Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:
“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
“My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
“I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities. (Acts 26:1-11)
Jesus told his apostles, at such time as they were brought before kings and governors, to trust the Holy Spirit to guide them in what to say (Luke’s Gospel Chapter 21 verses 12-15).
In verses 4-11 we read Paul’s testimony; he starts by describing his upbringing as a Pharisee by teachers in the temple. Because of this he had belief in resurrection, but he also became fiercely opposed to the Jesus Way of liberation from the obstacle of sin.
Next time we will read in verses 12-20 his own description of how he was converted to believe in Jesus, and then began to serve him (see Acts 9 verses 1-30 for Luke’s description).