Dispute in Antioch
1Some men # Ac 15:24; Gl 2:12 came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised # Ac 15:5; 16:3; 21:21; 1Co 7:18; Gl 5:2 according to the custom prescribed by Moses, # Lv 12:3; Ac 6:14 you cannot be saved! ” 2But after Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in serious argument and debate, the church arranged for Paul and Barnabas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem concerning this controversy. # Ac 11:30; 16:4; Gl 2:1-2 3When they had been sent on their way by the church, # Ac 11:18; 21:5; Rm 15:24; 1Co 16:6,11; 2Co 1:16; Ti 3:13; 3Jn 6 they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, explaining in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they created great joy among all the brothers.
4When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. # Ac 14:27; 15:12 5But some of the believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses! ”
The Jerusalem Council
6Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter. 7After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them: “Brothers, you are aware that in the early days God made a choice among you, # Other mss read us that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the gospel message and believe. 8And God, who knows the heart, testified to them by giving # Other mss add them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us. # Ac 1:24; 10:44,47 9He made no distinction between us and them, # Ac 10:28,34; 11:12 cleansing their hearts by faith. # Ac 10:43; 1Pt 1:22 10Now then, why are you testing God by putting a yoke on the disciples’ necks # Mt 23:4; Gl 5:1 that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 11On the contrary, we believe we are saved through the grace # Rm 3:24; Eph 2:5-8; Ti 2:11 of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.”
12Then the whole assembly fell silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. # Jn 4:48; Ac 14:27; 15:4 13After they stopped speaking, James responded: “Brothers, listen to me! 14Simeon # Simon (Peter) has reported how God first intervened to take from the Gentiles a people for His name. # Ac 12:17; 15:7 15And the words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written:
16After these things I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
I will rebuild its ruins
and set it up again,
17so the rest of humanity
may seek the Lord —
even all the Gentiles
who are called by My name,
declares the Lord who does these things,
18known from long ago. # Other mss read says the Lord who does all these things. Known to God from long ago are all His works. # Is 45:21; Jr 14:9; Dn 9:19; Am 9:11-12 # Am 9:11-12; Is 45:21
19Therefore, in my judgment, we should not cause difficulties for those among the Gentiles who turn to God, 20but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, # 1Co 8:7,13; 10:7-8,14-28; Rv 2:14,20 from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood. 21For since ancient times, Moses has had those who proclaim him in every city, and every Sabbath day he is read aloud in the synagogues.” # Ac 13:15; 2Co 3:14
The Letter to the Gentile Believers
22Then the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, decided to select men who were among them and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, # Ac 1:23; 15:2; 1Pt 5:12 both leading men among the brothers. 23They wrote this letter to be delivered by them: # Lit Writing by their hand:
From the apostles and the elders, your brothers,
To the brothers among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: # Ac 15:1; 23:26; Jms 1:1
24Because we have heard that some without our authorization went out from us # Gl 2:4; 5:12; Ti 1:10 and troubled you with their words and unsettled your hearts, # Other mss add by saying, “Be circumcised and keep the law,” # Gl 1:7; 5:10 25we have unanimously # Ac 1:14; 2:46; 4:24; 5:12; 7:57; 8:6; 12:20; 18:12; 19:29 decided to select men and send them to you along with our dearly loved Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives # Ac 9:23-25; 14:19 for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who will personally report the same things by word of mouth. # Lit things through word 28For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision — and ours — to put no greater burden on you than these necessary things: # Ac 5:32; 15:8 29that you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. # Ac 15:20; 21:25; Rv 2:14,20 You will do well if you keep yourselves from these things.
The Outcome of the Jerusalem Letter
30Then, being sent off, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the assembly, they delivered the letter. 31When they read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32Both Judas and Silas, who were also prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers and strengthened them with a long message. # Ac 14:22; 15:1 33After spending some time there, they were sent back in peace # Mk 5:34; Ac 16:36; 1Co 16:11; Heb 11:31 by the brothers to those who had sent them. # Other mss read the brothers to the apostles # Other mss add v. 34: But Silas decided to stay there. 35But Paul and Barnabas, along with many others, remained in Antioch teaching and proclaiming the message of the Lord. # Ac 8:4; 13:1
Paul and Barnabas Part Company
36After some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the brothers in every town # Ac 13:4,13-14,51; 14:6,24 where we have preached the message of the Lord and see how they’re doing.” 37Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark. # Lit John who was called Mark 38But Paul did not think it appropriate to take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39There was such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark # Ac 12:12; 13:13; Col 4:10 with him and sailed off to Cyprus. 40Then Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers. # Ac 11:23; 14:26; 15:22 41He traveled through Syria # Ac 6:9; 15:23; 16:5 and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.