Peter Reports That Non-Jewish People Can Belong to the Church
1 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that people who were not Jewish had accepted God’s word. 2 However, when Peter went to Jerusalem, the believers who insisted on circumcision began to argue with him. 3 They said, “You went to visit men who were uncircumcised, and you even ate with them.”
4 Then Peter began to explain to them point by point what had happened. He said, 5 “I was praying in the city of Joppa when I fell into a trance. I saw something like a large linen sheet being lowered by its four corners from the sky. The sheet came near me. 6 I looked into the sheet very closely and saw tame animals, wild animals, reptiles, and birds. 7 I also heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter! Kill these animals, and eat them.’
8 “But I answered, ‘I can’t do that, Lord! I’ve never put anything impure or unclean #“Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God. into my mouth.’
9 “A voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Don’t say that the things which God has made clean #“Clean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is presentable to God. are impure.’ 10 This happened three times. Then everything was pulled back into the sky again.
11 “At that moment three men arrived at the house where we were staying. They had been sent from Caesarea to find me. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them without any hesitation. Six believers ⌊from Joppa⌋ went with me, and we visited Cornelius’ home.
13 “He told us that he had seen an angel standing in his home. The angel told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man whose name is Simon Peter. 14 He will give you a message that will save you and everyone in your home.’
15 “When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came to these people. This was the same thing that happened to us in the beginning. 16 I remembered that the Lord had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized by the Holy Spirit.’ 17 When they believed, God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. So who was I to interfere with God?”
18 When the others heard this, they had no further objections. They praised God by saying, “Then God has also led people who are not Jewish to turn to him so that they can change the way they think and act and have eternal life.”
The New Church in Antioch
19 Some of the believers who were scattered by the trouble that broke out following Stephen’s death went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and the city of Antioch. They spoke God’s word only to Jewish people. 20 But other believers, who were from Cyprus and Cyrene, arrived in Antioch. They started to spread the Good News about the Lord Jesus to Greeks. 21 The Lord’s power was with his followers, and a large number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 After the news about Antioch reached the church in Jerusalem, Barnabas was sent to Antioch. 23 When he arrived there, he was pleased to see what God had done for them out of kindness.#Or “grace.” So he encouraged all the people to remain solidly committed to the Lord. 24 Barnabas was a dependable man, and he was full of the Holy Spirit and faith. A large crowd believed in the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas left Antioch to go to the city of Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 After finding Saul, Barnabas brought him back to Antioch. Barnabas and Saul met with the church in Antioch for a whole year and taught a large group of people. The disciples were called Christians for the first time in the city of Antioch.
27 At that time some prophets came from Jerusalem to the city of Antioch. 28 One of them was named Agabus. Through the Spirit Agabus predicted that a severe famine would affect the entire world. This happened while Claudius was emperor. 29 All the disciples in Antioch decided to contribute whatever they could afford to help the believers living in Judea. 30 The disciples did this and sent their contribution with Barnabas and Saul to the leaders ⌊in Jerusalem⌋.