YLT RSV The Message
22:17 ‘And it came to pass when I returned to Jerusalem, and while I was praying in the temple, I came into a trance,
18 and I saw him saying to me, Haste and go forth in haste out of Jerusalem, because they will not receive thy testimony concerning me;
19 and I said, Lord, they--they know that I was imprisoning and was scourging in every synagogue those believing on thee;
20 and when the blood of thy witness Stephen was being poured forth, I also was standing by and assenting to his death, and keeping the garments of those putting him to death;
21 and he said unto me, Go, because to nations far off I will send thee.’
22 And they were hearing him unto this word, and they lifted up their voice, saying, ‘Away from the earth with such an one; for it is not fit for him to live.’
23 And they crying out and casting up their garments, and throwing dust into the air,
24 the chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, saying, ‘By scourges let him be examined;’ that he might know for what cause they were crying so against him.
25 And as he was stretching him with the thongs, Paul said unto the centurion who was standing by, ‘A man, a Roman, uncondemned--is it lawful to you to scourge;’
26 and the centurion having heard, having gone near to the chief captain, told, saying, ‘Take heed what thou art about to do, for this man is a Roman;’
27 and the chief captain having come near, said to him, ‘Tell me, art thou a Roman?’ and he said, ‘Yes;’
28 and the chief captain answered, ‘I, with a great sum, did obtain this citizenship;’ but Paul said, ‘But I have been even born so.’
29 Immediately, therefore, they departed from him who are about to examine him, and the chief captain also was afraid, having learned that he is a Roman, and because he had bound him,
30 and on the morrow, intending to know the certainty wherefore he is accused by the Jews, he did loose him from the bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their sanhedrim to come, and having brought down Paul, he set him before them.
23:1 And Paul having earnestly beheld the sanhedrim, said, ‘Men, brethren, I in all good conscience have lived to God unto this day;’
2 and the chief priest Ananias commanded those standing by him to smite him on the mouth,
3 then Paul said unto him, ‘God is about to smite thee, thou whitewashed wall, and thou--thou dost sit judging me according to the law, and, violating law, dost order me to be smitten!’
4 And those who stood by said, ‘The chief priest of God dost thou revile?’
5 and Paul said, ‘I did not know, brethren, that he is chief priest: for it hath been written, Of the ruler of thy people thou shalt not speak evil;’
6 and Paul having known that the one part are Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, cried out in the sanhedrim, ‘Men, brethren, I am a Pharisee--son of a Pharisee--concerning hope and rising again of dead men I am judged.’
7 And he having spoken this, there came a dissension of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, and the crowd was divided,
8 for Sadducees, indeed, say there is no rising again, nor messenger, nor spirit, but Pharisees confess both.
9 And there came a great cry, and the scribes of the Pharisees’ part having arisen, were striving, saying, ‘No evil do we find in this man; and if a spirit spake to him, or a messenger, we may not fight against God;’
10 and a great dissension having come, the chief captain having been afraid lest Paul may be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiery, having gone down, to take him by force out of the midst of them, and to bring him to the castle.
11 And on the following night, the Lord having stood by him, said, ‘Take courage, Paul, for as thou didst fully testify the things concerning me at Jerusalem, so it behoveth thee also at Rome to testify.’
12 And day having come, certain of the Jews having made a concourse, did anathematize themselves, saying neither to eat nor to drink till they may kill Paul;
13 and they were more than forty who made this conspiracy by oath,
14 who having come near to the chief priests and to the elders said, ‘With an anathema we did anathematize ourselves--to taste nothing till we have killed Paul;
15 now, therefore, ye, signify ye to the chief captain, with the sanhedrim, that to-morrow he may bring him down unto you, as being about to know more exactly the things concerning him; and we, before his coming nigh, are ready to put him to death.’
16 And the son of Paul’s sister having heard of the lying in wait, having gone and entered into the castle, told Paul,
17 and Paul having called near one of the centurions, said, ‘This young man lead unto the chief captain, for he hath something to tell him.’
18 He indeed, then, having taken him, brought him unto the chief captain, and saith, ‘The prisoner Paul, having called me near, asked me this young man to bring unto thee, having something to say to thee.’
19 And the chief captain having taken him by the hand, and having withdrawn by themselves, inquired, ‘What is that which thou hast to tell me?’
20 and he said--‘The Jews agreed to request thee, that to-morrow to the sanhedrim thou mayest bring down Paul, as being about to enquire something more exactly concerning him;
21 thou, therefore, mayest thou not yield to them, for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, who did anathematize themselves--not to eat nor to drink till they kill him, and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from thee.’
22 The chief captain, then, indeed, let the young man go, having charged him to tell no one, ‘that these things thou didst shew unto me;’
23 and having called near a certain two of the centurions, he said, ‘Make ready soldiers two hundred, that they may go on unto Caesarea, and horsemen seventy, and spearmen two hundred, from the third hour of the night;
24 beasts also provide, that, having set Paul on, they may bring him safe unto Felix the governor;’
25 he having written a letter after this description:
26 ‘Claudius Lysias, to the most noble governor Felix, hail:
27 This man having been taken by the Jews, and being about to be killed by them--having come with the soldiery, I rescued him, having learned that he is a Roman;
28 and, intending to know the cause for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their sanhedrim,
29 whom I found accused concerning questions of their law, and having no accusation worthy of death or bonds;
30 and a plot having been intimated to me against this man--about to be of the Jews--at once I sent unto thee, having given command also to the accusers to say the things against him before thee; be strong.’
31 Then, indeed, the soldiers according to that directed them, having taken up Paul, brought him through the night to Antipatris,
32 and on the morrow, having suffered the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the castle;
33 those having entered into Caesarea, and delivered the letter to the governor, did present also Paul to him.
34 And the governor having read it, and inquired of what province he is, and understood that he is from Cilicia;
35 ‘I will hear thee--said he--when thine accusers also may have come;’ he also commanded him to be kept in the praetorium of Herod.
24:1 And after five days came down the chief priest Ananias, with the elders, and a certain orator--Tertullus, and they made manifest to the governor the things against Paul;
2 and he having been called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, ‘Much peace enjoying through thee, and worthy deeds being done to this nation through thy forethought,
3 always, also, and everywhere we receive it, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness;
4 and that I may not be further tedious to thee, I pray thee to hear us concisely in thy gentleness;
5 for having found this man a pestilence, and moving a dissension to all the Jews through the world--a ringleader also of the sect of the Nazarenes--
6 who also the temple did try to profane, whom also we took, and according to our law did wish to judge,
7 and Lysias the chief captain having come near, with much violence, out of our hands did take away,
8 having commanded his accusers to come to thee, from whom thou mayest be able, thyself having examined, to know concerning all these things of which we accuse him;’
9 and the Jews also agreed, professing these things to be so.
10 And Paul answered--the governor having beckoned to him to speak--‘Knowing that for many years thou hast been a judge to this nation, the more cheerfully the things concerning myself I do answer;
11 thou being able to know that it is not more than twelve days to me since I went up to worship in Jerusalem,
12 and neither in the temple did they find me reasoning with any one, or making a dissension of the multitude, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city;
13 nor are they able to prove against me the things concerning which they now accuse me.
14 ‘And I confess this to thee, that, according to the way that they call a sect, so serve I the God of the fathers, believing all things that in the law and the prophets have been written,
15 having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, that there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous;
16 and in this I do exercise myself, to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always.
17 ‘And after many years I came, about to do kind acts to my nation, and offerings,
18 in which certain Jews from Asia did find me purified in the temple, not with multitude, nor with tumult,
19 whom it behoveth to be present before thee, and to accuse, if they had anything against me,
20 or let these same say if they found any unrighteousness in me in my standing before the sanhedrim,
21 except concerning this one voice, in which I cried, standing among them--Concerning a rising again of the dead I am judged to-day by you.’
22 And having heard these things, Felix delayed them--having known more exactly of the things concerning the way--saying, ‘When Lysias the chief captain may come down, I will know fully the things concerning you;’
23 having given also a direction to the centurion to keep Paul, to let him also have liberty, and to forbid none of his own friends to minister or to come near to him.
24 And after certain days, Felix having come with Drusilla his wife, being a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith toward Christ,
25 and he reasoning concerning righteousness, and temperance, and the judgment that is about to be, Felix, having become afraid, answered, ‘For the present be going, and having got time, I will call for thee;’
26 and at the same time also hoping that money shall be given to him by Paul, that he may release him, therefore, also sending for him the oftener, he was conversing with him;
27 and two years having been fulfilled, Felix received a successor, Porcius Festus; Felix also willing to lay a favour on the Jews, left Paul bound.
22:17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance
18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’
19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in thee.
20 And when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who killed him.’
21 And he said to me, ‘Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
22 Up to this word they listened to him; then they lifted up their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he ought not to live.”
23 And as they cried out and waved their garments and threw dust into the air,
24 the tribune commanded him to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by scourging, to find out why they shouted thus against him.
25 But when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned?”
26 When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.”
27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.”
28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”
29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him instantly; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
30 But on the morrow, desiring to know the real reason why the Jews accused him, he unbound him, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.
23:1 And Paul, looking intently at the council, said, “Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience up to this day.”
2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.
3 Then Paul said to him, “God shall strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?”
4 Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?”
5 And Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead I am on trial.”
7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.
8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
9 Then a great clamor arose; and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?”
10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and bring him into the barracks.
11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome.”
12 When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
13 There were more than forty who made this conspiracy.
14 And they went to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul.
15 You therefore, along with the council, give notice now to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16 Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush; so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul.
17 And Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune; for he has something to tell him.”
18 So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, “Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.”
19 The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”
20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him.
21 But do not yield to them; for more than forty of their men lie in ambush for him, having bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.”
22 So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of this.”
23 Then he called two of the centurions and said, “At the third hour of the night get ready two hundred soldiers with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea.
24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.”
25 And he wrote a letter to this effect:
26 “Claudius Lysias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greeting.
27 This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen.
28 And desiring to know the charge on which they accused him, I brought him down to their council.
29 I found that he was accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment.
30 And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.”
31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.
32 And on the morrow they returned to the barracks, leaving the horsemen to go on with him.
33 When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him.
34 On reading the letter, he asked to what province he belonged. When he learned that he was from Cilicia
35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium.
24:1 And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul;
2 and when he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your provision, most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation,
3 in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.
4 But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.
5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
6 He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him.
7
8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him about everything of which we accuse him.”
9 The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all this was so.
10 And when the governor had motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: “Realizing that for many years you have been judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense.
11 As you may ascertain, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem;
12 and they did not find me disputing with any one or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues, or in the city.
13 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me.
14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets,
15 having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men.
17 Now after some years I came to bring to my nation alms and offerings.
18 As I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia--
19 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, if they have anything against me.
20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council,
21 except this one thing which I cried out while standing among them, ‘With respect to the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you this day.’”
22 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”
23 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.
24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus.
25 And as he argued about justice and self-control and future judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you.”
26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him.
27 But when two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
17-18"Well, it happened just as Ananias said. After I was back in Jerusalem and praying one day in the Temple, lost in the presence of God, I saw him, saw God's Righteous Innocent, and heard him say to me, 'Hurry up! Get out of here as quickly as you can. None of the Jews here in Jerusalem are going to accept what you say about me.'
19-20"At first I objected: 'Who has better credentials? They all know how obsessed I was with hunting out those who believed in you, beating them up in the meeting places and throwing them in jail. And when your witness Stephen was murdered, I was right there, holding the coats of the murderers and cheering them on. And now they see me totally converted. What better qualification could I have?'
21"But he said, 'Don't argue. Go. I'm sending you on a long journey to outsider non-Jews.'"
A Roman Citizen
22-25The people in the crowd had listened attentively up to this point, but now they broke loose, shouting out, "Kill him! He's an insect! Stomp on him!" They shook their fists. They filled the air with curses. That's when the captain intervened and ordered Paul taken into the barracks. By now the captain was thoroughly exasperated. He decided to interrogate Paul under torture in order to get to the bottom of this, to find out what he had done that provoked this outraged violence. As they spread-eagled him with thongs, getting him ready for the whip, Paul said to the centurion standing there, "Is this legal: torturing a Roman citizen without a fair trial?"
26When the centurion heard that, he went directly to the captain. "Do you realize what you've done? This man is a Roman citizen!"
27The captain came back and took charge. "Is what I hear right? You're a Roman citizen?"
Paul said, "I certainly am."
28The captain was impressed. "I paid a huge sum for my citizenship. How much did it cost you?"
"Nothing," said Paul. "It cost me nothing. I was free from the day of my birth."
29That put a stop to the interrogation. And it put the fear of God into the captain. He had put a Roman citizen in chains and come within a whisker of putting him under torture!
30The next day, determined to get to the root of the trouble and know for sure what was behind the Jewish accusation, the captain released Paul and ordered a meeting of the high priests and the High Council to see what they could make of it. Paul was led in and took his place before them.
Acts 23
Before the High Council
1-3Paul surveyed the members of the council with a steady gaze, and then said his piece: "Friends, I've lived with a clear conscience before God all my life, up to this very moment." That set the Chief Priest Ananias off. He ordered his aides to slap Paul in the face. Paul shot back, "God will slap you down! What a fake you are! You sit there and judge me by the Law and then break the Law by ordering me slapped around!"
4The aides were scandalized: "How dare you talk to God's Chief Priest like that!"
5Paul acted surprised. "How was I to know he was Chief Priest? He doesn't act like a Chief Priest. You're right, the Scripture does say, 'Don't speak abusively to a ruler of the people.' Sorry."
6Paul, knowing some of the council was made up of Sadducees and others of Pharisees and how they hated each other, decided to exploit their antagonism: "Friends, I am a stalwart Pharisee from a long line of Pharisees. It's because of my Pharisee convictions—the hope and resurrection of the dead—that I've been hauled into this court."
7-9The moment he said this, the council split right down the middle, Pharisees and Sadducees going at each other in heated argument. Sadducees have nothing to do with a resurrection or angels or even a spirit. If they can't see it, they don't believe it. Pharisees believe it all. And so a huge and noisy quarrel broke out. Then some of the religion scholars on the Pharisee side shouted down the others: "We don't find anything wrong with this man! And what if a spirit has spoken to him? Or maybe an angel? What if it turns out we're fighting against God?"
10That was fuel on the fire. The quarrel flamed up and became so violent the captain was afraid they would tear Paul apart, limb from limb. He ordered the soldiers to get him out of there and escort him back to the safety of the barracks.
A Plot Against Paul
11That night the Master appeared to Paul: "It's going to be all right. Everything is going to turn out for the best. You've been a good witness for me here in Jerusalem. Now you're going to be my witness in Rome!"
12-15Next day the Jews worked up a plot against Paul. They took a solemn oath that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed him. Over forty of them ritually bound themselves to this murder pact and presented themselves to the high priests and religious leaders. "We've bound ourselves by a solemn oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. But we need your help. Send a request from the council to the captain to bring Paul back so that you can investigate the charges in more detail. We'll do the rest. Before he gets anywhere near you, we'll have killed him. You won't be involved."
16-17Paul's nephew, his sister's son, overheard them plotting the ambush. He went immediately to the barracks and told Paul. Paul called over one of the centurions and said, "Take this young man to the captain. He has something important to tell him."
18The centurion brought him to the captain and said, "The prisoner Paul asked me to bring this young man to you. He said he has something urgent to tell you."
19The captain took him by the arm and led him aside privately. "What is it? What do you have to tell me?"
20-21Paul's nephew said, "The Jews have worked up a plot against Paul. They're going to ask you to bring Paul to the council first thing in the morning on the pretext that they want to investigate the charges against him in more detail. But it's a trick to get him out of your safekeeping so they can murder him. Right now there are more than forty men lying in ambush for him. They've all taken a vow to neither eat nor drink until they've killed him. The ambush is set—all they're waiting for is for you to send him over."
22The captain dismissed the nephew with a warning: "Don't breathe a word of this to a soul."
23-24The captain called up two centurions. "Get two hundred soldiers ready to go immediately to Caesarea. Also seventy cavalry and two hundred light infantry. I want them ready to march by nine o'clock tonight. And you'll need a couple of mules for Paul and his gear. We're going to present this man safe and sound to Governor Felix."
25-30Then he wrote this letter:
From Claudius Lysias, to the Most Honorable Governor Felix:
Greetings! I rescued this man from a Jewish mob. They had seized him and were about to kill him when I learned that he was a Roman citizen. So I sent in my soldiers. Wanting to know what he had done wrong, I had him brought before their council. It turned out to be a squabble turned vicious over some of their religious differences, but nothing remotely criminal. The next thing I knew, they had cooked up a plot to murder him. I decided that for his own safety I'd better get him out of here in a hurry. So I'm sending him to you. I'm informing his accusers that he's now under your jurisdiction. 31-33The soldiers, following orders, took Paul that same night to safety in Antipatris. In the morning the soldiers returned to their barracks in Jerusalem, sending Paul on to Caesarea under guard of the cavalry. The cavalry entered Caesarea and handed Paul and the letter over to the governor.
34-35After reading the letter, the governor asked Paul what province he came from and was told "Cilicia." Then he said, "I'll take up your case when your accusers show up." He ordered him locked up for the meantime in King Herod's official quarters.
Acts 24
Paul States His Defense
1-4 Within five days, the Chief Priest Ananias arrived with a contingent of leaders, along with Tertullus, a trial lawyer. They presented the governor with their case against Paul. When Paul was called before the court, Tertullus spoke for the prosecution: "Most Honorable Felix, we are most grateful in all times and places for your wise and gentle rule. We are much aware that it is because of you and you alone that we enjoy all this peace and gain daily profit from your reforms. I'm not going to tire you out with a long speech. I beg your kind indulgence in listening to me. I'll be quite brief.
5-8"We've found this man time and again disturbing the peace, stirring up riots against Jews all over the world, the ringleader of a seditious sect called Nazarenes. He's a real bad apple, I must say. We caught him trying to defile our holy Temple and arrested him. You'll be able to verify all these accusations when you examine him yourself."
9The Jews joined in: "Hear, hear! That's right!"
10-13The governor motioned to Paul that it was now his turn. Paul said, "I count myself fortunate to be defending myself before you, Governor, knowing how fair-minded you've been in judging us all these years. I've been back in the country only twelve days—you can check out these dates easily enough. I came with the express purpose of worshiping in Jerusalem on Pentecost, and I've been minding my own business the whole time. Nobody can say they saw me arguing in the Temple or working up a crowd in the streets. Not one of their charges can be backed up with evidence or witnesses.
14-15"But I do freely admit this: In regard to the Way, which they malign as a dead-end street, I serve and worship the very same God served and worshiped by all our ancestors and embrace everything written in all our Scriptures. And I admit to living in hopeful anticipation that God will raise the dead, both the good and the bad. If that's my crime, my accusers are just as guilty as I am.
16-19"Believe me, I do my level best to keep a clear conscience before God and my neighbors in everything I do. I've been out of the country for a number of years and now I'm back. While I was away, I took up a collection for the poor and brought that with me, along with offerings for the Temple. It was while making those offerings that they found me quietly at my prayers in the Temple. There was no crowd, there was no disturbance. It was some Jews from around Ephesus who started all this trouble. And you'll notice they're not here today. They're cowards, too cowardly to accuse me in front of you.
20-21"So ask these others what crime they've caught me in. Don't let them hide behind this smooth-talking Tertullus. The only thing they have on me is that one sentence I shouted out in the council: 'It's because I believe in the resurrection that I've been hauled into this court!' Does that sound to you like grounds for a criminal case?"
22-23Felix shilly-shallied. He knew far more about the Way than he let on, and could have settled the case then and there. But uncertain of his best move politically, he played for time. "When Captain Lysias comes down, I'll decide your case." He gave orders to the centurion to keep Paul in custody, but to more or less give him the run of the place and not prevent his friends from helping him.
24-26A few days later Felix and his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, sent for Paul and listened to him talk about a life of believing in Jesus Christ. As Paul continued to insist on right relations with God and his people, about a life of moral discipline and the coming Judgment, Felix felt things getting a little too close for comfort and dismissed him. "That's enough for today. I'll call you back when it's convenient." At the same time he was secretly hoping that Paul would offer him a substantial bribe. These conversations were repeated frequently.
27After two years of this, Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus. Still playing up to the Jews and ignoring justice, Felix left Paul in prison.