas and went directly to Samothrace. On the following day we reached Neapolis. 12 From there we proceeded to Philippi, a capital city of that district in Macedonia, where a Roman garrison was stationed. We remained in this city for some days.
13 On the Sabbath day, we went out beyond the city gates where we understood that there was a house of worship, and we preached to the assembled women. 14 One of our listeners was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple from the city of Thyatira and a worshiper of the true God. The Lord enlightened her mind, and enabled her to understand the sermon of Paul. 15 So she and all the members of her family were baptized. Then she appealed to us and said: “If you are persuaded that I believe in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” As she insisted, we had to accept her hospitality.
THE POSSESSED GIRL
16 While we were on our way to the house of worship, we met a slave-girl possessing a spirit of divination, who brought her masters a large profit by fortune-telling. 17 Following after Paul and us, she kept screaming: “These men are servants of God. They are proclaiming to us the way of salvation.”
18 She repeated her screams for several days. Paul was annoyed, turned back, and said to her spirit: “I command you to come out of her in the name of Jesus Christ.” At that very moment the spirit came out of her.
ARREST OF PAUL
19 Her masters, who saw that all their hopes of profit had vanished, seized Paul and Silas, dragged them off to the tribunal in the market place, 20 and said to the magistrates: “These men are Jews and they are making a great disturbance in our city. 21 They are preaching doctrines which it is not lawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd supported the accusation against them. Then the magistrates gave orders to tear their clothes off and flog them. 23 After beating them severely, they put them in jail, and commanded the jailer to keep close watch over them. 24 Accordingly the jailer confined them to the inner dungeon and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and chanting psalms to God while the prisoners listened to them. 26 Suddenly, there was an earthquake so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken. All the doors flew open, and everybody’s chains were unfastened.
27 The jailer woke up and saw that the prison doors were open. He drew his sword and was going to kill himself. For he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul shouted loudly: “Do not harm yourself. For we are all here.” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and trembling fell at the feet of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he led them out of the jail and asked them: “Gentlemen, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered him: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then you and your household will be saved.” 32 Thereupon, they preached the Gospel of the Lord to him and to his household.
33 Immediately, he took them aside at that hour of the night, washed their wounds, and without delay he and all his household were baptized. 34 Then he took them up to his house and spread a table for them. So he rejoiced with all his household, because he had believed in God.
35 When day came, the magistrates sent policemen with instructions to release the prisoners. 36 The jailer reported this message to Paul, saying: “The magistrates have ordered me to release you. So come out now, and go in peace.” 37 But Paul replied: “They have flogged us in public without a trial, although we are Roman citizens. They have thrown us into prison. Now they want to dismiss us secretly. No! Let them come themselves and release us.”
38 The policemen reported this message to the magistrate, who were alarmed when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So the magistrates came themselves, apologized to them, released them, and advised them to depart from their city. 40 Thereupon, Paul and Silas left the prison. They went to Lydia’s house, where they saw the brethren and gave them encouragement. Then they set out on their journey.
1 The Apostles, passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, came to Salonica where there was a Jewish synagogue.
2 Paul, according to his custom, went in and for three Sabbath days he discussed the Scriptures with them. 3 He explained them and showed them that the Messiah had to suffer and to rise from the dead. Then he added: “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Messiah.”
4 Some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas along with a great many devout Gentiles and several leading women. 5 But the dissident Jews were jealous. So they gathered some wicked loafers, formed a mob, and set the city in an uproar. Then they attacked the house of Jason, and tried to seize them and bring them out to justice. 6 As they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city magistrates, shouting: “These men, who have turned the world upside down, have come here also. 7 Jason has received them as his guests. They all disobey the decrees of Caesar, and claim that another man called Jesus is their king.”
8 The people and the city magistrates were disturbed when they heard this accusation. 9 They released them only after they had taken bail from Jason and his companions. Then they let them go.
10 The brethren sent Paul and Silas away to Beroea immediately, during the night. 11 On their arrival, they went to the Jewish synagogue. The Jews of Beroea were more openminded than those of Salonica. They received their message with great eagerness and studied the Scriptures every day to verify their doctrines. 12 Many of them joined the company of believers with quite a few Gentile ladies of rank as well as men.
13 But the Jews of Salonica found out that Paul was preaching the Gospel at Beroea. So they came there also, and stirred up the people against him. 14 Thereupon, the brethren sent Paul away to the coast while Silas and Timothy stayed behind. 15 The men who accompanied Paul conducted him all the way to Athens. Then they returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin him as soon as possible.
16 While Paul was waiting at Athens, he was exasperated when he saw how idolatrous that city was. 17 He had discussions with the Jews, with the worshipers at the synagogue, and with anyone he happened to meet every day in the public square.
18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some of them asked: “What is this babbler talking about?” Others said: “He seems to be preaching some foreign divinities.” For he was proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus and his Resurrection.
19 So they seized him, led him to the Council of the Areopagus and asked him: “Will you tell us what is that new teaching of yours?” 20 For you are preaching strange doctrines, and we should like to know what you mean.” 21 Now the Athenians and all the foreigners who lived in Athens, spent all their time in telling or listening to something exotic.
PAUL’S SECOND SERMON
22 So Paul stood up before the Council of the Areopagus, and said: “Men of Athens, I see that from every point of view you are very religious. 23 For as I was passing along and looking at your shrines, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To an Unknown God.’ I proclaim to you this Unknown God whom you are worshiping.
24 “God, who created the world and everything in it, does not reside in temples built by men. For he is Lord of heaven and earth. 25 He is not served by human hands as if he were in need of anything. He himself gives life, breath and everything to all creatures.
26 “From one common forefather he has created every nation of mankind, and made them dwell all over the face of the earth. He fixed their predetermined periods and the boundaries of their countries.
27 “He enabled them to search for God, to grope for him, and to find him, though he is never far from each one of us. 28 For in him we live, we move, and we exist. As some of your poets have said: ‘We are indeed his descendants.’
29 “But since we are descendants of God, we must not think that the Supreme Being can be represented in gold, or silver, or stone, carved by human art and imagination.
30 “God overlooked our ignorance in the past. But now he commands all men everywhere to repent. 31 For he has fixed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness. He has appointed a magistrate to whom he assigned this task. God has revealed this magistrate to all men when he raised him from the dead.”
32 When they heard of the resurrection from the dead, some of them sneered while others said: “We want to hear you again on this matter.” 33 So Paul went away from them. 34 Some persons, however, joined him and believed, Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Council of the Areopagus, a lady named Damaris, and some others.
1 Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had arrived recently from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had issued a decree ordering all Jews to leave Rome. 3 Paul went to visit them. He stayed with them, because they practiced the same trade. They worked together, for both of them were tent-makers.
4 Paul preached every Sabbath day in the synagogue and tried to convert both Jews and Gentiles. 5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was preaching the Gospel and proclaiming to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 As they contradicted him with blasphemies, he shook the dust out of his garments in protest and said to them: “You have to bear the full responsibility for your unbelief. I am clear of it. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles.”
7 So he left them and went to the house of a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God, who lived in a house adjoining the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his family. Moreover, many Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.
9 One night, the Lord said to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid. Go on preaching. Do not give up the Gospel. 10 I am with you. No one can harm you. For I have many followers in the city.” 11 So Paul remained there for eighteen months and preached the Gospel of the Lord among them.
12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack upon Paul and brought him before the tribunal. 13 They said: “This man is teaching the people to worship God in a manner contrary to the Law of Moses.”
14 Before Paul could answer, Gallio said to the Jews: “If it were a criminal violation of common law, I would listen to you Jews with patience. 15 But since it is a controversy about sermons, divinities, and rules of your own religious Law, you have to settle it yourselves. It is none of my business to pass judgment on such a case.”
16 So he drove them out of the tribunal. 17 Then the people seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the courthouse. But Gallio paid no attention to this incident.
RETURN TO ANTIOCH
18 After several days, Paul took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria. Priscilla and Aquila accompanied him. He shaved his head at Cenchreae in accordance with a vow he had made. 19 When they arrived at Ephesus, he left them there. Then he went into the synagogue and preached to the Jewish congregation. 20 They asked him to stay a little longer, but he refused. 21 He took leave of them, saying: “I will return to you, if God is willing.” 22 Then he sailed from Ephesus and landed at Caesarea. From there he went up to Jerusalem and visited the leaders of the Mother Church. Then he went down to Antioch.
23 After spending some time there, he departed and proceeded successively through the Galatian and Phrygian countries where he confirmed all the disciples in the faith.
24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, and well versed in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the doctrine of the Lord, and was fervent in spirit. He spoke and taught ardently about Jesus, though he was acquainted only with the baptism of John. 26 He began to preach boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him home and explained to him the divine doctrine more correctly.
27 As he wished to cross to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there, he helped greatly those who through divine grace had become believers. 28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public, and showed from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.
BACK TO EPHESUS
1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples, 2 and asked them: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered: “No, we never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Paul asked them again: “Then how were you baptized?” They answered: “With John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said to them: “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, and told the people to believe in the Messiah who was to come after him, that is to say, in Jesus Christ.”
5 When they heard this statement, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Then Paul laid his hands upon them. The Holy Spirit came upon them. They spoke in oracular languages and with prophetic inspiration. 7 There were in all about twelve men. 8 Then he went to the synagogue there and for three months preached fearlessly, arguing and trying to persuade them about the Kingdom of God.
9 But some of them obstinately refused to believe in the Gospel and criticized it blasphemously before the congregation. So Paul withdrew his disciples and preached every day in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 He continued these sermons for two years. Thus all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, were acquainted with the Gospel of the Lord.
11 Moreover, God performed extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul. 12 The people used his handkerchiefs or his garments to heal the sick of their diseases, and to expel the evil spirits by which they were afflicted.
13 Some traveling Jewish exorcists attempted to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those possessed by evil spirits with these words: “I command you in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Skeva pronounced this formula over a sick man. 15 But the evil spirit answered them: “I know Jesus and Paul, but I do not know you.” 16 Thereupon, the man possessed by the evil spirit sprang upon them, overpowered them all, and compelled them to rush out of the house badly bruised and stripped of their garments.
THE NAME OF JESUS
17 When this incident became known, all the Jews and Gentiles of Ephesus were struck by terror and awe. Now all of them held the name of the Lord Jesus in high honor. 18 Many believers came forward and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19 Some who practiced magic collected their books and burned them in public. Their value was estimated at about fifty thousand shillings. 20 So the Gospel of the Lord continued to grow in power and influence.
21 After these events, Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, resolved to proceed to Macedonia, to Greece, and then to Jerusalem, remarking: “After these journeys, I must visit Rome also.” 22 So he sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia while he himself stayed on in Asia for a while.
ARTEMIS OF EPHESUS
23 About this time, a great commotion arose concerning the Gospel. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who manufactured silver shrines of Artemis, was employing a great number of artisans. 25 He assembled these workers and those in similar trades, and said to them: “My friends, you know that our prosperity depends on this trade. 26 But, as you see and hear, not only in Ephesus, but all over Asia, this man Paul has converted a great number of people by preaching that gods fashioned by human hands are not gods at all. 27 We are in danger. Our trade will be discredited. The temple of the great goddess Artemis will be neglected. The glory of Artemis, who is worshiped by all Asia and by all the world, will be a thing of the past!”
28 When the workers heard this speech, they were furious and shouted: “Glory to Artemis of Ephesus!”
29 The commotion spread all over the city. The people rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, two Macedonians who were Paul’s traveling companions. 30 Paul wanted to speak to the people himself. But the disciples would not allow him to do so. 31 Some officials also, who were friendly to Paul, sent him a message and implored him not to risk his life in the theater.
32 In the meantime, the people were shouting, some one thing and some another. The meeting was all in confusion. Most of the people did not know why they were gathered together. 33 Some of the crowd called upon Alexander whom the Jews had pushed to the front. He motioned with his hand for silence and tried to make a speech to the people. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, all of them with one voice kept shouting for about two hours: “Glory to Artemis of Ephesus!”
35 At length, the city clerk succeeded in quieting the crowd and said: “Men of Ephesus! Everybody knows that the city of the Ephesians is the temple-guardian of the great Artemis and of her statue which fell down from heaven. 36 Now, since these facts are undeniable, you must preserve order and do nothing rash. 37 For these men, whom you have brought here, are neither plunderers of our temple nor blasphemers of our goddess.
38 If Demetrius and the artisans have a complaint, the courts are open, and the proconsuls are there. Let them take legal action. 39 Any other demand must be settled in the regular assembly. 40 Remember that we run the risk of being accused of rioting. There is no justification for all this commotion.” 41 With these words he dismissed the meeting.
MACEDONIA AND GREECE
1 When the commotion was over, Paul summoned the disciples and gave them instructions. Thereupon, he took leave of them and departed for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through all that region and encouraged the brethren greatly with his sermons. 3 Then he went to Greece where he stayed for three months. As he was going to sail for Syria, he learned that the Jews had laid a plot against him and decided to return through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied by Sopater of Beroea, the son of Pyrrhus, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, Tychicus, and Trophimus from Asia. 5 The latter proceeded to Troas and waited for us there. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the festival of Unleavened Bread. Five days later, we joined them at Troas where we remained seven days.
7 While the Apostles were assembled to break bread, Paul was preaching to them, as he was going away the next morning. He continued speaking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were assembled.
9 In the meantime a young man named Eutychus who was sitting at the window became very drowsy. As Paul still went on preaching, the lad was overcome by sleep, fell down from the third floor, and was picked up dead.
10 Paul went downstairs, bent over him, put his arms around him, and said: “Do not worry, he is still alive.” 11 Then he went upstairs again, broke bread, and ate. After a long conversation, which lasted until daylight, he went away. 12 They took the boy home alive, and were greatly relieved.
13 So we got into the ship and sailed for Assos, where we expected to take Paul on board. 14 That was the arrangement he had made, as he intended to go there by land. 15 When he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. From there we sailed and arrived off Chios on the following day. The day after, we made Samos and the next day we reached Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, as he did not want to be delayed in the province of Anatolia. For he was hastening to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.
SERMON AT MILETUS
17 From Miletus he summoned the Presbyters of the Church of Ephesus. 18 When they were assembled, he said to them: “You know how I have lived with you since the first day I came to the province of Anatolia. 19 I served the Lord with humility, with tears, and in trials which befell me because of the Jewish plots. 20 I have never shrunk from declaring to you anything that was profitable.
21 I have preached both to Jews and to Gentiles repentance before God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 “Now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. I do not know what will happen to me there. 23 The Holy Spirit warns me that imprisonment and persecution are awaiting me in every city I visit. 24 But I do not attach any importance to my life. I want only to complete the race I am running, to fulfill the mission I have received from the Lord Jesus, and to proclaim the Gospel of the divine grace.
25 “Now I am perfectly sure that none of you, to whom I have proclaimed the Kingdom of God, will ever see my face again. 26 Therefore, I call you to witness today that I have no man’s blood on my hands. 27 I have never shrunk from revealing to you the entire dispensation of God.
28 “Take care of yourselves and of all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you Bishops. Guard the Church of God which Christ has won for himself with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure ferocious wolves will enter among you and they will not spare the flock. 30 Even from among yourselves men will arise and teach perverse doctrines in order to draw away the disciples after themselves.
31 “Therefore, watch and remember that for three years, day and night, I never ceased to advise everyone of you with tears. 32 Now I commend you to God and to his gracious Son who can build you up and give you the inheritance among all the saints.
33 “I have never coveted anyone’s gold, or silver, or clothes.
34 You know well enough that these hands of mine have provided for my needs and my companions. 35 I have always given you an example that by such hard work we must help our weak brethren. Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
36 With these words he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 They all wept abundantly. They threw their arms around Paul’s neck and kissed him repeatedly. 38 They were especially upset by his assertion that they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.
1 We tore ourselves from them and set sail at last. We went directly to Cos. On the following day, we reached Rhodes and from there we proceeded to Patara. 2 There we found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia. We went aboard that vessel and put out to sea. 3 We sighted Cyprus on our left and sailed for Syria. At last we put in at Tyre where the ship had to unload her cargo.
4 There we found some disciples and stayed for seven days with them. Warned by the Holy Spirit, these disciples advised Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 5 But when the seven days were over, we departed and continued our journey. All of them escorted us out of town with their wives and children. Then we knelt down and prayed on the beach. 6 After the prayer we took leave of them. We went aboard the vessel, and they returned home.
7 From Tyre we arrived at Ptolemais where we visited the brethren and stayed for one day with them.
8 On the following day, we departed from Ptolemais and came to Caesarea. We entered the house of Philip the Evangelist, who was one of the seven deacons, and stayed with him. 9 He had four virgin daughters who were endowed with the gift of prophecy. We remained there for several days.
10 In the meantime, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea and visited us. 11 He took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and told .us: “The Holy Spirit says: ‘The Jews at Jerusalem will thus bind the man who owns this belt, and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'”
12 When we heard this prophecy, both we and our native friends begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 But Paul answered: “What are you doing? Why do you weep and break my heart? I am ready, not only to go to jail, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of Jesus.”
14 When we realized that Paul would not change his mind, we yielded and said: “The Lord’s will be done.”
15 After this incident, we made our preparations and started for Jerusalem. 16 Some of the brethren from Caesarea accompanied us and took us to the house of Mnason, one of the early disciples from Cyprus, with whom we spent the night.
17 When we arrived at Jerusalem, our brethren gave us a hearty welcome. 18 On the following day, we went with Paul to visit James and all the Presbyters assembled at his house. 19 After, greeting them, Paul gave them a detailed account of the missionary successes God had enabled him to achieve among the Gentiles.
20 The brethren gave thanks to God for these successes and said to him: “As you well know, brother, we have many thousands of Jewish believers who are zealous upholders of the Law of Moses. 21 These men have been told that you teach all Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, from circumcision, and from all the observances of the Law. 22 We have to do something about them. For they will certainly hear that you have come.
23 “Now this is what we advise you to do: We have four men here who are under a vow. 24 Take them along, and purify yourself along with them. Have them shave their heads and pay the expenses for the prescribed sacrifices. Then everybody will be persuaded that the accusations against you are not true. Far you observe the ritual of purification according to the Law of Moses.
25 “So far as the Gentile believers are concerned, you know that we have sent them a letter with the following decision: They must abstain from pagan sacrificial meat, from blood-meat, from meat of strangled animals and from sexual sins.”
26 So Paul took the four men, purified himself with them on the following day, entered the temple, and notified them that the days of their purification would be completed with a sacrifice which would be offered for each one of them.
27 But when the seven days were almost at an end, some Jews from Asia saw him in the temple, stirred up all the crowd, and seized him, 28 shouting: “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who has been preaching doctrines against our people, against the Law, and against this temple to everybody everywhere. Moreover, he has brought Gentiles into the temple and desecrated this Holy sanctuary.”
29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 So the whole city was aroused. The people ran together, seized Paul, dragged him out of the temple, and shut its gates at once.
31 As they were trying to kill him, the tribune of the cohort was informed that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 Immediately, he took some soldiers and centurions and hurried down upon the rioters. When they saw the tribune and the soldiers, the rioters stopped beating Paul.
33 Thereupon, the tribune came up, arrested him, and ordered him to be bound with a double chain. Then he inquired who he was and what he was doing. 34 Some of the people shouted one thing, and some another. As the tribune could not ascertain the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be taken to the barracks.
35 When Paul reached the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers on account of the violence of the crowd. 36 The infuriated people followed and shouted: “Kill him.”
37 As Paul was brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune in Greek: “I want to tell you something.” The tribune replied: 38 “If you know Greek, then you are not the Egyptian who recently led out into the desert some four thousand rebels and cut-throats.”
39 Paul answered him: “I am a Jew from Tarsus of Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. I implore you, allow me to speak to the people.” 40 When he obtained his permission, Paul standing on the steps motioned with his hand to the people. A deep silence followed. Then he spoke to the people in Hebrew as follows:
1 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense.”
2 When the people heard him speak in Hebrew, they became even more quiet, and he continued:
3 “I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, and brought up in this city. I was educated in the school of Gamaliel in the strict observance of our traditional Law. I was as zealous for our religion as all of you are today.
4 “I was a deadly enemy of the Gospel, and I sent Christian men and women to prison. 5 As a matter of fact, the high priest and all the elders will bear me witness. For they gave me letters to the brethren in Damascus and authorized me to bring the Christians of that city to Jerusalem in chains for punishment.
6 “On my way about noon, as I was approaching Damascus, suddenly a dazzling light blazed around me from heaven. 7 I fell on the ground and I heard a voice telling me: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ 8 I asked: ‘Who are you, my Lord? He answered: ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’
9 “My traveling companions saw the light, but they did not hear the voice of the Lord who spoke to me. 10 Then I asked him again: ‘What must I do, my Lord?’ He answered me: ‘Rise and proceed to Damascus. There you will be told of all the work you are foreordained to accomplish.’
11 “As I was blinded by the dazzling light, my companions had to lead me by the hand for the rest of the journey to Damascus. 12 There a man named Ananias, highly respected by all his Jewish neighbors for his pious observance of the Law, came to see me. 13 He stood beside me, and said to me: ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ At that very moment I regained my sight and looked upon him.
14 “Ananias added: ‘The God of our forefathers has foreordained you to know his will, to see the Messiah, and to hear him speak. 15 For you will be the witness of that vision before all men. 16 Now do not delay. Rise up, receive baptism in his name, and wash away your sins.’
17 “Then I returned to Jerusalem. One day, when I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance. 18 I saw the Lord, who said to me: ‘Make haste and leave Jerusalem at once, because its inhabitants will not accept your testimony concerning me.’
19 “I replied: ‘Yes, my Lord. For they all know that I used to imprison and flog in every synagogue those who believed in you. 20 Moreover, when the blood of your martyr Stephen was being shed, I myself stood by, I gave my approval, and I watched over the garments of his murderers.’ 21 Then the Lord said to me: ‘Go, for I will send you as my Apostle to the Gentiles all over the world.'”
22 The people had listened to him until he made this statement. Then they shouted: “Kill him! Get him off the face of the earth! Such a man must not be allowed to live!” 23 They were howling, tearing their cloaks, and shaking their garments in the air.
24 Thereupon, the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and examined by flogging, to find out the cause of the outcry against him. 25 But when they had tied him up with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by: “It is against the law to flog a Roman citizen without a trial.”
26 The centurion reported this statement to the tribune and told him: “What do you propose to do? This man is a Roman citizen.” 27 Then the tribune came and asked Paul: “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” Paul answered: “Yes.” 28 The tribune remarked: “I had to pay a large sum of money for my Roman citizenship.” Paul said: “I was born a Roman citizen.”
29 Thereupon, those who were going to examine him moved away from him immediately. The tribune himself was alarmed when he found out that Paul was a Roman citizen. For he had him tied up for flogging without a trial.
30 On the following day, the tribune tried to find out the real reason for the Jewish accusations. So he released Paul and ordered all the priests and the members of their council to assemble. Then he took Paul and placed him in front of them.
BEFORE THE COUNCIL
1 Paul looked earnestly at the council and said: “Brethren, I have ordered my life towards God in good conscience up to this day.”
2 Thereupon, the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him: “God will strike you, white-washed wall. You are sitting there to judge me according to the Law. Yet in defiance of the Law you order me to be struck!”
4 Those standing near him said: “Do you mean to insult the high priest of God?” 5 Paul answered: “Brethren, I did not know that he is the high priest. For it is written in the Scriptures that we must not speak evil of a leader of our people.”
6 But when Paul noticed that one part of the council members were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried aloud to the council: “Brethren, I am a Pharisee and a son of Pharisees. I am on trial here because I hope for the resurrection of the dead.”
7 When he had made that statement, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. So the council was divided. 8 For the Sadducees claim that there is no resurrection, nor angels, nor spirits, while the Pharisees believe in all of them.
9 Then a great uproar arose. For the scribes of the sect of the Pharisees got up and contended: “We find nothing wrong with this man. It does not matter if an angel, or a spirit, has spoken to him.”
10 The dissension became violent. The tribune, fearing that they would tear him to pieces, ordered the soldiers to go down, rescue him from them, and bring him to the barracks.
11 On the following night, the Lord appeared to him and said: “Courage, Paul! For as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
12 On the following day, the Jews made a conspiracy and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 These conspirators went to the chief priests and elders, and said to them: “We have taken a solemn oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. 15 Therefore you and the council request the tribune to bring him down to you as though you meant to examine his case more accurately. We will be ready to kill him before he arrives here.”
16 But Paul’s nephew heard of the plot, went to the barracks, and told Paul. 17 Thereupon, Paul called one of the centurions and said to him: “Take this young man to the tribune. For he has something to tell him.”
18 The centurion brought the young man to the tribune and said: “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to tell you.”
19 The tribune took him by the hand, went aside, and asked him privately: “What do you want to tell me?” 20 The young man answered: “The Jews have agreed to request you to bring Paul to the council tomorrow as though they meant to examine him more accurately. 21 Do not grant them this request. For more than forty of their men have taken a solemn oath neither to eat nor drink until they have killed Paul. Now these conspirators are lying in ambush for him and are waiting for a favorable answer from you.”
22 Thereupon, the tribune dismissed the young man with the following command: “Tell no one that you have informed me of this plot.” 23 Then he called two of his centurions and said to them: “Get ready two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to proceed as far as Caesarea by nine o’clock tonight. 24 Also provide horses for Paul to ride and take him safely to the governor.”
25 The tribune wrote the following letter to the governor:
26 “Claudius Lysias to His Excellency, the Governor Felix, greeting. 27 This man was seized by the Jews. They were ready to murder him. But I came upon them with my troops and rescued him as I had learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 I brought him down to their council as I wanted to know what accusation they made against him. 29 I discovered that their accusations had to do with questions of their own religious Law. But he was not charged with any crime punishable with death or imprisonment. 30 As I was informed of a plot which they have laid against him, I am sending him to you. I have notified his accusers to state before you whatever accusations they have against him. Farewell.”
31 According to their orders, the soldiers took Paul and brought him to Antipatris during the night. 32 On the following day, they returned to the barracks and left the horsemen to proceed with him. 33 When they arrived at Caesarea, the horsemen delivered the letter to the governor and presented Paul before him. 34 On reading the letter, the governor asked Paul to what province he belonged and learned that he came from Cilicia. 35 Then the governor said: “I will give you a hearing as soon as your accusers make their appearance.” In the meantime, he ordered him to be kept under guard in the palace of Herod.
1 Five days later, the high priest Ananias came down with the elders and a certain attorney name Tertullus. 2 When he was called, Tertullus began the prosecution, and said: 3 “Most excellent Felix! Always and everywhere we acknowledge with deep gratitude that through you we enjoy perfect peace. Through your foresight our nation is securing the reforms we need. 4 But I do not want to detain you any longer. So I beg you in your kindness to give us a brief hearing. 5 We have found this man to be a trouble-maker and a disturber of the peace among the Jews all over the Empire. He is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He actually tried to desecrate the temple. We arrested him and intended to try him according to our own Law. 7 But the tribune Lysias intervened and took him out of our hands with great violence. 8 He ordered his accusers to state their case before you. Examine him yourself, and you will ascertain the truth about all the accusations we bring against him.”
9 The Jews supported these accusations and affirmed their truthfulness.
10 When the governor motioned him to speak, Paul replied: “I am glad to make my defense before you. For I know well that you have been a judge over our nation for many years. 11 As you may ascertain, I went up to worship at Jerusalem only twelve days ago. 12 During that time I have never raised any controversy and I have never created any disturbance among the people in the temple, in the synagogues, or in the city. 13 My accusers cannot produce any proof of the charges they bring against me.
14 “But I admit that, in worshiping the God of our forefathers, I follow the Gospel of Jesus which they call a sect. I believe all the doctrines taught in the Law of Moses and written in the Prophets. 15 I have the same hope in God that they themselves hold, that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 Therefore I strive always to have a clear conscience before God and men.
17 “After an absence of several years, I had come to Jerusalem to bring charitable donations to the men of my nation and to offer sacrifices. 18 While I was purifying myself ritually and offering these sacrifices, these men found me in the temple without any crowd or uproar. As a matter of fact, some Jews from Asia started the trouble. 19 They ought to be here before you and to prosecute me if they have any accusations against me. 20 Or let these men themselves tell what crime they found in me when I appeared before the council. 21 The only crime I can think of is this one remark which I shouted as I stood among them: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.'”
22 Thereupon Felix, who was well informed about the Gospel, adjourned the trial, saying to the Jews: “I will decide your case when Lysias the tribune appears before the court.” 23 Then he ordered the centurion to have Paul kept in custody, but to allow him some freedom and let his friends attend to his needs.
24 A few days later, Felix with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess, invited Paul and listened to his sermon on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 25 When Paul preached about righteousness, chastity, and the last judgment, Felix was terrified, and dismissed him, saying: “Go for the present. I will call you again when I have an opportunity.” 26 He hoped that Paul would offer him money for his release. So he called him often and conversed with him. 27 Two Years later Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. As he wanted to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
1 Three days after his arrival in the province, Festus went from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 Then the chief priests and Jewish leaders presented their charges against Paul. 3 Moreover, they begged him as a favor to have Paul sent to Jerusalem as they were plotting to kill him on the way. 4 Festus answered: “I am returning soon to Caesarea where Paul is being kept in custody. 5 So have your leaders go down to Caesarea with me and present their accusations against him if he has committed any offense.”
6 After staying only eight or ten days in Jerusalem, Festus went back to Caesarea. On the following day, he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought in. 7 When he appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem surrounded him, and made many serious accusations against him. But they were unable to prove them.
8 Paul said in his own defense: “I have not committed any offense against the Jewish Law, against the temple, or against the Emperor.”
9 Festus, who wanted to gratify the Jews, asked Paul: “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried there before me on these charges?”
10 Paul answered: “I ought to be tried before Caesar’s tribunal where I am now standing. As you know very well, I have done no injury to the Jews. 11 I am ready to die if I am a criminal, guilty of a capital offense. But if the accusations of these men against me are false, no one has the right to surrender me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
12 After conferring with his council, Festus answered: “You appeal to Caesar. To Caesar you go!”
13 A few days after, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to welcome Festus. 14 As they stayed there many days, Festus stated Paul’s case to the king and said: “There is a man here who was left in prison by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews denounced him to me and asked for his conviction.
16 “I told them that it was not the Roman custom to condemn any man until the accused met his accusers face to face and had an opportunity to defend himself against their accusations.
17 “So, when they were assembled here, without losing any time, I took my seat on the tribunal on the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 But when the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation of such crimes as I had expected. 19 Their differences with him were about their religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, while Paul claimed that he was alive.
20 “As I was at a loss how to deal with these questions, I asked him if he was willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried on these accusations. 21 But as Paul appealed his case to Caesar, I have ordered him to be kept in custody until I can send him to Caesar.”
22 Agrippa remarked to Festus: “I should like to hear the man myself.” Festus answered: “You will hear him tomorrow.”
23 On the following day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp into the audience hall with the tribunes and the prominent men of the city. At the order of Festus, Paul was brought in.
24 Then Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all you gentlemen present with us! This is the man about whom all the Jews in Jerusalem and in this city petitioned me and shouted that he should not be allowed to live any longer. 25 But I found out that he had not committed any capital crime. Now, as he himself appealed to Caesar, I decided to send him to Rome. 26 Yet I have nothing definite to write to the Emperor about him. Consequently, I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa. Your investigation will enable me to write a clear report. 27 For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”
1 Then Agrippa said to Paul: “You have permission to defend yourself.” Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:
2 “I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am defending myself today against the accusations of the Jews before you. 3 No one is better acquainted than you with the customs and doctrines of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.
4 “All the Jews know my manner of life from my youth up. For I spent my early years among my own nation at Jerusalem. 5 They have known from the first, if they are willing to give their evidence, that I have lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest observance of our religion. 6 Now I stand on trial because I hope that God will fulfill the promise he made to our forefathers. 7 Our twelve tribes are praying God fervently day and night in the hope of seeing the fulfillment of this promise. Yet for this Messianic hope, O King, I am now prosecuted by the Jews. 8 I am also prosecuted, because they refuse to believe that God can raise the dead.
9 “Indeed, I myself thought it my duty at first to oppose vigorously the Gospel, proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. 10 I did oppose it in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many saints in prison. I gave my approval for their execution when they were put to death. 11 Often I punished them in the synagogues, and tried to force them into blasphemy. In my fanatical fury against them I persecuted them even in foreign cities.
12 “I was proceeding to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 Then at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my fellow travelers. 14 We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice, which said to me in Hebrew: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? You hurt yourself when you kick against the pricks.’
15 “I asked him: ‘My Lord, who are you?’ He answered: ‘I am Jesus, whom you persecute. 16 But rise up and stand upon your feet. I have appeared to you, because I want to appoint you a minister and witness of the present vision and the future visions you will have of me. 17 I will protect you from your people and from the Gentiles to whom I am now sending you. 18 I want you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. For through faith in me they will receive the remission of their sins and the blessings of the saints.’
19 “Thereupon, O King Agrippa, I obeyed the heavenly vision. 20 Since then I have proclaimed the Gospel to those in Damascus first, then to those in Jerusalem, to those in Judea, and to all the Gentiles. I exhorted them to repent, to turn to God, and to lead lives befitting their repentance.
21 “For this reason some Jews seized me while I was in the temple and tried to murder me. 22 God has rescue me from their hands. I am still standing here today. I am still preaching both to the humble and the great. I am adding nothing to what Moses and the Prophets predicted about Jesus: 23 He is the suffering Messiah and the pioneer of resurrection who proclaimed the Gospel of light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
24 When Paul had finished the speech in his defense, Festus exclaimed aloud: “Paul, you are talking nonsense! Your great learning has turned you mad.”
25 Paul answered: “I am not talking nonsense, your Excellency. 26 I am only telling the plain truth. The king knows all about it. So I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of these facts has escaped his notice, because none of them has occurred in a dark street corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you believe them.”
28 Agrippa answered to Paul: “You expect to make me a Christian with a short sermon.”
29 Paul retorted: “Whether short or long, I pray to God that not only you, but all those who hear me today might become such Christians as I am, but without my chains.”
30 Thereupon, the king rose. He was followed by the governor, Bernice, and the gentlemen sitting with them. 31 After leaving the room, they talked the matter over, and commented: “This man has not committed any offense punishable with death or imprisonment.” 32 Agrippa remarked to Festus: “He might have been released, if he had not appealed his case to Caesar.”
DEPARTURE FROM ROME
1 When it was decided that we should sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were turned over to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan cohort. 2 Then we embarked in an Adramyttian ship bound for the ports of Asia, and put to sea. We were accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Salonica.
3 On the next day, we put in at Sidon. Julius kindly allowed Paul to go to his friends and refresh himself. 4 From there we put to sea and sailed under the lee of Cyprus to avoid contrary winds.
5 After sailing across the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we reached Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy and put us on board.
7 For several days we made slow progress and had some difficulty in arriving off Cnidus. As the wind did not allow us to go on, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 8 We coasted along the cape with difficulty and reached a place called Fair Heavens near the town of Lasea.
9 As we had wasted a great deal of time, and navigation had become unsafe, because the autumn fast was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying: “Gentlemen, I see that this voyage is going to end in disaster and heavy loss, not only of the ship and cargo, but even of our own lives.”
11 But the centurion was more influenced by the captain and the owner than by Paul’s warnings. 12 As the harbor was ill-adapted for wintering, the majority were in favor of putting to sea again. They hoped to be able to reach and to winter in Phoenix, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest.
13 When a moderate south wind set in, they thought their objective was within reach. So they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete hugging the shore.
14 But very soon a typhonic wind called the Northeaster struck down from the land. 15 The ship was carried off its course, as she could not face the wind. So we gave way and were driven by the gale.
16 As we passed under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with great difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. 17 After hoisting it up, the sailors used ropes to brace the ship. Then, as they were afraid of being cast on the Syrtis banks, they lowered the sail and let the ship drift.
18 On the next day, as we were tossed violently by the storm, they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 The day after, they cast out the ship’s furnishings with their own hands.
20 For several days neither the sun nor the stars were visible. The storm continued to rage so violently that at last we gave up all hope of being saved. 21 During all that time we had not taken any food at all. Then Paul stood up among them, and said: “Gentlemen, you should have listened to my advice. If you had stayed in Crete, you would not have incurred this disaster and this loss. 22 Now I advise you to cheer up. None of you is going to lose his life. Only the ship will be lost.
23 “This very night an Angel of the God I belong to and whom I worship, came to me, 24 and said: ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must appear before Caesar. God has granted you the safety of all your fellow-travelers.’ 25 So cheer up, gentlemen. For I believe in God and I believe that everything will turn out as he has told me. 26 Only we are going to be stranded on an island.”
27 On the fourteenth night of the storm, we were drifting through the Adriatic sea. About midnight, the sailors began to hope that there was land ahead. 28 So they sounded and found a depth of twenty fathoms. A little later, they sounded again and found a depth of fifteen fathoms. 29 As they were afraid we might run on the rocks, they lowered four anchors from the stern, and waited anxiously for daylight.
30 The sailors wanted to abandon the ship. They actually lowered the boat into the sea under the pretext that they were laying out anchors from the bow. 31 But Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers: “You cannot be saved unless these men stay on board.” 32 Thereupon, the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and let it fall off.
33 As day began to break, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying: “For fourteen days you have been fasting in deadly suspense. You did not feel like eating your rations. 34 Now I beg you to take some food. That will give you strength and keep you alive. Believe me, none of you will lose even a single hair of his head.”
35 With these words he took bread, gave thanks to God in the presence of all, broke it, and began to eat. 36 Then they all cheered up and took some food themselves. 37 There were about two hundred and seventy-six of us aboard. 38 When they had eaten to their heart’s content, they threw the wheat into the sea in order to lighten the ship.
39 When daylight came, they could not recognize the land. But they saw a bay with a beach and decided to run the ship ashore there, if possible. 40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes which tied the rudders, hoisted the foresail to the wind, and made for the beach.
41 But they struck a shoal made by two opposing currents of the sea, and ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck deep into the sand and remained immovable, while the stern began to break up under the pounding of the raging waves.
42 Thereupon, the soldiers resolved to kill the prisoners, as they were afraid that some of them might swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion wanted to save Paul and prevented the soldiers from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land, 44 while the rest should follow by floating on planks or pieces of ship wreckage. Thus they all reached land safely.
1 After we had escaped from the wrecked ship, we learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The natives showed us extraordinary kindness. They welcomed us all and kindled a fire to protect us from the drenching rain and the cold.
3 Paul had gathered a bundle of faggots and laid them on the fire, when a viper crawled out of them to escape the heat and fastened on his hand.
4 When the natives saw the reptile hanging from his hand, they said to one another: “This man is certainly a criminal. For though he has escaped from the sea, divine justice will not let him live.”
5 Paul, however, shook off the reptile into the fire and suffered no harm at all. 6 They expected to see him swell up and fall dead suddenly. But after waiting a long time and seeing nothing fatal happen to him, they changed their minds and declared that he was a god.
7 The governor of the island named Publius, who had estates in that part of the island, welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 His father happened to be sick in bed with fever and dysentery. Paul visited him, prayed for him, put his hand on him, and healed him.
9 After this miracle, the other sick people on the island came and were also healed. 10 They made us rich presents, and when we embarked, they put on board all the supplies we needed.
11 Three months later we sailed on an Alexandrian ship named the Dioscuri, which had wintered in that island. 12 We put in at Syracuse where we stayed for three days. 13 From there we made a circuit and reached Rhegium. A day later, a southerly breeze sprang up and the following day we arrived at Puteoli. 14 There we found brethren who invited us to spend a week with them. Then we went on to Rome. 15 Our brethren there had heard about us and came as far as the Appian Forum and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and was greatly encouraged.
16 When at last we reached Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard. But he allowed Paul to live by himself with the soldier who guarded him.
17 Three days later, Paul invited the Jewish leaders to come and see him. When they were assembled, he said to them: “Brethren, I have done nothing against our people, or the faith of our forefathers. Yet I was turned over as a prisoner to the Romans at Jerusalem. 18 They examined me and were ready to release me because I had not committed a capital crime.
19 “As the Jewish leaders objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar. But I have no accusation to make against my own nation. 20 That is why I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is on account of the Messianic hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
21 They answered him: “We have received no letters about you from Judea, and none of the brethren who have come here has reported or said anything against you. 22 So we want to hear you state your views. But as far as this sect of yours is concerned, we well know that it is denounced everywhere.”
23 So they fixed a day, and came in even larger numbers to his lodging. From morning till night, he preached to them the Kingdom of God, gave his testimony about Jesus, and tried to persuade them by quoting passages from the Law and the Prophets.
24 Some of them were convinced by what he said. Others did not share his views at all. 25 As they could not agree among themselves, they started to leave. Then Paul added this last remark: “The Holy Spirit spoke well to our forefathers when he told them through the Prophet Isaiah: 26 ‘Go to this people and sap to them: They will listen and listen but they will never understand; they will look and look but they will never see. 27 For this people’s mind is dull. Their ears are deaf. And their eyes are blind. So they will never see with their eyes. They will never hear with their ears. They will never understand with their mind. They will never turn back to me and let me heal them.’ 28 Therefore let it be known to you that this Gospel of divine salvation will be preached to the Gentiles. They will listen.”
29 With those words the Jews departed, arguing at great length with one another. 30 Paul remained in Rome for two whole years at his own expense. He welcomed all those who came to visit him. 31 He proclaimed the Kingdom of God. And he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ with full freedom and without any hindrance.