"aBrethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you."
And when they heard that he was addressing them in the aHebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said,
"aI am ba Jew, born in cTarsus of dCilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under eGamaliel, fstrictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today.
"aI persecuted this bWay to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons,
as also athe high priest and all bthe Council of the elders can testify. From them I also creceived letters to dthe brethren, and started off for cDamascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.
"aBut it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,
and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'
"And I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am aJesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.'
"And those who were with me asaw the light, to be sure, but bdid not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.
"And I said, 'aWhat shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.'
"But since I acould not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.
"A certain aAnanias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and bwell spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me, and standing near said to me, 'aBrother Saul, receive your sight!' And bat that very time I looked up at him.
"And he said, 'aThe God of our fathers has bappointed you to know His will and to csee the dRighteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth.
'For you will be aa witness for Him to all men of bwhat you have seen and heard.
'Now why do you delay? aGet up and be baptized, and bwash away your sins, ccalling on His name.'
"It happened when I areturned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I bfell into a trance,
and I saw Him saying to me, 'aMake haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.'
"And I said, 'Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another aI used to imprison and bbeat those who believed in You.
'And awhen the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.'
"And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away ato the Gentiles.'"
They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, "aAway with such a fellow from the earth, for bhe should not be allowed to live!"
And as they were crying out and athrowing off their cloaks and btossing dust into the air,
the commander ordered him to be brought into athe barracks, stating that he should be bexamined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.
But when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge aa man who is a Roman and uncondemned?"
When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman."
The commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said, "Yes."
The commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen."
Therefore those who were about to aexamine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also bwas afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had cput him in chains.
But on the next day, awishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he breleased him and ordered the chief priests and all cthe Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.