9Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? 5He asked, Who are you, Lord? The reply came, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do. 7The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias. He answered, Here I am, Lord. 11The Lord said to him, Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision* a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight. 13But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name. 15But the Lord said to him, Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name. 17So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul* and said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, He is the Son of God. 21All who heard him were amazed and said, Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests? 22Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus* was the Messiah.*
23 After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; 25but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall,* lowering him in a basket.
26 When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. 28So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. 30When the believers* learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
32 Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers,* he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralysed. 34Peter said to him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed! And immediately he got up. 35And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas.* She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, Please come to us without delay. 39So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, Tabitha, get up. Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.
10In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, as it was called. 2He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God. 3One afternoon at about three oclock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, Cornelius. 4He stared at him in terror and said, What is it, Lord? He answered, Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5Now send men to Joppa for a certain Simon who is called Peter; 6he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside. 7When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his slaves and a devout soldier from the ranks of those who served him, 8and after telling them everything, he sent them to Joppa.
9 About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. 12In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. 13Then he heard a voice saying, Get up, Peter; kill and eat. 14But Peter said, By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean. 15The voice said to him again, a second time, What God has made clean, you must not call profane. 16This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.
17 Now while Peter was greatly puzzled about what to make of the vision that he had seen, suddenly the men sent by Cornelius appeared. They were asking for Simons house and were standing by the gate. 18They called out to ask whether Simon, who was called Peter, was staying there. 19While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, Look, three* men are searching for you. 20Now get up, go down, and go with them without hesitation; for I have sent them. 21So Peter went down to the men and said, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming? 22They answered, Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say. 23So Peter* invited them in and gave them lodging.
The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the believers* from Joppa accompanied him. 24The following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25On Peters arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshipped him. 26But Peter made him get up, saying, Stand up; I am only a mortal. 27And as he talked with him, he went in and found that many had assembled; 28and he said to them, You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?
30 Cornelius replied, Four days ago at this very hour, at three oclock, I was praying in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling clothes stood before me. 31He said, Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is called Peter; he is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. 33Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say.
34 Then Peter began to speak to them: I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christhe is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? 48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.
11Now the apostles and the believers* who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God.
2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers* criticized him,
3saying, Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?
4Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying,
5I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me.
6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.
7I also heard a voice saying to me, Get up, Peter; kill and eat.
8But I replied, By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.
9But a second time the voice answered from heaven, What God has made clean, you must not call profane.
10This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.
11At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were.
12The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us.* These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the mans house.
13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter;
14he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.
15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning.
16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
17If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?
18When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.
19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. 20But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists* also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 21The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. 22News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; 24for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they associated with* the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
27 At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. 29The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers* living in Judea; 30this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011