Acts 15 (English Standard Version)

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The Jerusalem Council

1 1But some men came down from Judea and were teaching 2the brothers, "Unless you are 3circumcised 4according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and 5debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and 6some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to 7the apostles and the elders about this question. 3 So, 8being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, 9describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and 10brought great joy to all 11the brothers.a 4 12When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and 13the apostles and the elders, and 14they declared all that God had done with them. 5 But some believers who belonged to 15the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, 16"It is necessary 17to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses." 6 18The 19apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7 And after there had been much 20debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, 21that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear 22the word of 23the gospel and believe. 8 And God, 24who knows the heart, 25bore witness to them, 26by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and 27he made no distinction between us and them, 28having cleansed their hearts 29by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why 30are you putting God to the test 31by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples 32that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we 33believe that we will be 34saved through 35the grace of the Lord Jesus, 36just as they will." 12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul 37as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, 38James replied, "Brothers, listen to me. 14 39Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them 40a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, 16 41"'After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnantb of mankind 42may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles 43who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18 44known from of old.' 19 Therefore 45my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who 46turn to God, 20 but should write to them 47to abstain from 48the things polluted by idols, and from 49sexual immorality, and from 50what has been strangled, and from 51blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, 52for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues."

The Council's Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then it seemed good to 53the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called 54Barsabbas, and 55Silas, leading men among 56the brothers, 23 with the following letter: 57"The brothers, both 58the apostles and the elders, to the brothersc who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, 59greetings. 24 Since we have heard that 60some persons have gone out from us and 61troubled youd with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come 62to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our 63beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 64men who have 65risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent 66Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good 67to the Holy Spirit and 68to us 69to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 70that you abstain from 71what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell." 30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves 72prophets, encouraged and 73strengthened 74the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off 75in peace by 76the brothers to those who had sent them.e 35 But 77Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit 78the brothers 79in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are." 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them 80John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one 81who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose 82a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. 83Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, 84having been commended by 85the brothers to 86the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, 87strengthening the churches.
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