1. 'My brothers, my fathers, listen to what I have to say to you in my defence.'
2. When they realised he was speaking in Hebrew, the silence was even greater than before.
3. 'I am a Jew', Paul said, 'and was born at Tarsus in Cilicia. I was brought up here in this city. It was under Gamaliel that I studied and was taught the exact observance of the Law of our ancestors. In fact, I was as full of duty towards God as you all are today.
4. I even persecuted this Way to the death and sent women as well as men to prison in chains
5. as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify. I even received letters from them to the brothers in Damascus, which I took with me when I set off to bring prisoners back from there to Jerusalem for punishment.
6. 'It happened that I was on that journey and nearly at Damascus when in the middle of the day a bright light from heaven suddenly shone round me.
7. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
8. I answered, "Who are you, Lord?" and he said to me, "I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting."
9. The people with me saw the light but did not hear the voice which spoke to me.
10. I said, "What am I to do, Lord?" The Lord answered, "Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told what you have been appointed to do."
11. Since the light had been so dazzling that I was blind, I got to Damascus only because my companions led me by the hand.
12. 'Someone called Ananias, a devout follower of the Law and highly thought of by all the Jews living there,
13. came to see me; he stood beside me and said, "Brother Saul, receive your sight." Instantly my sight came back and I was able to see him.
14. Then he said, "The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Upright One and hear his own voice speaking,
15. because you are to be his witness before all humanity, testifying to what you have seen and heard.
16. And now why delay? Hurry and be baptised and wash away your sins, calling on his name."
17. 'It happened that, when I got back to Jerusalem, and was praying in the Temple, I fell into a trance
18. and then I saw him. "Hurry," he said, "leave Jerusalem at once; they will not accept the testimony you are giving about me."
19. "Lord," I answered, "they know that I used to go from synagogue to synagogue, imprisoning and flogging those who believed in you;
20. and that when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I, too, was standing by, in full agreement with his murderers, and in charge of their clothes."
21. Then he said to me, "Go! I am sending you out to the gentiles far away." '
22. So far they had listened to him, but at these words they began to shout, 'Rid the earth of the man! He is not fit to live!'
23. They were yelling, waving their cloaks and throwing dust into the air,
24. and so the tribune had him brought into the fortress and ordered him to be examined under the lash, to find out the reason for the outcry against him.
25. But when they had strapped him down Paul said to the centurion on duty, 'Is it legal for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and has not been brought to trial?'
26. When he heard this the centurion went and told the tribune; 'Do you realise what you are doing?' he said. 'This man is a Roman citizen.'
27. So the tribune came and asked him, 'Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?' Paul answered 'Yes'.
28. To this the tribune replied, 'It cost me a large sum to acquire this citizenship.' 'But I was born to it,' said Paul.
29. Then those who were about to examine him hurriedly withdrew, and the tribune himself was alarmed when he realised that he had put a Roman citizen in chains.
30. The next day, since he wanted to know for sure what charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and set him in front of them.