Dispute in Antioch
1Some men15:1 Ac 15:24; Gl 2:12 came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised15:1 Ac 15:5; 16:3; 21:21; 1Co 7:18; Gl 5:2 according to the custom prescribed by Moses,15:1 Lv 12:3; Ac 6:14 you cannot be saved.”
2After Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in serious argument and debate, Paul and Barnabas and some others were appointed to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem about this issue.15:2 Ac 11:30; 16:4; Gl 2:1–2
3When they had been sent on their way by the church,15:3 Ac 11:18; 21:5; Rm 15:24; 1Co 16:6,11; 2Co 1:16; Ti 3:13; 3Jn 6 they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they brought great joy to all the brothers and sisters.
4When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.15:4 Ac 14:27; 15:12
5But some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
The Jerusalem Council
6The apostles and the elders gathered to consider this matter.
7After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you are aware that in the early days God made a choice among you,15:7 Other mss read us that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the gospel message and believe.
8And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he also did to us.15:8 Ac 1:24; 10:44,47
9He made no distinction between us and them,15:9 Ac 10:28,34; 11:12 cleansing their hearts by faith.15:9 Ac 10:43; 1Pt 1:22
10Now then, why are you testing God by putting a yoke on the disciples’ necks15:10 Mt 23:4; Gl 5:1 that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
11On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace15:11 Rm 3:24; Eph 2:5–8; Ti 2:11 of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.”
12The whole assembly became silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul describe all the signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.15:12 Jn 4:48; Ac 14:27; 15:4
13After they stopped speaking, James responded, “Brothers, listen to me.
14Simeon15:14 Simon (Peter) has reported how God first intervened to take from the Gentiles a people for his name.15:13–14 Ac 12:17; 15:7
15And the words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written:
16 After these things I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
I will rebuild its ruins
and set it up again,
17 so that the rest of humanity
may seek the Lord —
even all the Gentiles
who are called by my name —
declares the Lord
who makes these things
18known from long ago.15:17–18 Other mss read says the Lord who does all these things. Known to God from long ago are all his works.15:16–18Am 9:11–12; Is 45:2115:16–18 Is 45:21; Jr 14:9; Dn 9:19; Am 9:11–12
19Therefore, in my judgment, we should not cause difficulties for those among the Gentiles who turn to God,
20but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality,15:20 1Co 8:7,13; 10:7–8,14–28; Rv 2:14,20 from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood.
21For since ancient times, Moses has had those who proclaim him in every city, and every Sabbath day he is read aloud in the synagogues.”15:21 Ac 13:15; 2Co 3:14
The Letter to the Gentile Believers
22Then the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, decided to select men who were among them and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas,15:22 Ac 1:23; 15:2; 1Pt 5:12 both leading men among the brothers.
23They wrote:
“From the apostles and the elders, your brothers,
To the brothers and sisters among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:15:23 Ac 15:1; 23:26; Jms 1:1
24Since we have heard that some without our authorization went out from us15:24 Gl 2:4; 5:12; Ti 1:10 and troubled you with their words and unsettled your hearts,15:24 Other mss add by saying, ‘Be circumcised and keep the law,’15:24 Gl 1:7; 5:10
25we have unanimously15:25 Ac 1:14; 2:46; 4:24; 5:12; 7:57; 8:6; 12:20; 18:12; 19:29 decided to select men and send them to you along with our dearly loved Barnabas and Paul,
26who have risked their lives15:26 Ac 9:23–25; 14:19 for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who will personally report the same things by word of mouth.
28For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision — and ours — not to place further burdens on you beyond these requirements:15:28 Ac 5:32; 15:8
29that you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.15:29 Ac 15:20; 21:25; Rv 2:14,20 You will do well if you keep yourselves from these things.
The Outcome of the Jerusalem Letter
30So they were sent off and went down to Antioch, and after gathering the assembly, they delivered the letter.
31When they read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.
32Both Judas and Silas, who were also prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers and sisters and strengthened them with a long message.15:32 Ac 14:22; 15:1
33After spending some time there, they were sent back in peace15:33 Mk 5:34; Ac 16:36; 1Co 16:11; Heb 11:31 by the brothers and sisters to those who had sent them.15:33 Other mss read the brothers to the apostles15:33 Other mss add v. 34: But Silas decided to stay there.
35But Paul and Barnabas, along with many others, remained in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming the word of the Lord.15:35 Ac 8:4; 13:1
Paul and Barnabas Part Company
36After some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the brothers and sisters in every town15:36 Ac 13:4,13–14,51; 14:6,24 where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they’re doing.”
37Barnabas wanted to take along John who was called Mark.
38But Paul insisted that they should not take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work.
39They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark15:37–39 Ac 12:12; 13:13; Col 4:10 with him and sailed off to Cyprus.
40But Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended by the brothers and sisters to the grace of the Lord.15:40 Ac 11:23; 14:26; 15:22
41He traveled through Syria15:41 Ac 6:9; 15:23; 16:5 and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.