Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ καὶ πατέρες, ἀκούσατέ μου τῆς πρὸς ὑμᾶς νυνὶ ἀπολογίας.
Men, brothers, and fathers, hear my defense which to you now.
Paraphrase: “Esteemed fathers and patriarchs of the Jewish religion, I too am one of you, a brother Jew. Please give me an opportunity to explain myself.”
Ἀκούσαντες δὲ ὅτι τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ προσεφώνει αὐτοῖς μᾶλλον παρέσχον ἡσυχίαν. καὶ φησίν·
Then, hearing that he called to them in the Aramaic language, they showed themselves even more quiet. and he said
Paraphrase: The enraged mob was surprised to hear Paul speaking to them in the Aramaic language. Since this was their native language, they stopped their clamor, curious to hear what Paul had to say for himself. Then Paul spoke,
Ἐγώ εἰμι ἀνὴρ Ἰουδαῖος, γεγεννημένος ἐν Ταρσῷ τῆς Κιλικίας, ἀνατεθραμμένος δὲ ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ παρὰ τοὺς πόδας Γαμαλιήλ, πεπαιδευμένος κατὰ ἀκρίβειαν τοῦ πατρῴου νόμου, ζηλωτὴς ὑπάρχων τοῦ θεοῦ καθὼς πάντες ὑμεῖς ἐστε σήμερον,
“I am a Jewish man being born in Tarsus of Cilicia but being trained in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, having been educated in precision of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God even as all of you are today.
Paraphrase: As I said, I am a Jew. I was born in the city of Tarsus which is in the province of Cilicia. In spite of my being born in this Roman city, I was educated by none other than Gamaliel himself in this great city. I and my colleagues were trained and taught by this man according to the most precise standards of the Jewish law. The same law that you champion today and the same which our fathers handed down to us from father to son. We were extremely zealous for this law just as all of you are today.
ὃς ταύτην τὴν ὁδὸν ἐδίωξα ἄχρι θανάτου, δεσμεύων καὶ παραδιδοὺς εἰς φυλακὰς ἄνδρας τε καὶ γυναῖκας,
who I persecuted this Way unto death, chaining and delivering to prison men and women.
Paraphrase: I was that man who was persecuting the members of the Way, those Jews who had come to be disciples of Jesus. I never rested day or night; I searched for Christians wherever I thought I could find them. Wherever I found them, I chained them up and dragged them off to prison. My zeal was so great that I did not stop with the men; I spared no one. Men, women, young and old, it didn’t matter to me. I worked indefatigably in order to completely eliminate this religion from off the face of the earth.
ὡς καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς μαρτυρεῖ μοι καὶ πᾶν τὸ πρεσβυτέριον· παρ’ ὧν καὶ ἐπιστολὰς δεξάμενος πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς εἰς Δαμασκὸν ἐπορευόμην ἄξων καὶ τοὺς ἐκεῖσε ὄντας δεδεμένους εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ ἵνα τιμωρηθῶσιν.
as even the high priest testifies to me and the entire elder board from whom even letters receiving to the brothers in Damascus, I was going bringing even there being bound to Jerusalem in order that they might be punished.
Paraphrase: To the truth of this, the high priest and the entire Sanhedrin can corroborate what I am now saying. These men wrote letters to the Jewish elders in Damascus telling them about my mission and what it was that I hoped to accomplish. I had asked for these letters (Acts 9:2) because I had received word that there was a growing body of Christians in this city, and I was determined to go there, find these heretics, arrest them, and drag them back to Jerusalem where they could receive the due reward for their wickedness.
Ἐγένετο δέ μοι πορευομένῳ καὶ ἐγγίζοντι τῇ Δαμασκῷ περὶ μεσημβρίαν ἐξαίφνης ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ περιαστράψαι φῶς ἱκανὸν περὶ ἐμέ,
Then it happened to me while going and drawing near to Damascus about noon, suddenly from heaven a great light to shine around me.
Paraphrase: Then, my dear fellow countrymen, it happened. I can never forget that day. We had just come within sight of the great city when suddenly a blaze of light shone down from the sky with such force that it knocked me clean off my horse. It shone all around me with such a brilliance as I cannot describe. I was
ἔπεσά τε εἰς τὸ ἔδαφος καὶ ἤκουσα φωνῆς λεγούσης μοι· Σαοὺλ Σαούλ, τί με διώκεις;
I fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
Paraphrase: As I was laying there on the ground, I clearly heard a voice calling to me, “Saul! Saul! why are you persecuting Me?”
ἐγὼ δὲ ἀπεκρίθην· Τίς εἶ, κύριε; εἶπέν τε πρὸς ἐμέ· Ἐγώ εἰμι Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὃν σὺ διώκεις.
Then I answered, “Who are you, Lord?” He said to me, “I am Jesus, the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.”
Paraphrase: In my astonishment at what was happening to me, I cried out in terror, “Who are you, sir?” The voice came back to me, “I am Jesus, the despised Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.”
οἱ δὲ σὺν ἐμοὶ ὄντες τὸ μὲν φῶς ἐθεάσαντο τὴν δὲ φωνὴν οὐκ ἤκουσαν τοῦ λαλοῦντός μοι.
Now, those being with me, saw the light but the voice of the one speaking to me, they did not hear.
Paraphrase: Now the truth of what I am saying can again be corroborated with those who travelled with me on that unforgettable day. Everyone of my travel companions will testify that they saw this light. They also heard the sound of the voice of the Person who was speaking to me. (Acts 9:7) They did not, however, understand what He said. (John 12:29)
εἶπον δέ· Τί ποιήσω, κύριε; ὁ δὲ κύριος εἶπεν πρός με· Ἀναστὰς πορεύου εἰς Δαμασκόν, κἀκεῖ σοι λαληθήσεται περὶ πάντων ὧν τέτακταί σοι ποιῆσαι.
Then I said, “What shall I do, Lord? Then the Lord said to me, “Get up, go to Damascus, and there it will be spoken to you concerning all of what it has been assigned for you to do.
Paraphrase: Then, I knew that Jesus was not just a Nazarene who had failed in His mission. He was the great Servant of YHWH sent to be the Messiah and King of His people. “What shall I do, Lord?” I cried out in great distress. Again, the Lord spoke. “Get up off the ground, enter the city, and you will receive your marching orders there. I am assigning you to a great task which you will do in My Name.”
I am assuming that the first κύριε is not a reference to the deity and majesty of Jesus since how could Paul have known this at that time? The κύριε in this verse, however, now has its full meaning; see chp 8 in Briggs.
ὡς δὲ οὐκ ἐνέβλεπον ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τοῦ φωτὸς ἐκείνου, χειραγωγούμενος ὑπὸ τῶν συνόντων μοι ἦλθον εἰς Δαμασκόν.
But since I was not seeing from the glory of that light, being led by those who were with me, I came into Damascus.
Paraphrase: I got up from where I was laying, but my vision had left me. I had been completely blinded by the light. I finally entered into Damascus only because those who were with me took me by the hand and led me into the city.
Ἁνανίας δέ τις ἀνὴρ εὐλαβὴς κατὰ τὸν νόμον μαρτυρούμενος ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν κατοικούντων Ἰουδαίων,
Then a certain man, Ananias, devout according to the law being testified by all who were living in Judea
Paraphrase: One day while I was staying in Damascus, a man named Ananias paid me a visit. He was, by all who lived in that area, a devout Jew and faithful to all the law of God.
ἐλθὼν πρὸς ἐμὲ καὶ ἐπιστὰς εἶπέν μοι· Σαοὺλ ἀδελφέ, ἀνάβλεψον· κἀγὼ αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἀνέβλεψα εἰς αὐτόν.
coming to me and standing near, he said to me, “Brother Saul, see again.” And that same hour, I looked up at him.
Paraphrase: He came into the house where I was staying and stood next to me. I was not able to see him, but I did sense his presence. “Brother Saul,” he said, “Receive back your sight.” Immediately, I was able to see again, and I looked up at him with a profound sense of gratitude.
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν προεχειρίσατό σε γνῶναι τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἰδεῖν τὸν δίκαιον καὶ ἀκοῦσαι φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ,
Then he said, “The God of our fathers has chosen you to know His will and to see the Just One and to hear a sound from His mouth
Paraphrase: Then Ananias went on to tell me that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had planned in the ages of eternity past to save for Himself a people and had chosen me as the person to proclaim this plan to the nations. That is why He gave me a revelation of Jesus, who is the Messiah and King of the Jewish people and the Savior of the world. That is why Jesus met me on the road to Damascus and spoke to me telling me about God’s plan of salvation.
ὅτι ἔσῃ μάρτυς αὐτῷ πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὧν ἑώρακας καὶ ἤκουσας.
that you will be a witness to Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.
Paraphrase: Then Ananias went on to tell me of my mandate. He told me that God was assigning me to be a witness to all men of the things which God had taught me and would teach me as well as the things which I had seen and would see.
καὶ νῦν τί μέλλεις; ἀναστὰς βάπτισαι καὶ ἀπόλουσαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου ἐπικαλεσάμενος τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.
and now, why are you waiting? Get up, be baptized even to wash out your sins calling on His Name.
Paraphrase: Then he was overwhelmed with joy and excitement. “Why are you still sitting around here!” he cried out, “You should get baptized! Then, you will know and experience the joy that comes from knowing that all your sins are cleansed away and completely forgiven. The reason you can know this is because God has promised that whoever calls on His Name in real repentance and bows before the Name of Jesus will be saved. (Acts 20:21) Don’t delay any longer! Take hold of this promise and then request baptism from the elders of the church here in Damascus. You will experience for yourself that God’s justice no longer has anything against you. Indeed, you will be able to sing, How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity! (Psalm 32:1-2)
Meyer: The question [τί μέλλεις] is not one of reproach, but of excitement and encouragement.
The language here clearly shows that Baptism portrays visibly the action of being cleansed similar to the purification rituals so common in Old Testament religion. (Hebrews 9:10)
Ἐγένετο δέ μοι ὑποστρέψαντι εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ προσευχομένου μου ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ γενέσθαι με ἐν ἐκστάσει
καὶ ἰδεῖν αὐτὸν λέγοντά μοι· Σπεῦσον καὶ ἔξελθε ἐν τάχει ἐξ Ἰερουσαλήμ, διότι οὐ παραδέξονταί σου μαρτυρίαν περὶ ἐμοῦ.
κἀγὼ εἶπον· Κύριε, αὐτοὶ ἐπίστανται ὅτι ἐγὼ ἤμην φυλακίζων καὶ δέρων κατὰ τὰς συναγωγὰς τοὺς πιστεύοντας ἐπὶ σέ·
καὶ ὅτε ἐξεχύννετο τὸ αἷμα Στεφάνου τοῦ μάρτυρός σου, καὶ αὐτὸς ἤμην ἐφεστὼς καὶ συνευδοκῶν καὶ φυλάσσων τὰ ἱμάτια τῶν ἀναιρούντων αὐτόν.
καὶ εἶπεν πρός με· Πορεύου, ὅτι ἐγὼ εἰς ἔθνη μακρὰν ἐξαποστελῶ σε.
Ἤκουον δὲ αὐτοῦ ἄχρι τούτου τοῦ λόγου καὶ ἐπῆραν τὴν φωνὴν αὐτῶν λέγοντες· Αἶρε ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς τὸν τοιοῦτον, οὐ γὰρ καθῆκεν αὐτὸν ζῆν.
κραυγαζόντων τε αὐτῶν καὶ ῥιπτούντων τὰ ἱμάτια καὶ κονιορτὸν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸν ἀέρα,
ἐκέλευσεν ὁ χιλίαρχος εἰσάγεσθαι αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν παρεμβολήν, εἴπας μάστιξιν ἀνετάζεσθαι αὐτὸν ἵνα ἐπιγνῷ δι’ ἣν αἰτίαν οὕτως ἐπεφώνουν αὐτῷ.
ὡς δὲ προέτειναν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἱμᾶσιν εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν ἑστῶτα ἑκατόνταρχον ὁ Παῦλος· Εἰ ἄνθρωπον Ῥωμαῖον καὶ ἀκατάκριτον ἔξεστιν ὑμῖν μαστίζειν;
ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ ἑκατοντάρχης προσελθὼν τῷ χιλιάρχῳ ἀπήγγειλεν λέγων· Τί μέλλεις ποιεῖν; ὁ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος Ῥωμαῖός ἐστιν.
προσελθὼν δὲ ὁ χιλίαρχος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Λέγε μοι, σὺ Ῥωμαῖος εἶ; ὁ δὲ ἔφη· Ναί.
ἀπεκρίθη δὲ ὁ χιλίαρχος· Ἐγὼ πολλοῦ κεφαλαίου τὴν πολιτείαν ταύτην ἐκτησάμην. ὁ δὲ Παῦλος ἔφη· Ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ γεγέννημαι.
εὐθέως οὖν ἀπέστησαν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ οἱ μέλλοντες αὐτὸν ἀνετάζειν· καὶ ὁ χιλίαρχος δὲ ἐφοβήθη ἐπιγνοὺς ὅτι Ῥωμαῖός ἐστιν καὶ ὅτι αὐτὸν ἦν δεδεκώς.
Τῇ δὲ ἐπαύριον βουλόμενος γνῶναι τὸ ἀσφαλὲς τὸ τί κατηγορεῖται ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἔλυσεν αὐτόν, καὶ ἐκέλευσεν συνελθεῖν τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ πᾶν τὸ συνέδριον, καὶ καταγαγὼν τὸν Παῦλον ἔστησεν εἰς αὐτούς.