November 25

Acts 20:1 — 22:30

Now after the uproar had subsided, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had encouraged them and bidden them farewell, he went forth to journey into Macedonia. 2 After going through those parts and encouraging the ones there with many a word, he came into Greece. 3 And when he had spent three months there, because a plot was hatched against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he made up his mind to return through Macedonia. 4 There were accompanying him Sopater the son of Pyrrhus of Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and from the [district of] Asia Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on and were waiting for us in Troas; 6 but we put out to sea from Philippi after the days of the unfermented cakes, and we came to them in Troas within five days; and there we spent seven days.

7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to have a meal, Paul began discoursing to them, as he was going to depart the next day; and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 So there were quite a few lamps in the upper chamber where we were gathered together. 9 Seated at the window, a certain young man named Eutychus fell into a deep sleep while Paul kept talking on, and, collapsing in sleep, he fell down from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went downstairs, threw himself upon him and embraced him and said: “STOP raising a clamor, for his soul is in him.” 11 He now went upstairs and began the meal and took food, and after conversing for quite a while, until daybreak, he at length departed. 12 So they took the boy away alive and were comforted beyond measure.

13 We now went ahead to the boat and set sail to Assos, where we were intending to take Paul aboard, for, after giving instructions to this effect, he himself was intending to go on foot. 14 So when he caught up with us in Assos, we took him aboard and went to Mitylene; 15 and, sailing away from there the succeeding day, we arrived opposite Chios, but the next day we touched at Samos, and on the following day we arrived at Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, in order that he might not spend any time in the [district of] Asia; for he was hastening to get to Jerusalem on the day of the [festival of] Pentecost if he possibly could.

17 However, from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the older men of the congregation. 18 When they got to him he said to them: “YOU well know how from the first day that I stepped into the [district of] Asia I was with you the whole time, 19 slaving for the Lord with the greatest lowliness of mind and tears and trials that befell me by the plots of the Jews; 20 while I did not hold back from telling YOU any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching YOU publicly and from house to house. 21 But I thoroughly bore witness both to Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 And now, look! bound in the spirit, I am journeying to Jerusalem, although not knowing the things that will happen to me in it, 23 except that from city to city the holy spirit repeatedly bears witness to me as it says that bonds and tribulations are waiting for me. 24 Nevertheless, I do not make my soul of any account as dear to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received of the Lord Jesus, to bear thorough witness to the good news of the undeserved kindness of God.

25 “And now, look! I know that all of YOU among whom I went preaching the kingdom will see my face no more. 26 Hence I call YOU to witness this very day that I am clean from the blood of all men, 27 for I have not held back from telling YOU all the counsel of God. 28 Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed YOU overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own [Son]. 29 I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among YOU and will not treat the flock with tenderness, 30 and from among YOU yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.

31 “Therefore keep awake, and bear in mind that for three years, night and day, I did not quit admonishing each one with tears. 32 And now I commit YOU to God and to the word of his undeserved kindness, which [word] can build YOU up and give YOU the inheritance among all the sanctified ones. 33 I have coveted no man’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 YOU yourselves know that these hands have attended to the needs of me and of those with me. 35 I have exhibited to YOU in all things that by thus laboring YOU must assist those who are weak, and must bear in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, when he himself said, ‘There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.’”

36 And when he had said these things, he kneeled down with all of them and prayed. 37 Indeed, quite a bit of weeping broke out among them all, and they fell upon Paul’s neck and tenderly kissed him, 38 because they were especially pained at the word he had spoken that they were going to behold his face no more. So they proceeded to conduct him to the boat.

Now when we had torn ourselves away from them and put out to sea, we ran with a straight course and came to Cos, but on the next [day] to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And when we had found a boat that was crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and sailed away. 3 After coming in sight of the island of Cyprus we left it behind on the left side and sailed on to Syria, and landed at Tyre, for there the boat was to unload [its] cargo. 4 By a search we found the disciples and remained here seven days. But through the spirit they repeatedly told Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem. 5 So when we had completed the days, we went forth and started on our way; but they all, together with the women and children, conducted us as far as outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach we had prayer 6 and said good-bye to one another, and we went up into the boat but they returned to their homes.

7 We then completed the voyage from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed one day with them. 8 The next day we set out and arrived in Caesarea, and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelizer, who was one of the seven men, and we stayed with him. 9 This man had four daughters, virgins, that prophesied. 10 But while we were remaining quite a number of days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea, 11 and he came to us and took up the girdle of Paul, bound his own feet and hands and said: “Thus says the holy spirit, ‘The man to whom this girdle belongs the Jews will bind in this manner in Jerusalem and deliver into the hands of people of the nations.’” 12 Now when we heard this, both we and those of that place began entreating him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered: “What are YOU doing by weeping and making me weak at heart? Rest assured, I am ready not only to be bound but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we acquiesced with the words: “Let the will of Jehovah take place.”

15 Now after these days we prepared for the journey and began going up to Jerusalem. 16 But some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, to bring us to the man at whose home we were to be entertained, a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple. 17 When we got into Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 But on the following [day] Paul went in with us to James; and all the older men were present. 19 And he greeted them and began giving in detail an account of the things God did among the nations through his ministry.

20 After hearing this they began to glorify God, and they said to him: “You behold, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews; and they are all zealous for the Law. 21 But they have heard it rumored about you that you have been teaching all the Jews among the nations an apostasy from Moses, telling them neither to circumcise their children nor to walk in the [solemn] customs. 22 What, then, is to be done about it? In any case they are going to hear you have arrived. 23 Therefore do this which we tell you: We have four men with a vow upon themselves. 24 Take these men along and cleanse yourself ceremonially with them and take care of their expenses, that they may have their heads shaved. And so everybody will know that there is nothing to the rumors they were told about you, but that you are walking orderly, you yourself also keeping the Law. 25 As for the believers from among the nations, we have sent out, rendering our decision that they should keep themselves from what is sacrificed to idols as well as from blood and what is strangled and from fornication.”

26 Then Paul took the men along the next day and cleansed himself ceremonially with them and went into the temple, to give notice of the days to be fulfilled for the ceremonial cleansing, until the offering should be presented for each one of them.

27 Now when the seven days were about to be concluded, the Jews from Asia on beholding him in the temple began to throw all the crowd into confusion, and they laid their hands upon him, 28 crying out: “Men of Israel, help! This is the man that teaches everybody everywhere against the people and the Law and this place and, what is more, he 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, but they were imagining Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 And the whole city was set in an uproar, and a running together of the people occurred; and they laid hold of Paul and dragged him outside the temple. And immediately the doors were closed. 31 And while they were seeking to kill him, information came up to the commander of the band that all Jerusalem was in confusion; 32 and he at once took soldiers and army officers and ran down to them. When they caught sight of the military commander and the soldiers, they quit beating Paul.

33 Then the military commander came near and took hold of him and gave command for him to be bound with two chains; and he proceeded to inquire who he might be and what he had done. 34 But some in the crowd began shouting out one thing, and others another. So, being unable himself to learn anything certain because of the tumult, he commanded him to be brought to the soldiers’ quarters. 35 But when he got upon the stairs, the situation became such that he was being carried along by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd; 36 for the multitude of the people kept following, crying out: “Take him away!”

37 And as he was about to be led into the soldiers’ quarters, Paul said to the military commander: “Am I allowed to say something to you?” He said: “Can you speak Greek? 38 Are you not really the Egyptian who before these days stirred up a sedition and led the four thousand dagger men out into the wilderness?” 39 Then Paul said: “I am, in fact, a Jew, of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. So I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 After he gave permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned with his hand to the people. When a great silence fell, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying:

“Men, brothers and fathers, hear my defense to YOU now.” 2 (Well, when they heard he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent, and he said:) 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but educated in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strictness of the ancestral Law, being zealous for God just as all of YOU are this day. 4 And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and handing over to prisons both men and women, 5 as both the high priest and all the assembly of older men can bear me witness. From them I also procured letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I was on my way to bring also those who were there bound to Jerusalem to be punished.

6 “But as I was journeying and drawing close to Damascus, about midday, suddenly out of heaven a great light flashed all around me, 7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now the men that were with me beheld, indeed, the light but did not hear the voice of the one speaking to me. 10 At that I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Rise, go your way into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything it is appointed for you to do.’ 11 But as I could not see anything for the glory of that light, I arrived in Damascus, being led by the hand of those who were with me.

12 “Now Ananias, a certain man reverent according to the Law, well reported on by all the Jews dwelling there, 13 came to me and, standing by me, he said to me, ‘Saul, brother, have your sight again!’ And I looked up at him that very hour. 14 He said, ‘The God of our forefathers has chosen you to come to know his will and to see the righteous One and to hear the voice of his mouth, 15 because you are to be a witness for him to all men of things you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you delaying? Rise, get baptized and wash your sins away by your calling upon his name.’

17 “But when I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Hurry up and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not agree to your witness concerning me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves well know that I used to imprison and flog in one synagogue after another those believing upon you; 20 and when the blood of Stephen your witness was being spilled, I myself was also standing by and approving and guarding the outer garments of those doing away with him.’ 21 And yet he said to me, ‘Get on your way, because I shall send you out to nations far off.’”

22 Now they kept listening to him down to this word, and they raised their voices, saying: “Take such a [man] away from the earth, for he was not fit to live!” 23 And because they were crying out and throwing their outer garments about and tossing dust into the air, 24 the military commander ordered him to be brought into the soldiers’ quarters and said he should be examined under scourging, that he might know fully for what cause they were shouting against him this way. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whipping, Paul said to the army officer standing there: “Is it lawful for YOU men to scourge a man that is a Roman and uncondemned?” 26 Well, when the army officer heard this, he went to the military commander and made report, saying: “What are you intending to do? Why, this man is a Roman.” 27 So the military commander approached and said to him: “Tell me, Are you a Roman?” He said: “Yes.” 28 The military commander responded: “I purchased these rights as a citizen for a large sum [of money].” Paul said: “But I was even born [in them].”

29 Immediately, therefore, the men that were about to examine him with torture withdrew from him; and the military commander became afraid on ascertaining that he was a Roman and that he had bound him.

30 So, the next day, as he desired to know for sure just why he was being accused by the Jews, he let him loose and commanded the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble. And he brought Paul down and stood him among them.