Some men came from Judea to Antioch and started teaching the believers, "You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised as the Law of Moses requires."
Paul and Barnabas got into a fierce argument with them about this, so it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others in Antioch should go to Jerusalem and see the apostles and elders about this matter.
They were sent on their way by the church; and as they went through Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported how the Gentiles had turned to God; this news brought great joy to all the believers.
When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, to whom they told all that God had done through them.
But some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses."
The apostles and the elders met together to consider this question.
After a long debate Peter stood up and said, "My friends, you know that a long time ago God chose me from among you to preach the Good News to the Gentiles, so that they could hear and believe.
And God, who knows the thoughts of everyone, showed his approval of the Gentiles by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he had to us.
He made no difference between us and them; he forgave their sins because they believed.
So then, why do you now want to put God to the test by laying a load on the backs of the believers which neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were able to carry?
No! We believe and are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are."
The whole group was silent as they heard Barnabas and Paul report all the miracles and wonders that God had performed through them among the Gentiles.
When they had finished speaking, James spoke up: "Listen to me, my friends!
Simon has just explained how God first showed his care for the Gentiles by taking from among them a people to belong to him.
The words of the prophets agree completely with this. As the scripture says,
"After this I will return, says the Lord, and restore the kingdom of David. I will rebuild its ruins and make it strong again.
And so all the rest of the human race will come to me, all the Gentiles whom I have called to be my own.
So says the Lord, who made this known long ago.'
"It is my opinion," James went on, "that we should not trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God.
Instead, we should write a letter telling them not to eat any food that is ritually unclean because it has been offered to idols; to keep themselves from sexual immorality; and not to eat any animal that has been strangled, or any blood.
For the Law of Moses has been read for a very long time in the synagogues every Sabbath, and his words are preached in every town."