Paul Before Agrippa – Paul’s Early Life

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.”

So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: 2 “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, 3 especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.

4 “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. 5 They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?

9 “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. — Acts 26:1-11.

Agrippa gives Paul permission to speak, and Paul begins his speech.

Paul communicates on Agrippa’s level, telling him that he knows that Agrippa is conversant with Jewish law and expert in its customs and questions. Paul tells of his background, and of his certain hope in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Agrippa evidently would take the Sadducees’ view on the resurrection, and so would find the resurrection incredible.)

Paul relates how he persecuted the church, how he travelled to Damascus with authority to do so from the chief priest. When Christians were put to death, he cast his vote against them. He persecuted them in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme. He was so enraged against them that he persecuted them even in foreign cities.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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