Good News Translation (GNB)
21

Paul Goes to Jerusalem

211We said goodbye to them and left. After sailing straight across, we came to Cos; the next day we reached Rhodes, and from there we went on to Patara. 2There we found a ship that was going to Phoenicia, so we went aboard and sailed away. 3We came to where we could see Cyprus, and then sailed south of it on to Syria. We went ashore at Tyre, where the ship was going to unload its cargo. 4There we found some believers and stayed with them a week. By the power of the Spirit they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 5But when our time with them was over, we left and went on our way. All of them, together with their wives and children, went with us out of the city to the beach, where we all knelt and prayed. 6Then we said goodbye to one another, and we went on board the ship while they went back home.

7We continued our voyage, sailing from Tyre to Ptolemais, where we greeted the believers and stayed with them for a day. 8

21.8:
Acts 6.5
8.5
On the following day we left and arrived in Caesarea. There we stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen as helpers in Jerusalem. 9He had four unmarried daughters who proclaimed God's message. 10
21.10:
Acts 11.28
We had been there for several days when a prophet named Agabus arrived from Judea. 11He came to us, took Paul's belt, tied up his own feet and hands with it, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: The owner of this belt will be tied up in this way by the Jews in Jerusalem, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles.”

12When we heard this, we and the others there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 13But he answered, “What are you doing, crying like this and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be tied up in Jerusalem but even to die there for the sake of the Lord Jesus.”

14We could not convince him, so we gave up and said, “May the Lord's will be done.”

15After spending some time there, we got our things ready and left for Jerusalem. 16Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us and took us to the house of the man we were going to stay with21.16 and took us to the house of the man we were going to stay with; or bringing with them the man at whose house we were going to stay. — Mnason, from Cyprus, who had been a believer since the early days.

Paul Visits James

17When we arrived in Jerusalem, the believers welcomed us warmly. 18The next day Paul went with us to see James; and all the church elders were present. 19Paul greeted them and gave a complete report of everything that God had done among the Gentiles through his work. 20After hearing him, they all praised God. Then they said, “Brother Paul, you can see how many thousands of Jews have become believers, and how devoted they all are to the Law. 21They have been told that you have been teaching all the Jews who live in Gentile countries to abandon the Law of Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or follow the Jewish customs. 22They are sure to hear that you have arrived. What should be done, then? 23

21.23–24:
Num 6.13–21
This is what we want you to do. There are four men here who have taken a vow. 24Go along with them and join them in the ceremony of purification and pay their expenses; then they will be able to shave their heads.21.24 shave their heads: See 18.18. In this way everyone will know that there is no truth in any of the things that they have been told about you, but that you yourself live in accordance with the Law of Moses. 25
21.25:
Acts 15.29
But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent them a letter telling them we decided that they must not eat any food that has been offered to idols, or any blood, or any animal that has been strangled, and that they must keep themselves from sexual immorality.”

26So Paul took the men and the next day performed the ceremony of purification with them. Then he went into the Temple and gave notice of how many days it would be until the end of the period of purification, when a sacrifice would be offered for each one of them.

Paul is Arrested in the Temple

27But just when the seven days were about to come to an end, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized Paul. 28“Men of Israel!” they shouted. “Help! This is the man who goes everywhere teaching everyone against the people of Israel, the Law of Moses, and this Temple. And now he has even brought some Gentiles into the Temple and defiled this holy place!” 29

21.29:
Acts 20.4
(They said this because they had seen Trophimus from Ephesus with Paul in the city, and they thought that Paul had taken him into the Temple.)

30Confusion spread through the whole city, and the people all ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the Temple. At once the Temple doors were closed. 31The mob was trying to kill Paul, when a report was sent up to the commander of the Roman troops that all Jerusalem was rioting. 32At once the commander took some officers and soldiers and rushed down to the crowd. When the people saw him with the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33The commander went over to Paul, arrested him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked, “Who is this man, and what has he done?” 34Some in the crowd shouted one thing, others something else. There was such confusion that the commander could not find out exactly what had happened, so he ordered his men to take Paul up into the fort. 35They got as far as the steps with him, and then the soldiers had to carry him because the mob was so wild. 36They were all coming after him and screaming, “Kill him!”

Paul Defends Himself

37As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the fort, he spoke to the commander: “May I say something to you?”

“You speak Greek, do you?” the commander asked. 38“Then you are not that Egyptian fellow who some time ago started a revolution and led 4,000 armed terrorists out into the desert?”

39Paul answered, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Please let me speak to the people.”

40The commander gave him permission, so Paul stood on the steps and motioned with his hand for the people to be silent. When they were quiet, Paul spoke to them in Hebrew:

22

221“My fellow-Jews, listen to me as I make my defence before you!” 2When they heard him speaking to them in Hebrew, they became even quieter; and Paul went on:

3

22.3:
Acts 5.34–39
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up here in Jerusalem as a student of Gamaliel. I received strict instruction in the Law of our ancestors and was just as dedicated to God as are all of you who are here today. 4
22.4–5:
Acts 8.3
26.9–11
I persecuted to the death the people who followed this Way. I arrested men and women and threw them into prison. 5The High Priest and the whole Council can prove that I am telling the truth. I received from them letters written to fellow-Jews in Damascus, so I went there to arrest these people and bring them back in chains to Jerusalem to be punished.

Paul Tells of his Conversion

(Acts 9.1–19; 26.12–18)

6“As I was travelling and coming near Damascus, about midday a bright light from the sky flashed suddenly round me. 7I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ 8‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute,’ he said to me. 9The men with me saw the light, but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10I asked, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ and the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything that God has determined for you to do.’ 11I was blind because of the bright light, and so my companions took me by the hand and led me into Damascus.

12“In that city was a man named Ananias, a religious man who obeyed our Law and was highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13He came to me, stood by me, and said, ‘Brother Saul, see again!’ At that very moment I saw again and looked at him. 14He said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see his righteous Servant, and to hear him speaking with his own voice. 15For you will be a witness for him to tell everyone what you have seen and heard. 16And now, why wait any longer? Get up and be baptized and have your sins washed away by praying to him.’

Paul's Call to Preach to the Gentiles

17“I went back to Jerusalem, and while I was praying in the Temple, I had a vision, 18in which I saw the Lord, as he said to me, ‘Hurry and leave Jerusalem quickly, because the people here will not accept your witness about me.’ 19‘Lord,’ I answered, ‘they know very well that I went to the synagogues and arrested and beat those who believe in you. 20

22.20:
Acts 7.58
And when your witness Stephen was put to death, I myself was there, approving of his murder and taking care of the cloaks of his murderers.’ 21‘Go,’ the Lord said to me, ‘for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

22The people listened to Paul until he said this; but then they started shouting at the top of their voices, “Away with him! Kill him! He's not fit to live!” 23They were screaming, waving their clothes, and throwing dust up in the air. 24The Roman commander ordered his men to take Paul into the fort, and he told them to whip him in order to find out why the Jews were screaming like this against him. 25But when they had tied him up to be whipped, Paul said to the officer standing there, “Is it lawful for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn't even been tried for any crime?”

26When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and asked him, “What are you doing? That man is a Roman citizen!”

27So the commander went to Paul and asked him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes,” answered Paul.

28The commander said, “I became one by paying a large amount of money.”

“But I am one by birth,” Paul answered.

29At once the men who were going to question Paul drew back from him; and the commander was frightened when he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had put him in chains.

Paul before the Council

30The commander wanted to find out for certain what the Jews were accusing Paul of; so the next day he had Paul's chains taken off and ordered the chief priests and the whole Council to meet. Then he took Paul and made him stand before them.

23

231Paul looked straight at the Council and said, “My fellow-Israelites! My conscience is perfectly clear about the way in which I have lived before God to this very day.” 2The High Priest Ananias ordered those who were standing close to Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3

23.3:
Mt 23.27–28
Paul said to him, “God will certainly strike you — you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the Law, yet you break the Law by ordering them to strike me!”

4The men close to Paul said to him, “You are insulting God's High Priest!”

5

23.5:
Ex 22.28
Paul answered, “My fellow-Israelites, I did not know that he was the High Priest. The scripture says, ‘You must not speak evil of the ruler of your people.’ ”

6

23.6:
Acts 26.5
Phil 3.5
When Paul saw that some of the group were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees, he called out in the Council, “Fellow-Israelites! I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees. I am on trial here because of the hope I have that the dead will rise to life!”

7As soon as he said this, the Pharisees and Sadducees started to quarrel, and the group was divided. 8

23.8:
Mt 22.23
Mk 12.18
Lk 20.27
(For the Sadducees say that people will not rise from death and that there are no angels or spirits; but the Pharisees believe in all three.) 9The shouting became louder, and some of the teachers of the Law who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and protested strongly: “We cannot find anything wrong with this man! Perhaps a spirit or an angel really did speak to him!”

10The argument became so violent that the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces. So he ordered his soldiers to go down into the group, get Paul away from them, and take him into the fort.

11That night the Lord stood by Paul and said, “Don't be afraid! You have given your witness for me here in Jerusalem, and you must also do the same in Rome.”

The Plot against Paul's Life

12The next morning some Jews met together and made a plan. They took a vow that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. 13There were more than forty who planned this together. 14Then they went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn vow together not to eat a thing until we have killed Paul. 15Now then, you and the Council send word to the Roman commander to bring Paul down to you, pretending that you want to get more accurate information about him. But we will be ready to kill him before he ever gets here.”

16But the son of Paul's sister heard about the plot; so he went to the fort and told Paul. 17Then Paul called one of the officers and said to him, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18The officer took him, led him to the commander, and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to say to you.”

19The commander took him by the hand, led him off by himself, and asked him, “What have you got to tell me?”

20He said, “The Jewish authorities have agreed to ask you tomorrow to take Paul down to the Council, pretending that the Council wants to get more accurate information about him. 21But don't listen to them, because there are more than forty men who will be hiding and waiting for him. They have taken a vow not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are now ready to do it and are waiting for your decision.”

22The commander said, “Don't tell anyone that you have reported this to me.” And he sent the young man away.

Paul is Sent to Governor Felix

23Then the commander called two of his officers and said, “Get 200 soldiers ready to go to Caesarea, together with seventy horsemen and 200 spearmen, and be ready to leave by nine o'clock tonight. 24Provide some horses for Paul to ride and get him safely through to the governor Felix.” 25Then the commander wrote a letter that went like this:

26“Claudius Lysias to His Excellency, the governor Felix: Greetings. 27The Jews seized this man and were about to kill him. I learnt that he was a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and rescued him. 28I wanted to know what they were accusing him of, so I took him down to their Council. 29I found out that he had not done anything for which he deserved to die or be put in prison; the accusation against him had to do with questions about their own law. 30And when I was informed that there was a plot against him, at once I decided to send him to you. I have told his accusers to make their charges against him before you.”

31The soldiers carried out their orders. They got Paul and took him that night as far as Antipatris. 32The next day the foot soldiers returned to the fort and left the horsemen to go on with him. 33They took him to Caesarea, delivered the letter to the governor, and handed Paul over to him. 34The governor read the letter and asked Paul what province he was from. When he found out that he was from Cilicia, 35he said, “I will hear you when your accusers arrive.” Then he gave orders for Paul to be kept under guard in the governor's headquarters.