Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, decided to choose some men from the group and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose two men who were highly respected by the believers, Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas,
and they sent the following letter by them: "We, the apostles and the elders, your brothers, send greetings to all our brothers of Gentile birth who live in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.
We have heard that some who went from our group have troubled and upset you by what they said; they had not, however, received any instruction from us.
And so we have met together and have all agreed to choose some messengers and send them to you. They will go with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul,
who have risked their lives in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We send you, then, Judas and Silas, who will tell you in person the same things we are writing.
The Holy Spirit and we have agreed not to put any other burden on you besides these necessary rules:
eat no food that has been offered to idols; eat no blood; eat no animal that has been strangled; and keep yourselves from sexual immorality. You will do well if you take care not to do these things. With our best wishes."
The messengers were sent off and went to Antioch, where they gathered the whole group of believers and gave them the letter.
When the people read it, they were filled with joy by the message of encouragement.
Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, spoke a long time with them, giving them courage and strength.
After spending some time there, they were sent off in peace by the believers and went back to those who had sent them.
Paul and Barnabas spent some time in Antioch, and together with many others they taught and preached the word of the Lord.
Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the believers in every town where we preached the word of the Lord, and let us find out how they are getting along."
Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them,
but Paul did not think it was right to take him, because he had not stayed with them to the end of their mission, but had turned back and left them in Pamphylia. 1
There was a sharp argument, and they separated: Barnabas took Mark and sailed off for Cyprus,
while Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the care of the Lord's grace.
He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.