Acts 15 – New International Version (NIV)
The Council at Jerusalem
- Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”
- This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.
- The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad.
- When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
- Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
- The apostles and elders met to consider this question.
- After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.
- God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.
- He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.
- Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?
- No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
- The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.
- When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me.
- Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.
- The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
- “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it,
- that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’[b]—
- things known from long ago.[c]
- “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
- Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
- For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers
- Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers.
- With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
- We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.
- So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—
- men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.
- It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:
- You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
- So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.
- The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.
- Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.
- After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.
- But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas
- Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”
- Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,
- but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.
- They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,
- but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.
- He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
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Acts 15 – King James Version (KJV)
- And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
- When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
- And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
- And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
- But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
- And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
- And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
- And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
- And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
- Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
- But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
- Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
- And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
- Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
- And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
- After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
- That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
- Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
- Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
- But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
- For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
- Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
- And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
- Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
- It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
- Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
- For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
- That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
- So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
- Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.
- And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
- And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.
- Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.
- Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
- And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
- And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
- But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
- And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
- And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
- And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.