Daily Bible Reading
Today's reading: Acts 26-28
Look for the promises in God’s word. As you read and find them, write them in your journal along with the scripture reference.
Paul Offers His Defense
1. So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul held out his hand and began his defense:
2. “Regarding all the things I have been accused of by the Jews, King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate that I am about to make my defense before you today,
3. because you are especially familiar with all the customs and controversial issues of the Jews. Therefore I ask you to listen to me patiently.
4. Now all the Jews know the way I lived from my youth, spending my life from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem.
5. They know, because they have known me from time past, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee.
6. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors,
7. a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain as they earnestly serve God night and day. Concerning this hope the Jews are accusing me, Your Majesty!
8. Why do you people think it is unbelievable that God raises the dead?
9. Of course, I myself was convinced that it was necessary to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus the Nazarene.
10. And that is what I did in Jerusalem: Not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons by the authority I received from the chief priests, but I also cast my vote against them when they were sentenced to death.
11. I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to force them to blaspheme. Because I was so furiously enraged at them, I went to persecute them even in foreign cities.
12. “While doing this very thing, as I was going to Damascus with authority and complete power from the chief priests,
13. about noon along the road, Your Majesty, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining everywhere around me and those traveling with me.
14. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are hurting yourself by kicking against the goads.’
15. So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
16. But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason, to designate you in advance as a servant and witness to the things you have seen and to the things in which I will appear to you.
17. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you
18. to open their eyes so that they turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19. “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
20. but I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with repentance.
21. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple courts and were trying to kill me.
22. I have experienced help from God to this day, and so I stand testifying to both small and great, saying nothing except what the prophets and Moses said was going to happen:
23. that the Christ was to suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, to proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
24. As Paul was saying these things in his defense, Festus exclaimed loudly, “You have lost your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane!”
25. But Paul replied, “I have not lost my mind, most excellent Festus, but am speaking true and rational words.
26. For the king knows about these things, and I am speaking freely to him, because I cannot believe that any of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner.
27. Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you believe.”
28. Agrippa said to Paul, “In such a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian?”
29. Paul replied, “I pray to God that whether in a short or a long time not only you but also all those who are listening to me today could become such as I am, except for these chains.”
30. So the king got up, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them,
31. and as they were leaving they said to one another, “This man is not doing anything deserving death or imprisonment.”
32. Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Paul and Company Sail for Rome
1. When it was decided we would sail to Italy, they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.
2. We went on board a ship from Adramyttium that was about to sail to various ports along the coast of the province of Asia and put out to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.
3. The next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius, treating Paul kindly, allowed him to go to his friends so they could provide him with what he needed.
4. From there we put out to sea and sailed under the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us.
5. After we had sailed across the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we put in at Myra in Lycia.
6. There the centurion found a ship from Alexandria sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it.
7. We sailed slowly for many days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus. Because the wind prevented us from going any farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone.
8. With difficulty we sailed along the coast of Crete and came to a place called Fair Havens that was near the town of Lasea.
Caught in a Violent Storm
9. Since considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous because the fast was already over, Paul advised them,
10. “Men, I can see the voyage is going to end in disaster and great loss not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”
11. But the centurion was more convinced by the captain and the ship’s owner than by what Paul said.
12. Because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there. They hoped that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
13. When a gentle south wind sprang up, they thought they could carry out their purpose, so they weighed anchor and sailed close along the coast of Crete.
14. Not long after this, a hurricane-force wind called the northeaster blew down from the island.
15. When the ship was caught in it and could not head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.
16. As we ran under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able with difficulty to get the ship’s boat under control.
17. After the crew had hoisted it aboard, they used supports to undergird the ship. Fearing they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor, thus letting themselves be driven along.
18. The next day, because we were violently battered by the storm, they began throwing the cargo overboard,
19. and on the third day they threw the ship’s gear overboard with their own hands.
20. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and a violent storm continued to batter us, we finally abandoned all hope of being saved.
21. Since many of them had no desire to eat, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not put out to sea from Crete, thus avoiding this damage and loss.
22. And now I advise you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship will be lost.
23. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve came to me
24. and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar, and God has graciously granted you the safety of all who are sailing with you.’
25. Therefore keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be just as I have been told.
26. But we must run aground on some island.”
27. When the fourteenth night had come, while we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected they were approaching some land.
28. They took soundings and found the water was twenty fathoms deep; when they had sailed a little farther they took soundings again and found it was fifteen fathoms deep.
29. Because they were afraid that we would run aground on the rocky coast, they threw out four anchors from the stern and wished for day to appear.
30. Then when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and were lowering the ship’s boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow,
31. Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”
32. Then the soldiers cut the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it drift away.
33. As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have been in suspense and have gone without food; you have eaten nothing.
34. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for this is important for your survival. For not one of you will lose a hair from his head.”
35. After he said this, Paul took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, broke it, and began to eat.
36. So all of them were encouraged and took food themselves.
37. (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons on the ship.)
38. When they had eaten enough to be satisfied, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.
Paul is Shipwrecked
39. When day came, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.
40. So they slipped the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the linkage that bound the steering oars together. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and steered toward the beach.
41. But they encountered a patch of crosscurrents and ran the ship aground; the bow stuck fast and could not be moved, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves.
42. Now the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners so that none of them would escape by swimming away.
43. But the centurion, wanting to save Paul’s life, prevented them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land,
44. and the rest were to follow, some on planks and some on pieces of the ship. And in this way all were brought safely to land.
Paul on Malta
1. After we had safely reached shore, we learned that the island was called Malta.
2. The local inhabitants showed us extraordinary kindness, for they built a fire and welcomed us all because it had started to rain and was cold.
3. When Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.
4. When the local people saw the creature hanging from Paul’s hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer! Although he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself has not allowed him to live!”
5. However, Paul shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.
6. But they were expecting that he was going to swell up or suddenly drop dead. So after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
7. Now in the region around that place were fields belonging to the chief official of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably as guests for three days.
8. The father of Publius lay sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and after praying, placed his hands on him and healed him.
9. After this had happened, many of the people on the island who were sick also came and were healed.
10. They also bestowed many honors, and when we were preparing to sail, they gave us all the supplies we needed.
Paul Finally Reaches Rome
11. After three months we put out to sea in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island and had the “Heavenly Twins” as its figurehead.
12. We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.
13. From there we cast off and arrived at Rhegium, and after one day a south wind sprang up and on the second day we came to Puteoli.
14. There we found some brothers and were invited to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome.
15. The brothers from there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. When he saw them, Paul thanked God and took courage.
16. When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Paul Addresses the Jewish Community in Rome
17. After three days Paul called the local Jewish leaders together. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, from Jerusalem I was handed over as a prisoner to the Romans.
18. When they had heard my case, they wanted to release me, because there was no basis for a death sentence against me.
19. But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar – not that I had some charge to bring against my own people.
20. So for this reason I have asked to see you and speak with you, for I am bound with this chain because of the hope of Israel.”
21. They replied, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, nor have any of the brothers come from there and reported or said anything bad about you.
22. But we would like to hear from you what you think, for regarding this sect we know that people everywhere speak against it.”
23. They set a day to meet with him, and they came to him where he was staying in even greater numbers. From morning until evening he explained things to them, testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets.
24. Some were convinced by what he said, but others refused to believe.
25. So they began to leave, unable to agree among themselves, after Paul made one last statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah
26. when he said, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing, but will never understand, and you will keep on looking, but will never perceive.
27. For the heart of this people has become dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”’
28. “Therefore be advised that this salvation from God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!”
30. Paul lived there two whole years in his own rented quarters and welcomed all who came to him,
31. proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete boldness and without restriction.