CHOOSE YOUR BIBLE VERSION

Acts chapter 22

New International Version

1 Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.'
2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: 3 I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, 'Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?'
8 'Who are you, Lord?' I asked. ''I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. 9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
10 'What shall I do, Lord?' I asked. ' 'Get up,' the Lord said, 'and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.' 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
12 A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him.
14 Then he said: 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'
17 When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. 'Quick!' he said. 'Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.'
19 'Lord,' I replied, 'these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.'
21 Then the Lord said to me, 'Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.''
22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, 'Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!'
23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, 'Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?'
26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. 'What are you going to do?' he asked. 'This man is a Roman citizen.'
27 The commander went to Paul and asked, 'Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?' 'Yes, I am,' he answered.
28 Then the commander said, 'I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.' 'But I was born a citizen,' Paul replied.
29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.
English Standard Version

1 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.”
2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could 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.
12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
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 out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, 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 am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, 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 next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.
King James Version

1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. 2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. 4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. 6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. 9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. 10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. 12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, 13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. 14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; 18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, 24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. 25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? 26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. 27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. 28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. 29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. 30 On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them.
New American Standard Bible

1 'Brothers and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.'
2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he *said,
3 'I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the Law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, 5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brothers, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.
6 'But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus at about noon, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, 7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 And those who were with me saw the light, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything that has been appointed for you to do.’ 11 But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I came into Damascus being led by the hand by those who were with me.
12 'Now a certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing nearby he said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I looked up at him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear a message from His mouth. 15 For you will be a witness for Him to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name.’
17 'It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, 18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. 20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing nearby and approving, and watching over the cloaks of those who were killing him.’ 21 And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’? '
22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, 'Away with such a man from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!' 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that he be brought into the barracks, saying that he was to be interrogated by flogging so that he would find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. 25 But when they stretched him out with straps, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, 'Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?' 26 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.' 27 The commander came and said to Paul, 'Tell me, are you a Roman?' And he said, 'Yes.' 28 The commander answered, 'I acquired this citizenship for a large sum of money.' And Paul said, 'But I was actually born a citizen.' 29 Therefore, those who were about to interrogate him immediately backed away from him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.
30 Now on the next day, wanting to know for certain why Paul had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and he brought Paul down and placed him before them.
New Living Translation

1 'Brothers and esteemed fathers,' Paul said, 'listen to me as I offer my defense.' 2 When they heard him speaking in their own language, the silence was even greater.
3 Then Paul said, 'I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today. 4 And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison. 5 The high priest and the whole council of elders can testify that this is so. For I received letters from them to our Jewish brothers in Damascus, authorizing me to bring the Christians from there to Jerusalem, in chains, to be punished.
6 'As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
8 ''Who are you, lord?' I asked. 'And the voice replied, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, the one you are persecuting.' 9 The people with me saw the light but didn't understand the voice speaking to me.
10 'I asked, 'What should I do, Lord?' 'And the Lord told me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are to do.'
11 'I was blinded by the intense light and had to be led by the hand to Damascus by my companions. 12 A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus. 13 He came and stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, regain your sight.' And that very moment I could see him!
14 'Then he told me, 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and hear him speak. 15 For you are to be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard. 16 What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.'
17 'After I returned to Jerusalem, I was praying in the Temple and fell into a trance. 18 I saw a vision of Jesus saying to me, 'Hurry! Leave Jerusalem, for the people here won't accept your testimony about me.'
19 ''But Lord,' I argued, 'they certainly know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And I was in complete agreement when your witness Stephen was killed. I stood by and kept the coats they took off when they stoned him.'
21 'But the Lord said to me, 'Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!''
22 The crowd listened until Paul said that word. Then they all began to shout, 'Away with such a fellow! He isn't fit to live!' 23 They yelled, threw off their coats, and tossed handfuls of dust into the air.
24 The commander brought Paul inside and ordered him lashed with whips to make him confess his crime. He wanted to find out why the crowd had become so furious. 25 When they tied Paul down to lash him, Paul said to the officer standing there, 'Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn't even been tried?'
26 When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and asked, 'What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!'
27 So the commander went over and asked Paul, 'Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?' 'Yes, I certainly am,' Paul replied.
28 'I am, too,' the commander muttered, 'and it cost me plenty!' Paul answered, 'But I am a citizen by birth!'
29 The soldiers who were about to interrogate Paul quickly withdrew when they heard he was a Roman citizen, and the commander was frightened because he had ordered him bound and whipped.
30 The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them.
Christian Standard Bible

1 "Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense before you." 2 When they heard that he was addressing them in Aramaic, they became even quieter. 3 He continued, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strictness of our ancestral law. I was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, arresting and putting both men and women in jail, 5 as both the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. After I received letters from them to the brothers, I traveled to Damascus to arrest those who were there and bring them to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 "As I was traveling and approaching Damascus, about noon an intense light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? '
8 "I answered, 'Who are you, Lord? '"He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, the one you are persecuting.' 9 Now those who were with me saw the light, but they did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
10 "I said, 'What should I do, Lord? '"The Lord told me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything that you have been assigned to do.'
11 "Since I couldn't see because of the brightness of the light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and went into Damascus. 12 Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, who had a good reputation with all the Jews living there, 13 came and stood by me and said, 'Brother Saul, regain your sight.' And in that very hour I looked up and saw him. 14 And he said, 'The God of our ancestors has appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the words from his mouth, 15 since you will be a witness for him to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now, why are you delaying? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'
17 "After I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him telling me, 'Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.'
19 "But I said, 'Lord, they know that in synagogue after synagogue I had those who believed in you imprisoned and beaten. 20 And when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I stood there giving approval and guarding the clothes of those who killed him.'
21 "He said to me, 'Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.' "
22 They listened to him up to this point. Then they raised their voices, shouting, "Wipe this man off the face of the earth! He should not be allowed to live! "
23 As they were yelling and flinging aside their garments and throwing dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, directing that he be interrogated with the scourge to discover the reason they were shouting against him like this. 25 As they stretched him out for the lash, Paul said to the centurion standing by, "Is it legal for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen and is uncondemned? "
26 When the centurion heard this, he went and reported to the commander, saying, "What are you going to do? For this man is a Roman citizen."
27 The commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen? ""Yes," he said.
28 The commander replied, "I bought this citizenship for a large amount of money.""But I was born a citizen," Paul said.
29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately. The commander too was alarmed when he realized Paul was a Roman citizen and he had bound him.
30 The next day, since he wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and instructed the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to convene. He brought Paul down and placed him before them.

What does Acts chapter 22 mean?

Acts 22 is the first full chapter of Paul's incarceration by the Roman government. He had traveled to Jerusalem to report the progress of his church-planting ministry to the church leaders and apostles. They rejoiced to hear of the new strong church in Ephesus and the continued growth of the churches around the Aegean Sea, but they were more anxious about local news. Legalistic Jewish Christians spread a rumor that Paul taught other Jewish Christians to reject the Mosaic law—specifically, that they should not circumcise their sons. In truth, Paul only taught that the Gentiles did not need to follow the customs of the Mosaic law, by order of the very men reporting these charges (Acts 15). The church elders proposed Paul assist four Jewish Christians in completing their Nazirite vow to prove he still respected the Mosaic law. While doing so, non-Christian Jews from the province around Ephesus saw him in town with a Gentile Christian they knew from home. When they saw Paul in the temple, they wrongly accused him of bringing the Gentile man into the temple and incited the crowd to attack him. The Roman tribune received word of the rampage and rescued Paul by arresting him. Paul, never one to leave an issue undiscussed, begged the tribune to let him speak. The tribune agreed, hopeful Paul's words would explain the crowd's violence (Acts 21:17–40).

Acts 22:1–22 records the text of that speech and the Jews' reaction. Instead of overtly preaching the gospel, Paul gives a defense as to why he traveled with a Gentile from Ephesus. In verses 3–5, he reminds them of his strict education by the Pharisee rabbi Gamaliel and how violently he had, at first, persecuted Christians. In verses 6–16, Paul recounts his conversion, as narrated in Acts 9:1–19. In verses 17–21, he explains that when he returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, the Jews rejected him so strongly they sought to kill him, so God told him to leave Jerusalem and concentrate on reaching the Gentiles, instead. The mention of Gentiles reignites the mob's rage.

In Acts 22:23–30, the last part of the chapter, the Roman tribune realizes neither Paul's speech nor the crowd's renewed anger explain anything. So, he falls back on the traditional Roman way to uncover information: beating people until they talk. The soldiers tie Paul up but before the centurion raises the flagellum, Paul points out that, as a Roman citizen, he cannot be flogged until he has faced a trial. The centurion rushes to the tribune who, in turn, rushes to Paul to validate the information. All the Romans are horrified; not only would it have been a crime to flog Paul, but it was also a crime when they shackled him in the temple courtyard (Acts 21:33). Verse 30 continues the tribune's search for the truth as he schedules a meeting with the Sanhedrin, hoping they can shed light on the situation.

Paul's meeting with the Sanhedrin starts when he professes his innocence, they strike him, and he inadvertently insults the high priest. Realizing he has nothing to gain in this meeting, Paul shrewdly mentions the resurrection of the dead, in which the Pharisees believe, while the Sadducees do not. The two sects promptly come to blows, and the foiled tribune takes Paul back to the Roman barracks. The next day, Paul's nephew uncovers the Sanhedrin's murder plot. The tribune realizes he has not merely lost control over the situation, but he probably never had it. He sends Paul to the governor in Caesarea Maritima and doesn't even show up for the trial (Acts 23).