Acts 15

The Jerusalem Council

15:1 Now some men came down from Judea1 and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised2 according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 15:2 When Paul and Barnabas had a major argument and debate3 with them, the church4 appointed Paul and Barnabas and some others from among them to go up to meet with5 the apostles and elders in Jerusalem6 about this point of disagreement.7 15:3 So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia8 and Samaria, they were relating at length9 the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy10 to all the brothers. 15:4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received11 by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported12 all the things God had done with them.13 15:5 But some from the religious party of the Pharisees14 who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary15 to circumcise the Gentiles16 and to order them to observe17 the law of Moses.”

15:6 Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate18 about this matter. 15:7 After there had been much debate,19 Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that some time ago20 God chose21 me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message22 of the gospel23 and believe.24 15:8 And God, who knows the heart,25 has testified26 to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,27 15:9 and he made no distinction28 between them and us, cleansing29 their hearts by faith. 15:10 So now why are you putting God to the test30 by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke31 that neither our ancestors32 nor we have been able to bear? 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through33 the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are.”34

15:12 The whole group kept quiet35 and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs36 and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 15:13 After they stopped speaking,37 James replied,38 “Brothers, listen to me. 15:14 Simeon39 has explained40 how God first concerned himself41 to select42 from among the Gentiles43 a people for his name. 15:15 The44 words of the prophets agree45 with this, as it is written,

15:16After this46 I47 will return,

and I will rebuild the fallen tent48 of David;

I will rebuild its ruins and restore49 it,

15:17 so that the rest of humanity50 may seek the Lord,

namely,51 all the Gentiles52 I have called to be my own,53 says the Lord,54 who makes these things 15:18 known55 from long ago.56

15:19 “Therefore I conclude57 that we should not cause extra difficulty58 for those among the Gentiles59 who are turning to God, 15:20 but that we should write them a letter60 telling them to abstain61 from things defiled62 by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled63 and from blood. 15:21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times,64 because he is read aloud65 in the synagogues66 every Sabbath.”

15:22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided67 to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas,68 leaders among the brothers, to Antioch69 with Paul and Barnabas. 15:23 They sent this letter with them:70

From the apostles71 and elders, your brothers,72 to the Gentile brothers and sisters73 in Antioch,74 Syria,75 and Cilicia, greetings! 15:24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused76 you, upsetting77 your minds78 by what they said,79 15:25 we have unanimously80 decided81 to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 who82 have risked their lives83 for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.84 15:27 Therefore we are sending85 Judas and Silas86 who will tell you these things themselves in person.87 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us88 not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules:89 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols90 and from blood and from what has been strangled91 and from sexual immorality.92 If you keep yourselves from doing these things,93 you will do well. Farewell.94

15:30 So when they were dismissed,95 they went down to Antioch,96 and after gathering the entire group97 together, they delivered the letter. 15:31 When they read it aloud,98 the people99 rejoiced at its encouragement.100 15:32 Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech.101 15:33 After102 they had spent some time there,103 they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.104 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch,105 teaching and proclaiming (along with many others)106 the word of the Lord.107

Paul and Barnabas Part Company

15:36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return108 and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord109 to see how they are doing.”110 15:37 Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, 15:38 but Paul insisted111 that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia112 and had not accompanied them in the work. 15:39 They had113 a sharp disagreement,114 so that they parted company. Barnabas took along115 Mark and sailed away to Cyprus,116 15:40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended117 to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters.118 15:41 He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening119 the churches.

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