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Paul's work among the Gentiles

1THERE were in the church at Antioch certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Prince Herod, and Saul.

2While they were offering worship to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set Barnabas and Saul apart for me, to do the work to which I have called them.”

3Then, after further fasting and prayer, they laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

4These two, sent out on their mission by the Holy Spirit, came down to Seleucia, and from there sailed to Cyprus.

5Arriving at Salamis, they declared the word of God in the Jewish synagogues; they had John with them as their assistant.

6They went through the whole island as far as Paphos, and there they came upon a sorcerer, a Jew who posed as a prophet, Barjesus by name.

7He was in the retinue of the governor, Sergius Paulus, a learned man, who had sent for Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God.

8This Elymas the sorcerer (so his name may be translated) opposed them, trying to turn the governor away from the faith.

9But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on him

10and said, “You are a swindler, an out-and-out fraud! You son of the devil and enemy of all goodness, will you never stop perverting the straight ways of the Lord?

11Look now, the hand of the Lord strikes: you shall be blind, and for a time you shall not see the light of the sun.” At once mist and darkness came over his eyes, and he groped about for someone to lead him by the hand.

12When the governor saw what had happened he became a believer, deeply impressed by what he learnt about the Lord.

13Sailing from Paphos, Paul and his companions went to Perga in Pamphylia; John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem.

14From Perga they continued their journey as far as Pisidian Antioch. On the sabbath they went to synagogue and took their seats;

15and after the readings from the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent this message to them: “Friends, if you have anything to say to the people by way of exhortation, let us hear it.”

16Paul stood up, raised his hand for silence, and began. “Listen, men of Israel and you others who worship God!

17The God of this people, Israel, chose our forefathers. When they were still living as aliens in Egypt, he made them into a great people and, with arm outstretched, brought them out of that country.

18For some forty years he bore with their conduct in the desert.

19Then in the Canaanite country, after overthrowing seven nations, whose lands he gave them to be their heritage

20for some four hundred and fifty years, he appointed judges for them until the time of the prophet Samuel.

21“It was then that they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. He reigned for forty years

22before God removed him and appointed David as their king, with this commendation: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my own heart; he will carry out all my purposes.’

23This is the man from whose descendants God, as he promised, has brought Israel a saviour, Jesus.

24John had made ready for his coming by proclaiming a baptism in token of repentance to the whole people of Israel;

25and, nearing the end of his earthly course, John said, ‘I am not the one you think I am. No, after me comes one whose sandals I am not worthy to unfasten.’

26“My brothers, who come of Abraham's stock, and others among you who worship God, we are the people to whom this message of salvation has been sent.

27The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, or understand the words of the prophets which are read sabbath by sabbath; indeed, they fulfilled them by condemning him.

28Though they failed to find grounds for the sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed.

29When they had carried out all that the scriptures said about him, they took him down from the gibbet and laid him in a tomb.

30But God raised him from the dead;

31and over a period of many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses before our people.

32“We are here to give you the good news that God, who made the promise to the fathers,

33has fulfilled it for the children by raising Jesus from the dead, as indeed it stands written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my son; this day I have begotten you.’

34Again, that he raised him from the dead, never to be subjected to corruption, he declares in these words: ‘I will give you the blessings promised to David, holy and sure.’

35This is borne out by another passage: ‘You will not let your faithful servant suffer corruption.’

36As for David, when he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, he died and was gathered to his fathers, and suffered corruption;

37but the one whom God raised up did not suffer corruption.

38You must understand, my brothers, it is through him that forgiveness of sins is now being proclaimed to you.

39It is through him that everyone who has faith is acquitted of everything for which there was no acquittal under the law of Moses.

40Beware, then, lest you bring down upon yourselves the doom proclaimed by the prophets:

41‘See this, you scoffers, marvel, and begone; for I am doing a deed in your days, a deed which you will never believe when you are told of it.’”

42As they were leaving the synagogue they were asked to come again and speak on these subjects next sabbath;

43and after the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and gentile worshippers went with Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to hold fast to the grace of God.

44On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of God.

45When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealous resentment, and contradicted what Paul had said with violent abuse.

46But Paul and Barnabas were outspoken in their reply. “It was necessary”, they said, “that the word of God should be declared to you first. But since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.

47For these are our instructions from the Lord: ‘I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, and a means of salvation to earth's farthest bounds.’”

48When the Gentiles heard this, they were overjoyed and thankfully acclaimed the word of the Lord, and those who were marked out for eternal life became believers.

49Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region.

50But the Jews stirred up feeling among those worshippers who were women of standing, and among the leading men of the city; a campaign of persecution was started against Paul and Barnabas, and they were expelled from the district.

51They shook the dust off their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.

52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.


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