- Some who had come down from Judea were
instructing the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic
practice, you cannot be saved."
- Because there arose no little dissension
and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas,
and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and
presbyters about this question.
- They were sent on their journey by the
church, and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria telling of the conversion of
the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.
- When they arrived in Jerusalem, they
were welcomed by the church, as well as by the apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
- But some from the party of the Pharisees
who had become believers stood up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise
them and direct them to observe the Mosaic law."
- The apostles and the presbyters met
together to see about this matter.
- After much debate had taken place, Peter
got up and said to them, "My brothers, you are well aware that from early days
God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear
the word of the gospel and believe.
- And God, who knows the heart, bore
witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us.
- He made no distinction between us and
them, for by faith he purified their hearts.
- Why, then, are you now putting God to
the test by placing on the shoulders of the disciples a yoke that neither our
ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
- On the contrary, we believe that we are
saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they."
- The whole assembly fell silent, and they
listened while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders God had
worked among the Gentiles through them.
- After they had fallen silent, James
responded, "My brothers, listen to me.
has described how God first concerned himself
with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name.
- The words of the prophets agree with
this, as is written:
- 'After this I shall return and rebuild
the fallen hut of David; from its ruins I shall rebuild it and raise it up
- so that the rest of humanity may seek
out the Lord, even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked. Thus says the
Lord who accomplishes these things,
- known from of old.'
- It is my judgment, therefore, that we
ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God,
- but tell them by letter to avoid
pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and
- For Moses, for generations now, has had
those who proclaim him in every town, as he has been read in the synagogues
- Then the apostles and presbyters, in
agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send
them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was
called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
- This is the letter delivered by them:
"The apostles and the presbyters, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch,
Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings.
- Since we have heard that some of our
number (who went out) without any mandate from us have upset you with their
teachings and disturbed your peace of mind,
- we have with one accord decided to
choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas
- who have dedicated their lives to the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- So we are sending Judas and Silas who
will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
- 'It is the decision of the holy Spirit
and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
- namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed
to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful
marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right.
- And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch they called the assembly together and delivered
- When the people read it, they were
delighted with the exhortation.
- Judas and Silas, who were themselves
prophets, exhorted and strengthened the brothers with many words.
- After they had spent some time there,
they were sent off with greetings of peace from the brothers to those who had
- Some manuscripts add, in various
wordings, "But Silas decided to remain
- But Paul and Barnabas remained in
Antioch, teaching and proclaiming with many others the word of the Lord.
After some time, Paul said to Barnabas, "Come, let us make a return visit to
see how the brothers are getting on in all the cities where we proclaimed the
word of the Lord."
- Barnabas wanted to take with them also
John, who was called Mark,
- but Paul insisted that they should not
take with them someone who had deserted them at Pamphylia and who had not
continued with them in their work.
- So sharp was their disagreement that
they separated. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus.
- But Paul chose Silas and departed after
being commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
- He traveled through Syria and Cilicia
bringing strength to the churches.