Paul’s Defense before Agrippa

Now Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” Then Paul extended his hand and proceeded to make his defense:

“Regarding all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate that I am about to make my defense before you today, [a]especially because you are an expert in all customs and [b]questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

“So then, all Jews know my way of life since my youth, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and in Jerusalem, since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. For this hope, O king, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God raises the dead?

“So I thought to myself that I had to act in strong opposition to the name of Jesus [c]of Nazareth. 10 And this is [d]just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the [e]saints in prisons, after receiving authority from the chief priests, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being put to death. 11 And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was extremely enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to [f]foreign cities.

12 [g]While so engaged, as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, [h]brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who were journeying with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the [i]Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? [j]It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you as a servant and a witness not only to the things in which you have seen Me, but also to the things in which I will appear to you, 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the [k]power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

19 “For that reason, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but continually proclaimed to those in Damascus first, and in Jerusalem, and then all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they are to repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with repentance. 21 For these reasons some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to murder me. 22 So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place, 23 as to whether the [l]Christ was [m]to suffer, and whether, as first from the resurrection of the dead, He would proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

24 While [n]Paul was stating these things in his defense, Festus *said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! [o]Your great learning is [p]driving you insane.” 25 But Paul *said, “I am not insane, most excellent Festus; on the contrary, I am speaking out with [q]truthful and rational words. 26 For the king [r]knows about these matters, and I also speak to him with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a [s]corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 Agrippa replied to Paul, “[t]In a short time you are going to persuade me to [u]make a Christian of myself.” 29 And Paul said, “I would [v]wish to God that even [w]in a short or long time not only you, but also all who hear me this day would become such as I myself am, except for these chains.”

30 The king stood up and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them, 31 and when they had gone out, they began talking to one another, saying, “This man is not doing anything deserving death or [x]imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”


  1. Acts 26:3 Or because you are especially expert
  2. Acts 26:3 Or controversial issues
  3. Acts 26:9 Or the Nazarene
  4. Acts 26:10 Lit also
  5. Acts 26:10 Lit holy ones; i.e., God’s people
  6. Acts 26:11 Or outlying
  7. Acts 26:12 Lit In which things
  8. Acts 26:13 Lit above the brightness of
  9. Acts 26:14 I.e., Jewish Aramaic
  10. Acts 26:14 An idiom referring to an animal’s futile resistance to being prodded with a spiked stick
  11. Acts 26:18 Or dominion
  12. Acts 26:23 I.e., Messiah
  13. Acts 26:23 Lit subject to suffering
  14. Acts 26:24 Lit he
  15. Acts 26:24 Lit The many letters; i.e., education
  16. Acts 26:24 Lit turning you to madness
  17. Acts 26:25 Lit words of truth and rationality
  18. Acts 26:26 Or understands
  19. Acts 26:26 I.e., a hidden or secret place
  20. Acts 26:28 Or With a little
  21. Acts 26:28 Or act as a Christian
  22. Acts 26:29 Or pray to
  23. Acts 26:29 Or with a little or with much
  24. Acts 26:31 Lit bonds