June 18th Acts 26 Paul before Agrippa & Bernice
1: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: 2: I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: 3: Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. 4: My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5: Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6: And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. 8: Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? 9: I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10: Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11: And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Agrippa permitted Paul to speak for himself. Paul was delighted to speak for himself because he seemed to understand his case better than anyone. And he was happy because Agrippa knew the customs and thinking of the Jewish world very well indeed. He pleads to be heard patiently because he will present a long argument. He says that he was educated at Jerusalem which they all know very well. Those who know me will testify that he was of the strictest sect of the Jews a Pharisee. And he says l am judged before you because of the hope of the promise that God made to out Fathers. To this promise the tribes of Israel serve God right up to this day. It is for this hope that l am on trial today. Why should it be thought an unbelievable thing that God should raise the dead? I really did believe that l ought to do many things that were in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And l did these things in Jerusalem where is arrested and imprisoned believers in Christ and when they were executed l gave my voice against them. I punished many of them in Synagogues and made them blaspheme under violence and l went crazy in my persecution against them. And l carried out my hatred in far off strange cities.