The Book of Acts - Part 2

An EasyEnglish Semantically Analysed Text (Level B) on the Book of Acts - Part 2

(A semantically analysed text makes implicit information explicit.)

Leslie Pride

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

Words in italics are not in the Greek text. We believe that they are implicit.


 (This translation is for someone who translates the Bible into his own language. People may be able to use this to make translations into their national languages. And then, you can use such translations to translate into your own language.

This translation is clear and it explains itself fully. We have added some words to make the meaning clear. We write these words in italic[1] writing. You may not need to translate all the words that are in italics. But some people may not know much about the Bible. Or there may not yet be Christian churches in their area. Then the italic words could help such people to understand the full meaning of a sentence. In any particular language, you may need to use the right words to connect sentences.)

ACTS 15:1-21 *Non-Jewish *Christians do not have to obey *Jewish laws

v1 Some *Jewish men from Judea *province went down to Antioch in Syria *province. And they started to teach the *believers there who were not *Jews. They said: ‘You must let us *circumcise you as Moses’ *law commanded us. If you do not do that, God will not save you from your *sins.’ v2 Paul and Barnabas strongly disagreed with those *Jews and they argued with them. So the *believers in Antioch appointed Paul and Barnabas and some of the other *believers there to go to Jerusalem. They wanted them to meet and talk to the *apostles and other leaders about what those *Jewish teachers were saying.

v3 The group of *believers at Antioch gave Paul, Barnabas, and the other *believers what they needed for their journey. Then they left and they travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria *provinces. They stopped at different places in those *provinces. And they reported to the *believers there that many *non-Jews in Antioch had become *believers. As a result, all the *believers in those places were very happy.

v4 Then Paul, Barnabas, and the *believers arrived in Jerusalem. The *apostles, the other older *believers, and all the other *believers there gave them a great welcome. Then Paul and Barnabas reported all that God had made them able to do among *non-Jewish people.

v5 But there were some other *Jewish *believers there who belonged to the *Pharisee party. They stood up in the *believers’ meeting and they spoke to them. ‘Someone must *circumcise the *believers who are not *Jews. Also they must obey the *laws which God gave to Moses.’

v6 The *apostles and other older *believers met together to talk about this matter[2]. v7 They discussed this for a long time. Then Peter stood up and spoke to them: ‘My *brother *believers’, he said. ‘You all know that a long time ago God chose me from among you *apostles. God wanted me to go to people who are not *Jews. I had to tell them the *message from God about the *Lord Jesus. He wanted them to hear this *message and to believe him.

v8 God knows people by what they think. It is not by what they look like as people. And God has sent the *Holy Spirit to them, like he has also done for us. In that way, God showed me and other people that he had accepted them as his people. v9 God rescued us *Jews and those *non-Jews from our *sin in the same way. He made their hearts (minds) clean because they believed the *Lord Jesus. That is the same way that he has forgiven us’, Peter said.

v10 ‘God has shown you what you should not do. So then, stop making God angry by doing what you should not do. You are forcing the *non-Jewish *believers to obey *Jewish *laws. God has shown us that he does not require *non-Jews to obey such *laws. It is as if we are making these *non-Jewish *believers carry a load on their backs. And that load is too heavy for them! Our *Jewish *ancestors and we ourselves have never been able to do that. To obey those laws was like a much too heavy load for us’, Peter said.

v11 ‘God cannot rescue us *Jews from our *sin when we just obey those *laws. We believe that. But we also know how God does rescue us from our *sin. It is because of what the *Lord Jesus did. That is how God rescues us *Jews from our *sin. And he rescues those *non-Jews who believe in the *Lord Jesus in quite the same way.’

Acts 15:12-21 Barnabas and Paul report what God had helped them to do among the *non-Jews

v12 Peter finished speaking. The *Christian leaders who were meeting there became silent. Then they all listened to what Barnabas and Paul reported. The two men told them about the many great *miracles which God had helped them to do among the *non-Jewish people. These *miracles showed that God had accepted those *non-Jews.

v13 When Barnabas and Paul had finished speaking, James spoke to the meeting. He was a leader in the group of *believers there in Jerusalem. This is what he said: ‘*Brother *believers, listen to me. v14 Simon Peter has explained to you how God was recently very good to the *non-Jews. God chose from among them people who would belong to him’, James said. v15 ‘Long ago one of the *prophets wrote some words that God said. These words seem to talk about what is happening to the *non-Jews now:

v16 “Later on”, God says, “I will return again to *Israel. I will establish David again as king. People have destroyed his authority as they would tear down a house. But I will rebuild it. v17 I will make people from all other nations search for me, the *Lord God. All the *non-Jews will turn to me because I have chosen them. You can be certain that this will happen. I the *Lord God will do these things. I have spoken these words. v18 I made this promise to my people long ago.” ’

v19 James continued to speak. ‘Therefore I say this about the *non-Jewish people who are believing God’s *message. We should stop demanding that they need to obey our *laws. v20 Instead, we should write a letter to them about only four things. They should not eat food that people have offered to images of gods. They should not *sin by having wrong sex. They should not eat meat from animals that people have not killed properly[3]. And they should not eat or drink animals’ blood.

v21 Moses’ *laws warn against those things. In many cities, people have taught those things for a very long time. And every *Sabbath day people read those *laws in the *Jewish meeting places. So if the *non-Jews want to know more about those *laws, they can find out in our meeting places.

Acts 15:22-29 The *Christian leaders send people with a letter to *non-Jewish *believers

v22 The *apostles and other leaders, together with all the other *believers, agreed with what James had said. They decided to choose some of their own men to go to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They requested them to tell the *believers there what the leaders at Jerusalem had decided. So they chose Judas, whom they also called Barsabbas, and Silas. Those men were leaders among the *believers in Jerusalem.

v23 Then the *apostles wrote the following letter. And they asked Judas and Silas to take it to the *believers at Antioch. ‘We *apostles and other leaders who are your *brother *believers send you our greetings. We are writing this letter to you *non-Jewish *believers who live in Antioch city and Syria and Cilicia *provinces.

v24 People have told us that some of our people went to visit you. But we had not asked them to visit you. They confused you by some of the things that they said. v25 So we met together here. We decided to send some men to you, together with Barnabas and Paul. We think very well of Barnabas and Paul. v26 They are true servants of our *Lord Jesus *Christ. They have often put their lives in danger for *Christ. People have wanted to kill them because of their work for the *Lord. v27 Therefore we have chosen Judas and Silas to go to you.

They will tell you the same things that we are writing. v28 The *Holy Spirit and ourselves decided to say these things. We are not going to order you to do anything difficult. Instead, we just ask you to obey the following instructions. v29 You should not eat food that people have *sacrificed to images of gods. You should not eat animals’ blood. You should not eat meat from animals that people have not killed properly. Also, you should not *sin by having wrong sex. Those things especially offend *Jewish *believers. You will be doing well if you do not do those things. That is all. Goodbye.’

v30 The four men whom the *apostles had sent went from Jerusalem down to Antioch city. All the *believers there met together, and Judas and Silas gave them the letter. v31 When the *believers had read the letter, they were very content. Its message encouraged them. v32 Judas and Silas were also *prophets. They spoke a lot and they encouraged the *believers there. And they helped them to believe the *Lord Jesus more strongly.

v33 Judas and Silas[4] stayed there for some time until they were ready to return to Jerusalem. So the *believers in Antioch blessed them. They prayed that God would protect them on their journey. So the two men started to return to the leaders in Jerusalem. Those leaders had sent the two men to Antioch. v34-35 However, Paul and Barnabas continued to stay in Antioch. They and several other *believers were talking to the people. They were teaching them more about the *message of the *Lord Jesus.

Acts 15:36-41 Paul and Barnabas go in different directions

v36 Some time later, Paul talked to Barnabas. ‘We have taught the *message about the *Lord Jesus in many cities. So let us now return to those cities. Then we can visit again our *brother *believers there. Then we will know if they are still believing well the *Lord Jesus.’

v37 Barnabas agreed with Paul. He said that he wanted to take John with them again. John’s other name was Mark. v38 However, Paul told Barnabas that they should not take Mark with them. When they were in Pamphylia region, Mark had not continued to work with them. He had left them, Paul said. v39 Paul and Barnabas strongly disagreed with each other about that.

So they separated, and they went in different directions. Barnabas took Mark with him. They got on a ship and went to Cyprus island. v40 Paul chose Silas to work with him. Silas had stayed in Antioch. The *believers there asked the *Lord God in his goodness to help Paul and Silas. Then they both left Antioch. v41 Paul continued to travel with Silas through Syria and Cilicia *provinces. Everywhere Paul helped the groups of *believers to trust the *Lord Jesus strongly.

Acts 16:1-5 Paul chooses Timothy to work with him and Silas

v1 Paul and Silas then went to Derbe city, and they visited the *believers there. Next, they went to Lystra city. A *believer whose name was Timothy lived there. His mother was a *Jewish *believer, but his father was a *Greek person. v2 The *believers in Lystra and Iconium said many good things about Timothy.

v3 Paul wanted to take Timothy with him, when he went to other places. But there were many *Jews who lived in those places. They all knew that Timothy’s father was *Greek. They knew that the *Greeks did not *circumcise their sons. So Paul asked someone to *circumcise Timothy. He wanted the *Jews to accept Timothy.

v4 So Timothy went with Paul and Silas. They travelled to many other towns. In each town, they told the *believers what the *apostles and leaders in Jerusalem had decided. They told them the four rules that *non-Jewish *believers should obey. v5 So God was helping the *believers in those towns to trust more strongly in the *Lord Jesus. And every day many other people became *believers.

Acts 16:6-10 Paul goes to teach Jesus’ *message in Macedonia

v6 The *apostles decided to enter Asia *province. They wanted to teach the *message about Jesus there. But the *Holy Spirit prevented them from going there. So Paul and his companions travelled through Phrygia and Galatia *provinces. v7 They arrived at the border of Mysia *province, and they wanted to go into Bithynia *province. But again the *Holy Spirit showed them that they should not go there. v8 So they went through Mysia *province and they arrived at Troas, a port city. I, Luke, joined them there[5].

v9 That night God gave Paul a dream. He saw a man who was from Macedonia *province. This man was standing some distance away, and the man was eagerly calling to Paul. ‘Please come over here to Macedonia and help us.’ v10 The morning after Paul had the dream, immediately we got ready to go to Macedonia. We believed that God had given us this work. We must go and teach the good *message to the people there.

Acts 16:11-15 Lydia becomes a *believer

v11 So we got into a ship in Troas. Then we sailed across the sea to Samothrace island. We spent the night there. The next day we sailed again across the sea. We arrived at Neapolis port. v12 Then we left Neapolis and we went across the land to Philippi city. Philippi is a very important city in Macedonia *province. Authorities from Rome city rule this city. We stayed in Philippi for several days.

v13 On the following *Sabbath day, we left the city and we went down to the river. Someone had told us that that was where the *Jewish people met to pray. We saw that some women had gathered there. They were going to pray to God. So we sat down and we began to tell them the *message about Jesus.

v14 Lydia was the name of one of those women who were listening to Paul. She was a *non-Jewish person, from Thyatira city. And her work was to buy and sell expensive purple cloth. She *worshipped the one true *Lord God. And God caused her to listen really well to Paul’s *message. And she believed it. All the people in her house also heard the good *message and they believed Jesus.

v15 Paul and Silas *baptised Lydia and the other people who lived in her house. Then Lydia invited us to stay in her home. She said, ‘You know that I now believe the *Lord Jesus. So please come and stay in my house.’ She persuaded us to do that. So we stayed there.

Acts 16:16-40 The Philippi town officials put Paul and Silas in prison

v16 Another day, we were going to the prayer place by the river. On the way, we met a young woman who was the slave of some men. An *evil spirit controlled her. And because of the *evil spirit she was able to tell people what would happen to them in the future. She told those people things that would happen to them. And the people paid a lot of money to the men who were her bosses.

v17 This young woman followed Paul and the rest of us. She would not stop shouting: ‘These men work for the God who is the greatest of all gods! They are telling you how God can rescue you from evil things and from *sin.v18 She continued to shout like that for many days. Finally, this upset Paul. So he turned towards the young woman. He spoke strongly to the *evil spirit that was in her. This is what he said. ‘By the authority of Jesus *Christ, I order you to come out of this young woman!’ Immediately the *evil spirit left her.

v19 The young woman could no longer tell people what would happen to them. And her bosses knew that she could no longer earn money for them. So they were very angry. They seized Paul and Silas and they took them to the public square by force. The city officials and a lot of other people had gathered there.

v20 The owners of the young woman spoke to the city officials. ‘These men are *Jews, and they are causing the people in our city a lot of trouble. v21 They are teaching us that we should follow new and different customs. But our laws do not allow us *Romans to do such things.’

v22 Many of the crowd joined those who were accusing Paul and Silas. They started to hit Paul and Silas. Then the *Roman officials gave further orders to the soldiers. The soldiers tore the shirts off Paul and Silas’s backs, and they hit them with sticks. v23 After that, the soldiers took them and they put them into the prison. They told the prison guard to lock them up well.

v24 The guard took notice of those orders. So he put Paul and Silas into the prison room that was furthest inside. There, he made them sit down on the floor, and he made them stretch out their legs. Then he placed their ankles in holes between two large wooden beams. Paul and Silas could not move their legs now.

v25 About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying aloud. They were also singing songs and praising God. And the other people in the prison were listening to them. v26 Suddenly there was a very strong movement in the ground. This movement shook the whole prison down to its very bases. It caused all the prison doors to open suddenly. And all the chains that fastened people to the wall fell off.

v27 The prison guard woke up. He saw that the prison doors were open. Then he thought that all the people in the prison had escaped. So he pulled out his sword and he nearly killed himself. He knew that the officials might kill him. v28 Paul saw the guard and shouted to him: ‘Do not kill yourself! All of us in the prison are still here!’

v29 The guard shouted to someone to bring lamps. They brought them. Then he rushed into the prison and he kneeled in front of Paul and Silas. He was so afraid that he was actually trembling. v30 He brought Paul and Silas out of the prison. Then he asked them this. ‘Sirs, what do I need to do so that God will not punish me for my *sins?’ v31 They answered him. ‘Put your trust in what the *Lord Jesus has done for you. Then God will rescue you. And he will do the same for the other people in your house. But they too must believe Jesus.’ v32 Then Paul and Silas told the prison guard the *message about the *Lord Jesus. They also told all the people in the guard’s house, and they all believed Jesus’ words.

v33 Long after midnight, the guard took Paul and Silas to where there was water. He washed their cuts and bruises there. And immediately after that, Paul and Silas *baptised the prison guard and all his family. v34 He and his family were very happy, because they all believed God’s words. Then the guard took Paul and Silas into his house and he gave them a meal.

v35 In the morning, the *Roman officials ordered some police officers to go to the prison. They should say this to the prison guard: ‘This is what our bosses say. “Let those two men in the prison go free now!” ’ v36 They arrived and gave that message to the guard. He went and told Paul: ‘The *Roman officials have told me to free you and Silas from prison. So you two can be at peace and you can leave the prison now.’

v37 But Paul said to the police officers, ‘The city officials ordered men to hit us in front of a crowd. They had not even found out if we had done anything wrong!’ Paul said. ‘Then they ordered men to put us in prison! But *Roman law does not let them do that, because we are *Roman citizens! And now they want to send us away secretly! No, we will not let them do that! Those *Roman officials must come themselves and apologise. Then they can take us out of prison.’

v38 So the police officers went and told that to the city officials. Those officials heard that Paul and Silas were *Roman citizens. The officials were afraid that they themselves might suffer punishment. v39 So those officials came to Paul and Silas, and they apologised. The officials led them out from the prison. Then the officials asked them again and again to leave the city soon.

v40 But when Paul and Silas came out from the prison, they went straight to Lydia’s house instead. There they met with her and the other *believers. Paul and Silas encouraged them to continue to put their trust in the *Lord Jesus. Then the two men left Philippi city.

Acts 17:1-9 Paul has trouble in Thessalonica city

v1 After Paul and his companions had travelled through Amphipolis and Apollonia towns, they arrived at Thessalonica city. There was a *Jewish meeting place there. v2 On the *Sabbath day, Paul went into the *Jewish meeting place, as he usually did. He went there for the next three *Sabbath days. Paul spoke to whoever was there. He referred to the *Scripture passages which speak about the *Messiah.

v3 This was the *Messiah for whom they had been waiting for many years. Paul explained what the *prophets had written. ‘The *Messiah had to die and to become alive again afterwards’, they wrote. ‘This man Jesus whom I am telling you about is our *Messiah’, Paul told them. ‘He did die and become alive again. The *prophets said that he would.’

v4 Some of the *Jews there believed what Paul had said. They began to follow Paul and Silas. There were many *non-Jewish people there who *worshipped God. And they also believed the *message about Jesus. Also, many important women believed his *message, and they began to follow Paul and Silas.

v5 But some of the *Jewish leaders there became jealous. Too many people were believing what Paul taught. So those *Jews went to the public square. Some lazy men were standing there. The *Jews persuaded those men to go with them, not with Paul. In this way, the *Jewish leaders gathered a crowd. And they made them become noisy and angry with Paul and Silas.

Those *Jews and other people ran to Jason’s house. Jason had invited Paul and Silas to stay at his house. The *Jews wanted to bring Paul and Silas outside to the angry crowd. v6 They discovered that Paul and Silas were not there. But they found Jason and they seized him. They dragged him and some of the other *believers to the city authorities.

The men who had brought Jason shouted: ‘Those two men have caused trouble everywhere they have gone. v7 Now they have come to our city. This man Jason has invited them to stay at his house. All the people of these men’s group oppose the orders of our *Emperor. They say that another person, Jesus, is their real ruler!’

v8 The crowd that had gathered and the city authorities heard this. Then they became very angry and excited. v9 They wanted to put the *believers in prison. But instead the officials made Jason and the other *believers pay them some money. They would pay the money back if Paul and Silas did not cause any more trouble. They told the *believers that. Then the authorities let Silas and those other *believers go free.

Acts 17:10-15 In Berea city, people were more willing to listen

v10 That same night, the Thessalonica *believers sent Paul and Silas on to Berea city. Paul and Silas arrived there, and they went straight to the *Jewish meeting place there. v11 The *Jewish people in Thessalonica had not been very willing to listen to God’s *message. But the *Jews who lived in Berea were very willing to listen. So they listened eagerly to the *message about Jesus.

Every day they read the *Scriptures for themselves. They wanted to know if Paul’s *message about the *Messiah was true. v12 Because of this, many of the *Jews, and also some of the important *non-Jews, men and women, believed Jesus.

v13 But then the *Jews in Thessalonica heard that Paul was in Berea. They heard that he was teaching God’s *message about Jesus publicly. So those *Jews went to Berea. They told many people in Berea that Paul was teaching lies. And so, they made many Berea people angry with Paul.

v14 So several *believers from Berea took Paul to the coast. So Paul went on to another *province. But Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. v15 Paul and the other men arrived at the coast. Then they got into a ship and they went to Athens city. Then Paul talked to the *believers from Berea who had come with him. ‘Tell Silas and Timothy to come to me in Athens very soon’, he said. Then those *believers left Athens and they returned to Berea.

Acts 17:18-34 Paul speaks to the Athens city *council

v16 In Athens city, Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy to arrive. In the meantime, he walked about the city. Paul became very disturbed at what he saw. He saw that the people *worshipped many images of gods in all of the city. v17 So he went to the *Jewish meeting place and he talked about the one true God and Jesus. He talked with the *Jews and the *non-Jews who also *worshipped God. Every day he went to the public square. And he talked to whomever he met there.

v18 Paul met some teachers there in the public square. People called some of them Epicureans and they called other teachers Stoics. They liked to talk about what people should believe. They told Paul what they believed. And they asked him what he believed. Then some of them started to say this. ‘This stupid person is talking nonsense.’ Other teachers said this: ‘We think that he is teaching people about foreign gods. These must be gods that we have not heard about yet.’ They said that because Paul was telling them about Jesus and *resurrection. They had not heard that *message before.

v19 So those teachers took him to where the city *council met. When they arrived there, they began to talk to Paul. ‘You seem to be teaching people a new *message. Please tell us what it is all about. v20 You are teaching some things that sound strange to us. So we want to know what you mean.’ v21 The people in Athens city always wanted to talk about something new. Or they liked to hear about something new. Also, people from other regions who lived in Athens liked to do the same. That is why those teachers said that.

v22 Then Paul stood up in front of the men in the city *council. ‘Citizens of Athens’, he said, ‘you clearly *worship all the gods that there are. v23 I say that, because I was walking along your streets. And I was looking at the many images which you *worship. You *worship many different gods. I even saw an *altar that someone had written on. Someone had written these words: THIS *ALTAR IS FOR A GOD THAT WE DO NOT KNOW. So now I will tell you about that God. You *worship him, but you do not know him’, Paul said.

v24 ‘He is the God who made the world and everything in it. He rules over everything in *heaven and in this world. But he does not live in buildings that people have made. v25 God does not need any of the things that people make for him. Everything that exists belongs to him. God causes us all to live. And he gives us everything that we need’, Paul said.

v26 ‘When the world began, God made just one male person at first. Then, from him, God produced all the nations that now live everywhere in the world. Also, God decided where each nation of people should live. He also decided the years when they should live in those places. v27 God wanted them to need him. Then maybe they would want to find out about God. And then they would really know God.

God is really close to each one of us. But he still wants us to find out about him. v28 As someone has said, “God helps us to do what we do. Only because of him do we live and move.” And some of your own writers have said: “We are God’s children” ’, Paul said.

v29 ‘We are God’s children. Therefore, we should know what he is like. He is not like an image that people make out of gold or silver or stone. People are very skilful when they make those images. But the images are not alive.

v30 For many years, the people in this world did not know what God wanted them to do. God has forgiven them for all that. But now God orders all people everywhere to turn away from their evil ways’, Paul said. v31 ‘God tells us that he has reserved a certain day. On that day, he is going to *judge all of us people in the world. God has appointed a certain man to *judge us. That man is Jesus. And Jesus will *judge each of us fairly. And God has proved that Jesus will *judge everyone. He made Jesus become alive again after he had died.’ Paul finished speaking.

v32 The men of the *council heard what Paul said. ‘A man had become alive again after he had died’, he had said. Some of them could not believe this and they just laughed. But other men said, ‘We would like you to tell us more about this some other time.’

v33 After they said that, Paul left the *council meeting. v34 However, some of the people there agreed with Paul and they became *believers in Jesus. Among those who believed Jesus was a member of the *council. His name was Dionysius. Also, an important woman, whose name was Damaris, believed the *message about Jesus. And some other people who had heard Paul’s speech also believed in Jesus.

Acts 18:1-17 Paul spends some time in Corinth city

v1 After that, Paul left Athens and he went to Corinth city. v2 There he met a *Jew whose name was Aquila. Aquila was born in Pontus *province. His wife was called Priscilla. They had recently come from Rome city, in Italy country. Claudius, the *Roman *Emperor, had ordered all the *Jews to leave Rome. That was why they had left Rome.

Paul went to visit Aquila and Priscilla. v3 They made tents to earn money. Paul also could make tents. So he stayed with them, and they all worked together. v4 Every *Sabbath, Paul went to the *Jewish meeting place, where he spoke seriously to *Jews and *Greeks [OR *non-Jews]. Again and again he tried to persuade them that Jesus was the *Messiah.

v5 Then Silas and Timothy arrived there from Macedonia. After they arrived, Paul did not make tents any more. He used all his time to speak about Jesus in the *Jewish meeting place. He continued to tell the *Jews that Jesus was the *Messiah. v6 But the *Jews began to oppose Paul, and they were saying evil things about Paul. So he shook the dust from his clothes. By that Paul showed those *Jews that God was not happy with them. Then Paul said to them: ‘If God punishes you for all time, it will be your own fault, not mine! From now on I will go and speak to *non-Jewish people!’

v7 So Paul left the *Jewish meeting place. He then went to a house at the side of the *Jewish meeting place. And he continued to teach there. Titius Justus owned that house. He was a *non-Jewish person who *worshipped the one true God. v8 After that, the leader of the *Jewish meeting place and all of his family believed the *Lord Jesus’ *message. The leader’s name was Crispus. Also many other people in Corinth listened to Paul and they believed Jesus’ *message. Then someone in Paul’s group *baptised them. [But there were people who still opposed Paul and his teaching.]

v9 One night Paul had a dream. The *Lord Jesus was speaking to him: ‘Do not be afraid of those who oppose you. Continue to speak to people about me and do not stop speaking. v10 Do that, because I will help you. No one will be able to hurt you. Many people in this city will believe my *message because of you.’ v11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half. He taught everybody the *message from God about Jesus.

v12 Then the *Jewish leaders in Corinth got together and they seized Paul. Gallio was the *Roman ruler of Achaia *province at that time. So the *Jews took Paul in front of the ruler and they accused him. v13 ‘This man is teaching people a false religion’, they said. ‘He is causing them to *worship God in ways that are against our *Jewish *law.’

v14 Paul was ready to reply, but Gallio said this to the *Jews. ‘I would listen patiently to what you *Jews want to tell me’, Gallio said. ‘But this man has not told me any lies. And he has obeyed all of our *Roman laws. v15 You are just arguing about your own *Jewish *laws. This is only about *Jewish words and names. So you yourselves should decide this. I refuse to consider such things.’

v16 After he had said that, Gallio said no more. He ordered some soldiers or guards to remove those *Jews from the court area. v17 Then all the other people who had gathered in the public square seized the leader of the *Jewish meeting place, Sosthenes. They hit him very much, right there in front of Gallio. Gallio saw them do this, but he did nothing about it.

Acts 18:18-23 Paul leaves Corinth and visits several other towns

v18 Paul stayed with the *believers in Corinth for many days. Then he left with Priscilla and her husband Aquila, and he went down to Cenchrea port. Paul had made a serious *Jewish promise to God. So he had someone shave his head there in Cenchrea. Then Paul, Priscilla and Aquila got into a ship and sailed for Syria. v19 They arrived at Ephesus city, and Priscilla and Aquila stayed there.

Before Paul left Ephesus, he went into the *Jewish meeting place and he spoke to the *Jews there. v20 They asked him to stay longer. But Paul did not agree to do that. v21 However, as he left, he said this to them: ‘I will come back, if God wants me to.’ Then he got into another ship, which was leaving Ephesus.

v22 When the ship arrived at Caesarea port, Paul got off. He went up the hill road to Jerusalem and he greeted the *believers there. Then he went back down to Antioch city in Syria *province. v23 Paul spent some time with the *believers there. Then he left Antioch and he revisited several other towns. Those towns were in Galatia and Phrygia *provinces. He taught all the *believers more of the *message from God about Jesus.

Acts 18:24-28 Priscilla and Aquila teach Apollos the whole *message

v24 Paul was away travelling in Galatia and Phrygia. That was when a man called Apollos came to Ephesus. Apollos had been born in Alexandria city. He spoke very well in public, and he knew the *Scriptures well. v25 Other *believers had taught him many things about the *Lord Jesus. And he knew how *believers should live their lives. He spoke in a way that encouraged people very much. He had heard some of the things that Jesus said. And he taught those things accurately to people. However, he was not teaching all of the *Message about Jesus. He only knew what John the *Baptiser had taught people.

v26 Apollos went to the meeting in the *Jewish meeting place. And he spoke boldly to the people from the *Scriptures. Priscilla and Aquila heard what Apollos taught. So they invited him to come to their home. There they explained more accurately to him the *Way of *life that God has shown us.

v27 Apollos decided to go to Achaia *province. And the *believers in Ephesus told him that that would be good. So they wrote a letter to the *believers in Achaia. And in the letter, they told them that they should welcome Apollos. So Apollos got into a ship and he went to Corinth. God had, in his goodness, helped many people in Corinth to believe Jesus’ *message. So, after Apollos had arrived in Corinth, he greatly helped those people. v28 He also had many strong discussions with the *Jewish leaders. And he used the *Scriptures very often to prove that Jesus was the *Messiah.

Acts 19:1-10 Paul spends more time in Ephesus city

v1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul left Phrygia and Galatia *provinces. He then travelled through Asia *province back to Ephesus. He met some *believers there. v2 He asked them this question: ‘Did you receive the *Holy Spirit when you believed the *message about the *Lord Jesus?’ This was their answer: ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a *Holy Spirit.’

v3 So Paul asked them: ‘Why did someone *baptise you, then?’ They replied: ‘Someone *baptised us because of what John said.’ v4 Paul said: ‘John *baptised people who turned away from their *sin. John also said that a special person would follow him later. That person would be Jesus. They must believe him.’ v5 Those men heard what Paul said. So Paul asked someone to *baptise them. This showed that they believed the *Lord Jesus.

v6 After that, Paul placed his hands on their heads. And the power of the *Holy Spirit was with each of them. Also, the *Holy Spirit helped them in a special way. They could now speak in various languages that they had not learned. They also spoke messages which the *Holy Spirit told them. v7 There were about 12 men whom the *believers *baptised at that time. Those men also received the power of the *Holy Spirit.

v8 After that, Paul went to the *Jewish meeting place in Ephesus every *Sabbath for three months. And he spoke boldly. He tried to convince the people there about how God could rule their lives. v9 A few of the people in the *Jewish meeting place believed the *Message about Jesus. But some of the people would not believe the *Message. They did not want to continue to hear it. They said aloud many bad things about God’s *Way of *life. And many people heard them say those things.

So Paul went away from those people. He took the *believers with him to meet in another place. A man called Tyrannus owned a lecture hall near there. So Paul went there every day to teach the *believers. v10 For two years, Paul continued to teach them in that building. Many *Jews and *non-Jews lived in Asia *province. So, in this way, most of those people heard the *Message about the *Lord Jesus.

Acts 19:11-20 Some people try to do *miracles in the wrong way

v11 Something else happened while Paul was still in Ephesus. God showed how powerful he is. He helped Paul to do some wonderful *miracles. v12 But some people were too ill and they could not come to Paul. So people would take handkerchiefs or cloths that Paul had touched. They would take them to the sick people. And those sick people would immediately become well. Also, if *evil spirits troubled people, those spirits would immediately leave them.

v13 Some *Jews were travelling in that area. And they were looking for people whom *evil spirits controlled. They ordered the *evil spirits to come out of such people. They said aloud the name of ‘Jesus’. They said that Paul was talking about the *Lord Jesus. And then they ordered the *evil spirits to come out of those people.

v14 There were 7 men who were doing this. They were sons of a *Jewish man called Sceva. Sceva called himself a chief priest. They were doing that one day. v15 But the *evil spirit refused to come out of the person. Instead, this person said to them: ‘I know Jesus. And I know that he has given authority to Paul. Paul can force *evil spirits out of a person. But no one has given to you the authority to do anything to me!’

v16 The man whom the *evil spirit controlled said that. Then suddenly he jumped on the seven *Jewish men, one after another, and he knocked all of them down. The man with the *evil spirit hit each of those men badly. He tore off their clothes, and he caused them injuries and bruises. So, they all ran out of that house. v17 All the *Jews and *non-Jews in Ephesus heard what had happened. And they were greatly frightened. They realised that the *Lord Jesus was very powerful.

v18 At that time, many *believers publicly confessed the evil things that they had been doing. v19 Several of them had previously practised magic so that they could hurt people. They still had books that told how to work magic. They now took these books to a public place and they burned them up. People counted up how much those books had cost. And all of them together had cost 50,000 valuable silver coins.

v20 As a result, many more people heard the *message about the *Lord Jesus. This *message powerfully changed their lives.

Acts 19:21-41 Trouble in Ephesus

v21 Paul wanted to go to Jerusalem now. But he decided that first he must go to Macedonia and Achaia *provinces again. He wanted to visit the *believers in those places. Paul also said: ‘Then I must go to Jerusalem. And after that I must go to Rome also.’ v22 He sent two of his helpers ahead to Macedonia *province. Their names were Timothy and Erastus. But Paul stayed for a little longer in Ephesus city in Asia *province.

v23 Soon after that, a period of trouble began for the *believers in Ephesus. The people in that city called the *believers ‘people of the *Way of the *Lord’. v24 There was a man there whose name was Demetrius. He made little silver images. Ephesus city had a female god whose name was Artemis. And these images were of Artemis’s *temple. Many other men worked for Demetrius. They all earned a lot of money when people bought those images. v25 Demetrius called together his workmen and other men who made the little silver images. And this is what he said to them:

‘Men, we earn a lot of money from our kind of work. v26 And you know about this man, Paul. He has talked to many people who live here in Ephesus. He has persuaded them to not buy our silver images. And people from many other towns in our *province will not still want to buy them. That man has told everybody that our gods are no good. We ourselves made them, and they have no power. That is what he has told people. And so, this man Paul says that we should not *worship them. v27 If people continue to listen to him, soon they will say terrible things about our work. Also, they will no longer come to the *temple of Artemis to *worship her. People all over our Asia *province *worship our great lady god Artemis. And people everywhere *worship her. Soon everybody will no longer say that Artemis is great!’

v28 All the people heard what Demetrius said. And they were very angry with Paul. They began to shout, ‘Our lady god Artemis is very great!’ v29 Many other people in Ephesus heard the people as they were shouting. They also became angry with Paul. They joined the crowd, and they began to shout. Two men were travelling with Paul. Their names were Gaius and Aristarchus, and they were from Macedonia *province. So now, several people from the crowd seized these two men.

Then the whole crowd ran to the city sports ground, and they dragged Gaius and Aristarchus with them. v30 Paul wanted to go into the sports ground so that he could speak to the people. But the other *believers would not let him go there. v31 Also, Paul had some friends who were government officials in that *province. Those officials heard what the people were doing in the sports ground. So they sent someone to tell Paul urgently not to go into the sports ground.

v32 The crowd in the sports ground continued to shout. Some people shouted one thing, and other people shouted something different. But most of them did not know what the meeting was about. v33 One of the *Jews there was called Alexander. Some of his friends pushed him to the front of the sports ground. He wanted to speak to all the people in the crowd. Alexander raised his hand for the people to be quiet. He wanted to tell everyone that the *Jews were not responsible for the trouble. v34 But many of the *non-Jewish people knew that Alexander was a *Jew. They also knew that the *Jews did not *worship the female god Artemis. So almost all of the *non-Jews there shouted for about two hours. ‘Our lady god Artemis whom we *worship here in Ephesus is very great!’

v35 The city clerk made the crowd stop shouting. ‘Citizens of Ephesus’, he said to them. ‘Everyone in the world knows about our great lady god Artemis. We people in Ephesus city guard the *temple where people *worship her. The holy image of our lady god fell down from the sky. That is why we look after her. v36 Of course, everyone knows that. And no one can say that these things are not true. So you should be quiet now. Do not suddenly do anything that will cause us trouble.’

v37 ‘You should not have brought these two men here’, the city clerk said. ‘They have not done anything wrong. These men have not gone into our *temples, and they have not taken things from them. Also, they have not spoken badly about our lady god. v38 If Demetrius and the other workmen want to blame these men, they should accuse them in the right way. When we want to accuse someone, we can go to the proper courts. And we have official judges. Demetrius could accuse anyone there.

v39 But perhaps you want to ask about something else. If so, you will need to go to the proper *council meeting. Then you can ask the officials to do something about it. v40 This is certainly not a legal meeting! You have made a lot of noise today. And I am afraid that the *Roman government will hear about all this. They will say that we were trying to fight against the *Emperor. And we will not be able to give them an answer.’ v41 That is what the city clerk said to the crowd. Then he told them all to go home.

Acts 20:1-16 Paul travels on through Macedonia and Achaia *provinces

v1 After the people of Ephesus stopped making trouble, Paul called the *believers together. He encouraged them to continue to trust the *Lord Jesus. And soon after that, he said ‘Goodbye’ to them. Then he left to go to Macedonia *province. v2 He arrived there. And he visited each town where there were *believers. He encouraged them by all that he said.

Then he arrived in Greece which is also called Achaia *province. v3 He stayed there for three months. He had hoped to return to Syria in a ship. However, he heard that some of the *Jews there wanted to kill him. So he decided instead to go by land. And once again he travelled through Macedonia *province.

v4 Seven (7) men were travelling with Paul. There was Sopater, who was a son of Pyrrhus, from Berea city. There were Aristarchus and Secundus, from Thessalonica city. There was Gaius from Derbe town and Timothy from Galatia *province. And there were Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia *province. v5 These 7 men had gone ahead of Paul and me, Luke, in a ship. They were waiting for the two of us in Troas.

v6 But we two travelled across the land as far as Philippi city. The *festival had passed when *Jews eat bread without any *yeast. Then we got into a ship that was going from Philippi to Troas. 5 days later, we arrived at Troas city. And we met the other men who had travelled there ahead of us. Then we all stayed in Troas for 7 days.

v7 It was the Saturday evening, the first day of the week[8]. We and the other *believers there had met for a meal together, and we remembered the *Lord’s last Supper. Paul was planning to leave Troas the next day. So he was speaking to the *believers. And he continued to teach them until midnight. v8 Many oil lamps were burning in meeting room upstairs. So some of the *believers became sleepy.

v9 A young man called Eutychus was there. He was sitting on the edge of an open window. And the room was in the third floor of the house. Paul continued to talk for a long time. And Eutychus became more sleepy, until finally he was really asleep. Suddenly he fell out of the window. He fell from the third floor down to the ground. Some of the *believers rushed down and picked him up. But he was dead.

v10 Paul also went down with all the other people. Then Paul lay down on top of the young man. He stretched his body out and he put his arms round the young man. Then Paul said to the people who were standing round. ‘Do not worry, he is alive again now!’ v11 After that, Paul, together with the other people, went upstairs again. They ate their meal and they remembered the *Lord’s last Supper together. Paul continued to talk with the *believers until dawn. Then he left. v12 The other people took the young man home. They felt much better because he was alive again. God greatly comforted them. He had helped Paul to heal the young man.

v13 We then went to the ship. Paul did not get into the ship in Troas. He preferred to go by land to Assos city. It was quicker for him. The rest of us got into the ship. Then the ship sailed for Assos. v14 We met him in Assos, and he got into the ship. We sailed to Mitylene city. v15 The day after, we reached Mitylene and from there we arrived at a place near Kios island. The day after that, we sailed to Samos island. And the next day we left Samos and we sailed to Miletus town.

v16 On the way to Miletus, the ship passed quite near to Ephesus city. Paul had decided earlier that he would not get off the ship in Ephesus. He did not want to spend several days in Asia *province. The *festival called Pentecost was coming soon. He wanted to arrive in Jerusalem city by then, if possible.

Acts 20:17-38 Paul says goodbye to the *Christian leaders from Ephesus

v17 The ship arrived at Miletus city. Then Paul sent someone ahead of him to Ephesus. They asked the older *believers in the meeting there to please come to him.

v18 Those leaders came, and Paul spoke to them. ‘You in particular know how I acted all the time that I was with you’, Paul said. ‘You saw me the first day that I arrived here in Asia *province. And you know the day that I left. v19 You know how I was serving the *Lord Jesus in a very humble way. I sometimes even wept about people. The *Jews who were not *believers often tried to hurt me. And I suffered much because of them.

v20 You also know that I have taught God’s *message to you sincerely. I have never left out any part of it’, Paul said. ‘I have taught you God’s *message in places where many people were listening. I have also gone to your homes and taught God’s *message there. v21 I have spoken both to *Jews and to *non-Jews. I have told them all that they must turn away from their *sin. And they must ask God to forgive them. I also told them that they should believe our *Lord Jesus.’

v22 ‘And now I am going to Jerusalem’, Paul said. ‘The *Holy Spirit has clearly shown me that I must go there. I do not know what will happen to me there. v23 I have stopped in several towns along the road. And the *Holy Spirit has caused the *believers to warn me about Jerusalem. They say that people there will put me in prison. And they will make me suffer. v24 But I do not care if people kill me. First I must finish the work that the *Lord Jesus has given me. He appointed me to tell people God’s good *message. God is very kind to us. And he rescues us because he is so kind.’

v25 ‘I have gone to many places to tell you God’s *message. God really does want to take control of people’s lives. Now today will be the last time that I will be with you, my *brother *believers’, Paul said. ‘I know that for sure. v26 All of you have heard me teach. So I want you to understand this. Some of you may die before you have listened to God. That will not be my fault. v27 I have told you everything that God wants you to know.’

v28 ‘You leaders must continue to believe, and you must obey God’s *message. The *Holy Spirit has made you responsible for the other *believers. You must continue to help all of them’, Paul said. ‘And look after yourselves and other people who have believed God’s *message. God’s own *Son offered his life blood on the *cross to rescue them. And that is how God made those *believers his own people.

v29 I know that I will soon be leaving this world. And I know very well that false teachers will very quickly come to you. They will cause the *believers a lot of trouble. They will be like fierce animals which kill sheep. v30 Even in your own group of *believers, some people will teach messages that are false. And those people will lie to the *believers. Some people will believe them and will join their group.

v31 So take care that none of you stops believing the true *message about our *Lord Jesus! Remember that I taught you that *message for about three years. And I warned you not to believe any other *message. Also, I often wept about your attitude to God.’

v32 ‘Now I will be leaving you’, Paul said. ‘I will speak to God on your behalf. He always rescues us because he is so kind. I will ask God to protect you. And if you continue to believe his *message, you will grow in your *life with God. God has promised many good things to those who belong to him. And God will give you those good things.

v33 As for myself, I have not wanted money or expensive clothes. v34 You yourselves know how I lived. I worked with my hands to earn money. That money was for what I needed. Also, I was able to give some to other *believers. v35 I wanted you to see that I worked hard. And we should all work hard like that. Then we will have enough things to give to poorer people. There are always those who are unable to work. We should remember what our *Lord Jesus himself said: “We are happy when people give us something. But we are happier when we give something to other people”.’

v36 Paul finished speaking. Then Paul and all those older *believers kneeled on the ground and they prayed to God together. v37 They all wept aloud. They hugged Paul and they kissed him on the cheek. v38 Paul had said that they would never see him again. That was why they were especially sad. Then they all went with him to the ship. Paul got into the ship, and he left. And the older *believers went home.

Acts 21:1-14 The *believers tell Paul not to go to Jerusalem but he goes there anyway

v1 We said goodbye to the older *believers from Ephesus. Then we got into the ship and it crossed the water to Cos island. The ship stopped for the night there. The next day we went in the ship from Cos to Rhodes island. The ship stopped again there. The day after that we went on to Patara island. That was as far as that ship went.

v2 We left that ship at Patara. Then someone told us that there was another ship. This ship would be going to Phoenicia region. So we got into this ship, and it left Patara. v3 The ship travelled on the sea until we could see Cyprus island. The ship passed the island on the south side. The journey continued until the ship arrived at Phoenicia region, in Syria *province. The ship went on to Tyre city in Syria *province. It would stay there several days, because the ship’s workers had to unload the boat.

v4 Someone told us where the *believers in Tyre lived. So we went and we stayed with them for 7 days. The *Holy Spirit had shown them what would happen to Paul in Jerusalem. So the *believers in Tyre told Paul that he should not go to Jerusalem now. v5 But after a week in Tyre, it was time for us to leave again and continue our journey. So all the men *believers and their wives and children went with us to the edge of the sea. We all kneeled there on the shore and we prayed to God. v6 We all said goodbye, and then Paul and all of us got into the ship. The other *believers returned to their own homes.

v7 Then we set out again on the same ship to Ptolemais city. There were *believers there. So we greeted them and we stayed with them that day. v8 The next day, we left Ptolemais and travelled on the ship to Caesarea city. There we stayed in the home of a *believer called Philip. Philip frequently spoke the *message of the *Lord Jesus in public. He was one of the seven leaders whom the Jerusalem *believers had chosen. He looked after the *believers’ widows and he helped in other ways. v9 He had four daughters who had not yet married. The *Holy Spirit frequently told them messages from God for the *believers.

v10 We had been in Philip’s house for several days. Then a *believer called Agabus arrived in Caesarea. He had come down from Judea district. He also spoke messages that the *Holy Spirit had told him. v11 He came to where we were standing with Paul. Then he took off Paul’s belt, and he tied his own feet and hands with it. Agabus then spoke to him. ‘This is what the *Holy Spirit says. “The *Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will tie up the hands and feet of the owner of this belt. They will tie him up as I am doing now. And then they will hand him over to *non-Jewish people.” ’

v12 The rest of us heard this. Then we and other *believers there tried many times to persuade Paul. ‘Please do not go to Jerusalem!’ v13 But Paul said, ‘Please stop weeping like this. Stop trying to *discourage me from going there. I work for the *Lord Jesus. And I am willing for people to put me in prison. They can even kill me in Jerusalem if they like.’ v14 So we realised that he had to go to Jerusalem. And we did not try to stop him going any longer. We just said: ‘We want the *Lord God to do what he wants to do.’

Acts 21:15-26 Paul and other *believers go from Caesarea to Jerusalem

v15 So we left Caesarea. We prepared our things and we went on land to Jerusalem. v16 Some of the *believers from Caesarea also went with us. They took us to the house of a man whose name was Mnason. He was from Cyprus, and he was a *believer. He had believed in Jesus when people were first beginning to hear the *message about Jesus.

v17 We arrived in Jerusalem, and a group of the *believers greeted us happily. v18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to speak with James. James was a leader of all the *believers there. All of the other *Christian leaders in Jerusalem were also there. v19 First of all, Paul greeted them. Then he reported all that God had helped him do among the *non-Jewish people.

v20 James and the other older *believers heard this. Then they said, ‘Praise the *Lord!’ And they said this to Paul. ‘*Brother, there are very many thousands of us *Jewish *believers here. We have all believed in the *Lord Jesus. You know that very well. Also, you know about the *laws which Moses gave to us. You know that we all continue to obey those *laws very carefully.’

v21 ‘But these, our *Jewish *brother *believers have heard people say other things. They say that you talk differently to our *Jewish *believers’, James said to Paul. ‘Those people live in towns among *non-Jews. And you say that they do not have to obey *Jewish *laws then. You say this, but Moses received these *laws from God. People say that you also say other things to our *Jewish *brothers. They say that they do not need to *circumcise their sons. And they say that they do not need to follow our other customs’, James said.

v22 ‘Now our *Jewish *brothers will certainly hear that you have arrived here. And they will be very angry with you. So you should do something to stop them being so angry. v23 So, please do what we older *believers suggest now:

‘There are four men here with us who have made strong promises to God about something’, James said to Paul. v24 ‘You go together with these men. Make yourselves right in the way that our religion demands. After that it will be time for them to offer the right *sacrifices. Then, you can pay for what they offer as *sacrifices. Then they can shave their heads. This will show people that they have completed their promises. People will see you later in the *Temple area with these men. Then all of them will know that you obey Moses’ *laws.’

v25 ‘We older *believers here in Jerusalem have also talked about the *non-Jewish *believers’, James said. ‘We discussed which of our *laws they should obey. Then we wrote them a letter. In that letter, we told them our decisions. We wrote in our letter that they should not eat meat from *sacrifices. That is meat that people have offered as a *sacrifice to any other gods. Also, we wrote that they should not eat blood from animals. And they should not eat meat from animals that people have not killed properly[6]. We also told them this: No man should have sex with a woman who is not his wife. And no woman should have sex with a man who is not her husband.’ That was all that James said.

v26 So Paul agreed to do what they asked. The next day, he went with the four men. And together they made themselves right as their *Jewish religion demanded. After that, Paul went to the *Temple. He told the priest on which day they would complete those *Jewish customs. That would be when the priest would offer an animal as a*sacrifice for each of them.

Acts 21:27-36 *Roman soldiers arrest Paul in Jerusalem

v27-29 Paul and the men had to wait for 7 days. So when this time had nearly finished, Paul returned to the *Temple area. But there were some *Jews from Asia *province there. They saw Paul there and they were very angry with him. They had seen Paul as he was walking about in Jerusalem with Trophimus earlier. And they thought that Paul had also brought Trophimus into the *Temple court that day. They knew that Trophimus was not a *Jew. And their *laws did not permit *non-Jews to enter the *Temple area.

So they called out to the many other *Jews there in the *Temple area. They wanted them to help them seize Paul. They shouted, ‘*Brother *Israelites! Come and help us to punish this man! He is always teaching people bad things about us *Jewish people. He does that wherever he goes. He teaches people that they should no longer obey Moses’ *laws. And he says that they should not respect our holy *Temple. He has even brought *non-Jews here into the court of our *Temple. And he has spoiled its beauty to our religion.’

v30 People all over Jerusalem city heard that there was trouble at the *Temple. So they ran to help. They seized Paul and they dragged him outside the *Temple area. Immediately after that the *Temple guards shut the gates to the *Temple area. They did not want a crowd of people to cause trouble inside the *Temple.

v31 The angry *Jews were trying to kill Paul. So someone told the *Roman army captain that there was big trouble at the *Temple. v32 The captain quickly took some officers and a large group of soldiers. They ran to the *Temple area where the crowd was. The crowd of people were making a lot of noise and they were hitting Paul hard. But they saw that the captain and the soldiers were coming. So they stopped hitting Paul.

v33 The captain came up to Paul and arrested him. He ordered two soldiers to fasten a chain to each of Paul’s arms. Then he asked the people in the crowd about Paul. He wanted to know who Paul was. And he wanted to know what Paul had done. v34 There were many people there. Some people were shouting one thing, and other people were shouting something different. Many of them continued to shout. But the captain could not understand what they were saying.

So the captain ordered the soldiers to take Paul into their strong house. He wanted to question Paul there. v35 So soldiers led Paul up the steps to the soldiers’ house. But so many people were following them, and they wanted to kill Paul. So the captain ordered the soldiers to carry Paul up the steps and into the house. v36 The crowd kept shouting after them: ‘Kill him! Kill him!’

Acts 21:37-22:22 The captain allows Paul to speak to the crowd

v37 The soldiers were taking Paul into their house. Then Paul spoke to the captain. ‘Let me speak to you.’ The captain replied to him. ‘I am surprised that you can speak the *Greek language!’ v38 Then the captain told him this. ‘Not long ago there was a man from Egypt who wanted to fight the government. I thought that you were that person. Are you not the man who took 4000 fierce men with you out into the desert? You needed them to help you fight.’

v39 Paul replied: ‘Of course I am not that man! I am a *Jew. I was born in Tarsus city, which is an important city in Cilicia *province. Would you permit me to speak to the people here?’ v40 Then the captain allowed Paul to speak. So Paul stood where he was on the steps. And he made signs with his hands so that the crowd would be quiet. So the people in the crowd became quiet. Then Paul spoke to them in their own *Hebrew language.

Chapter 22 v1 This is what Paul said: ‘You older *Jewish leaders and my other *brother *Jews, please listen to me now. I need to explain what is happening.’ v2 The crowd heard Paul speaking to them in their own language. So they became quiet and they really listened.

v3 ‘I am a *Jew. I was born in Tarsus city, in Cilicia *province’, Paul said. ‘But I grew up here in Jerusalem. As a young person, I studied for many years the *laws that Moses gave to our *ancestors. The famous teacher Gamaliel taught me. For years, I obeyed that *law carefully, because I wanted to obey God. I am sure that many of you also obey those *laws carefully. v4 That is why I used to hurt people who believe the *message of Jesus. This is the same *message that people call the *Way.

I kept looking for ways in which I could kill such people’, Paul said. ‘I ordered people to arrest any people who believed that *message. It did not matter if they were men or women. I told people to put them into prison. v5 The high priest knows this, and the other members of our *Jewish *Council also know this. Those older leaders gave me letters to take to our *brother *Jews in Damascus city. Those letters gave to me the authority to go to Damascus. There I could search for anyone who followed the Jesus *Way. I could bring them in chains to Jerusalem, so that the leaders here could punish them.

v6 So I went on my way to Damascus city. About midday, we were getting near Damascus. Suddenly a bright light from the sky flashed all about me. v7 The light was so great that I fell to the ground. Then I heard the voice of someone who spoke to me from *heaven. The person who was speaking to me said: “Saul! Saul! Stop making me suffer!” v8 I answered him: “Who are you, *Lord?” The person replied, “I am Jesus from Nazareth. When you hurt those who believe in me, you also make me suffer.” v9 The men who were travelling with me saw the very bright light. They heard the voice, but they did not understand it.

v10 Then I asked: “*Lord, what do you want me to do?” And the *Lord told me: “Get up and go into Damascus! A man there will tell you what I want you to do.” v11 So my companions took me by the hand and they led me into Damascus city. I could not see anything. The very bright light had made me blind. v12 Soon afterwards a man called Ananias came to see me. He *worshipped God and carefully obeyed our *Jewish *laws. All the *Jews who were living in Damascus city said good things about him.

v13 This Ananias came and stood at my side. And he said to me, “My friend Saul, you can see again now!” Immediately I could see again. I could see Ananias. He was standing on one side of me. v14 Then Ananias said this: “The God whom we and our *ancestors *worship has chosen you. And God will show you what you must do”, Ananias said. “He has let you see the *Messiah, the one who always acts fairly. And you have heard the *Messiah speak to you. v15 You must tell people everywhere all that you have seen. And you must tell all that you have heard about the *Messiah”, Ananias said. v16 “So now do not delay! Stand up, and let me *baptise you. And then you can pray to the *Lord Jesus, and God will forgive you for your *sins.” ’

v17 Paul continued to speak to the crowd. ‘I returned to Jerusalem later, and I went to the *Temple. While I was praying there, I had a dream. In this dream, v18 I saw the *Lord, and he was speaking to me. “Do not stay here! Leave Jerusalem immediately. When you tell the *Jewish leaders here about me, they will not believe you.” v19 But I protested to the person who was speaking to me. “*Lord, they know that I hunted for the *believers. I searched for them in many *Jewish meeting places. I put in prison all the *believers whom I found. And also I hurt them very much when I hit them.”

v20 “You will remember that I was a witness of Stephen’s death”, I said. “People threw stones to kill your loyal servant Stephen. And I stood there and I watched it all. The people who were murdering Stephen threw off their coats. And I held their coats while they killed him. I agreed with what those people were doing.” v21 But the *Lord said to me, “No, leave Jerusalem. I will send you far away from here to *non-Jewish people!” ’

v22 The people listened quietly until Paul talked about the *non-Jewish people. Then they began to shout angrily: ‘Kill that man! He does not deserve to live in this world any longer!’

Acts 22:24-29 The *Roman captain asks Paul some questions

v23 The crowd continued to shout: ‘Kill him!’ The people took off their coats. And they threw dust into the air to show that they were angry. v24 So the captain ordered soldiers to take Paul up into their strong rooms. He told the soldiers that they should hit Paul with the whip[7]. He wanted to know why the *Jews were so very angry with Paul. And he wanted to make Paul tell him why.

So the soldiers took Paul into their strong rooms. v25 Then they tied out Paul’s arms so that they could whip him on his back. But Paul spoke to the officer who was standing near him. ‘You should think carefully about this. The court first has to say whether a *Roman citizen is guilty or not. Otherwise you will not be legal if you whip me.’ v26 The officer heard that, and he reported it to the captain. ‘That man is a *Roman citizen! Surely you would not order us to whip him!’ he said to the captain.

v27 The captain was surprised when he heard that. He himself went into the strong room to talk to Paul. ‘Are you really a *Roman citizen?’ Paul answered, ‘Yes, I am.’ v28 Then the captain said, ‘I am also a *Roman citizen. I paid a lot of money to become a *Roman citizen.’ Then Paul said, ‘But I was born a *Roman citizen, so I did not need to pay anything.’ v29 The soldiers heard what Paul said, and they untied him immediately. The captain also became afraid. He now realised that Paul was a *Roman citizen. And he knew that he had tied Paul up. But that was not legal.

Acts 22:30-23:11 The *Roman captain takes Paul to the *Jewish *Council

v30 The captain still wanted to know exactly why the *Jews were accusing Paul. So, the next day, he told the soldiers to take the chains off Paul. He also called together the chief priests and the other *Jewish *Council members. Then he took Paul and he made him stand in front of the *Council.

Chapter 23 v1 Paul looked straight at the older *Jewish leaders and he began to talk to them. ‘My *brother *Jews, all my life I have shown honour to God. And I have not done anything that I knew was wrong.’ v2 Ananias the high priest heard what Paul said. So he ordered the men next to Paul to hit him on the mouth. v3 Then Paul said to Ananias. ‘God will punish you for that, you pretender! You sit there and use the *Law of Moses like a judge. But you yourself do not obey that *law. You have not proved that I have done anything wrong. But you ordered these men to hit me!’

v4 The men next to Paul told him to be quiet. This is what they said to him. ‘Are you not afraid to insult God’s servant, our high priest?’ v5 ‘I am so sorry, my *brother *Jews’, Paul replied. ‘That man ordered you to hit me. But I did not know that he is the high priest. If I had known that, I would not have insulted our high priest. I know that Moses wrote this in our *law: “Do not speak bad things about any of your leaders!” ’

v6 Paul knew that some of the *Council members were *Sadducees. And other *Council members were *Pharisees. Also, Paul knew that the *Pharisees argued with the *Sadducees. The *Pharisees believed that people will live again after they die. The *Sadducees did not believe this. So Paul called out loudly in the *Council hall. ‘My *brother *Jews, I am a *Pharisee, like my father and grandfather were. You are here today because of what I believe as a *Pharisee. Some day God will cause people who have died to become alive again. That is what we believe.’

v7 As soon as Paul said this, the *Pharisees and *Sadducees started to argue with each other. Will people who have died rise again, or will they not? v8 The *Sadducees believe that after people die, they will not become alive again. They also believe that there are no *angels and no other kinds of *spirits. On the other hand, the *Pharisees believe this about all dead people. One day all of them will become alive again. They also believe that there are *angels and other kinds of *spirits.

v9 So they began shouting at each other while they argued. Some of the teachers of Moses’ *law who were *Pharisees stood up. ‘We say that this man has done nothing wrong’, they said. ‘It is possible that an *angel or some other *spirit really spoke to him. And what he says could be true.’ v10 Then the *Pharisees and *Sadducees argued even more loudly with each other. They began to fight with each other, and the captain became afraid for Paul. The men who were fighting might tear Paul to pieces. So the captain ordered a large number of soldiers to go down there. He ordered them to take Paul away from the men by force. Then they could bring him up into their strong rooms. So the soldiers did that.

v11 That night, the *Lord Jesus came and stood near Paul. The *Lord said to him, ‘Be brave! You have told people here in Jerusalem about me. And you must tell people in Rome about me too.’

Acts 23:12-22 Some *Jews make a secret plot to kill Paul

v12 The next morning, some other *Jews who hated Paul met together secretly. They talked about how they would kill Paul. They made strong promises with each other. They would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. They asked God to punish them if they did not do that. v13 There were more than 40 men who planned to kill Paul. v14 They went to the chief priests and the older leaders of the *Jews and they told the leaders, ‘God has heard us promise. We will not eat or drink anything. We will kill Paul first. v15 Please send a message to the captain. Ask him to bring Paul out of prison for you. Tell the captain that you want to ask Paul some more questions. But we will attack Paul while he is on the way here.’

v16 But Paul’s sister’s son heard what those *Jews were plotting. So he went to the soldiers’ place and he told Paul. v17 When Paul heard this, he called one of the officers. ‘Please take this young man to the captain’, Paul said to the officer. ‘He has something very urgent to tell him.’ v18 So the officer took Paul’s nephew to the captain. And the officer spoke to the captain. ‘That man Paul in the prison sent for me and asked me: “Please take this young man to the captain. He has something very urgent to tell him”.’

v19 The captain took the young man’s hand, and he led him off in private. Then the captain asked him: ‘What do you need to tell me?’ v20 Paul’s nephew told him: ‘Some *Jews have planned to attack you and your soldiers tomorrow. They will ask you to take my uncle Paul from prison to the *Jewish *Council tomorrow. They will say that they want to ask him some further questions. But that is not true.’

v21 ‘Do not do what they ask you to do’, Paul’s nephew said to the captain. ‘There are more than 40 of these *Jewish men who will hide by the road. When you pass by with Paul, they will make a secret attack on you. They have even made a serious promise to God. They will not eat or drink anything. They will kill Paul first. These men are ready to do it. And they are now waiting for you to give orders to your soldiers. They expect you to take Paul to the *Jewish leaders.’ v22 Then the captain said to Paul’s nephew: ‘Do not tell anyone else that you have told me their plan.’ Then he sent the young man away.

Acts 23:23-35 Soldiers take Paul safely to the ruler, Felix, at Caesarea

v23 Then the captain called two of his officers. He told them. ‘Get a group of 200 soldiers ready to travel on foot. Also, take with you 70 soldiers who ride horses. Also, you will need 200 other soldiers who can throw long sticks with sharp points. All of you must be ready to leave at 9 tonight, to go to Caesarea city. v24 Also, take along horses for Paul and those with him to ride. Take him safely to the palace of the ruler, Felix.’

v25 Then the captain wrote a letter to send to the ruler. This is what he wrote: v26 ‘I am Claudius Lysias that is writing to you. We greatly respect you, Felix, for the way that you govern us. And I sincerely greet you’, he wrote. v27 ‘I have sent this man Paul to you, because certain *Jewish people seized him. They were going to kill him. But someone told me that he is a *Roman citizen. So I and my soldiers rescued him from them so that they could not kill him.

v28 I wanted to know what wrong thing the *Jews were accusing him about. So I took him to their *Jewish *Council. v29 I listened while the *Jewish leaders asked this man questions.

The things that they accused him of were entirely matters about their own *Jewish *laws. But Paul has obeyed all of our *Roman laws. So our officials should not punish him by death or even put him in prison.

v30 Some *Jews were secretly planning to kill him. So I immediately sent him to you, to protect him. I have also ordered those *Jews to go to Caesarea. Then they can accuse this man directly of what he has done.’ That was what the captain wrote in his letter to the ruler, Felix.

v31 The soldiers did what the captain had ordered them. And they took the letter with them. They took Paul during the night to Antipatris city. v32 The next day, the soldiers who were on foot returned to their strong place in Jerusalem. But the soldiers who rode horses went on with Paul. v33 When the soldiers on horses arrived with Paul at Caesarea, they delivered Paul and the letter to the ruler. Then the soldiers on horses also returned to Jerusalem.

v34 The ruler read the letter and then he spoke to Paul. ‘What *Roman *province are you from?’ Paul answered, ‘I am from Cilicia *province.’ v35 Then the ruler said that he would wait. ‘Let the people who have accused you arrive first. Then I will listen to what each of you says. And then I will make a judgement about your affair.’ Then he ordered soldiers to keep Paul in prison. The prison was in a palace that had belonged to Herod.

Acts 24:1-27 Paul answers well for himself in the ruler’s court

v1 Five (5) days later, those *Jews travelled down from Jerusalem to Caesarea. They were: the high priest Ananias, together with some older *Jewish leaders. They also brought with them a lawyer whose name was Tertullus. They told the ruler the wrong things that Paul had done. v2 So the ruler ordered a soldier to bring Paul into the room. Paul came in, and Tertullus began to accuse him. This is what Tertullus said to the ruler:

‘Honourable Ruler Felix’, he said. ‘You have ruled us for many years. And so we have lived in peace. You have improved many things in this *Jewish *province, because you have made good plans. v3 Therefore, sir, we are all grateful for everything that you have done in every place. v4 But, I do not want to take up too much of your time. So now, please let me speak to you for just a few moments’, Tertullus said.

v5 ‘We have noticed that this man Paul causes trouble everywhere. In every place where there are *Jews he upsets the crowds. Also, he leads the group whom people call ‘the people of Jesus the Nazarene’. And what they believe is false. v6 He even tried to do things that are not legal in the *Temple. Then we would not be able go inside it.’

‘So we put him in prison’, Tertullus said. ‘[We would have punished him as our own *Jewish *Law demands. v7 But captain Lysias came with his soldiers from the *Roman strong place. With great force, he took Paul away from us. v8 Lysias also ordered these *Jews to come here. They have to accuse Paul in front of you.] Ask him questions yourself. Then he will tell you that what we are accusing him of is true.’ v9 The other *Jewish leaders there heard this. And they told the ruler that Tertullus spoke the truth.

v10 The ruler signalled with his hand for Paul to speak. So Paul began. ‘Ruler Felix’, he said, ‘I know that you have governed this *Jewish *province for many years. Therefore, I am happy to answer for myself. I am confident that you will deal fairly with me.’

v11 Paul continued: ‘Only 12 days ago, I went up to Jerusalem to *worship God. You can easily check that fact. 12 days is not enough time to cause a lot of trouble. v12 No *Jew ever saw me arguing with anyone in the *Temple area. I did not do that. No one saw me upsetting the people in any *Jewish meeting place. And I did not cause trouble anywhere else in Jerusalem city. v13 These *Jews cannot prove to you the things about which they are now accusing me.

v14 But I can tell you for sure that this one thing is true. I do *worship the God that our *ancestors *worshipped. And it is true that I follow the *Way of Jesus. The *Jewish leaders call that *Way a false religion. I also believe everything that Moses wrote in the *Law. I believe all that the other *prophets wrote in their books. v15 I am sure that everyone will become alive again after death. This is only the same as some of these *Jewish leaders also expect. God will cause everyone to become alive again. There will be those who did right things in their lives. And there will be those who did wrong things.’

v16 ‘I too am waiting for that day’, Paul said. ‘That is why I always try to please God. And I try to do what other people think is right. v17 I had been in other places for several years. Then I returned to Jerusalem. I went there to deliver some money to poor people in my nation. And I also offered some *sacrifices to God’, Paul said.

v18 ‘While I was doing this, some *Jewish people saw me in the *Temple area. I had just completed the ceremony that makes a *Jewish person clean in front of God. There was no crowd there with me, and I was not upsetting people. v19 But some other *Jews from Asia *province really upset the people. Those *Jews may have thought that I was doing something wrong. Then they should be here with you today to accuse me.

v20 If they do not want to come here, these *Jewish men here should tell you. I did answer for myself in front of the *Council’, Paul said. ‘Perhaps the *Jews think that I was wrong then. v21 They might say that what I shouted then was wrong. What I said was this: “You are accusing me today because of what I believe. I believe that God will cause everyone to become alive again after death”.’

v22 Felix already knew much about the *Way of Jesus. So he did not let Paul or those *Jews continue to speak. But he promised them, ‘I will make a decision about these matters later. Captain Lysias is coming down here, and I will decide then.’ v23 Then he gave orders to the officer who had come with Paul. ‘Take Paul back to the prison and guard him all the time. But do not to put chains on him. Probably some of his friends will come to visit him. Then you should allow them to help Paul in whatever way.’ These were Felix’s orders to Paul’s guard.

v24 Felix and his wife Drusilla, who was *Jewish, had been away from Caesarea for a few weeks. But several days later, they returned, and they went to the prison. Felix ordered a soldier to bring Paul into the room. Then Felix listened as Paul spoke to him. Paul spoke about what *Christians believe about Jesus the *Messiah. v25 Paul explained to Felix and the other people about how people can please God. He also explained how people should stop doing wrong things. Paul also told them that God will make a decision about everybody on the final day.

Felix became afraid because Paul told him those things. So he said to Paul: ‘That is all I want to hear now. When I next have some time, I will ask you to come again.’ v26 Felix thought that Paul would probably give him some money. Then he could free Paul from the prison. That is why Felix talked like that. So he often sent for Paul to come. And Paul often went and talked with him. But Paul did not give Felix any money. And Felix did not order his soldiers to free Paul from prison.

v27 After two more years, Porcius Festus replaced Felix as ruler. Felix had let Paul remain in prison, because he wanted to please the *Jewish leaders. He knew that they did not want him to free Paul.

Acts 25:1-12 Paul wants the *Roman *Emperor to decide his fate

v1 Festus was now the ruler of the *province. He arrived in Caesarea, and, three days later, he went up to Jerusalem. v2 In Jerusalem, the chief priests and other *Jewish leaders spoke to Festus. They told him about all the wrong things that Paul had done. v3 These men asked Festus to do something urgently for them. They wanted the soldiers to bring Paul back to Jerusalem. Then Festus could decide Paul’s affair there. But the *Jews had a plan to hide near the road. They would kill Paul as he was travelling to Jerusalem.

v4 But Festus replied: ‘Paul is in Caesarea, and soldiers are guarding him there. I myself will go to Caesarea in a few days. v5 Choose some of your leaders to go there with me. While they are there, they can accuse Paul. They can tell me all the wrong things that he has done.’

v6 Festus stayed in Jerusalem for 8 or 10 days, and then he went down to Caesarea. Several of the *Jewish leaders also went there. The next day Festus ordered the soldiers to bring Paul to him. Festus held his court in his court room, and he was the judge. v7 An officer brought Paul into the room. And the *Jewish leaders from Jerusalem gathered round him to accuse him. Those *Jewish leaders told Festus that Paul had done many crimes. But they could not give any proof that Paul had ever done such things.

v8 Then Paul spoke to Festus to answer for himself: ‘I have done nothing wrong against our *Jewish *law’, Paul said. ‘I have always obeyed the rules about our *Temple. Also, I have done nothing wrong against your *Roman government.’ v9 But Festus wanted to please the *Jewish leaders. So he asked Paul. ‘Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem? Then these men can accuse you there, in front of me.’

v10 But Paul did not want to do that. So he said to Festus, ‘No, I am standing in front of you now. And you are the judge to whom the *Roman *emperor has given authority. This is the place where you should decide my affair. I have not done anything wrong to the *Jewish people. And you know that very well. v11 I might have done a crime against someone. And the government officials might have decided that they should kill me because of that. If I had, I would not try to avoid death. But none of these things of which they accuse me is true. So no one can legally hand me over to these *Jews. So I request that the *emperor in *Rome should hear my affair.’

v12 Festus talked more with the men who advised him. Then he replied to Paul: ‘You have requested that I should send you to the *emperor in *Rome. So I will send you to him, and he will decide your affair there.’

Acts 25:13-27 Paul now speaks to king Agrippa

v13 After several days, king Herod Agrippa arrived at Caesarea city. His younger sister, whose name was Bernice, came with him. They had come to give a personal welcome to the new Ruler, Festus. v14 King Agrippa and Bernice stayed many days in Caesarea. While they were there, Festus told Agrippa about Paul. ‘Felix gave up his office as ruler. But he left a man here in prison for me to see’, Festus said to King Agrippa. ‘The man’s name is Paul.

v15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the other older *Jewish leaders told me about him. They said that this man had done many things against their *laws. They asked me to give judgement on his affair. Then people could punish him and kill him. v16 But I told them that we *Romans do not punish people immediately. If we accuse a person of a crime, we first order them to stand in front of their accusers. Then they can say whether or not they have done those things. After that, the judge will decide what to do with them.’

v17 ‘So those *Jews came here to Caesarea when I came’, Festus said. ‘The day after we arrived, I ordered soldiers to bring Paul here to me. I wanted to make a decision about his affair. So I ordered the soldiers to bring the man into the court room. v18 The *Jewish leaders did accuse him. But the crimes of which they accused him were not real crimes. v19 Those *Jews were just arguing with Paul about some things that the *Jews teach. And some *Jews believe those things, and other *Jews do not believe them. They argued about a man, whose name was Jesus. “Jesus has died”, Paul said constantly. “But he has become alive again.”

v20 I did not know what questions to ask them. And I did not know how to decide the affair. So I asked Paul: “Are you willing to go back to Jerusalem? Then I can decide the argument between you and these *Jews.” v21 But Paul answered, “No. I want the *emperor in *Rome to be my judge. I will just wait here in prison until then.” So the soldiers are guarding Paul here until I can send him to the *emperor in Rome.’

v22 Then Agrippa said to Festus: ‘I myself would like to hear what that man says.’ Festus replied, ‘I will order him to come here tomorrow. Then you can hear him speak.’

v23 The next day King Agrippa and his younger sister Bernice came to the judgement hall. Some *Roman captains and important men from Caesarea came with them Then Festus told an officer to bring in Paul. The officer went to the prison and he brought Paul. v24 Festus said, ‘King Agrippa and the rest of you, here is the man that I told you about. The Jerusalem *Jews and the *Jews here in Caesarea demand that I should do something about him.

They screamed at me that I should not let him live any longer. v25 So I asked them what wrong thing he had done. And they told me. But I realised that he had not done anything wrong. There was no reason that anyone should punish him by death’, Festus said to King Agrippa. ‘However, Paul has asked that our *emperor should be his judge. So I have decided to send him across the sea to Rome city.

v26 But I do not know what I should write to our great *emperor. That is why I have brought him here. I want you all to hear him speak. And especially you, King Agrippa, I want you to hear him. We can ask him many questions. Then perhaps I will know what I should write to the *emperor’, Festus said. v27 ‘I have to tell him the wrong things of which people are accusing him. Otherwise it would not be reasonable for me to send a criminal to *Rome. That is why I have brought Paul here’, Festus said.

Acts 26:1-32 Paul answers for himself in front of king Agrippa

v1 Then King Agrippa told Paul: ‘You may now speak for yourself.’ Paul raised his arm so that the people would be quiet. Then he began to answer for himself. v2 ‘King Agrippa’, Paul said, ‘I am glad that I can answer for myself today in front of you. The *Jews accuse me of many things. v3 But you know all about the customs of us *Jews. You know the questions that we argue about. So, please listen patiently to what I will say’, Paul said.

v4 ‘All the *Jewish people know about how I have lived. They have known me since I was a child. They knew me in the country where I was born. And they saw me later in Jerusalem. v5 From the time when I was very young, I obeyed all the rules of the *Pharisees. They obey all the laws of our religion very carefully. The *Jews could tell you that, if they wanted to.

v6 I am sure that God will carry out his promise to our *ancestors. But that is why these *Jews have brought me to your court today’, Paul said. v7 ‘All the people from our 12 large family groups *worship God, day and night. And they are sure that God will carry out his promise, King Agrippa. So I believe God’s promise as all my *Jewish *brothers do. But some of them are today accusing me of not believing God! v8 God can cause people to become alive again after death. I do not know why you people do not believe this’, Paul said.

v9 ‘Once I too used to oppose Jesus, the man from Nazareth town. I used to do everything that I could to hurt the *believers in Jesus. v10 I did that when I lived in Jerusalem. I put many of those *believers in prison. The chief priests there had given to me the authority to do this. And when people wanted to kill *Christians, I voted for that. v11 Many times I found such *believers in *Jewish meeting places. And I punished them there. Also, I tried to force them to speak evil words about Jesus. I was so angry with those *believers that I even travelled to other cities. I intended to find them and to punish them.

v12 On one occasion, I was on my way to Damascus city. The chief priests in Jerusalem had given me authority to punish the *believers in Jesus there. v13 I was going along on the road, and it was about 12 midday, king Agrippa. It was then that I saw a bright light in the sky. This light was even brighter than the sun. It shone all round me and also round my companions. v14 We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice. Someone was speaking to me in my own *Hebrew language. This person said, “Saul, Saul, stop making me suffer! You are hurting yourself when you hurt the *believers. That is like an *ox that kicks against its owner’s sharp stick.” v15 Then I asked, “Who are you, *Lord?” The *Lord said to me, “I am Jesus. You are making me suffer when you hurt the *believers.”

v16 “Stand up now!” God said to me. “I have appeared to you to tell you this: I have chosen you to work for me. You must tell people about what I am teaching you about myself. And I will tell you more things to teach people later on. v17 Some of your own people and also some people who are not *Jewish will make you suffer. But I will protect you from those people. v18 I want them to believe what is true. And I want them to stop believing what is false. I, the *Lord, want to control them. The devil must no longer control them. That is why I am sending you to them, so that they can believe in me. Then God will forgive their *sins, and they will be his people.”

v19 It was the *Lord Jesus who was speaking to me from *heaven. So, King Agrippa, I obeyed completely what he told me’, Paul said. v20 ‘First, I spoke about *Christ to the people in Damascus. Then I spoke to the *Jews in Jerusalem and in all Judea *province. After that I also spoke about *Christ to *non-Jews. I told them that they must stop their *sinful behaviour. They should give their lives completely to God. I told them that they must do good things. That would show other people that they really had stopped their *sinful behaviour.

v21 Then some *Jews seized me because I told people this *message. I was in the *Temple area and they tried to kill me. v22 However, God has been helping me all this time, and he is still helping me today. So I stand here, and I tell everybody of whatever class about *Christ. I just talk about what Moses and the other *prophets wrote long ago. They said what would happen to *Christ in these days.

v23 The *prophets wrote that people would cause the *Messiah to suffer. Those people would also kill him. But *Christ would be the first person to become alive again. And he would speak publicly the *message which would be like light. This *message says that *Christ would rescue both his own people and the *non-Jewish people.’

v24 Paul could not say anything more to answer for himself. This was because Festus shouted: ‘Paul, you are crazy! You have studied too much and you have become mad!’ v25 But Paul answered him. ‘My *lord, Festus, I am not acting like a mad man! What I am saying is the very opposite. It is all true and sensible! v26 King Agrippa knows the things that I have been talking about. People everywhere have heard about what happened to Jesus. And I can speak to him confidently about those things. I am sure that he knows all these things.’

v27 Then Paul asked King Agrippa: ‘Do you believe what the *prophets wrote? I know that you believe it.’ v28 Agrippa answered Paul: ‘You cannot persuade me to become a *Christian with just a few words. You do not think that, do you?’ v29 Paul replied, ‘It does not matter whether it takes a short time or a long time. I pray about you and everyone else who is listening to me today. I pray that you will be like me. I pray that you, like me, will believe in Jesus. But I do not want you to be in prison.’ v30 Then the king, his sister Bernice, the ruler, and all the other people stood up. v31 And they left the room. They were talking to each other. They said, ‘There is no reason why the authorities should punish this man by death. They should not even put him in prison.’ v32 Agrippa said to Festus, ‘We could have let this man go free. But he demanded that the *Emperor should be his judge.’

Acts 27:1-12 Soldiers take Paul to Rome on a ship

v1 The ruler decided that we should go to Italy country on a ship. So the authorities placed Paul and some other prisoners in the care of a captain called Julius. Julius should guard us on the journey. He commanded 100 soldiers of the *Roman *Emperor Augustus’s soldiers’ group. v2 So we got onto a ship which had come from Adramyttium city in Asia *province. The ship was returning there, and it would stop at cities along the Asian coast.

So the ship left Caesarea city and we went out to sea. Aristarchus went with us. He was a *brother *believer from Thessalonica city in Macedonia *province. v3 The next day we arrived at Sidon city. And Julius kindly told Paul, that he could visit his friends there. Then they could give him whatever he might need. So Paul visited the *believers there.

v4 Then the ship left Sidon city. But the winds were blowing against us. So the ship went along the side of Cyprus island, where there was less wind. v5 After that, we crossed over the sea close to the coast. This was the border of Cilicia and Pamphylia *provinces. The ship arrived at Myra city, which is in Lycia *province. We got out of that ship there.

v6 In Myra, people told Julius about another ship. That ship had come from Alexandria city and it would soon sail to Italy country. So we got onto the ship and it sailed. v7 We sailed very slowly for several days. Then we came close to the Asian coast, near Cnidus town.

By now, the wind was very strong. The wind did not allow the ship to move towards the west. So instead, we sailed south along the side of Crete island. This coast protects ships better from the wind. So we passed near *Cape Salmone. v8 The wind was still strong and it stopped the ship from moving ahead fast. So we moved slowly along the coast of Crete. And finally, we arrived at a harbour which people called Fair Havens.

v9 We had lost a lot of time by now. It was already late in September. It would be dangerous if we travelled further by ship. This was because the sea often became very stormy after that time. So Paul talked to the people who worked on the ship. v10 ‘Men’, he said. ‘I am sure that we should not travel on by ship now. We will lose everything. A storm may destroy the ship and the goods that it is carrying. We might even drown.’ v11 But the military officer did not believe what Paul said. The captain of the ship and the ship’s owner said that we should keep sailing ahead. So the officer told them: ‘Yes, let us go on.’

v12 They could not remain in the harbour where the ship had stopped. It was not a good place during the winter, because the sea often became stormy. So almost everyone on the ship thought that the ship should move on from there. They wanted to arrive at Phoenix port. They hoped that we could stay there during the winter. That harbour was open to the sea in two directions, but the strong winds did not affect it.

Acts 27:13-44 The storm destroys the ship

v13 Then a gentle wind began to blow from the south. The members of the crew thought that they could move the ship to the other harbour. They had decided to do that. So they pulled up out of the sea the chain that was holding the ship in one place. And the ship sailed towards the west. It passed by the south shore of Crete island.

v14 But after a short time, a very strong wind began to blow from the north. It blew across the island and it hit the ship. Local people call that wind ‘the North East Wind’. v15 That wind blew strongly against the front of the ship. And we could not keep going in the same direction in which we had started. The sailors had to let the wind move the ship in the direction where it was blowing.

v16-17 The ship then passed a small island called Cauda. We passed along the side of the island where there was less wind. The ship was still moving along. Then the sailors lifted the small boat up out of the water. They tied it onto the ship’s deck. But the strong wind made it difficult even to do that. Then the sailors tied *ropes all round the bottom of the ship to hold the ship together.

The wind was pushing the ship very strongly, and the sailors became very afraid. There was sand near the coast of Libya and the water was very shallow. The ship might easily get stuck there. So they let down the largest sail so that the ship would move more slowly. Even so, the wind continued to move the ship along. v18 The wind and the waves continued to throw the ship about seriously. So on the next day the sailors began to throw into the sea the things that the ship was carrying.

v19 It was now three days since the stormy wind had begun to blow. And now the sailors threw some of the sails, *ropes, and poles, into the sea. They wanted to make the ship less deep in the water. v20 The wind continued to blow very strongly, and the sky was full of dark clouds, day and night. We could not see the sun or the stars for many days. We could not decide what coast we were near. The wind continued to blow strongly. Finally, we all thought that we would die in the sea.

v21 None of us had eaten anything for many days. Then one day, Paul stood up in front of us. ‘Well, friends’, he said, ‘you should have listened to what I said earlier. I said that we should not have left the coast of Crete. Then we would have been safe and we would still have the stuff. v22 But even now, I want to tell you not to be afraid’, Paul said. ‘None of you are going to die. The storm will only destroy the ship.

v23 I know this because the one true God spoke to me last night. I belong to God and I work for him. And he sent one of his *angels to where I was. v24 The *angel said to me: “Paul, do not be afraid! You must still stand in front of the *Emperor in *Rome. He still has to give his judgement on you. So, listen! God has made a promise to you and to all those who are travelling with you. He has granted to you your lives” ’, Paul said to everyone on the ship.

v25 ‘So be more cheerful then, my friends. I believe that God will make this happen. It will be absolutely as the *angel told me. v26 The ship will break up on some island. But we will manage to reach the shore there.’

v27 It was 14 days and nights since the storm had begun. And the wind was still blowing the ship across the Mediterranean Sea. About midnight, the sailors thought that the ship was getting close to land. v28 So they measured how deep the water was. They attached a weight to a line, and they threw it into the water. Then they pulled the line up again. They saw that the water was 120 feet (37 metres) deep. They went a little further and they threw the line into the water again. That time, they saw that the water was about 98 feet (30 metres) deep.

v29 The sailors were afraid that our ship might go onto some rocks. So they threw out chains from the back of the ship. The chains had four heavy metal objects on them so that the ship would not move. Then they continued to hope that dawn would come soon. This was so that they could see the land. v30 Some of the sailors were trying to leave the ship secretly by themselves. So they let down the small boat into the sea. They pretended that they were throwing some more heavy metals from the front of the ship.

v31 But Paul said to the army officer and soldiers, ‘The sailors must stay in the ship. If they do not stay, then nothing will save you.’ v32 So the soldiers cut the *ropes and let the small boat fall into the water.

v33 It was just before dawn. Then Paul spoke to everyone on the ship. He urged them to eat some food. ‘For the past 14 days you have been waiting and watching. You have not eaten anything’, he said. v34 ‘So, all of you, please eat some food now. We need food to stay alive. I promise you that the sea will not hurt any of you at this time.’

v35 After Paul had said this, he took some bread in his hands. Then, while everyone was watching him, he thanked God for it. He broke the bread and began to eat some of it. v36 This encouraged the other people, so we all ate some food. v37 There were 276 of us on the ship. v38 Everyone ate as much as they wanted. Then they threw into the sea the grain that the ship was carrying. This made the ship less deep in the water.

v39 When it was dawn, we could see land. But the sailors did not recognise where they were. However, they could see a bay and a wide area of sand at the water’s edge. They hoped that the ship would run onto that beach. v40 So some of the sailors cut the chains and they let the heavy metals remain in the sea. At the same time, other sailors untied the *ropes round the *rudder so that they could control the ship again.

Then the sailors raised the sail at the front of the ship. Now the wind could blow the ship forward, and the ship could move towards the shore. v41 But the ship hit the sand in the shallow water. The sand firmly held the front of the ship so that it could not move. And big waves hit hard on the back of the ship and they began to break it apart.

v42 The soldiers said to each other that they should kill all the prisoners on the ship. Then the prisoners would not be able to swim away and escape. And if the prisoners escaped, the authorities would kill the soldiers. That is what the soldiers thought.

v43 But Julius, the officer, wanted to save Paul. So he prevented the soldiers from killing the prisoners. Instead, Julius gave orders first to everyone who could swim. They should jump into the water and swim to the shore. v44 Then the officer ordered everyone else to hold onto pieces of wood from the ship. In that way, they could reach the shore. We did what the officer commanded and all of us arrived safely on the shore.

Acts 28:1-10 Paul’s experience on the island called Malta

v1 We had arrived safely on the shore. Then we learned that the people there called the island Malta. v2 The local people received us in a kindly way. They made a big fire so that we could warm ourselves. It was raining and it was also very cold. v3 Paul gathered a bundle of dry wood, and he put it on the fire. But a poisonous snake came out from the sticks and it fastened itself on Paul’s hand.

v4 The local people knew that the snake was poisonous. They saw that the snake was hanging from Paul’s hand. And they said to each other: ‘Probably this man has killed people. He has escaped from drowning. But the god who punishes people will soon cause him to die.’ v5 But Paul just shook the snake off his hand into the fire. And nothing happened to him.

v6 The people were very much surprised that the snake did not hurt Paul. They were expecting that something would happen to Paul’s body. Or they thought that he would suddenly fall down dead. So they continued to watch him. They waited for a long time. But they saw that the snake had not hurt him in any manner. So then the people said to each other: ‘So this man is not a killer! Probably he is a god.’

v7 The fields near where the people had made the fire belonged to Publius. Publius was the chief official of the island. He invited us to stay in his home. He took us there, and he took care of us for three days.

v8 At that time, Publius’s father was lying in bed. His body was all hot and he had *dysentery. So Paul visited him and he prayed to God for him. Then Paul placed his own hands on him and he healed him. v9 Because of what Paul had done, other sick people on the island came to Paul. And he healed them. v10 The people of the island brought us gifts. And they showed respect for us in other ways. Three months later, we were ready to leave. And they brought us food and other things that we would need on the ship.

Acts 28:11-31 Paul finally arrives in Rome

v11 We had stayed in Malta for three months. Then we got onto a ship that was going to Italy. The ship had been in an island harbour during all the stormy months. The ship had come from Alexandria city. On the front of the ship, there were images of the two gods called Castor and Pollux. v12 We sailed from the island and we arrived at a town in Sicily. This town was called Syracuse, and we stayed there for three days.

v13 Then we travelled on and we arrived at Rhegium port in Italy. The next day, the wind was blowing from behind us and we sailed along fast. The day after that, we reached Puteoli city, where we left the ship. v14 In Puteoli we met some *believers. They invited us to stay with them for a week. After that, we left Puteoli and we started to travel on land to Rome city.

v15 A group of *believers from *Rome city came out to meet us. They had heard that we were coming. Some of these *believers met us at the town that people called the Market of Appius. Other *believers met us at the town that people called the Three *Inns. When Paul met these *believers, he thanked God for them. This really encouraged him.

v16 So we arrived in *Rome. And the *Roman officials permitted Paul to live in a house by himself. However, there was always a soldier guarding him. v17 Paul had been there for three days, when he sent a message to the *Jewish leaders. He asked them to please come and talk with him.

So they came, and Paul said to them: ‘My *brother *Jews, I am here in prison. I have not opposed our *Jewish people, and I have not spoken against the customs of our *ancestors. But our leaders in Jerusalem arrested me and they handed me over to the *Roman authorities. Our leaders wanted those officials to kill me.

v18 The *Roman authorities in Jerusalem asked me many questions. And they wanted to let me go free. They knew that I had not done any bad thing. They did not need to punish me by death. v19 But the *Jews there opposed what the *Roman authorities wanted to do. So I had to request that the *Roman *Emperor should be my judge’, Paul said.

‘However, I did not come here to accuse our *Jewish leaders about anything. v20 I wanted to tell you the real reason that I am in prison. I am in prison because I believe in our *Messiah. Long ago, God promised to send him to us *Jews. And we have waited so long for him to come’, Paul said.

v21 Then the *Jews replied to Paul: ‘Our *brother *Jews in Judea have not sent us any letters about you’, they said. ‘Also, some of our *Jewish friends have arrived here from Judea. But none of them has said anything bad about you. v22 We would like to hear what you think about this *Christian group. We know that in many places people are saying bad things about it. But what do you say?’

v23 So they agreed with Paul to come back on a certain day. Then they could talk with him more completely. On that day, those *Jews came back to where Paul was staying. They brought other *Jews with them. Paul talked to them from morning until evening. He explained to them all that they asked him about. He told them about how God rules his people. He reminded them about what Moses and the other *prophets wrote about the *Messiah. And he tried to convince them that Jesus was that *Messiah.

v24 Some of those *Jews believed what Paul said about Jesus. But other *Jews did not believe that it was true. v25 So they began to argue with each other. Paul realised that some of those *Jews did not want to listen to him. They were leaving, so he repeated some words from the *Scriptures. ‘This is what the *Holy Spirit said to your *ancestors’, he said. ‘He spoke these words to the *prophet Isaiah. And what he said is also true about you:

v26 “Go to your nation and tell the people: You often listen to God’s *Message. But you never understand what God is telling you. You often see the things that God is doing. But you never understand what those things mean.”

v27 God also said this to the *prophet: “These people do not understand. They have refused to listen. They have ears to listen with. But they do not understand what they hear. They have closed their eyes because they do not want to see. It would be different if they really wanted to obey God. Then they could see what God is doing. Then they could hear what he is saying. And they might understand with their hearts. Then they might turn away from *sin and I would rescue them.”

That is what God said to the *prophet Isaiah about the *Jews’, Paul said. v28 ‘But you *Jews do not want to believe God’s *Message. And so, I will tell you this clearly: This *Message is about how God rescues people from their *sin. And God has now sent this *Message to the *non-Jews. And they will listen to it and they will obey it!’ v29 After Paul said this, the *Jews left. They were still arguing loudly between themselves.

v30 For two whole years, Paul stayed there. He was renting the house where he stayed. Many people came to see him. And he was very happy to talk with them. v31 He taught people and he told them God’s Good News. He was not afraid, and no one tried to stop him. He continued to tell people how God could rule them. Also, he taught them that the *Lord Jesus is the *Messiah.

Word List

altar ~ special table for people to burn animals or other gifts which they offer to God or false gods.

ancestors ~ people from whom our parents came; the old people who lived long ago.

angels ~ *spirits who live with God in *heaven. They carry messages to people in this world. And they do anything that God tells them to do.

apostle ~ someone whom God sends. In the beginning, Jesus chose 12 men. They were with him during his life. They heard what he said. They saw what he did. Then Jesus made them his *apostles. The word means that he had sent them. He told them to take his *message to other towns and countries. They should go there after he left this world. They also led the groups of *believers in the first years after Jesus left them.

baptise, baptism, baptiser ~ to put water on or over someone. Before Jesus started to teach, another man called John baptised people. He told them to stop their *sins. Then he put river water on or over them. This showed that they were clean for God. Jesus also asked John to baptise him. People heard the *Holy Spirit speak at that time.

believers ~ people who believe *Christ. They hear and believe Jesus' *Message. They also meet together often to *worship God.

brother, brothers ~ the name that people use sometimes when they speak to a group of people from their own town or country. They say this to other people even if they are not brothers by birth.

Cape ~ a corner on the coast.

Christ ~ God chose Jesus and God sent him. That is what this name means. This refers to the work that Jesus came to do in this world. Christ is a word in the Greek language. *Messiah means the same in the Hebrew language.

Christian ~ those who believe *Christ’s *message, and it affects their lives.

circumcise, circumcision ~ a custom that God set up for all male *Jews. It was a sign for each *Jewish man or boy that they intended to obey God’s *Laws. It started with Abraham and his people. God asked them to cut off the loose skin on the end of the male private part. *Jews usually did this when the male baby was only 8 days old. In the Bible, some *Jews are described as ‘the *circumcision (party)’. This group of people wanted to circumcise all the *non-Jewish male *Christians too.

Council, Jewish Council ~ the most important people in Jerusalem city. This included the chief priests, teachers of the *Law of Moses, *Pharisees and *Sadducees.

cross ~ two pieces of wood that someone has fixed together. This was how the *Romans punished bad people. They made a wooden cross and they fixed them on it with nails. They left them there until they died.

demons ~ see ‘evil spirits’.

disciples ~ students or learners. They watch their teacher as he travels. And they learn what he says. Or they learn from what he does. This is how the 12 disciples learned from Jesus.

discourage ~ try to make someone unhappy or afraid.

dysentery ~ an illness with which a person’s insides run many times a day. They are not able to control this. Sometimes blood mixes with the brown material.

empire, emperor ~ an empire is a large group of countries that one powerful person called the emperor rules. Usually, he has seized many of those countries by war. These countries were then called *provinces of the empire. The *Roman emperor was called a ‘Caesar’, and he lived in Rome city. He sent a ruler to each *province, to rule on his behalf.

evil spirits ~ a spirit is alive but we cannot see it. We can feel that evil spirits are present. But we cannot see them. They come from the devil (look below at note on ‘spirits’).

festival ~ a day or days that people keep special as holidays. Or days when they have special meals and ceremonies of their religion.

gospel ~ (1) The good news about Jesus; (2) the record of Jesus’ life in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Greek ~ a person from Greece, or the language that Greek people speak.

heaven ~ God’s place that is wonderfully bright. From there, all of God rules everything that exists on earth or the sky and the sun and stars. As ‘the heavens’, people also use this word for the sky above.

Hebrew ~ the language of *Jewish people; a Hebrew is a *Jewish or *Israelite person.

hell ~ a terrible fire that never ends. There, God will destroy Satan (God’s enemy) and all evil people when the world ends.

Herod ~ (1) Herod Antipas, or Herod of the Antipater family. It is the name of the king (or ‘herod’) of Galilee and Perea districts while Jesus was on earth. This Herod was king, but he had to obey the *Romans. He ordered the death of John the *Baptiser. He also helped to *judge Jesus before the soldiers killed Jesus on a *cross. He was a son of Herod the Great. (2) Herod Agrippa the First. He was a grandson of Herod the Great. He was the ruler in the early days of the *apostles. (3) Herod Agrippa the Second, last of the Herods. He *judged Paul (Acts chapters 25-26) before he sent him to *Rome.

Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit ~ one person of the three persons who are the one God. He is a *spirit that we cannot see. But we know that he is here. He lives deep inside all people who believe Jesus. He continues the work that Jesus began in this world. So he is also called the ‘Spirit of Jesus’.

inn ~ an inn is like a hotel but not as nice.

Israel, Israeli ~ the *Jewish nation and people. They are called this name because of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. God had promised him that he would be the father of a great nation of many people.

Jews, Jewish ~ the people who live in *Israel and speak the Hebrew language. The *Jews began with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God chose them as his special people (in the first part of the Bible). Jesus was a Jew. (Also see ‘non-Jewish’.)

judge ~ to decide about what people have done. When this world ends, God will decide about what everyone has done. He will say if it was right. He will say if it was wrong. Then he will punish everybody who does wrong things.

law, Law ~ the laws that God gave to Moses, who wrote them down. The Law begins with the Ten Rules in Exodus chapter 20. And it continues to the end of the book called Deuteronomy. The *Jewish priests, *Pharisees and teachers added other laws to those that Moses wrote. And they thought of thousands of other meanings for these rules. But Jesus did not agree with these laws that they had added.

life, this life (that never ends) ~ those people who have this life will live with God for all time. Jesus has made a promise to any person who believes him. Jesus says that such a person will always live with God. Also, God will live with them here in this world. And they will live with God after their bodies die. It is a new life, and it is a much better life.

Lord ~ the boss or owner of something or of a work. The Bible uses ‘Lord’ for God, because he controls everything. But the *apostles also called Jesus *Christ ‘Lord’, or ‘the Lord’.

Lord’s Supper, Supper ~ a meal that they ate in the early churches for the benefit of poorer *believers. This was like the last *Passover supper that Jesus had with his *disciples. And so the *believers remembered the words that Jesus had said then. The words ‘break bread’ need not mean any more than to share food. As the meal begins, one *believer divides a piece of bread. Then he gives the other half to the person next to him.

message, true message ~ the Good News about Jesus *Christ.

Messiah ~ the word for ‘Christ’ in the Hebrew language. (See note above on ‘Christ’.)

miracle, miraculous ~ something great or wonderful that only God can do; something that God does to show people his power; or he does it to tell people something about himself.

non-Jewish, non-Jews ~ people in other nations than the *Jewish nation; any people in the world who are not *Jews.

ox ~ a big farm animal, a male cow; people used it to cultivate land or to pull heavy carts.

parable ~ a story that has a second meaning. Jesus often used such stories when he taught people. Sometimes parables had hidden meanings. Then only people who wanted to believe *Christ could understand the meaning.

paralysis, paralysed ~ when someone absolutely cannot move an arm or a leg; or, when someone cannot move their whole body.

paralytic ~ someone who absolutely cannot move an arm or a leg; or, someone who cannot move their whole body.

Passover ~ the first major *festival or holy day in the *Jewish year. *Jews ate a special meal on this day every year of lamb (young sheep) and bread. They made the bread without *yeast. This was to remember the night when God freed them from being slaves in Egypt. The *angel of death passed over all *Jewish homes and God saved them. In Jesus’ time, all *Jewish families came to Jerusalem for this *festival.

Pentecost ~ another *Jewish holy day that came 50 days after *Passover (see Acts 2:1).

Pharisee ~ a group or party of *Jewish leaders, often rich people. They were very proud. They thought that they, and only they, obeyed all God’s rules. They did not like the things that Jesus taught. They opposed him strongly. But some Pharisees believed Jesus, like Nicodemus.

prophet ~ someone who speaks God’s word about a person, thing or event; or they speak about what will happen in the future.

province ~ a region or part of a nation or of an *empire with its own local government.

psalm ~ a song that people sing to God. One of the 150 psalms that David and other *Jewish musicians wrote down. They are in the Book of Psalms in the first part of the Bible.

reject, rejected ~ refuse to accept, throw out or throw away.

resurrection ~ when someone who has died has become alive again afterwards.

Roman ~ people from the city called Rome; or people who had the same rights as Roman citizens even if they lived elsewhere. A powerful *emperor or ‘Caesar’, who lived in Rome, ruled them. Romans did not *worship the one, true God. They had many gods of their own, and the ‘caesar’ was the head god. The Romans seized land from many European and Asian countries to make their *empire. And they had seized *Israeli land, before Jesus was born. They called that land, Palestine *province. The *Jews hated the Romans and all their laws and taxes, and they often fought against them.

Rome ~ Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time.

rope ~ thick, strong string.

rudder ~ boats and ships have a rudder in the water at the back; you move it to make the ship go in a particular direction.

Sabbath ~ the last day of the *Jewish week, and a day of rest. No one in *Israel could do any work on that day. But they could do things that pleased God. Sabbath began at sunset on Friday. It finished at sunset on Saturday.

sacrifice, sacrificial ~ when a priest killed a special or pure animal as a gift to God. By this, people asked God to excuse them for their *sins, or they gave special *worship to him. God told Moses and the *Jews to make several sacrifices. They did this to ask God to forgive their *sins, or to thank and praise him. Or they did it to get good harvests. Also, a sacrifice is something that a person gives up for a special purpose. The greatest sacrifice was when *Christ died on a *cross to save us from our *sin.

Sadducees ~ a group of *Jews. They did not believe that a person continued to live on after he had died. They only used the first 5 books of the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible).

Scripture ~ God’s *message that various people had written down over many years. In the Scriptures, God showed people, little by little, what he is like. And he showed people what he wants. The Bible that the early *believers had was mainly the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible). Jews thought that the books of Moses, the *Law, were especially the *Scriptures.

sin, sins ~ the wrong things that we do. God says that they are wrong.

Son of God, Son ~ a name similar to ‘Son of Man’. Some *Gospel writers use one name, some use the other name. ‘Son’ means that God did send Jesus. And it means that he came from God. But the word ‘son’ does not mean that Jesus was less important than God. (See ‘Father’.) Many times the *Gospels record stories that show how Jesus is God. We read that he had all the power and honour of God. Jesus is called ‘Son of God’ because he never lost his relationship with God. And he is God in himself. Also, Jesus showed us God perfectly in his life and in all that he said. And in all that he did.

spirit, evil spirit ~ a spirit is alive but we cannot see it. It does not have a body. But we know that it is there. It is like the wind. People’s spirits are inside them while they are alive. And their spirits continue to live after they die. There are spirits that do good things. And there are spirits that do evil things. We can feel evil spirits but we cannot see them. They come from the devil. (For God’s Spirit, see *Holy Spirit.)

synagogue ~ a house in every town or village where *Jews gather to pray. They also use this house to study the *Scriptures and for other public meetings.

temple ~ a special house that people built to meet in and to *worship God. A place that people keep ‘clean’ as their religion demands. Then it is ready for God to come and meet his people. It is a place where people keep special furniture for these purposes. The *Jews only had one temple – the temple that was in Jerusalem city.

Way ~ when we believe Jesus’ *message, we do not just believe words. We have to do what the words say. It is like a road that we must follow all our life. That is why the first *believers often called it ‘The Way’.

worship ~ when we think about God. We think about what he is doing. And then we tell him how wonderful he is. We can worship him by ourselves. Or we can meet with other *believers to worship him. Then we all together say or sing about how great God is.

yeast ~ a live substance which people mix with wheat flour to make the flour mixture rise. There was one season every year, when *Jews only ate unleavened bread. This is bread that has no yeast in it. The word can also mean the bad effect that something evil can have on us.

Zealot ~ a member of a *Jewish political party. Zealots helped and encouraged other *Jews to fight against the *Roman government.


[1] sloping writing, writing where the letters slope

[2] It is quite probable that many other *believers listened to the discussion.

[3] *Jews could not eat meat with the blood still in it. Someone must drain off the blood first. (See Genesis 9:4.)

[4] Silas probably decided to stay there in Antioch just before they left (Deibler).

[5] Doctor Luke wrote this whole book. And now he has joined Paul’s group as they travel. So after this verse (16:8) he uses the word ‘we’ in all that he writes.

[6] See earlier footnote 3.

[7] This was a whip that had many thick strings on the end of it.

[8] The *Jewish Sunday starts at 6 on Saturday evening.


© 1997-2005, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

September 2005

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