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15 And certain men came down from Judaea and taught the brethren, saying, Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved. And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and questioning with them, the brethren appointed that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. They therefore, being brought on their way by the church, passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church and the apostles and the elders, and they rehearsed all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.

And the apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider of this matter. And when there had been much questioning, Peter rose up, and said unto them,

Brethren, ye know that [a]a good while ago God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the [b]gospel, and believe. And God, who knoweth the heart, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us; and he made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why make ye trial of God, that ye should put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in like manner as they.

12 And all the multitude kept silence; and they hearkened unto Barnabas and Paul rehearsing what signs and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles through them. 13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying,

Brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Symeon hath rehearsed how first God visited the [c]Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 [d]After these things I will return,
And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen;
And I will build again the ruins thereof,
And I will set it up:
17 That the residue of men may seek after the Lord,
And all the [e]Gentiles, upon whom my name is called,
18 Saith the Lord, [f]who maketh these things known from of old.

19 Wherefore my judgment is, that we trouble not them that from among the Gentiles turn to God; 20 but that we [g]write unto them, that they abstain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses from generations of old hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath.

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 and they wrote thus by them, [h]The apostles and the elders, brethren, unto the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greeting: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard that certain [i]who went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment; 25 it seemed good unto us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also shall tell you 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 necessary things: 29 that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you. Fare ye well.

30 So they, when they were dismissed, came down to Antioch; and having gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced for the [j]consolation. 32 And Judas and Silas, being themselves also prophets, [k]exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. 33 And after they had spent some time there, they were dismissed in peace from the brethren unto those that had sent them forth.[l] 35 But Paul and Barnabas tarried in Antioch, teaching and [m]preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

36 And after some days Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us return now and visit the brethren in every city wherein we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they fare. 37 And Barnabas was minded to take with them John also, who was called Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take with them him who withdrew from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp contention, so that they parted asunder one from the other, and Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away unto Cyprus: 40 but Paul chose Silas, and went forth, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 15:7 Greek from early days.
  2. Acts 15:7 Or, good tidings
  3. Acts 15:14 See marginal note on 4:25.
  4. Acts 15:16 Am. 9:11, 12.
  5. Acts 15:17 See marginal note on 4:25.
  6. Acts 15:18 Or, who doeth these things where were known etc.
  7. Acts 15:20 Or, enjoin them
  8. Acts 15:23 Or, The apostles and the elder brethren
  9. Acts 15:24 Some ancient authorities omit who went out.
  10. Acts 15:31 Or, exhortation
  11. Acts 15:32 Or, comforted
  12. Acts 15:33 Some ancient authorities insert, with variations, verse 34 But it seemed good unto Silas to abide there.
  13. Acts 15:35 Compare marginal note on 5:42.

The Council at Jerusalem

15 Certain people(A) came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers:(B) “Unless you are circumcised,(C) according to the custom taught by Moses,(D) you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem(E) to see the apostles and elders(F) about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia(G) and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted.(H) This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.(I)

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party(J) of the Pharisees(K) stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”(L)

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.(M) God, who knows the heart,(N) showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them,(O) just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them,(P) for he purified their hearts by faith.(Q) 10 Now then, why do you try to test God(R) by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke(S) that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace(T) of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders(U) God had done among the Gentiles through them.(V) 13 When they finished, James(W) spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.(X) 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

16 “‘After this I will return
    and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
    and I will restore it,
17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
    even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’[b](Y)
18     things known from long ago.[c](Z)

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols,(AA) from sexual immorality,(AB) from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.(AC) 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”(AD)

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders,(AE) with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch(AF) with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas,(AG) men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch,(AH) Syria(AI) and Cilicia:(AJ)

Greetings.(AK)

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.(AL) 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives(AM) for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas(AN) to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit(AO) and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.(AP) You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell.

30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas,(AQ) who themselves were prophets,(AR) said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace(AS) to return to those who had sent them. [34] [d] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached(AT) the word of the Lord.(AU)

Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas

36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns(AV) where we preached the word of the Lord(AW) and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark,(AX) with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them(AY) in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas(AZ) and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.(BA) 41 He went through Syria(BB) and Cilicia,(BC) strengthening the churches.(BD)

Footnotes

  1. Acts 15:14 Greek Simeon, a variant of Simon; that is, Peter
  2. Acts 15:17 Amos 9:11,12 (see Septuagint)
  3. Acts 15:18 Some manuscripts things’— / 18 the Lord’s work is known to him from long ago
  4. Acts 15:34 Some manuscripts include here But Silas decided to remain there.

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