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Acts of Apostles - Chapter 21

1 When we had at last torn ourselves away from them and put to sea, we set a straight course and arrived at Cos; the next day we reached Rhodes, and from there went on to Patara.

2 Here we found a ship bound for Phoenicia, so we went on board and sailed in her.

3 After sighting Cyprus and leaving it to port, we sailed to Syria and put in at Tyre, since the ship was to unload her cargo there.

4 We sought out the disciples and stayed there a week. Speaking in the Spirit, they kept telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem,

5 but when our time was up we set off. Together with the women and children they all escorted us on our way till we were out of the town. When we reached the beach, we knelt down and prayed;

6 then, after saying good -- bye to each other, we went aboard and they returned home.

7 The end of our voyage from Tyre came when we landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed one day with them.

8 The next day we left and came to Caesarea. Here we called on Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven, and stayed with him.

9 He had four unmarried daughters who were prophets.

10 When we had been there several days a prophet called Agabus arrived from Judaea.

11 He came up to us, took Paul's belt and tied up his own feet and hands, and said, 'This is what the Holy Spirit says, "The man to whom this girdle belongs will be tied up like this by the Jews in Jerusalem and handed over to the gentiles." '

12 When we heard this, we and all the local people urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.

13 To this he replied, 'What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For my part, I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.'

14 And so, as he would not be persuaded, we gave up the attempt, saying, 'The Lord's will be done.'

15 After this we made our preparations and went on up to Jerusalem.

16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and took us to the house of a Cypriot with whom we were to lodge; he was called Mnason and had been one of the earliest disciples.

17 On our arrival in Jerusalem the brothers gave us a very warm welcome.

18 The next day Paul went with us to visit James, and all the elders were present.

19 After greeting them he gave a detailed account of all that God had done among the gentiles through his ministry.

20 They gave glory to God when they heard this. Then they said, 'You see, brother, how thousands of Jews have now become believers, all of them staunch upholders of the Law;

21 and what they have heard about you is that you instruct all Jews living among the gentiles to break away from Moses, authorising them not to circumcise their children or to follow the customary practices.

22 What is to be done? A crowd is sure to gather, for they will hear that you have come.

23 So this is what we suggest that you should do; we have four men here who are under a vow;

24 take these men along and be purified with them and pay all the expenses connected with the shaving of their heads. This will let everyone know there is no truth in the reports they have heard about you, and that you too observe the Law by your way of life.

25 About the gentiles who have become believers, we have written giving them our decision that they must abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from illicit marriages.'

26 So the next day Paul took the men along and was purified with them, and he visited the Temple to give notice of the time when the period of purification would be over and the offering would have to be presented on behalf of each of them.

27 The seven days were nearly over when some Jews from Asia caught sight of him in the Temple and stirred up the crowd and seized him,

28 shouting, 'Men of Israel, help! This is the man who preaches to everyone everywhere against our people, against the Law and against this place. He has even profaned this Holy Place by bringing Greeks into the Temple.'

29 They had, in fact, previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him and thought that Paul had brought him into the Temple.

30 This roused the whole city; people came running from all sides; they seized Paul and dragged him out of the Temple, and the gates were closed behind them.

31 While they were setting about killing him, word reached the tribune of the cohort that there was tumult all over Jerusalem.

32 He immediately called out soldiers and centurions and charged down on the crowd, who stopped beating Paul when they saw the tribune and the soldiers.

33 When the tribune came up he took Paul into custody, had him bound with two chains and enquired who he was and what he had done.

34 People in the crowd called out different things, and since the noise made it impossible for him to get any positive information, the tribune ordered Paul to be taken into the fortress.

35 When Paul reached the steps, the crowd became so violent that he had to be carried by the soldiers;

36 and indeed the whole mob was after them, shouting, 'Do away with him!'

37 Just as Paul was being taken into the fortress, he asked the tribune if he could have a word with him. The tribune said, 'You speak Greek, then?

38 Aren't you the Egyptian who started the recent revolt and led those four thousand cut-throats out into the desert?'

39 'I?' said Paul, 'I am a Jew and a citizen of the well-known city of Tarsus in Cilicia. Please give me permission to speak to the people.'

40 The man gave his consent and Paul, standing at the top of the steps, raised his hand to the people for silence. A profound silence followed, and he started speaking to them in Hebrew.

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