The Holy Bible: The Acts of the Followers 25-28

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   25[1-12] Now when Festus came into the province, after three days he had gone up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the leading priest and the other leaders of the Jews told him of the accusations against Paul, and begged him for a favor, that he would send Paul to Jerusalem, while people were waiting down the road to kill him. But Festus said, that Paul would be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would leave shortly to go there. So he said,  “Let whoever among you that’s able, go down with me, and accuse this person, if there is any wrongdoing in him.” And when he had stayed among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat, he had Paul brought to him. And when he came, the Jews that came down from Jerusalem stood around, charging Paul with many serious complaints, which they couldn’t prove. Then he said for himself, “I haven’t done anything against the law of the Jews, nor against the place of worship, nor even against Caesar.” But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, saying, “Will you go up to Jerusalem, to be judged of this by me?” Then Paul said, “I’m standing at the court of Caesar, where I should be judged: I’ve done no wrong to the Jews, as you very well know. If I’m an offender, or have done anything worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die: but if I’ve done none of this that I’m accused of, no one can hand me over to them. I make my appeal to Caesar.” Then when Festus had talked with the court, he said, “You’ve appealed to Caesar, so to Caesar you’ll go.”

     [13-22] And after a few days the ruler Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus. And when they had been there a long time, Festus told them about Paul’s case, saying, “There’s someone left locked up by Felix: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the leading priests and the elders of the Jews told me, hoping to have a judgment against him. I answered, It isn’t the way of the Romans to deliver anyone to die, before the accused has seen the accusers face to face, and has had a chance to answer for himself about the crime charged against him. So, when they had come here, without any delay, I held court the next day, and told the person to be brought out.  When the accusers stood up, they brought none of the accusations I thought they would: But had some questions against him about their own religious beliefs, and of someone named Yeshua, who had died, whom Paul said was alive. And because I didn’t really know how to answer those kinds of questions, I asked him if he would go to Jerusalem, and be judged there about it. But when Paul had appealed to be kept until the hearing of Augustus, I ordered him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.” Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this person myself.” So he told him, “Tomorrow, you’ll hear him.”

     [23-27] And the next day, when Agrippa came, and Bernice, with great show, and had gone into the court, with the captains, and the leaders of the city, Paul was brought out at Festus’ word. And Festus said, “Ruler Agrippa, and people in the court, listen to this person, about whom all the leaders of the Jews have talked with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, saying that he shouldn’t be allowed to live any longer. But when I found that he had done nothing worthy of death, and that he himself has appealed to Augustus, I’ve decided to send them. But I have nothing to write to my Ruler. So I’ve brought him out to you, and especially to you, ruler Agrippa, so that, after he’s questioned, I might have something to write. It seems to me to be out of the question to send a prisoner, with nothing to signify the crimes against him.”

    26[1-11] Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You’re may speak for yourself, now.” Then Paul reached out with his hand, saying for himself: “I think myself happy, ruler Agrippa, because I’ll answer for myself today to you about everything in which I am accused of by the Jews: Especially because I know you to be an expert in the Jewish way of life and all the questions which we have: so I beg you to hear me patiently. My way of life from my youth, which was at first among my own nation at Jerusalem, which all the Jews know; Those who knew me from the beginning, if they would tell you, know that I lived the life of a religious leader in the most strict sect of our religion. And now I stand and am judged for the hope I have in the promise made by God to our ancestors: The promise we hope to get, which was made to our twelve families, who sincerely serve God day and night. It’s for this hope’s sake, ruler Agrippa, that I am being accused by the Jews. Why would you think it an incredible thing, that God would raise the dead? The truth is, I thought myself, that I should do many things against the Name of Yeshua of Nazareth. Which I did in Jerusalem, putting many of the Christians in prison, having gotten power from the leading priests; and when they were put to death, I spoke against them. And I punished them often in every place of worship, and tried to get them to dishonor God; and being very angry with them, I chased them even to far off cities, to abuse them.

     [12-23] At which point as I went to Damascus with power and orders from the leading priests, at noon, I saw on the road a great light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you trying to hurt me? Isn’t it hard for you to fight against my prods? And I said, Who are you, Christ? And the Christ answered, I am Yeshua who you’re trying to hurt. But get up, and stand on your feet because I’ve appeared to you so I can make you a minister and a witness both of what you’ve just seen, and of the things that you’ll see later; I’ll deliver you from your own people, and from the other peoples, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they can be saved from their sins, and have an inheritance among those who are set apart by faith in Me.’ At which point, Ruler Agrippa, I wasn’t disobedient to the heavenly vision: But I went first to those of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the other peoples, to tell them to change their ways and turn them to God, and to do right to have a changed life. This is why the Jews caught me in the place of worship, and tried to kill me. But having the help of God, I’m still here to this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying nothing other than the faith of the great preachers and Moses said would come: That Christ would suffer, and be the first that would come back alive from the dead, and would give light to our people, and to the other peoples.”

    [24-32] And as Paul so spoke for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you’re beside yourself; all your learning has made you crazy.” But he answered, “I am not crazy, most noble Festus; but speak the words of wisdom and truth. You know of this, and I speak freely to you because I know that none of this is hidden from you, because this thing wasn’t done in secret. Ruler Agrippa, do you believe the great preachers? I know that you do.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost prove to me that I should become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I wish to God, that not only you, but also everyone who hears me today, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except for my imprisonment.” And when he had said this, the ruler got up, and the governor, and Bernice, and those who sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, “This person has done nothing worthy of death or of imprisonment.” Then Agrippa said to Festus, “He might have been set free, if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.”

    27[1-8] And when it was time for us to go to Italy, they gave Paul and some other prisoners to someone named Julius, a soldier of Augustus’ troop. And going into a ship of Adramyttium, we started, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us. And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him freedom to go to friends to refresh himself. And when we had started from there, we sailed behind Cyprus, to protect us from the storm winds. And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. And there the soldier found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and they put us in it. And when we had sailed slowly for a long time, and had almost gotten to Cnidus, the winds not letting us, we sailed behind Crete, next to Salmone; And as we almost passed it, we came to a place which is called Fair Havens; near the city of Lasea.

     [9-15] Now when a long time had passed, and when the sailing was quite dangerous, because the Holiday had already passed, Paul warned them, saying, “Please, I know that this voyage will be hurt and have a lot of damage, and not only the cargo and ship, but our very lives will be in danger.” But the soldier was more willing to do what the captain and the owner of the ship said, than what Paul had said. And because the haven wasn’t a good place to winter in, most of them wanted to leave there also, if by chance they could get to Phenice, and winter there; which is a haven of Crete, and lies toward the south west and north west. And when the south wind blew softly, thinking that they had gotten their chance, they left there and sailed close to Crete. But not long after a great storm wind blew, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and couldn’t go into the wind, we let it drive.

      [16-24] And sailing in the shelter of a certain island called Clauda, we had to work very hard to save the lifeboat: Which when they had brought it up, they used ropes to help support the ship. And fearing they would get stuck in the sand, the raised the sail, and were driven by the wind. And the boat, being greatly rocked by the storm, the next day, they lightened the ship. And the third day, we threw all the tackling of the ship out with our own hands. And when we couldn’t see the sun, nor the stars for a long time, and we were in a very great storm, we lost all hope of being saved. But after a long time without any food, Paul stood in the middle of them, and said, “People, you should have listened more carefully to me, and not have left Crete, and gotten all this harm and loss. And now I tell you to be calm, because no one’s life will be lost, but only the ship. The angel of God, who I belong to and serve, came to me tonight, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Paul; you must be brought to Caesar: And God has given you all those who sail with you.”

      [25-34] So, please, be calm, because I believe God that it’ll be just as it was told me. But we must be put on a certain island. But when the fourteenth night came, as we were driven up and down in Adriatic Sea, about midnight the ship’s crew believed that they were coming near to some land. And when they sounded, they found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. Then fearing we would be driven on to the rocks, they put four anchors out of the stern, and prayed for daylight. And as the crew was about to escape out of the ship, when they had let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending as though they were putting anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the soldier and to the guards, “You won’t be saved unless they stay in the ship.” Then the guards cut the ropes off of the boat, and let it fall. And just as the sun was rising, Paul begged them all to eat, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you’ve waited and gone without food, and having eaten nothing. I ask you to eat something for your health because not one hair will fall from the head of any of you.”

     [35-44] And when he had said this, he ate, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and then he began to eat. Then they all felt better, and began to eat, too. And there were two hundred and seventy-six people on board the ship. And when they had all eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and threw the wheat out into the sea. And when it was day, they didn’t know what land they were at: but they found a bay with a beach, in which they were hoping, if at all possible, to drive the ship ashore. And when they had brought the anchors up, they let them fall into the sea, and let loose the rudder ropes, and lifted the mainsail into the wind, and tried to reach the shore. And being driven into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck in the sand, and couldn’t move, but the hinder part was broken by the violence of the waves. And the guards’ planned to kill the prisoners, in case any of them swam out, and escaped. But the soldier, wanting to save Paul, wouldn’t let them; and told that those who could swim to jump into the sea first, and get to land, and then the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so they all escaped safely to land.

    28[1-6] And when they had escaped, then they found out that the island was called Malta. And the native people were very kind and kindled a fire, and welcomed us all, because of the falling rain, and the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, a snake came out of the heat, and bit his hand. And when the natives saw the venomous snake hanging on his hand they said among themselves, “No doubt this person is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, still justice won’t let him live.” But Paul shook it off into the fire, and wasn’t harmed at all. So when they thought he would have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly, and saw after they had watched a great while, that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds, saying that Paul was a god.

    [7-10] A leading person of the island whose name was Publius lived in that area; who had kindly taken us all in for three days. And then when Publius’ father was sick with a fever and a bloody diarrhea, Paul came in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this happened, others in the island, who had diseases came also, and were healed. And we were honored us with many honors also; and when we left the island, they gave us whatever we needed.

     [11-16] And after three months we went in a ship of Alexandria, whose sign was Castor and Pollux, the Twin Brothers, which had wintered in the island. And landing at Syracuse, we stayed there three days. And from there we got a compass, and headed to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli.  We found Christians there, and were asked to stay with them for a week: and then we went toward Rome. And from there, when the Christians heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum, and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God, and took courage. And when we came to Rome, the soldier handed the prisoners over to the captain of the guard: but Paul was allowed to live by himself with a soldier who guarded him.

    [17-31] And then after three days Paul called all the leaders of the Jews together: and when they had come together, he said, “People, though I’ve done nothing against the people, or the way of life of our ancestors, still, I was taken prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had questioned me, would have let me go, because I had done nothing to deserve death. But when the Jews spoke against it, I had to appeal to Caesar; not that I had anything to accuse my nation of. Because of this, I have called for you, to see you, and to speak with you.  It’s for the hope of Israel that I have been made a prisoner like this.” And they said, “We haven’t gotten any letters from Judea about you, nor have any of those who have come here spoken anything bad about you. But we want to hear from you what you think about this sect, because we know that it’s spoken against everywhere.” And when they had chosen a day, many people came to where Paul was staying. Then Paul explained and carefully told them everything about the realm of God, proving to them about Yeshua, both out of the Word of God by Moses, and out of the great preachers, from morning till evening. And some believed what was said, and some didn’t believe. And when they didn’t agree among themselves, they went, after Paul had said this, “The Holy Spirit spoke well by Isaiah the great preacher to our ancestors, saying, ‘Go to this people, and say, Hearing you’ll hear, and won’t understand; and seeing you’ll see, and not realize: because the heart of this people has become numb, and their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes are closed; or  they would see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and would be changed, and I would heal them.’ So let it be known  to you, that the New Word of how to be saved by God is being sent to the other peoples, and they’ll listen.” And when Paul had said these words, the Jews left, and had many questions among themselves. And Paul lived there two whole years in his own rented house, and took in all that came to him, and taught them about the realm of God, and all the teachings about Yeshua the Christ, without fear, and no one forbidding him.

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