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Acts 15:10

10 Now, therefore, why 1are you putting God to the test 2by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples 3that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

Acts 15:10 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 15:10

Now therefore why tempt ye God
By hesitating about this matter, by disputing upon this point, and by seeking for further proof and evidence of the will of God in this affair; when it is so plain a case, that it has been his will that the Gospel should be preached to Gentiles, without obliging them to circumcision; that he has given his Spirit both in his extraordinary gifts, and special grace, to uncircumcised persons; particularly he has bestowed faith in Christ upon them, whereby they have been led to the blood of Christ, typified in circumcision, and are thereby purged from all their filth and pollution, and so are the true circumcision: wherefore it is no other than tempting God, a manifest opposition to him, and what must give him offence, to debate about a point so clear; and especially to attempt

to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our
fathers nor we were able to bear.
It is common with the Jews to call the law a yoke; frequent mention is made of (aydyqp ryn) and (twum) (lwe) , "the yoke of the commandments" F15, and (hrwth lwe) , "the yoke of the law" F16: and by it here is meant, not circumcision only and barely, for that the Jewish fathers had been able to bear, and had bore it; nor the whole ceremonial law only, which consisted of a multitude of commands and ordinances very heavy and hard; but even the whole moral law, which circumcision obliged those who submitted to it to keep it perfectly; see ( Galatians 5:3 ) , which neither the apostles, nor their fathers, were ever able to do, nor any mere man whatever; and therefore this yoke was intolerable and insupportable, and not to be put upon the necks of the Gentile believers; who here are called disciples, being taught the doctrine of the Gospel, and the way of salvation; which was not by circumcision, nor by any works of the law, but by the grace of Christ, as in the following verse.


F15 Targum in Cant. i. 10. & in Lam. iii. 27. Misn. Beracot, c. 2. sect. 2.
F16 Echa Rabbati, fol. 56. 3. Pirke Abot, c. 3. sect. 5. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 39. 3.

Acts 15:10 In-Context

8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,
9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.
10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."
12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Psalms 106:14; Isaiah 7:12
  • 2. Galatians 5:1; [ver. 28]
  • 3. [Matthew 11:28; Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.