Acts 21

1We all said good-bye to the elders. Then we sailed away. We sailed straight to Cos island. The next day, we went to the island of Rhodes. From Rhodes we went to Patara. 2At Patara we found a ship that was going to the area of Phoenicia. We went on the ship and sailed away. 3We sailed near the island of Cyprus. We could see it on the north side, but we did not stop. We sailed to the country of Syria. We stopped at the city of Tyre because the ship needed to unload its cargo there. 4We found some followers ˻of Jesus˼ in Tyre, and we stayed with them for seven days. They warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem because of what the Holy Spirit had told them. 5But when we finished our visit, we left. We continued our trip. All the followers ˻of Jesus˼, even the women and children, came outside the city with us to say good-bye. We all kneeled down on the beach and prayed. 6Then we said good-bye and got on the ship. The followers went home. 7We continued our trip from Tyre and went to the city of Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers ˻(believers)˼ there and stayed with them one day. 8The next day we left Ptolemais and went to the city of Caesarea. 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. 9He had four daughters who were not married. These daughters had the gift of prophesying. 10After we had been there for many days, a prophet named Agabus came from Judea. 11He came to us and borrowed Paul’s belt. Then Agabus used the belt to tie his own hands and feet. Agabus said, “The Holy Spirit tells me, 'This is how the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man that wears this belt. Then they will give him to the people that don’t know God.’” 12We all heard these words. So we and the other followers ˻of Jesus˼ there begged ˻(asked)˼ Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 13But Paul said, “Why are you crying? Why are you making me so sad? I am ready to be tied in Jerusalem. I am also ready to die for the name of the Lord Jesus!” 14We 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.” 15After this, we got ready and left for Jerusalem. 16Some of the followers ˻of Jesus˼ from Caesarea went with us. These followers took us to the home of Mnason, a man from Cyprus. Mnason was one of the first people to be a follower ˻of Jesus˼. They took us to his home so that we could stay with him. 17In Jerusalem the believers were very happy to see us. 18The next day, Paul went with us to visit James. All the elders ˻(church leaders)˼ were there too. 19Paul greeted all of them. Then he told them about how God used him to do many things among the non-Jewish people. He told them all the things that God did through him. 20When the leaders heard these things, they praised God. Then they said to Paul, “Brother, you can see that thousands of Jews have become believers. But they think it is very important to obey the law of Moses. 21These Jews have heard about your teaching. They heard that you tell the Jews who live in other countries among non-Jews to leave the law of Moses. They heard that you tell those Jews not to circumcise their children and not to obey Jewish customs. 22What should we do? The Jewish believers here will learn that you have come. 23So we will tell you what to do: Four of our men have made a vow ˻(promise)˼ to God. 24Take these men with you and share in their cleansing ˻(washing)˼ ceremony. Pay their expenses. Then they can shave their heads. Do this and it will prove to everyone that the things they have heard about you are not true. They will see that you obey the law of Moses in your own life. 25We have already sent a letter to the non-Jewish believers. The letter said: 'Don’t eat food that has been given to idols. Don’t eat meat from animals that have been strangled ˻(choked)˼ or any meat that still has the blood in it. Don’t do any kind of sexual sin.’” 26So Paul took the four men with him. The next day, Paul shared in their cleansing ˻(washing)˼ ceremony. Then he went to the temple area. He 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. 27The seven days were almost finished. But some Jews from Asia saw Paul in the temple area. They caused all the people to be upset, and they grabbed Paul. 28They shouted, “You Jewish men, help us! This is the man who is teaching things that are against the law of Moses, against our people, and against this place ˻(the temple)˼. This man is teaching these things to all people everywhere. And now he has brought some Greek ˻(non-Jewish)˼ men into the temple yard! He has made this holy place unclean!” 29(The Jews said this because they had seen Trophimus with Paul in Jerusalem. Trophimus was a ˻Greek˼ man from Ephesus. The Jews thought that Paul had taken him into the holy area of the temple.) 30All the people in Jerusalem became very upset. They all ran and grabbed Paul. They dragged him out of the holy area of the temple. The temple gates were closed immediately. 31The people were trying to kill Paul. The commander of the Roman army in Jerusalem learned that there was trouble in the whole city. 32Immediately the commander went to the place where the people were. He brought some army officers and soldiers with him. The people saw the commander and his soldiers. So they stopped beating Paul. 33The commander went to Paul and arrested him. The commander told his soldiers to tie Paul with two chains. Then the commander asked, “Who is this man? What has he done wrong?” 34Some people there were yelling one thing and other people were yelling other things. Because of all this confusion and shouting, the commander could not learn the truth about what had happened. So the commander told the soldiers to take Paul to the army building. 35- 36All the people were following them. When the soldiers came to the steps, they had to carry Paul. They did this ˻to protect Paul˼, because the people were ready to hurt him. The people shouted, “Kill him!” 37The soldiers were ready to take Paul into the army building. But Paul spoke to the commander. Paul asked, “Do I have the right to say something to you?” The commander said, “Oh, you speak Greek? 38Then you are not the man I thought you were? I thought you were the Egyptian man who started some trouble against the government not long ago. That Egyptian man led 4,000 killers out to the desert.” 39Paul said, “No, I am a Jewish man from Tarsus. Tarsus is in the country of Cilicia. I am a citizen of that important city. Please, let me speak to the people.” 40The commander let Paul speak to the people. So Paul stood on the steps. He waved his hand so that the people would be quiet. The people became quiet and Paul spoke to them. He used the Jewish language.

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