15
The Council at Jerusalem
1Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. 3Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. 4When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."
6The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. 7After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."
12All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
James's Judgment
13After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, "Brethren, listen to me. 14Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,
16'After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
17So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,'
18Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.
19Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath."
22Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas-Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, 23and they sent this letter by them, "The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. 24"Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, 25it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27"Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: 29that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell."
30So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message. 33After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out. 34[#Early mss do not contain this vBut it seemed good to Silas to remain there.] 35But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.
Second Missionary Journey
36After some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are." 37Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. 41And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
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