Acts 14; Acts 15; Acts 16

1 The same thing happened in the city of Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went into the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a large crowd of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up some people who were not Jewish and poisoned their minds against the believers. 3 Paul and Barnabas stayed in the city of Iconium for a long time. They spoke boldly about the Lord, who confirmed their message about his good will by having them perform miracles and do amazing things. 4 But the people of Iconium were divided. Some were for the Jews, while others were for the apostles. 5 In the meantime, Paul and Barnabas found out that the non-Jewish people and the Jewish people with their rulers planned to attack them and stone them to death. 6 So they escaped to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding territory. 7 They spread the Good News there. 8 A man who was born lame was in Lystra. He was always sitting because he had never been able to walk. 9 He listened to what Paul was saying. Paul observed him closely and saw that the man believed he could be made well. 10 So Paul said in a loud voice, "Stand up." The man jumped up and began to walk. 11 The crowds who saw what Paul had done shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come to us, and they look human." 12 They addressed Barnabas as Zeus and Paul as Hermes because Paul did most of the talking. 13 Zeus' temple was at the entrance to the city. The priest of the god Zeus brought bulls with flowery wreaths around their necks to the temple gates. The priest and the crowd wanted to offer a sacrifice [to Paul and Barnabas]. 14 When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they were very upset. They rushed into the crowd 15 and said, "Men, what are you doing? We're human beings like you. We're spreading the Good News to you to turn you away from these worthless gods to the living God. The living God made the sky, the land, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In the past God allowed all people to live as they pleased. 17 Yet, by doing good, he has given evidence of his existence. He gives you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons. He fills you with food and your lives with happiness." 18 Although Paul and Barnabas said these things, they hardly kept the crowd from sacrificing to them. 19 However, Jews from the cities of Antioch and Iconium arrived in Lystra and won the people over. They tried to stone Paul to death and dragged him out of the city when they thought that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day Paul and Barnabas left for the city of Derbe. 21 They spread the Good News in that city and won many disciples. Then they went back to the cities of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (which is in Pisidia). 22 They strengthened the disciples in these cities and encouraged the disciples to remain faithful. Paul and Barnabas told them, "We must suffer a lot to enter the kingdom of God." 23 They had the disciples in each church choose spiritual leaders, and with prayer and fasting they entrusted the leaders to the Lord in whom they believed. 24 After they had gone through Pisidia, they went to Pamphylia. 25 They spoke the message in the city of Perga and went to the city of Attalia. 26 From Attalia they took a boat and headed home to the city of Antioch [in Syria]. (In Antioch they had been entrusted to God's care for the work they had now finished.) 27 When they arrived, they called the members of the church together. They reported everything God had done through them, especially that he had given people who were not Jewish the opportunity to believe. 28 They stayed for a long time with these disciples.
1 Some men came from Judea and started to teach believers that people can't be saved unless they are circumcised as Moses' Teachings require. 2 Paul and Barnabas had a fierce dispute with these men. So Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were sent to Jerusalem to see the apostles and spiritual leaders about this claim. 3 The church sent Paul and Barnabas [to Jerusalem]. As they were going through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told the whole story of how non-Jewish people were turning to God. This story brought great joy to all the believers. 4 The church in Jerusalem, the apostles, and the spiritual leaders welcomed Paul and Barnabas when they arrived. Paul and Barnabas reported everything that God had done through them. 5 But some believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "People who are not Jewish must be circumcised and ordered to follow Moses' Teachings." 6 The apostles and spiritual leaders met to consider this statement. 7 After a lot of debating, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know what happened some time ago. God chose me so that people who aren't Jewish could hear the Good News and believe. 8 God, who knows everyone's thoughts, showed that he approved of people who aren't Jewish by giving them the Holy Spirit as he gave the Holy Spirit to us. 9 God doesn't discriminate between Jewish and non-Jewish people. He has cleansed non-Jewish people through faith as he has cleansed us Jews. 10 So why are you testing God? You're putting a burden on the disciples, a burden neither our ancestors nor we can carry. 11 We certainly believe that the Lord Jesus saves us the same way that he saves them--through his kindness." 12 The whole crowd was silent. They listened to Barnabas and Paul tell about all the miracles and amazing things that God had done through them among non-Jewish people. 13 After they finished speaking, James responded, "Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has explained how God first showed his concern by taking from non-Jewish people those who would honor his name. 15 This agrees with what the prophets said. Scripture says, 16 'Afterwards, I will return. I will set up David's fallen tent again. I will restore its ruined places again. I will set it up again 17 so that the survivors and all the people who aren't Jewish over whom my name is spoken, may search for the Lord, declares the Lord. 18 He is the one who will do these things that have always been known!' 19 "So I've decided that we shouldn't trouble non-Jewish people who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write a letter telling them to keep away from things polluted by false gods, from sexual sins, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from eating bloody meat. 21 After all, Moses' words have been spread to every city for generations. His teachings are read in synagogues on every day of worship." 22 Then the apostles, the spiritual leaders, and the whole church decided to choose some of their men to send with Paul and Barnabas to the city of Antioch. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, who were leaders among the believers. 23 They wrote this letter for them to deliver: From the apostles and the spiritual leaders, your brothers. To their non-Jewish brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Dear brothers and sisters, 24 We have heard that some individuals who came from us have confused you with statements that disturb you. We did not authorize these men [to speak]. 25 So we have come to a unanimous decision that we should choose men and send them to you with our dear Barnabas and Paul. 26 Barnabas and Paul have dedicated their lives to our Lord, the one named Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent Judas and Silas to report to you on our decision. 28 The Holy Spirit and we have agreed not to place any additional burdens on you. Do only what is necessary 29 by keeping away from food sacrificed to false gods, from eating bloody meat, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual sins. If you avoid these things, you will be doing what's right. Farewell! 30 So the men were sent on their way and arrived in the city of Antioch. They gathered the congregation together and delivered the letter. 31 When the people read the letter, they were pleased with the encouragement it brought them. 32 Judas and Silas, who were also prophets, spoke a long time to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After Judas and Silas had stayed in Antioch for some time, the congregation sent them back to Jerusalem with friendly greetings to those who had sent them. 34 35 Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught people about the Lord's word and spread the Good News. 36 After a while Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back to every city where we spread the Lord's word. We'll visit the believers to see how they're doing." 37 Barnabas wanted to take John Mark along. 38 However, Paul didn't think it was right to take a person like him along. John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to work. 39 Paul and Barnabas disagreed so sharply that they parted ways. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed to the island of Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas and left after the believers entrusted him to the Lord's care. 41 Paul went through the provinces of Syria and Cilicia and strengthened the churches.
1 Paul arrived in the city of Derbe and then went to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived. Timothy's mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was Greek. 2 The believers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to go with him. So he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in those places and because he knew that Timothy's father was Greek. 4 As they went through the cities, they told people about the decisions that the apostles and spiritual leaders in Jerusalem had made for the people. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew in numbers every day. 6 Paul and Silas went through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit kept them from speaking the word in the province of Asia. 7 They went to the province of Mysia and tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn't allow this. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went to the city of Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia. The man urged Paul, "Come to Macedonia to help us." 10 As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we immediately looked for a way to go to Macedonia. We concluded that God had called us to tell the people of Macedonia about the Good News. 11 So we took a ship from Troas and sailed straight to the island of Samothrace. The next day we sailed to the city of Neapolis, 12 and from there we went to the city of Philippi. Philippi is a leading city in that part of Macedonia, and it is a Roman colony. We were in this city for a number of days. 13 On the day of worship we went out of the city to a place along the river where we thought Jewish people gathered for prayer. We sat down and began talking to the women who had gathered there. 14 A woman named Lydia was present. She was a convert to Judaism from the city of Thyatira and sold purple dye for a living. She was listening because the Lord made her willing to pay attention to what Paul said. 15 When Lydia and her family were baptized, she invited us to stay at her home. She said, "If you're convinced that I believe in the Lord, then stay at my home." She insisted. So we did. 16 One day when we were going to the place of prayer, a female servant met us. She was possessed by an evil spirit that told fortunes. She made a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. 17 She used to follow Paul and shout, "These men are servants of the Most High God. They're telling you how you can be saved." 18 She kept doing this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned to the evil spirit, and said, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" As Paul said this, the evil spirit left her. 19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them to the authorities in the public square. 20 In front of the Roman officials, they said, "These men are stirring up a lot of trouble in our city. They're Jews, 21 and they're advocating customs that we can't accept or practice as Roman citizens." 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas. Then the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered [the guards] to beat them with sticks. 23 After they had hit Paul and Silas many times, they threw them in jail and ordered the jailer to keep them under tight security. 24 So the jailer followed these orders and put Paul and Silas into solitary confinement with their feet in leg irons. 25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly, a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the jail. All the doors immediately flew open, and all the prisoners' chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up and saw the prison doors open. Thinking the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted as loudly as he could, "Don't hurt yourself! We're all here!" 29 The jailer asked for torches and rushed into the jail. He was trembling as he knelt in front of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he took Paul and Silas outside and asked, "Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved?" 31 They answered, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved." 32 They spoke the Lord's word to the jailer and everyone in his home. 33 At that hour of the night, the jailer washed Paul and Silas' wounds. The jailer and his entire family were baptized immediately. 34 He took Paul and Silas upstairs into his home and gave them something to eat. He and his family were thrilled to be believers in God. 35 In the morning the Roman officials sent guards who told the jailer, "You can release those men now." 36 The jailer reported this order to Paul by saying, "The officials have sent word to release you. So you can leave peacefully now." 37 But Paul told the guards, "Roman officials have had us beaten publicly without a trial and have thrown us in jail, even though we're Roman citizens. Now are they going to throw us out secretly? There's no way they're going to get away with that! Have them escort us out!" 38 The guards reported to the officials what Paul had said. When the Roman officials heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were afraid. 39 So the officials went to the jail and apologized to Paul and Silas. As the officials escorted Paul and Silas out of the jail, they asked them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas left the jail, they went to Lydia's house. They met with the believers, encouraged them, and then left.
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