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Acts 15

The Jerusalem Council

Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
2 And when Paul and Barnabas had not a little dissension and debate with them, the brothers determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. 3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, recounting in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brothers. 4 When 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. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.” 6 Both the apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, 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. 8 And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now 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? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” 12 And all the multitude 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 Issues a Judgment

13 Now after they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brothers, listen to me.
14 Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, 16
After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the fallen booth of David,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’
Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.
19 Therefore I judge that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from sexual immorality and from what is strangled and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations, Moses has those who preach him in every city, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” 22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers—to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, 23 and they sent this letter by them,
“The apostles and the brothers who are elders, to the brothers in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.
Since we have heard that some of us, to whom we gave no instruction, have gone out and disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls,
it seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, and they themselves will report the same things by word of mouth.
For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:
that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from sexual immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, you will do well. Farewell.”
30 So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And both Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a lengthy message. 33 And after they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brothers in peace to those who had sent them. 34 [But it seemed good to Silas to remain there.] 35 But Paul and Barnabas spent a long time in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.

Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas

36 Now after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”
37 And Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But 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. 39 And there was such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.