Now Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” Then Paul, stretching out his hand, began to make his defense: 2 “Concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I regard myself blessed, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today; 3 especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. 4 “So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem; 5 since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. 6 And now I am standing here being tried for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; 7 the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. 8 Why is it considered unbelievable among all of you if God does raise the dead? 9 “So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. 10 And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.
Paul Tells of His Conversion12 “While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a servant and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ 19 “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, practicing deeds appropriate to repentance. 21 For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and were trying to put me to death. 22 Therefore, having obtained help from God to this day, I stand here bearing witness both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; 23 that the Christ was to suffer, and that as first of the resurrection from the dead, He was going to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” 24 Now while Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus *said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul *said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. 26 For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know you believe.” 28 But Agrippa replied to Paul, “In such short time are you persuading me to become a Christian?” 29 And Paul said, “I would pray to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” 30 And the king stood up and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them, 31 and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one another, saying, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”