Acts 11; Acts 12; Acts 13

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Acts 11

1 The apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God's word.
2 When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him.
3 They accused him, "You went into the home of the uncircumcised and ate with them!"
4 Step-by-step, Peter explained what had happened.
5 "I was in the city of Joppa praying when I had a visionary experience. In my vision, I saw something like a large linen sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners. It came all the way down to me.
6 As I stared at it, wondering what it was, I saw four-legged animals—including wild beasts—as well as reptiles and wild birds.
7 I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!'
8 I responded, ‘Absolutely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
9 The voice from heaven spoke a second time, ‘Never consider unclean what God has made pure.'
10 This happened three times, then everything was pulled back into heaven.
11 At that moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying.
12 The Spirit told me to go with them even though they were Gentiles. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered that man's house.
13 He reported to us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is known as Peter.
14 He will tell you how you and your entire household can be saved.'
15 When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as the Spirit fell on us in the beginning.
16 I remembered the Lord's words: ‘John will baptize with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
17 If God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then who am I? Could I stand in God's way?"
18 Once the apostles and other believers heard this, they calmed down. They praised God and concluded, "So then God has enabled Gentiles to change their hearts and lives so that they might have new life."
19 Now those who were scattered as a result of the trouble that occurred because of Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. They proclaimed the word only to Jews.
20 Among them were some people from Cyprus and Cyrene. They entered Antioch and began to proclaim the good news about the Lord Jesus also to Jews who spoke Greek.
21 The Lord's power was with them, and a large number came to believe and turned to the Lord.
22 When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
23 When he arrived and saw evidence of God's grace, he was overjoyed and encouraged everyone to remain fully committed to the Lord.
24 Barnabas responded in this way because he was a good man, whom the Holy Spirit had endowed with exceptional faith. A considerable number of people were added to the Lord.
25 Barnabas went to Tarsus in search of Saul.
26 When he found him, he brought him to Antioch. They were there for a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching large numbers of people. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first labeled "Christians."
27 About that time, some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
28 One of them, Agabus, stood up and, inspired by the Spirit, predicted that a severe famine would overtake the entire Roman world. (This occurred during Claudius' rule.)
29 The disciples decided they would send support to the brothers and sisters in Judea, with everyone contributing to this ministry according to each person's abundance.
30 They sent Barnabas and Saul to take this gift to the elders.

Acts 12

1 About that time King Herod began to harass some who belonged to the church.
2 He had James, John's brother, killed with a sword.
3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter as well. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
4 He put Peter in prison, handing him over to four squads of soldiers, sixteen in all, who guarded him. He planned to charge him publicly after the Passover.
5 While Peter was held in prison, the church offered earnest prayer to God for him.
6 The night before Herod was going to bring Peter's case forward, Peter was asleep between two soldiers and bound with two chains, with soldiers guarding the prison entrance.
7 Suddenly an angel from the Lord appeared and a light shone in the prison cell. After nudging Peter on his side to awaken him, the angel raised him up and said, "Quick! Get up!" The chains fell from his wrists.
8 The angel continued, "Get dressed. Put on your sandals." Peter did as he was told. The angel said, "Put on your coat and follow me."
9 Following the angel, Peter left the prison. However, he didn't realize the angel had actually done all this. He thought he was seeing a vision.
10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself. After leaving the prison, they proceeded the length of one street, when abruptly the angel was gone.
11 At that, Peter came to his senses and remarked, "Now I'm certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod and from everything the Jewish people expected."
12 Realizing this, he made his way to Mary's house. (Mary was John's mother; he was also known as Mark.) Many believers had gathered there and were praying.
13 When Peter knocked at the outer gate, a female servant named Rhoda went to answer.
14 She was so overcome with joy when she recognized Peter's voice that she didn't open the gate. Instead, she ran back in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate.
15 "You've lost your mind!" they responded. She stuck by her story with such determination that they began to say, "It must be his guardian angel."
16 Meanwhile, Peter remained outside, knocking at the gate. They finally opened the gate and saw him there, and they were astounded.
17 He gestured with his hand to quiet them down, then recounted how the Lord led him out of prison. He said, "Tell this to James and the brothers and sisters." Then he left for another place.
18 The next morning the soldiers were flustered about what had happened to Peter.
19 Herod called for a thorough search. When Peter didn't turn up, Herod interrogated the guards and had them executed. Afterward, Herod left Judea in order to spend some time in Caesarea.
20 Herod had been furious with the people of Tyre and Sidon for some time. They made a pact to approach him together, since their region depended on the king's realm for its food supply. They persuaded Blastus, the king's personal attendant, to join their cause, then appealed for an end to hostilities.
21 On the scheduled day Herod dressed himself in royal attire, seated himself on the throne, and gave a speech to the people.
22 Those assembled kept shouting, over and over, "This is a god's voice, not the voice of a mere human!"
23 Immediately an angel from the Lord struck Herod down, because he didn't give the honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died.
24 God's word continued to grow and increase.
25 Barnabas and Saul returned to Antioch from Jerusalem after completing their mission, bringing with them John, who was also known as Mark.

Acts 13

1 The church at Antioch included prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (nicknamed Niger), Lucius from Cyrene, Manaen (a childhood friend of Herod the ruler), and Saul.
2 As they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Appoint Barnabas and Saul to the work I have called them to undertake."
3 After they fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on these two and sent them off.
4 After the Holy Spirit sent them on their way, they went down to Seleucia. From there they sailed to Cyprus.
5 In Salamis they proclaimed God's word in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their assistant.
6 They traveled throughout the island until they arrived at Paphos. There they found a certain man named Bar-Jesus, a Jew who was a false prophet and practiced sorcery.
7 He kept company with the governor of that province, an intelligent man named Sergius Paulus. The governor sent for Barnabas and Saul since he wanted to hear God's word.
8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that's what people understood his name meant) opposed them, trying to steer the governor away from the faith.
9 Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Saul, also known as Paul, glared at Bar-Jesus and
10 said, "You are a deceiver and trickster! You devil! You attack anything that is right! Will you never stop twisting the straight ways of the Lord into crooked paths?
11 Listen! The Lord's power is set against you. You will be blind for a while, unable even to see the daylight." At once, Bar-Jesus' eyes were darkened, and he began to grope about for someone to lead him around by the hand.
12 When the governor saw what had taken place, he came to believe, for he was astonished by the teaching about the Lord.
13 Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia. John deserted them there and returned to Jerusalem.
14 They went on from Perga and arrived at Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath, they entered and found seats in the synagogue there.
15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue leaders invited them, "Brothers, if one of you has a sermon for the people, please speak."
16 Standing up, Paul gestured with his hand and said, “Fellow Israelites and Gentile God-worshippers, please listen to me.
17 The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors. God made them a great people while they lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. With his great power, he led them out of that country.
18 For about forty years, God put up with them in the wilderness.
19 God conquered seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave the Israelites their land as an inheritance.
20 This happened over a period of about four hundred fifty years. “After this, he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel.
21 The Israelites requested a king, so God gave them Saul, Kish's son, from the tribe of Benjamin, and he served as their king for forty years.
22 After God removed him, he raised up David to be their king. God testified concerning him, ‘I have found David, Jesse's son, a man who shares my desires. Whatever my will is, he will do.'
23 From this man's descendants, God brought to Israel a savior, Jesus, just as he promised.
24 Before Jesus' appearance, John proclaimed to all the Israelites a baptism to show they were changing their hearts and lives.
25 As John was completing his mission, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I'm not the one you think I am, but he is coming after me. I'm not worthy to loosen his sandals.'
26 “Brothers, children of Abraham's family, and you Gentile God-worshippers, the message about this salvation has been sent to us.
27 The people in Jerusalem and their leaders didn't recognize Jesus. By condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.
28 Even though they didn't find a single legal basis for the death penalty, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
29 When they finished doing everything that had been written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb.
30 But God raised him from the dead!
31 He appeared over many days to those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people.
32 “We proclaim to you the good news. What God promised to our ancestors,
33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it was written in the second psalm, You are my son; today I have become your father.
34 “God raised Jesus from the dead, never again to be subjected to death's decay. Therefore, God said, I will give to you the holy and firm promises I made to David.
35 In another place it is said, You will not let your holy one experience death's decay.
36 David served God's purpose in his own generation, then he died and was buried with his ancestors. He experienced death's decay,
37 but the one whom God has raised up didn't experience death's decay.
38 "Therefore, brothers and sisters, know this: Through Jesus we proclaim forgiveness of sins to you. From all those sins from which you couldn't be put in right relationship with God through Moses' Law,
39 through Jesus everyone who believes is put in right relationship with God.
40 Take care that the prophets' words don't apply to you:
41 Look, you scoffers, marvel and die. I'm going to do work in your day — a work you won't believe even if someone told you."
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people urged them to speak about these things again on the next Sabbath.
43 When the people in the synagogue were dismissed, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism accompanied Paul and Barnabas, who urged them to remain faithful to the message of God's grace.
44 On the next Sabbath, almost everyone in the city gathered to hear the Lord's word.
45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were overcome with jealousy. They argued against what Paul was saying by slandering him.
46 Speaking courageously, Paul and Barnabas said, "We had to speak God's word to you first. Since you reject it and show that you are unworthy to receive eternal life, we will turn to the Gentiles.
47 This is what the Lord commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles, so that you could bring salvation to the end of the earth."
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and honored the Lord's word. Everyone who was appointed for eternal life believed,
49 and the Lord's word was broadcast throughout the entire region.
50 However, the Jews provoked the prominent women among the Gentile God-worshippers, as well as the city's leaders. They instigated others to harass Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their district.
51 Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from their feet and went to Iconium.
52 Because of the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the disciples were overflowing with happiness.