The Holy Bible in 21st century English

A literal, spoken-language bible, and some reflections on the Christian faith

Category: The Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of the Apostles, ch 8

{8:1} Saul was consenting to his death. A great persecution arose against the assembly which was in Jerusalem in that day. They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. {8:2} Devout men buried Stephen, and lamented greatly over him. {8:3} But Saul ravaged the assembly, entering into every house, and dragged both men and women off to prison. {8:4} So those who were scattered abroad went around preaching the word. {8:5} Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed to em the Christ. {8:6} The multitudes listened with one accord to the things that were spoken by Philip, when they heard and saw the signs he did. {8:7} Cos unclean spirits came out of many of those who had em. They came out, crying with a loud voice. Many who had been paralysed and lame were healed. {8:8} There was great joy in that city.

Simon the Sorcery converts and sins again

{8:9} But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one, {8:10} who they all listened to, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that great power of God”. {8:11} They listened to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his sorceries. {8:12} But when they believed Philip preaching good news about the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women. {8:13} Simon himself also believed. Being baptised, he continued with Philip. Seeing signs and great miracles occurring, he was amazed.

{8:14} Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to em, {8:15} who, when they’d come down, prayed for em, that they might receive the Holy Spirit; {8:16} cos as yet he’d fallen on none of em. They’d only been baptised in the name of Christ Jesus. {8:17} Then they laid their hands on em, and they received the Holy Spirit. {8:18} Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, {8:19} saying, “Give me this power to, so that whmever I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.” {8:20} But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could get the gift of God with money! {8:21} You have neither part nor lot in this matter, cos your heart isn’t right before God. {8:22} So repent of this, your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart might be forgiven you. {8:23} Cos I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”

{8:24} Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that none of the things which you have spoken happen to me.”

{8:25} So they, when they’d testified and spoken the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Good News to many villages of the Samaritans. {8:26} But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise, and go towards the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert.”

The Ethiopian Eunuch converts

{8:27} He arose and went; and y’see, there was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship. {8:28} He was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.

{8:29} The Spirit said to Philip, “Go near, and join yourself to this chariot.”

{8:30} Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

{8:31} He said, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” He begged Philip to come up and sit with him. {8:32} Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.
As a lamb before his shearer is silent,
so he doesn’t open his mouth.
{8:33} In his humiliation, his judgement was taken away.
Who’s gonna declare His generation?
Cos his life is taken from the earth.”

{8:34} The eunuch answered Philip, “Who is the prophet talking about? About himself, or about someone else?”

{8:35} Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached to him Jesus. {8:36} As they went on the way, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water. What is keeping me from being baptised?” {8:37} (Omitted: Not part of the original) {8:38} He commanded the chariot to stand still, and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

{8:39} When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the eunuch didn’t see him any more, cos he went on his way rejoicing. {8:40} But Philip was found at Azotus. Passing through, he preached the Good News to all the cities, until he came to Cæsarea.

The Acts of the Apostles, ch 7

Stephen preaches to the council and is martyred

{7:1} The high priest said, “Are these things so?”

{7:2} He said, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Hār-an, {7:3} and said to him, ‘Get out of your land, and from your relatives, and come into a land which I will show you.’ {7:4} Then he came out of the land of the Chalˈdae-ans, and lived in Haran. From there, when his father was dead, God moved him into this land, where you are now living. {7:5} He gave him no inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on. He promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when he still had no child. {7:6} God spoke in this way: that his seed would live as aliens in a strange land, and that they’d be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. {7:7} ‘I will judge the nation which they’ll be in bondage to’, said God, ‘and after that they’ll come out, and serve me in this place.’ {7:8} He gave him the covenant of circumcision. So Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

{7:9} “The patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt. God was with him, {7:10} and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He made him governor over Egypt and all his house. {7:11} Now a famine came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction. Our fathers found no food. {7:12} But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers the first time. {7:13} On the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s race was revealed to Pharaoh. {7:14} Joseph sent and summoned Jacob, his father, and all his relatives, seventy-five souls. {7:15} Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, himself and our fathers, {7:16} and they were brought back to Shē-chem, and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a price in silver from the children of Hā-mor of Shechem.

{7:17} “But as the time of the promise came close which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, {7:18} until there arose a different king, who didn’t know Joseph. {7:19} The same took advantage of our race, and mistreated our fathers, and forced em to throw out their babies, so that they wouldn’t stay alive. {7:20} At that time Moses was born, and was exceedingly handsome. He was nourished three months in his father’s house. {7:21} When he was thrown out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and reared him
as her own son. {7:22} Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was mighty in his words and works. {7:23} But when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. {7:24} Seeing one of em suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him who was oppressed, striking the Egyptian. {7:25} He supposed that his brothers understood that God, by his hand, was giving em deliverance; but they didn’t understand.

{7:26} “The day following, he appeared to them as they fought, and urged em to be at peace again, saying, ‘Sirs, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’ {7:27} But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? {7:28} Do you want to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ {7:29} Moses fled at this saying, and became a stranger in the land of Mĭd-ian, where he became the father of two sons.

{7:30} “When forty years were fulfilled, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. {7:31} When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight. As he came close to see, a voice of the Lord came to him, {7:32} ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Moses trembled, and didn’t dare look. {7:33} The Lord said to him, ‘Take your sandals off your feet, cos the place you’re standing on is holy ground. {7:34} I have surely seen the affliction of my people that’s in Egypt, and have heard their groaning. I’ve come down to deliver them. Now come, I’m gonna send you into Egypt.’

{7:35} “This Moses, who they refused, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—God’s sent him as both a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. {7:36} This man led em out, having worked wonders and signs in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. {7:37} This is that Moses, who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord our God is gonna raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me.’ {7:38} This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel that spoke to him on Mt Sinai, and with our fathers, who received living oracles to give to us, {7:39} who our fathers wouldn’t be obedient to, but rejected him, and turned back in their hearts to Egypt, {7:40} saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods that’ll go before us, cos as for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him.’ {7:41} They made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their hands. {7:42} But God turned, and gave em up to serve the army of the sky, as it’s written in the book of the prophets,

‘Did you guys offer me slain animals and sacrifices

forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?

{7:43} You took up the tabernacle of Mō-loch,

the star of your god Rē-phan,

the figures you made to worship.

I’m gonna carry you away beyond Babylon.’

{7:44} “Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, even as he who spoke to Moses commanded him to make it according to the pattern that he’d seen; {7:45} which our fathers also, in their turn, brought in with Joshua when they entered into the possession of the nations, who God drove out before the face of our fathers, to the days of David, {7:46} who found favor in the sight of God, and asked to find a habitation for the God of Jacob. {7:47} But Solomon built him a house. {7:48} However, the Most High doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says,

{7:49} ‘heaven is my throne,

and the earth a footstool for my feet.

What kind of house will you build me?’ says the Lord;

‘or what is the place of my rest?

{7:50} Didn’t my hand make all these things?’

{7:51} “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, yos always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do. {7:52} Which of the prophets didn’t your fathers persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, who you’ve now become betrayers and murderers of. {7:53} You received the law as it was ordained by angels, and didn’t keep it!”

{7:54} Now when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. {7:55} But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, {7:56} and said, “Look, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

{7:57} But they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed at him with one accord. {7:58} They threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. {7:59} They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” {7:60} He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against em!” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

The Acts of the Apostles, ch 6

Selection of the seven servants

1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, a complaint arose from the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily service. 2 The twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It isn’t appropriate for us to forsake the word of God and serve tables. 3 So select from amongst yas, brothers, seven men of good report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, who we can appoint over this business. 4 But we’ll continue steadfastly in prayer and in the ministry of the word.”

5 These words pleased the whole multitude. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, ˈPrŏch-o-rus, ˈNī-ca-nor, ˈTī-mon, ˈPar-me-nas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch; 6 who they set before the apostles. When they’d prayed, they laid their hands on em. 7 The word of God increased and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly. A great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Slanders against the Servant Stephen

8 Stephen, full of faith and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 But some of those who were of the synagogue called “the Libertines”, and of the Cyˈrē-nians, of the Alexandrians, and of those of Ciˈlĭ-cia and Asia arose, disputing with Stephen. 10 They weren’t able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit he spoke by. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We’ve heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, and came against him and seized him, and brought him in to the council, 13 and set up false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking blasphemous words against this holy place and the law. 14 Cos we’ve heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” 15 All who sat in the council, fastening their eyes on him, saw his face like it was the face of an angel.

The Acts of the Apostles, ch 5

Ananias and Sapphira

{5:1} But a certain man named ˌĂ-naˈnī-as, with Saˈpphī-ra, his wife, sold a possession, {5:2} and kept back part of the price, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

{5:3} But Peter said, “Ananias, why’s Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? {5:4} While you kept it, didn’t it remain your own? After it was sold, wasn’t it in your power? How is it that you’ve conceived this thing in your heart? You haven’t lied to men, but to God!”

{5:5} Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and died. Great fear came on all who heard these things. {5:6} The young men got up and wrapped him up, and they carried him out and buried him. {5:7} About three hours later, his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. {5:8} Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you-guys sold the land for so much.”

She said, “Yeah, for so much.”

{5:9} But Peter asked her, “How is it that you-guys have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who’ve buried your husband are at the door, and they’re gonna carry you out.”

{5:10} She fell down immediately at his feet, and died. The young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her by her husband. {5:11} Great fear came on the whole assembly, and on all who heard these things.

The Apostles’ public preaching, arrest and divine release

{5:12} By the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. They were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. {5:13} None of the rest dared to join em, however the people honored em. {5:14} More believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. {5:15} They even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid em on cots and mattresses, so that as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might overshadow some of em. {5:16} Multitudes also came together from the cities around Jerusalem, bringing sick people, and those who were tormented by unclean spirits: and they were all healed.

{5:17} But the high priest got up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy, {5:18} and laid hands on the apostles, and put em in public custody. {5:19} But an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors by night, and brought them out, and said, {5:20} “Go stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.”

{5:21} When they heard this, they entered into the temple at about daybreak, and taught. But the high priest came, and those who were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have em brought. {5:22} But the officers who came didn’t find em in the prison. They came back and reported, {5:23} “We found the prison shut and locked, and the guards standing before the doors, but when we opened em, we found no one inside!”

{5:24} Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were very perplexed about em and what might become of this. {5:25} One came and told em, “Look, the men who yas’ve put in prison are in the temple, standing and teaching the people.” {5:26} Then the captain went with the officers, and brought em without violence, cos they were afraid that the people might stone em.

{5:27} When they’d brought em, they set em before the council. The high priest questioned em, {5:28} saying, “Didn’t we strictly command you-guys not to teach in this name? Look, yas’ve filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and yas intend to bring this man’s blood on us.”

{5:29} But Peter and the apostles answered, “We’ve got to obey God rather than men. {5:30} The God of our fathers raised Jesus up, who you guys’d killed, hanging him on a tree. {5:31} God exalted him with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. {5:32} We’re his witnesses to these things; and so’s the Holy Spirit as well, who God ‘s given to those who obey him.”

Comparison to false messianic movements

{5:33} But they, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and determined to kill em. {5:34} But one stood up in the council, a Pharisee named Gaˈmā-lĭ-el, a teacher of the law, honored by all the people, and commanded to put the apostles out for a little while. {5:35} He said to them, “You men of Israel, be careful with these men, what you’re about to do. {5:36} Cos before these days, ˈTheu-das rose up, making himself out to be somebody; who a number of men—about four hundred—joined ’emselves to: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nothing. {5:37} After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the enrolment, and drew away some people after him. He also perished, and all—as many as obeyed him—were scattered abroad. {5:38} Now I tell yas, withdraw from these men, and leave em alone. Cos if this counsel or this work is men’s, it’ll be overthrown. {5:39} But if it’s God’s, you-guys won’t be able to overthrow it, and yas’d be found even to be fighting against God!”

{5:40} They agreed with him. Summoning the apostles, they beat em and commanded em not to speak in Jesus’s name, and let em go. {5:41} So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus’s name.

{5:42} Every day, in the temple and at home, they never stopped teaching and preaching Jesus, the Christ.