Acts 21
Contemporary English Version

Paul Goes to Jerusalem

1After saying goodbye, we sailed straight to Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and from there sailed on to Patara. 2We found a ship going to Phoenicia, so we got on board and sailed off.

3We came within sight of Cyprus and then sailed south of it on to the port of Tyre in Syria, where the ship was going to unload its cargo. 4We found the Lord's followers and stayed with them for a week. The Holy Spirit had told them to warn Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5But when the week was over, we started on our way again. All the men, together with their wives and children, walked with us from the town to the seashore. We knelt on the beach and prayed. 6Then after saying goodbye to each other, we got into the ship, and they went back home.

7We sailed from Tyre to Ptolemais, where we greeted the followers and stayed with them for a day. 8 The next day we went to Caesarea and stayed with Philip, the preacher. He was one of the seven men who helped the apostles, 9and he had four unmarried+ daughters who prophesied.

10 We had been in Caesarea for several days, when the prophet Agabus came to us from Judea. 11He took Paul's belt, and with it he tied up his own hands and feet. Then he told us, “The Holy Spirit says that some of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will tie up the man who owns this belt. They will also hand him over to the Gentiles.” 12After Agabus said this, we and the followers living there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem.

13But Paul answered, “Why are you crying and breaking my heart? I am not only willing to be put in jail for the Lord Jesus, but I am even willing to die for him in Jerusalem!”

14Since we could not get Paul to change his mind, we gave up and prayed, “Lord, please make us willing to do what you want.”

15Then we got ready to go to Jerusalem. 16Some of the followers from Caesarea went with us and took us to stay in the home of Mnason. He was from Cyprus and had been a follower from the beginning.

Paul Visits James

17When we arrived in Jerusalem, the Lord's followers gladly welcomed us. 18Paul went with us to see James+ the next day, and all the church leaders were present. 19Paul greeted them and told how God had used him to help the Gentiles. 20Everyone who heard this praised God and said to Paul:

My friend, you can see how many tens of thousands of our people have become followers! And all of them are eager to obey the Law of Moses. 21But they have been told that you are teaching those who live among the Gentiles to disobey this Law. They claim that you are telling them not to circumcise their sons or to follow our customs.

22What should we do now that our people have heard you are here? 23 Please do what we ask, because four of our men have made special promises to God. 24Join with them and prepare yourself for the ceremony that goes with the promises. Pay the cost for their heads to be shaved. Then everyone will learn that the reports about you are not true. They will know you do obey the Law of Moses.

25 Some while ago we told the Gentile followers what we think they should do. We instructed them not to eat anything offered to idols. They were told not to eat any meat with blood still in it or the meat of an animal that has been strangled. They were also told not to commit any terrible sexual sins.+

26The next day Paul took the four men with him and got himself ready at the same time they did. Then he went into the temple and told when the final ceremony would take place and when an offering would be made for each of them.

Paul Is Arrested

27When the period of seven days for the ceremony was almost over, some of the Jewish people from Asia saw Paul in the temple. They got a large crowd together and started attacking him. 28They were shouting, “Friends, help us! This man goes around everywhere, saying bad things about our nation and about the Law of Moses and about this temple. He has even brought shame to this holy temple by bringing in Gentiles.” 29 Some of them thought that Paul had brought Trophimus from Ephesus into the temple, because they had seen them together in the city.

30The whole city was in an uproar, and the people turned into a mob. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Then suddenly the doors were shut. 31The people were about to kill Paul when the Roman army commander heard that all Jerusalem was starting to riot. 32So he quickly took some soldiers and officers and ran to where the crowd had gathered.

As soon as the mob saw the commander and soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33The army commander went over and arrested him and had him bound with two chains. Then he tried to find out who Paul was and what he had done. 34Part of the crowd shouted one thing, and part of them shouted something else. But they were making so much noise that the commander could not find out a thing. Then he ordered Paul to be taken into the fortress. 35As they reached the steps, the crowd became so wild that the soldiers had to lift Paul up and carry him. 36The crowd followed and kept shouting, “Kill him! Kill him!”

Paul Speaks to the Crowd

37When Paul was about to be taken into the fortress, he asked the commander, “Can I say something to you?”

“How do you know Greek?” the commander asked. 38“Aren't you that Egyptian who started a riot not long ago and led 4,000 terrorists into the desert?”

39“No!” Paul replied. “I am a Jew from Tarsus, an important city in Cilicia. Please let me speak to the crowd.”

40The commander told him he could speak, so Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people. When they were quiet, he spoke to them in Aramaic:+


21.9 unmarried: Or “virgin.”
21.18 James: The Lord's brother.
21.25 not to commit any terrible sexual sins: See the note at 15.20.
21.40 Aramaic: Or “Hebrew.” Aramaic is a Semitic language closely related to Hebrew.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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