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Paul Goes to Jerusalem

21 We all said good-bye to them and left. We sailed straight to Cos island. The next day, we reached Rhodes, and from Rhodes we went to Patara. There we found a ship that was going to Phoenicia. We went aboard and sailed away. We sailed near the island of Cyprus. We could see it to the north, but we sailed on to Syria. We stopped at Tyre because the ship needed to unload its cargo there. We found some followers in Tyre, and we stayed with them for seven days. Through the Holy Spirit they warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem. When we finished our visit, we left and continued our trip. All the followers, even the women and children, came outside the city with us. We all knelt down on the beach and prayed. Then we said good-bye and got on the ship. The followers went back home.

We continued our trip from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the believers there and stayed with them for a day. We left Ptolemais and went to the city of Caesarea. There we went into the home of Philip and stayed with him. Philip had the work of telling the Good News. He was one of the seven helpers.[a] He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophesying. 10 After we had been there for some time, a prophet named Agabus arrived from Judea. 11 He came to us and borrowed Paul’s belt. Then he used the belt to tie his own hands and feet. He said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘This is how the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man who wears this belt. Then they will give him to the non-Jewish people.’”

12 We all heard these words. So we and the people there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 13 But he said, “Why are you crying and making me so sad? I am ready to be tied up in Jerusalem. And I am ready to die for the Lord Jesus!”

14 We could not persuade him to stay away from Jerusalem. So we stopped begging him and said, “We pray that what the Lord wants will be done.”

15 After this, we got ready and started on our way to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the followers from Caesarea went with us. They took us to the home of Mnason, a man from Cyprus. Mnason was one of the first followers. They took us to his home so that we could stay with him.

Paul Visits James

17 In Jerusalem the believers were glad to see us. 18 The next day, Paul went with us to visit James. All the elders were there, too. 19 Paul greeted them and told them everything that God had done among the non-Jewish people through him. 20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul, “Brother, you can see that many thousands of Jews have become believers. But they think it is very important to obey the law of Moses. 21 These Jews have heard about your teaching. They heard that you tell the Jews who live among non-Jews to leave the law of Moses. They heard that you tell them not to circumcise their children and not to obey Jewish customs. 22 What should we do? The Jewish believers here will learn that you have come. 23 So we will tell you what to do: Four of our men have made a promise to God. 24 Take these men with you and share in their cleansing ceremony.[b] Pay their expenses. Then they can shave their heads.[c] Do this and it will prove to everyone that what they have heard about you is not true. They will see that you follow the law of Moses in your own life. 25 We have already sent a letter to the non-Jewish believers. The letter said: ‘Do not eat food that has been offered to idols. Do not taste blood. Do not eat animals that have been strangled. Do not take part in any kind of sexual sin.’”

26 Then Paul took the four men with him. The next day, he shared in the cleansing ceremony. Then he went to the Temple. Paul announced the time when the days of the cleansing ceremony would be finished. On the last day an offering would be given for each of the men.

27 The seven days were almost over. But some Jews from Asia saw Paul at the Temple. They caused all the people to be upset, and they grabbed Paul. 28 They shouted, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who goes everywhere teaching things that are against the law of Moses, against our people, and against this Temple. And now he has brought some Greek men into the Temple. He has made this holy place unclean!” 29 (The Jews said this because they had seen Trophimus with Paul in Jerusalem. Trophimus was a man from Ephesus. The Jews thought that Paul had brought him into the Temple.)

30 All the people in Jerusalem became very upset. They ran and took Paul and dragged him out of the Temple. The Temple doors were closed immediately. 31 The people were about to kill Paul. Now the commander of the Roman army in Jerusalem learned that there was trouble in the whole city. 32 Immediately he ran to the place where the crowd was gathered. He brought officers and soldiers with him, and the people saw them. So they stopped beating Paul. 33 The commander went to Paul and arrested him. He told his soldiers to bind Paul with two chains. Then he asked, “Who is this man? What has he done wrong?” 34 Some in the crowd were yelling one thing, and some were yelling another. Because of all this confusion and shouting, the commander could not learn what had happened. So he ordered the soldiers to take Paul to the army building. 35-36 The whole mob was following them. When the soldiers came to the steps, they had to carry Paul. They did this because the people were ready to hurt him. They were shouting, “Kill him!”

37 The soldiers were about to take Paul into the army building. But he spoke to the commander, “May I say something to you?”

The commander said, “Do you speak Greek? 38 I thought you were the Egyptian who started some trouble against the government not long ago. He led 4,000 killers out to the desert.”

39 Paul said, “No, I am a Jew from Tarsus in the country of Cilicia. I am a citizen of that important city. Please, let me speak to the people.”

40 The commander gave permission, so Paul stood on the steps. He waved with his hand so that the people would be quiet. When there was silence, Paul spoke to them in the Jewish language.[d]


  1. 21:8 helpers The seven men chosen for a special work described in Acts 6:1–6.
  2. 21:24 cleansing ceremony The special things Jews did to end the Nazirite promise.
  3. 21:24 shave their heads The Jews did this to show that their promise was finished.
  4. 21:40; 22:2 Jewish language Aramaic, the language of the Jews in the first century.

On to Jerusalem

21 After we(A) had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia,(B) went on board and set sail. After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria.(C) We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. We sought out the disciples(D) there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit(E) they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.(F) After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.

We continued our voyage from Tyre(G) and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters(H) and stayed with them for a day. Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea(I) and stayed at the house of Philip(J) the evangelist,(K) one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.(L)

10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus(M) came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says,(N) ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind(O) the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”(P)

12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die(Q) in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”(R) 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up(S) and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”(T)

15 After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem.(U) 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea(V) accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus(W) and one of the early disciples.

Paul’s Arrival at Jerusalem

17 When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters(X) received us warmly.(Y) 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James,(Z) and all the elders(AA) were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles(AB) through his ministry.(AC)

20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous(AD) for the law.(AE) 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses,(AF) telling them not to circumcise their children(AG) or live according to our customs.(AH) 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow.(AI) 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites(AJ) and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved.(AK) Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”(AL)

26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.(AM)

Paul Arrested

27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him,(AN) 28 shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.”(AO) 29 (They had previously seen Trophimus(AP) the Ephesian(AQ) in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.)

30 The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul,(AR) they dragged him(AS) from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31 While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.(AT)

33 The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound(AU) with two(AV) chains.(AW) Then he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another,(AX) and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks.(AY) 35 When Paul reached the steps,(AZ) the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. 36 The crowd that followed kept shouting, “Get rid of him!”(BA)

Paul Speaks to the Crowd(BB)

37 As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks,(BC) he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?”

“Do you speak Greek?” he replied. 38 “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness(BD) some time ago?”(BE)

39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus(BF) in Cilicia,(BG) a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”

40 After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned(BH) to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic[a]:(BI)


  1. Acts 21:40 Or possibly Hebrew; also in 22:2

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