The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Acts of the Apostles
Then Agrippa said to Paul, Thou art free to give an account of thyself. And Paul, stretching out his hand, began his defence:
King Agrippa, I count myself fortunate to-day, to be defending myself against all the accusations of the Jews in thy presence.
No one is more familiar than thou with the customs of the Jews, and their controversies; and this makes me bold to ask thee for a patient audience.
What my life was like when boyhood was over, spent from the first among my own people and in Jerusalem, all the Jews know;
their earliest memory of me, would they but admit it, is of one who lived according to the strictest tradition of observance we have, a Pharisee.
And if I stand here on my trial, it is for my hope of the promise God made to our fathers.
Our twelve tribes worship him ceaselessly, night and day, in the hope of attaining that promise; and this is the hope, my lord king, for which the Jews call me to account.
Why should it be beyond the belief of men such as thou art, that God should raise the dead?
Well then, I thought it my duty to defy, in many ways, the name of Jesus the Nazarene.
And that is what I did, at Jerusalem; it was I, under powers granted me by the chief priests, who shut up many of the faithful in prison; and when they were done to death, I raised my voice against them.
Often have I tried to force them into blaspheming, by inflicting punishment on them in one synagogue after another; nay, so unmeasured was my rage against them that I used to go to foreign cities to persecute them.
It was on such an errand that I was making my way to Damascus, with powers delegated to me by the chief priests,
when, journeying at midday, I saw, my lord king, a light from heaven, surpassing the brightness of the sun, which shone about me and my companions.
We all fell to the ground,✻ and I heard a voice which said to me, in Hebrew, Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me? This is a thankless task of thine, kicking against the goad.
Who art thou, Lord? I asked. And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom Saul persecutes.
Rise up, and stand on thy feet; I have shewn myself to thee, that I may single thee out to serve me, as the witness of this vision thou hast had, and other visions thou wilt have of me.
I will be thy deliverer from the hands of thy people, and of the Gentiles, to whom I am now sending thee.
Thou shalt open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive, through faith in me, remission of their sins and an inheritance among the saints.
Whereupon, king Agrippa, I did not show myself disobedient to the heavenly vision.
First to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem, then to all the country of Judaea, then to the heathen, I preached repentance, bidding them turn to God, and so act as befits men who are penitent.
That is why the Jews, when they caught me in the temple, tried to murder me.
But, thanks to God’s help, I still stand here to-day, bearing my witness to small and great alike. Yet there is nothing in my message which goes beyond what the prophets spoke of, and Moses spoke of, as things to come;
a suffering Christ, and one who should shew light to his people and to the Gentiles by being the first to rise from the dead.
When Paul had proceeded so far with his defence, Festus said in a loud voice, Paul, thou art mad; they are driving thee to madness, these long studies of thine.
But Paul answered, No, most noble Festus, I am not mad; the message which I utter is sober truth.
The king knows about all this well enough; that is why I speak with such confidence in his presence. None of this, I am sure, is news to him; it was not in some secret corner that all this happened.
Dost thou believe the prophets, king Agrippa? I am well assured thou dost believe them.
At this, Agrippa said to Paul, Thou wouldst have me turn Christian with very little ado.✻
Why, said Paul, it would be my prayer to God that, whether it were with much ado or little, both thou and all those who are listening to me to-day should become just such as I am, but for these chains.✻
Then the king rose, and so did the governor, and Bernice, and all those who sat there with them.
When they had retired, they said to one another, This man is guilty of no fault that deserves death or imprisonment.
And Agrippa said to Festus, If he had not appealed to Caesar, this man might have been set at liberty.
The Holy Bible