Paul speaks to the meeting of Jewish leaders
1 Paul looked at the group of Jewish leaders and he said to them, ‘My Jewish friends, God knows that I have nothing to be ashamed about today. I have always respected God's Laws.’ 2 The most important priest, who was called Ananias, heard Paul's words. He said to the men who were near Paul, ‘Hit that man on his mouth!’ 3 Paul said to him, ‘God will certainly hit you! You are a hypocrite! You are sitting there and you are judging me. You are asking if I obey the Law of God. But you yourself do not obey the Law! You should not have said, “Hit that man!” ’
23:3Paul said that Ananias was like a wall that people had painted with white paint to make it look nice. Ananias wanted people to think that he was good. But on the inside he was really dirty.
4 The men who were standing near Paul said to him, ‘You must not say bad things against our most important priest!’
5 Paul replied, ‘My brothers, I did not know that this man is the most important priest. Our Jewish law says, “Do not say bad things against the man who rules your people.” So, I should not have said anything bad against him.’
23:5Brother is a name that a Jew sometimes called another Jew.
6 Then Paul saw that there were some Sadducees and also some Pharisees in the meeting. So he shouted out to the whole group of Jewish leaders, ‘My brothers, I am a Pharisee! My father was also a Pharisee. I believe that dead people will certainly rise and they will live again. That is the reason why you are judging me today.’
7 As soon as Paul said that, the Pharisees and Sadducees began to argue with each other. People in the group thought different things about Paul. 8 (The Sadducees do not believe that dead people will live again. They do not believe that there are angels or spirits. But the Pharisees believe in all these things.)
9 The Sadducees and the Pharisees began to shout louder and louder against each other. There were some teachers of God's Law who were in the group of Pharisees. They stood up in the meeting and they said, ‘We do not believe that this man has done anything wrong. What he says may be true. A spirit or an angel may have spoken to him.’
10 The two groups argued more and more strongly. The leader of the soldiers thought that the people there might hurt Paul badly. So he said to his soldiers, ‘Go down into the group and take Paul away from them. Take him back with you into our strong building.’
11 The next night, the Lord Jesus came and he stood near Paul. He said to Paul, ‘Do not be afraid! You have told people here in Jerusalem about me. You must also do the same thing in Rome.’