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Passage Lookup: Acts 21-24

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Chapter 21

Paul Sails from Miletus

1 When we had parted from them and had set sail, we ran a straight course to Cos and the next day to Rhodes and from there to Patara;
2 and having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail.
3 When we came in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload its cargo.
4 After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through [fn] the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem.
5 When our [fn] days there were ended, we left and started on our journey, while they all, with wives and children, escorted us until we were out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another.
6 Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home again.

7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and after greeting the brethren, we stayed with them for a day.
8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him.
9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.
10 As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.' "
12 When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
14 And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, "The will of the Lord be done!"

Paul at Jerusalem

15 After these days we got ready and started on our way up to Jerusalem.
16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also came with us, taking us to Mnason of Cyprus, a disciple of long standing with whom we were to lodge.

17 After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
18 And the following day Paul went in with us to James [fn], and all the elders were present.
19 After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20 And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands [fn] there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;
21 and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk [fn] according to the customs.
22 "What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.
23 "Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are [fn] under a vow;
24 take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay [fn] their expenses so that they may shave their heads [fn]; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.
25 "But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat [fn] sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication."
26 Then Paul took [fn] the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.

Paul Seized in the Temple

27 When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia [fn], upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him,
28 crying out, "Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place."
29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
30 Then all the city was provoked, and the [fn] people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut.
31 While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander [fn] of the Roman cohort [fn] that all Jerusalem was in confusion.
32 At once he took along some soldiers and centurions and ran down to them; and when they saw the commander [fn] and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
33 Then the commander [fn] came up and took hold of him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains; and he began asking who he was and what he had done.
34 But among the crowd some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he could not find out the facts [fn] because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks.
35 When he got to the stairs, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob [fn];
36 for the multitude of the people kept following them, shouting, "Away with him!"

37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the commander [fn], "May I say something to you?" And he said* [fn], "Do you know Greek?
38 "Then you are not the Egyptian who some time [fn] ago stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?"
39 But Paul said, "I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people."
40 When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned to the people with his hand; and when there was [fn] a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew [fn] dialect, saying,

 

Chapter 22

Paul's Defense before the Jews

1 "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you."
2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew [fn] dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said* [fn],
3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under [fn] Gamaliel, strictly [fn] according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today.
4 "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons,
5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can [fn] testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as [fn] prisoners to be punished.

6 "But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,
7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'
8 "And I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.'
9 "And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand [fn] the voice of the One who was speaking to me.
10 "And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.'
11 "But since I could not see because of the brightness [fn] of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.

12 "A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
13 came to me, and standing near said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at [fn] that very time I looked up at him.
14 "And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance [fn] from His mouth.
15 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.
16 'Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'

17 "It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,
18 and I saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.'
19 "And I said, 'Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You.
20 'And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.'
21 "And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.' "

22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!"
23 And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air,
24 the commander [fn] ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.
25 But when they stretched him out with [fn] thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful [fn] for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?"
26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander [fn] and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman."
27 The commander [fn] came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said, "Yes."
28 The commander [fn] answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen."
29 Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let [fn] go of him; and the commander [fn] also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put [fn] him in chains.

30 But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council [fn] to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
 

Chapter 23

Paul before the Council

1 Paul, looking intently at the Council [fn], said, "Brethren, I have lived [fn] my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day."
2 The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.
3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?"
4 But the bystanders said, "Do you revile God's high priest?"
5 And Paul said, "I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.' "

6 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council [fn], "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!"
7 As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.
8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, "We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"
10 And as a great dissension was developing, the commander [fn] was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.

11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, "Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also."

A Conspiracy to Kill Paul

12 When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy [fn] and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul.
13 There were more than forty who formed this plot.
14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, "We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul.
15 "Now therefore, you and [fn] the Council [fn] notify the commander [fn] to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place."

16 But the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, and [fn] he came and entered the barracks and told Paul.
17 Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, "Lead this young man to the commander [fn], for he has something to report to him."
18 So he took him and led him to the commander [fn] and said* [fn], "Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you."
19 The commander [fn] took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, "What is it that you have to report to me?"
20 And he said, "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council [fn], as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him.
21 "So do not listen [fn] to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you."
22 So the commander [fn] let the young man go, instructing him, "Tell no one that you have notified me of these things."

Paul Moved to Caesarea

23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, "Get two hundred soldiers ready by the [fn] third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with [fn] seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen [fn]."
24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor.
25 And he wrote a letter having this form:

26 "Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.
27 "When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.
28 "And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Council [fn];
29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but under [fn] no accusation deserving death or imprisonment [fn].

30 "When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to bring [fn] charges against him before you."
31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.
32 But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks.
33 When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him.
34 When he had read it, he asked from what province he was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia,
35 he said, "I will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also," giving orders for him to be kept in Herod's Praetorium [fn].

 

Chapter 24

Paul before Felix

1 After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders, with [fn] an attorney [fn] named Tertullus, and they brought [fn] charges to the governor against Paul.
2 After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor,
"Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation,
3 we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.
4 "But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to [fn] grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing.
5 "For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the [fn] world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
6 "And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then [fn] we arrested him. [We [fn] wanted to judge him according to our own Law.
7 "But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands,
8 ordering his accusers to come before you.] By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him."
9 The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so.

10 When the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: "Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense,
11 since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.
12 "Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city itself did they find me carrying on a discussion with anyone or causing a [fn] riot.
13 "Nor can they prove to you the charges of which they now accuse me.
14 "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the [fn] God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets;
15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
16 "In view of this, I also do [fn] my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
17 "Now after several years I came to bring alms [fn] to my nation and to present offerings;
18 in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without any crowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from Asia [fn]
19 who ought to have been present before you and to make accusation, if they should have anything against me.
20 "Or else let these men themselves tell what misdeed they found when I stood before the Council [fn],
21 other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, 'For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.' "

22 But Felix, having [fn] a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the commander [fn] comes down, I will decide your case."
23 Then he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him.

24 But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife [fn] who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.
25 But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you."
26 At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him.
27 But after two years had passed, Felix was [fn] succeeded by Porcius Festus, and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned.

Copyright Statement:
New American Standard Version
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995; Audio Recording Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, (P) 1989 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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