Acts 15 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 It wasn't long before some Jews showed up from Judea insisting that everyone be circumcised: "If you're not circumcised in the Mosaic fashion, you can't be saved." 1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved."
2 Paul and Barnabas were up on their feet at once in fierce protest. The church decided to resolve the matter by sending Paul, Barnabas, and a few others to put it before the apostles and leaders in Jerusalem. 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.
3 After they were sent off and on their way, they told everyone they met as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria about the breakthrough to the Gentile outsiders. Everyone who heard the news cheered - it was terrific news! 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad.
4 When they got to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were graciously received by the whole church, including the apostles and leaders. They reported on their recent journey and how God had used them to open things up to the outsiders. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
5 Some Pharisees stood up to say their piece. They had become believers, but continued to hold to the hard party line of the Pharisees. "You have to circumcise the pagan converts," they said. "You must make them keep the Law of Moses." 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses."
6 The apostles and leaders called a special meeting to consider the matter. 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question.
7 The arguments went on and on, back and forth, getting more and more heated. Then Peter took the floor: "Friends, you well know that from early on God made it quite plain that he wanted the pagans to hear the Message of this good news and embrace it - and not in any secondhand or roundabout way, but firsthand, straight from my mouth. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.
8 And God, who can't be fooled by any pretense on our part but always knows a person's thoughts, gave them the Holy Spirit exactly as he gave him to us. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.
9 He treated the outsiders exactly as he treated us, beginning at the very center of who they were and working from that center outward, cleaning up their lives as they trusted and believed him. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.
10 "So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
11 Don't we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us just as he did those from beyond our nation? So what are we arguing about?" 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."
12 There was dead silence. No one said a word. With the room quiet, Barnabas and Paul reported matter-of-factly on the miracles and wonders God had done among the other nations through their ministry. 12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.
13 The silence deepened; you could hear a pin drop. 13 When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me.
14 Simeon has told us the story of how God at the very outset made sure that racial outsiders were included. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself.
15 This is in perfect agreement with the words of the prophets: 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16 After this, I'm coming back; I'll rebuild David's ruined house; I'll put all the pieces together again; I'll make it look like new 16 " 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it,
17 So outsiders who seek will find, so they'll have a place to come to, All the pagan peoples included in what I'm doing. 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things'
18 It's no afterthought; he's always known he would do this. 18 that have been known for ages.
19 "So here is my decision: We're not going to unnecessarily burden non-Jewish people who turn to the Master. 19 "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
20 We'll write them a letter and tell them, 'Be careful to not get involved in activities connected with idols, to guard the morality of sex and marriage, to not serve food offensive to Jewish Christians - blood, for instance.' 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
21 This is basic wisdom from Moses, preached and honored for centuries now in city after city as we have met and kept the Sabbath." 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."
22 Everyone agreed: apostles, leaders, all the people. They picked Judas (nicknamed Barsabbas) and Silas - they both carried considerable weight in the church - and sent them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas 22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers.
23 with this letter: From the apostles and leaders, your friends, to our friends in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Hello! 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings.
24 We heard that some men from our church went to you and said things that confused and upset you. Mind you, they had no authority from us; we didn't send them. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.
25 We have agreed unanimously to pick representatives and send them to you with our good friends Barnabas and Paul. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul--
26 We picked men we knew you could trust, Judas and Silas - they've looked death in the face time and again for the sake of our Master Jesus Christ. 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 We've sent them to confirm in a face-to-face meeting with you what we've written. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.
28 It seemed to the Holy Spirit and to us that you should not be saddled with any crushing burden, but be responsible only for these bare necessities: 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:
29 Be careful not to get involved in activities connected with idols; avoid serving food offensive to Jewish Christians (blood, for instance); and guard the morality of sex and marriage. These guidelines are sufficient to keep relations congenial between us. And God be with you! Barnabas and Paul Go Their Separate Ways 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.
30 And so off they went to Antioch. On arrival, they gathered the church and read the letter. 30 The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.
31 The people were greatly relieved and pleased. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.
32 Judas and Silas, good preachers both of them, strengthened their new friends with many words of courage and hope. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.
33 Then it was time to go home. They were sent off by their new friends with laughter and embraces all around to report back to those who had sent them. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.
35 Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Word of God. But they weren't alone. There were a number of teachers and preachers at that time in Antioch. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
36 After a few days of this, Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit all our friends in each of the towns where we preached the Word of God. Let's see how they're doing." 36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing."
37 Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,
38 But Paul wouldn't have him; he wasn't about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia. 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.
39 Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,
40 Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
41 went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.