|52 Week Bible Reading Plan|
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52 Week Bible Reading Plan
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- Now when Festus had come into his province, after three days he went up to Jerusalem from Caesare'a.
- And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they urged him,
- asking as a favor to have the man sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the way.
- Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesare'a, and that he himself intended to go there shortly.
- "So," said he, "let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him."
- When he had stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesare'a; and the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought.
- And when he had come, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem stood about him, bringing against him many serious charges which they could not prove.
- Paul said in his defense, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended at all."
- But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, "Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried on these charges before me?"
- But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried; to the Jews I have done no wrong, as you know very well.
- If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death; but if there is nothing in their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar."
- Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go."
- Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Berni'ce arrived at Caesare'a to welcome Festus.
- And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, "There is a man left prisoner by Felix;
- and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews gave information about him, asking for sentence against him.
- I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up any one before the accused met the accusers face to face, and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him.
- When therefore they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in.
- When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed;
- but they had certain points of dispute with him about their own superstition and about one Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive.
- Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wished to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them.
- But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be held until I could send him to Caesar."
- And Agrippa said to Festus, "I should like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," said he, "you shall hear him."
- So on the morrow Agrippa and Berni'ce came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then by command of Festus Paul was brought in.
- And Festus said, "King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.
- But I found that he had done nothing deserving death; and as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to send him.
- But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you, and, especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write.
- For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him."
- Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:
- "I think myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews,
- because you are especially familiar with all customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
- "My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and at Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews.
- They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee.
- And now I stand here on trial for hope in the promise made by God to our fathers,
- to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king!
- Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
- "I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
- And I did so in Jerusalem; I not only shut up many of the saints in prison, by authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them.
- And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme; and in raging fury against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
- "Thus I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
- At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me.
- And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.'
- And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
- But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
- delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles--to whom I send you
- to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
- "Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
- but declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and perform deeds worthy of their repentance.
- For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
- To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass:
- that the Christ must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles."
- And as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are mad; your great learning is turning you mad."
- But Paul said, "I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth.
- For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner.
- King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe."
- And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time you think to make me a Christian!"
- And Paul said, "Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am--except for these chains."
- Then the king rose, and the governor and Berni'ce and those who were sitting with them;
- and when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, "This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment."
- And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."
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