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1SOME people who had come down from Judaea began to teach the brotherhood that those who were not circumcised in accordance with Mosaic practice could not be saved.

2That brought them into fierce dissension and controversy with Paul and Barnabas, and it was arranged that these two and some others from Antioch should go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

3They were sent on their way by the church, and travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling the full story of the conversion of the Gentiles, and causing great rejoicing among all the Christians.

4When they reached Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, and they reported all that God had accomplished through them.

5But some of the Pharisaic party who had become believers came forward and declared, “Those Gentiles must be circumcised and told to keep the law of Moses.”

6The apostles and elders met to look into this matter,

7and, after a long debate, Peter rose to address them. “My friends,” he said, “in the early days, as you yourselves know, God made his choice among you: from my lips the Gentiles were to hear and believe the message of the gospel.

8And God, who can read human hearts, showed his approval by giving the Holy Spirit to them as he did to us.

9He made no difference between them and us; for he purified their hearts by faith.

10Then why do you now try God's patience by laying on the shoulders of these converts a yoke which neither we nor our forefathers were able to bear?

11For our belief is that we are saved in the same way as they are: by the grace of the Lord Jesus.”

12At that the whole company fell silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they described all the signs and portents that God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

13When they had finished speaking, James summed up: “My friends,” he said, “listen to me.

14Simon has described how it first happened that God, in his providence, chose from among the Gentiles a people to bear his name.

15This agrees with the words of the prophets: as scripture has it,

16Thereafter I will return and rebuild the fallen house of David; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again,

17that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, all the Gentiles whom I have claimed for my own. Thus says the Lord, who is doing this

18as he made known long ago.

19“In my judgement, therefore, we should impose no irksome restrictions on those of the Gentiles who are turning to God;

20instead we should instruct them by letter to abstain from things polluted by contact with idols, from fornication, from anything that has been strangled, and from blood.

21Moses, after all, has never lacked spokesmen in every town for generations past; he is read in the synagogues sabbath by sabbath.”

22Then, with the agreement of the whole church, the apostles and elders resolved to choose representatives and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose two leading men in the community, Judas Barsabbas and Silas,

23and gave them this letter to deliver: From the apostles and elders to our brothers of gentile origin in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!

24We have heard that some of our number, without any instructions from us, have disturbed you with their talk and unsettled your minds.

25In consequence, we have resolved unanimously to send to you our chosen representatives with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26who have given up their lives to the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ;

27so we are sending Judas and Silas, who will, by word of mouth, confirm what is written in this letter.

28It is the decision of the Holy Spirit, and our decision, to lay no further burden upon you beyond these essentials:

29you are to abstain from meat that has been offered to idols, from blood, from anything that has been strangled, and from fornication. If you keep yourselves free from these things you will be doing well. Farewell.

30So they took their leave and travelled down to Antioch, where they called the congregation together and delivered the letter.

31When it was read, all rejoiced at the encouragement it brought,

32and Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the members.

33After spending some time there, they took their leave with the good wishes of the brethren, to return to those who had sent them.


35But Paul and Barnabas stayed on at Antioch, where, along with many others, they taught and preached the word of the Lord.

36AFTER a while Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and see how our brothers are getting on in the various towns where we proclaimed the word of the Lord.”

37Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them;

38but Paul insisted that the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on to share in their work was not the man to take with them now.

39The dispute was so sharp that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus.

40Paul chose Silas and started on his journey, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

41He travelled through Syria and Cilicia bringing new strength to the churches.

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