1Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor.2When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: "We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation.3Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.4But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.5"We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect6and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him.7(OMITTED TEXT)8By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him."9The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.10When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: "I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense.11You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.12My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city.13And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.14However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,15and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.16So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.17"After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.18I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance.19But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me.20Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin--21unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: 'It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.'"22Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. "When Lysias the commander comes," he said, "I will decide your case."23He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.24Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.25As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you."26At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.27When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.==Chapter 25==1Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem,2where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul.3They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way.4Festus answered, "Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon.5Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong."6After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him.7When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.8Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar."9Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?"10Paul answered: "I am now standing before Caesar's court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well.11If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!"12After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: "You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!"13A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.14Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul's case with the king. He said: "There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner.15When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.16"I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges.17When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in.18When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected.19Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.20I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges.21When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor's decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar."22Then Agrippa said to Festus, "I would like to hear this man myself." He replied, "Tomorrow you will hear him."23The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high ranking officers and the leading men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.24Festus said: "King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.25I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome.26But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write.27For I think it is unreasonable to send on a prisoner without specifying the charges against him."==Chapter 26==1Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense:2"King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews,3and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.4"The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem.5They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee.6And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today.7This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me.8Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?9"I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.10And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.11Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.12"On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.13About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.14We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'15"Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' "'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied.16'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.17I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them18to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'19"So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.21That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.22But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen--23that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles."24At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane."25"I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable.26The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."28Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"29Paul replied, "Short time or long--I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."30The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them.31They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, "This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment."32Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."==Chapter 27==1When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.2We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.3The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.4From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us.5When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.6There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.7We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone.8We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.9Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them,10"Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also."11But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.12Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.13When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.14Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island.15The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.16As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure.17When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along.18We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard.19On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.20When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.21After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me24and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.'25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.26Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."27On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land.28They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep.29Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.30In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow.31Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved."32So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.33Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food--you haven't eaten anything.34Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head."35After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.36They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.37Altogether there were 276 of us on board.38When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.39When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.40Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach.41But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.42The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping.43But the centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land.44The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.==Chapter 28==1Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.2The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.3Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.4When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live."5But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.6The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.7There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably.8His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.9When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.10They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.11After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.12We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.13From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli.14There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.15The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.16When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.17Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.18They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.19But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar--not that I had any charge to bring against my own people.20For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain."21They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you.22But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect."23They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.24Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.25They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:26"'Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving."27For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'28"Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!"29(OMITTED TEXT)30For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.