The church leaders had a meeting in Jerusalem
At that time, some men came to Antioch from Judea country, and they started to teach the Christian men, “If you don’t have the young man operation that Moses wrote about, God will not save you. That operation is in our law.”* Paul and Barnabas heard those men saying that, and they didn’t agree with them. They argued with them and told them they were wrong. The Christians at Antioch thought about that problem, then they told Paul and Barnabas to go with some other men to Jerusalem, to talk about it with Jesus’s special workers and the other church leaders there.
So Paul and Barnabas did what the Christians at Antioch said. They left Antioch to go to Jerusalem, and on their way, they went through Fonisha country and Samaria country, and they talked to the Christians in those places and told them everything that God did in the other countries. They said, “A lot of people that are not Jews believe in Jesus now.” The Christians in Fonisha and Samaria were very happy to hear that news.
After that, Paul and the men with him got to Jerusalem, and the Christians there were happy to see them. Jesus’s special workers, and all the church leaders there, told them, “We are happy you came.” Then Paul and Barnabas, and the other men with them, told the Christians in Jerusalem everything that God helped them do.
But some of those Christians in Jerusalem were from the Pharisee mob, that were strong for the Jewish law. They stood up and said, “Those men that are not Jews, they might be Christians, but they have to have that young man operation too, just like Moses said. We have to tell them to do all the things in the law of Moses.”
Then Jesus’s special workers, and all the church leaders, met together to talk about that problem. They talked about it for a long time, and then Peter stood up and said to them, “My friends, you know that God picked me, and I was the first person to go to the people that are not Jews to tell them the good news about Jesus. God did that so that they could hear about Jesus and believe in him.* God always knows what people are thinking, and when those people that are not Jews believed in Jesus, God gave them the Holy Spirit to show them that he wants them in his family too. You see, at first he gave the Holy Spirit to us, then he gave the Holy Spirit to those people that are not Jews.* He did the same thing for them that he did for us. They believed in him, and he made them clean from the wrong things they did. 10 So, why are you telling those Christians that are not Jews to do something that is too hard for them? You are making God angry. You know that we cant keep all of the law of Moses. It is too hard for us, and it was too hard for our grand-fathers too. 11 But our leader, Jesus, is good to us Jewish people, and he is also good to people that are not Jews. He saves everybody that believes in him. That law doesn’t save anybody. Jesus saves us because he is good to us.”
12 Then everyone stopped talking and listened to Barnabas and Paul. They told everyone that God gave them power to do great things for the people that are not Jews. God did that to show those people that the story about Jesus is true.
13 They finished talking, then James stood up and said, “My friends, listen to me. 14 Peter just told us the story about how God showed himself to people that are not Jews, and that he picked some of them to be his own people. 15 Peter’s story agrees with what God told his men to write, a long time ago, and their words are in God’s book. One of them wrote,
16 God said,
I will come back later,
and I will fix up David’s family again.
David’s family are like a tent that broke and fell down.
But I will fix them up and make them strong again.
17-18 And some people from other countries will ask me for help.
They are my people too.
I am God. I promised to do that a long time ago, so I will do it.” ’*
That’s all in God’s book.”
19 And James kept on talking. He said, “I think we shouldn’t make it hard for people that are not Jews, when they turn to God. 20 We have to write them a letter, to tell them not to worry about getting that young man operation. But we’ll tell them to follow just these rules,
– If somebody reckons that a statue is a god, and if they give food to that statue to show respect to it, don’t eat any of that food.
– And don’t sleep with somebody that you are not married to, as if they are your wife or husband.
– And if somebody holds an animal’s neck really tight to kill it, don’t eat its meat.
– And don’t eat the blood of animals.*
21 You see, every Saturday the Jewish people read the law of Moses out loud in their meeting houses, and this happens in all the towns where those people live. They have been doing that for a long time, and people that are not Jews have already heard those rules.”
The church leaders wrote to the Christians that are not Jews
22 Then Jesus’s special workers, the church leaders, and all the Christians in Jerusalem picked 2 of their leaders to go with Paul and Barnabas, and take this news to the Christians in the city called Antioch, in Syria country. One man was Judas Barsabbas, and the other man was Silas. 23 So the church leaders wrote a letter for them to take with them. They wrote,
This letter is from Jesus’s special workers, and from the other church leaders in Jerusalem. We are writing to you Christian people that are not Jews, that live in Antioch, and in the rest of Syria country, and in Cilicia country. You are like brothers and sisters to us.
24 Listen, we heard that some men from here went to you and told you things that worried you and upset you. But those things are not true. We didn’t send those men. 25 So we met together and picked some messengers, and we are sending them with our good friends Barnabas and Paul. 26 You know, Barnabas and Paul work for our leader Jesus Christ, and people tried to kill them for doing that. 27 We are sending Judas and Silas with them, and they will tell you the same things that we are writing in this letter.
28 The Holy Spirit told us that you don’t need to get that young man operation. And that’s what we think too. So we are telling you to just follow these rules,
29 If somebody reckons that a statue is a god, and if they give food to that statue to show respect to it, don’t eat any of that food.
– And don’t eat the blood of animals.
– And if somebody holds an animal’s neck really tight to kill it, don’t eat its meat.
– And don’t sleep with somebody that you are not married to, as if they are your wife or husband.
Make sure you don’t do those things, and you will be all right.
That’s our message to you now.
30 Then Judas and Silas went with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch. They called all the Christians there to come to a meeting, then they gave them the letter. 31 Those Christians read that letter, and they were very happy. 32 Judas and Silas were men that told God’s messages to people, and they talked a lot to those Christians. They helped them to be happy and to believe strongly in Jesus. 33 After that, Judas and Silas left Antioch to go back to the church in Jerusalem. The Antioch Christians said to them, “We pray you will have a safe and happy trip.”
34-35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed there in Antioch, and they kept on teaching the people the message from God about Jesus. And a lot of other Christians helped them do that too.
Paul and Barnabas stopped working with each other
36 Some time later, Paul said to Barnabas, “You know all those towns we went to before, where we told the people the message about Jesus, well, lets go back and find out if the Christians are all right.”
37 Barnabas said, “Yes. And let’s take John Mark with us.”
38 But Paul didn’t think that was a good idea. He said, “John Mark went with us before, but he didn’t stay with us. In Pamfilia country he left us and went home.”*
39 Paul and Barnabas didn’t agree with each other about John Mark, and they had a big argument. They got very upset with each other, so they each went a different way. Barnabas and John Mark got on a ship and went to the island called Cyprus. 40-41 Paul picked Silas to go with him. The Antioch Christians asked God to look after Paul and Silas, then those 2 men left there and went through Syria and Cilicia countries. Paul talked to the Christians in every place, and he helped them be strong for Jesus.
* 15:1 Leviticus 12:3 * 15:7 Acts 10:1-43 * 15:8 Acts 2:4; 10:44 * 15:17-18 Amos 9:11-12 * 15:20 Exodus 34:15-17; Leviticus 17:10-16; 18:6-23 * 15:38 Acts 13:13