The Passion Translation
Ethnic Barriers Broken
11 The news traveled fast and soon reached the apostles and the believers living in Judea that non-Jewish people were also receiving God’s message of new life. 2 When Peter finally arrived in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers called him to task, saying, 3 “Why did you stay in the home of people who aren’t Jewish? You even ate your meals with them!”
4 Peter explained what had happened, saying, 5 “One day when I was in the city of Joppa, while I was praying I fell into an ecstatic trance and I went into another realm.[a] I saw in a vision something like a linen tablecloth descending out of heaven, being let down by its four corners, and it got close to me. 6 As I examined it I saw many four-footed animals, wild animals, reptiles, and wild birds. 7 Then I heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat them.’
8 “I said, ‘I can’t do that, Lord! For I’ve never eaten anything that is forbidden or impure according to our Jewish laws.’
9 “The voice spoke to me again, saying, ‘Nothing is unclean if God declares it to be clean.’
10 “The vision repeated itself three times. Then suddenly the linen sheet was snatched back up into heaven. 11 At that moment three men from Caesarea, who had been sent for me, approached the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to accompany them with no questions asked. These six brothers here with me made the trip, and we entered into the home of the man who had sent for me. 13 He shared with us about the angel who appeared to him and told him to send messengers to Joppa to find Simon, the Rock. The angel had told him, 14 ‘He will tell you and your family the message of how you can be saved!’
15 “Shortly after I began to speak, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them, just like what happened to us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the words the Lord had told us: ‘John immersed you in water, but you will be immersed in the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So I concluded that if God is pleased to give them the same gift of the Holy Spirit that he gave us after they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who am I to stand in the way of God?”
18 When they heard this, their objections were put to rest and they all glorified God, saying, “Look what God has done! He’s giving the gift of repentance that leads to life to people who aren’t even Jews.”
The Church at Antioch
19 Because of the persecution triggered by Stephen’s death in Jerusalem, many of the believers were scattered. Some reached as far as the coast of Lebanon,[b] the island of Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria, but they were still only preaching the word to Jews. 20 However, some of the believers from Cyprus and Cyrene,[c] who had come to Antioch in Syria,[d] preached to the non-Jews living there, proclaiming the message of salvation in the Lord Jesus.[e] 21 The mighty power of the Lord was with them as they ministered, and a large number of people believed and turned their hearts to the Lord.
22 News of what was happening in Antioch reached the church of Jerusalem, so the apostles sent Barnabas to Antioch as their emissary. 23 When he got there and witnessed for himself God’s marvelous grace, he was enthused and overjoyed. He encouraged[f] the believers to remain faithful and cling to the Lord with passionate hearts.[g] 24 Barnabas was a good man,[h] full of the Spirit of holiness, and he exuded a life of faith. Because of his ministry even more crowds of people were brought to the Lord!
25 Barnabas left for Tarsus to find Saul and bring him back to Antioch. 26 Together Saul and Barnabas ministered there for a full year, equipping the growing church and teaching the vast number of new converts. It was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were first revealed as “anointed ones.”[i]
Agabus Prophesies a Coming Famine
27 At that time there were prophets in the church of Jerusalem, and some of them came to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up in one of the meetings and prophesied by the Holy Spirit that a severe famine was about to come over Israel. (This prophecy was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius Caesar.)[j] 29 So they determined that each believer, according to his or her ability, would give an offering to send as relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 They set aside the gifts and entrusted the funds to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders[k] of the church in Jerusalem.[l]
- Acts 11:5 See footnote on Acts 10:10.
- Acts 11:19 Or “Phoenicia.”
- Acts 11:20 A city on the coast of Libya. Some have linked the man who carried the cross of Jesus, Simon of Cyrene, to this group of missionary evangelists.
- Acts 11:20 Antioch was important from both a commercial and a military point of view. It was the seat of the Roman governor-general, with large garrisons and military supplies stored there. It was also a center of art and culture, known for its beauty and recognized as the capital of the Syrian kingdom. The church prospered greatly in Antioch, and it became a Christian hub and headquarters for the apostles. For many centuries in church history, Antioch remained a strong witness for evangelization, sending missionaries into Persia and throughout the Roman Empire.
- Acts 11:20 In the early days of the church, every believer was a missionary. There was a great cost involved with following Christ. They laid their lives down to serve him and to make him known among the nations. Not just the apostles, but all of the believers did their part in spreading the teachings of Jesus wherever they went.
- Acts 11:23 Barnabas was given the nickname “Encourager.” See Acts 4:36-37.
- Acts 11:23 The Aramaic is “He begged them to imitate the Lord with all their hearts.”
- Acts 11:24 The Aramaic is “He was a blessed man.”
- Acts 11:26 Or “Christians.” The Greek word chrematizo means “supernaturally revealed” (imparted), more than simply “called.” It was first in Antioch that the revelation came that the believers were anointed ones. See also Matt. 2:12, where the term is used as God giving revelation in a dream.
- Acts 11:28 This would have been about AD 45–46.
- Acts 11:30 The Aramaic is “priests.”
- Acts 11:30 Upon hearing the prophecy of a famine coming, the church of Antioch determined to receive an offering for the Judean believers, for the gospel came to them from Jerusalem. They gave back to the place where the gospel was sent to them.
New International Version
Peter Explains His Actions
11 The apostles and the believers(A) throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.(B) 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers(C) criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”(D)
4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision.(E) I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’(F) 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea(G) stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told(H) me to have no hesitation about going with them.(I) These six brothers(J) also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel(K) appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message(L) through which you and all your household(M) will be saved.’
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on(N) them as he had come on us at the beginning.(O) 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[a] water,(P) but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.’(Q) 17 So if God gave them the same gift(R) he gave us(S) who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”(T)
The Church in Antioch
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed(U) traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch,(V) spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus(W) and Cyrene,(X) went to Antioch(Y) and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news(Z) about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them,(AA) and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.(AB)
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas(AC) to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done,(AD) he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.(AE) 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit(AF) and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.(AG)
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus(AH) to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples(AI) were called Christians first(AJ) at Antioch.
27 During this time some prophets(AK) came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus,(AL) stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world.(AM) (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)(AN) 29 The disciples,(AO) as each one was able, decided to provide help(AP) for the brothers and sisters(AQ) living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders(AR) by Barnabas(AS) and Saul.(AT)