1 Then some men arrived from Judea who started teaching the believers, “Unless you're circumcised according to the rules set down by Moses, you can't be saved.”
2 Paul and Barnabas had many arguments and debates with them. So Paul and Barnabas and some others were appointed to go to Jerusalem and talk to the apostles and leaders there about this issue.
3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they explained how foreigners were being converted, which made all the believers very happy.
4 When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church members, the apostles, and the elders. They explained everything God had done through them.
5 But they were opposed by some of the believers who belonged to the Pharisee faction. They said, “These converts have to be circumcised, and instructed to observe the law of Moses.”
6 The apostles and elders met together to discuss the issue.
7 After much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that some time ago God chose me from among you so that the foreigners could hear the message of good news and trust in Jesus.
8 God, who knows thewhat we're thinking, has shown that he accepts them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us.
9 He doesn't make any distinction between us and them—he cleansed their thoughts as they trusted in him.
10 So why do you want to oppose God and put a burden on the believers that our fathers weren't able to bear, and we can't either?
11 We're convinced that we're saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way they are.”
12 Everyone listened attentively to Barnabas and Paul as they explained the miraculous signs that God had performed through them among the foreigners.
13 After they had finished speaking, James spoke up, saying, “Brothers, listen to me.
14 Simon has described how God first revealed his concern for the foreigners by taking from them a people committed to him.
15 This is in accordance with the words of the prophets, as it's written,
16 ‘In the future I will return, and I will rebuild the fallen house of David; I will rebuild its ruins and set it straight.
17 I will do this so that those who are left may come to the Lord, including the foreigners who call on my name.
18 This is what the Lord says, who revealed these things long ago.’
19 So my decision is that we shouldn't make it difficult for foreigners who turn to God.
20 We should write to them and tell them to avoid food sacrificed to idols, sexual immorality, meat of animals that have been strangled, and from consuming blood.
21 For the law of Moses has been taught in every town for a long, long time—it's read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
22 Then the apostles and elders, together with the whole church, decided it would be good to choose some representatives and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas Barsabbas and Silas, leaders among the brothers,
23 and sent them with this letter:
“Greetings from us, the apostles and elders and brothers, to the non-Jewish brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some from our group have confused you with their teachings, causing you trouble. We certainly didn't tell them to do this!
25 So we have agreed to choose some representatives and send them to you together with our much-loved brothers Barnabas and Paul,
26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 So we are sending to you Judas and Silas who can verbally confirm what we're saying.
28 It seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place on you any heavier burden than these important requirements.
29 You should avoid: anything sacrificed to idols; blood; meat from strangled animals; and sexual immorality. You will do well to observe these requirements. God bless you.”
30 The men were sent on their way to Antioch. When they arrived they called everybody together and delivered the letter.
31 After they had read it, the people were so happy for the encouraging message.
32 Judas and Silas, who were also prophets, encouraged the brothers, explaining many things, and strengthening them.
33 After spending some time there they were sent back by the brothers with their blessing to the believers in Jerusalem.
35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming the word of God along with many others.
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let's go back and visit the believers in every town where we shared the word of the Lord, and see how they're doing.”
37 Barnabas planned to take along John Mark too.
38 But Paul didn't think it was a good idea to take him with them, since he'd left them in Pamphylia and hadn't continued working with them.
39 They had such a strong disagreement that they separated. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed to Cyprus.
40 Paul chose Silas, and as they left, the believers committed them to the grace of the Lord.
41 Paul traveled through Syria and Cilicia, encouraging the churches there.