1 BUT SOME men came down from Judea and were instructing the brethren, Unless you are circumcised in accordance with the Mosaic custom, you cannot be saved. [Gen. 17:9-14.]
2 And when Paul and Barnabas had no small disagreement and discussion with them, it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others of their number should go up to Jerusalem [and confer] with the apostles (special messengers) and the elders about this matter.
3 So, being fitted out and sent on their way by the church, they went through both Phoenicia and Samaria telling of the conversion of the Gentiles (the heathen), and they caused great rejoicing among all the brethren.
4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were heartily welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they told them all that God had accomplished through them.
5 But some who believed [who acknowledged Jesus as their Savior and devoted themselves to Him] belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, and they rose up and said, It is necessary to circumcise [the Gentile converts] and to charge them to obey the Law of Moses.
6 The apostles and the elders were assembled together to look into and consider this matter.
7 And after there had been a long debate, Peter got up and said to them, Brethren, you know that quite a while ago God made a choice or selection from among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the message of the Gospel [concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God] and believe (credit and place their confidence in it).
8 And God, Who is acquainted with and understands the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit as He also did to us;
9 And He made no difference between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith (by a strong and welcome conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God).
10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting a yoke on the necks of the disciples, such as neither our forefathers nor we [ourselves] were able to endure?
11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace (the undeserved favor and mercy) of the Lord Jesus, just as they [are].
12 Then the whole assembly remained silent, and they listened [attentively] as Barnabas and Paul rehearsed what signs and wonders God had performed through them among the Gentiles.
13 When they had finished talking, James replied, Brethren, listen to me.
14 Simeon [Peter] has rehearsed how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people [to bear and honor] His name.
15 And with this the predictions of the prophets agree, as it is written,
16 After this I will come back, and will rebuild the house of David, which has fallen; I will rebuild its [very] ruins, and I will set it up again,
17 So that the rest of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom My name has been invoked,
18 Says the Lord, Who has been making these things known from the beginning of the world. [Isa. 45:21; Jer. 12:15; Amos 9:11, 12.]
19 Therefore it is my opinion that we should not put obstacles in the way of and annoy and disturb those of the Gentiles who turn to God,
20 But we should send word to them in writing to abstain from and avoid anything that has been polluted by being offered to idols, and all sexual impurity, and [eating meat of animals] that have been strangled, and [tasting of] blood.
21 For from ancient generations Moses has had his preachers in every town, for he is read [aloud] every Sabbath in the synagogues.
22 Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, resolved to select men from among their number and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, [both] leading men among the brethren, and sent them.
23 With [them they sent] the following letter: The brethren, both the apostles and the elders, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings:
24 As we have heard that some persons from our number have disturbed you with their teaching, unsettling your minds and throwing you into confusion, although we gave them no express orders or instructions [on the points in question],
25 It has been resolved by us in assembly to select men and send them [as messengers] to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 Men who have hazarded their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 So we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will bring you the same message by word of mouth.
28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to lay upon you any greater burden than these indispensable requirements:
29 That you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from [tasting] blood and from [eating the meat of animals] that have been strangled and from sexual impurity. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell [be strong]!
30 So when [the messengers] were sent off, they went down to Antioch; and having assembled the congregation, they delivered the letter.
31 And when they read it, the people rejoiced at the consolation and encouragement [it brought them].
32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets (inspired interpreters of the will and purposes of God), urged and warned and consoled and encouraged the brethren with many words and strengthened them.
33 And after spending some time there, they were sent back by the brethren with [the greeting] peace to those who had sent them.
34 However, Silas decided to stay on there.
35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch and with many others also continued teaching and proclaiming the good news, the Word of the Lord [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in God's kingdom].
36 And after some time Paul said to Barnabas, Come, let us go back and again visit and help and minister to the brethren in every town where we made known the message of the Lord, and see how they are getting along.
37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark [his near relative].
38 But Paul did not think it best to have along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work.
39 And there followed a sharp disagreement between them, so that they separated from each other, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.
40 But Paul selected Silas and set out, being commended by the brethren to the grace (the favor and mercy) of the Lord.
41 And he passed through Syria and Cilicia, establishing and strengthening the churches.