Acts 11; Acts 12; Acts 13

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Acts 11

1 The apostles and the believers in Judea heard that some who were not Jewish had accepted God's teaching too.
2 But when Peter came to Jerusalem, some Jewish believers argued with him.
3 They said, "You went into the homes of people who are not circumcised and ate with them!"
4 So Peter explained the whole story to them.
5 He said, "I was in the city of Joppa, and while I was praying, I had a vision. I saw something that looked like a big sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners. It came very close to me.
6 I looked inside it and saw animals, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds.
7 I heard a voice say to me, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'
8 But I said, 'No, Lord! I have never eaten anything that is unholy or unclean.'
9 But the voice from heaven spoke again, 'God has made these things clean, so don't call them unholy.'
10 This happened three times. Then the whole thing was taken back to heaven.
11 Right then three men who were sent to me from Caesarea came to the house where I was staying.
12 The Spirit told me to go with them without doubting. These six believers here also went with me, and we entered the house of Cornelius.
13 He told us about the angel he saw standing in his house. The angel said to him, 'Send some men to Joppa and invite Simon Peter to come.
14 By the words he will say to you, you and all your family will be saved.'
15 When I began my speech, the Holy Spirit came on them just as he came on us at the beginning.
16 Then I remembered the words of the Lord. He said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
17 Since God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, how could I stop the work of God?"
18 When the Jewish believers heard this, they stopped arguing. They praised God and said, "So God is allowing even those who are not Jewish to turn to him and live."
19 Many of the believers were scattered when they were persecuted after Stephen was killed. Some of them went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch telling the message to others, but only to Jews.
20 Some of these believers were people from Cyprus and Cyrene. When they came to Antioch, they spoke also to Greeks, telling them the Good News about the Lord Jesus.
21 The Lord was helping the believers, and a large group of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 The church in Jerusalem heard about all of this, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith. When he reached Antioch and saw how God had blessed the people, he was glad. He encouraged all the believers in Antioch always to obey the Lord with all their hearts, and many people became followers of the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to the city of Tarsus to look for Saul,
26 and when he found Saul, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year Saul and Barnabas met with the church and taught many people there. In Antioch the followers were called Christians for the first time.
27 About that time some prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.
28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and spoke with the help of the Holy Spirit. He said, "A very hard time is coming to the whole world. There will be no food to eat." (This happened when Claudius ruled.)
29 The believers all decided to help the followers who lived in Judea, as much as each one could.
30 They gathered the money and gave it to Barnabas and Saul, who brought it to the elders in Judea.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Acts 12

1 During that same time King Herod began to mistreat some who belonged to the church.
2 He ordered James, the brother of John, to be killed by the sword.
3 Herod saw that the Jewish people liked this, so he decided to arrest Peter, too. (This happened during the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.)
4 After Herod arrested Peter, he put him in jail and handed him over to be guarded by sixteen soldiers. Herod planned to bring Peter before the people for trial after the Passover Feast.
5 So Peter was kept in jail, but the church prayed earnestly to God for him.
6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Other soldiers were guarding the door of the jail.
7 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shined in the cell. The angel struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Hurry! Get up!" the angel said. And the chains fell off Peter's hands.
8 Then the angel told him, "Get dressed and put on your sandals." And Peter did. Then the angel said, "Put on your coat and follow me."
9 So Peter followed him out, but he did not know if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he might be seeing a vision.
10 They went past the first and second guards and came to the iron gate that separated them from the city. The gate opened by itself for them, and they went through it. When they had walked down one street, the angel suddenly left him.
11 Then Peter realized what had happened. He thought, "Now I know that the Lord really sent his angel to me. He rescued me from Herod and from all the things the Jewish people thought would happen."
12 When he considered this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark. Many people were gathered there, praying.
13 Peter knocked on the outside door, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it.
14 When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so happy she forgot to open the door. Instead, she ran inside and told the group, "Peter is at the door!"
15 They said to her, "You are crazy!" But she kept on saying it was true, so they said, "It must be Peter's angel."
16 Peter continued to knock, and when they opened the door, they saw him and were amazed.
17 Peter made a sign with his hand to tell them to be quiet. He explained how the Lord led him out of the jail, and he said, "Tell James and the other believers what happened." Then he left to go to another place.
18 The next day the soldiers were very upset and wondered what had happened to Peter.
19 Herod looked everywhere for him but could not find him. So he questioned the guards and ordered that they be killed. Later Herod moved from Judea and went to the city of Caesarea, where he stayed.
20 Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, but the people of those cities all came in a group to him. After convincing Blastus, the king's personal servant, to be on their side, they asked Herod for peace, because their country got its food from his country.
21 On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people.
22 They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not a human!"
23 Because Herod did not give the glory to God, an angel of the Lord immediately caused him to become sick, and he was eaten by worms and died.
24 God's message continued to spread and reach people.
25 After Barnabas and Saul finished their task in Jerusalem, they returned to Antioch, taking John Mark with them.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Acts 13

1 In the church at Antioch there were these prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (also called Niger), Lucius (from the city of Cyrene), Manaen (who had grown up with Herod, the ruler), and Saul.
2 They were all worshiping the Lord and giving up eating for a certain time. During this time the Holy Spirit said to them, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul to do a special work for which I have chosen them."
3 So after they gave up eating and prayed, they laid their hands onn Barnabas and Saul and sent them out.
4 Barnabas and Saul, sent out by the Holy Spirit, went to the city of Seleucia. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus.
5 When they came to Salamis, they preached the Good News of God in the Jewish synagogues. John Mark was with them to help.
6 They went across the whole island to Paphos where they met a Jewish magician named Bar-Jesus. He was a false prophet
7 who always stayed close to Sergius Paulus, the governor and a smart man. He asked Barnabas and Saul to come to him, because he wanted to hear the message of God.
8 But Elymas, the magician, was against them. (Elymas is the name for Bar-Jesus in the Greek language.) He tried to stop the governor from believing in Jesus.
9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked straight at Elymas
10 and said, "You son of the devil! You are an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of evil tricks and lies, always trying to change the Lord's truths into lies.
11 Now the Lord will touch you, and you will be blind. For a time you will not be able to see anything -- not even the light from the sun." Then everything became dark for Elymas, and he walked around, trying to find someone to lead him by the hand.
12 When the governor saw this, he believed because he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
13 Paul and those with him sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, in Pamphylia. There John Mark left them to return to Jerusalem.
14 They continued their trip from Perga and went to Antioch, a city in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.
15 After the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets were read, the leaders of the synagogue sent a message to Paul and Barnabas: "Brothers, if you have any message that will encourage the people, please speak."
16 Paul stood up, raised his hand, and said, "You Israelites and you who worship God, please listen!
17 The God of the Israelites chose our ancestors. He made the people great during the time they lived in Egypt, and he brought them out of that country with great power.
18 And he was patient with them for forty years in the desert.
19 God destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave the land to his people.
20 All this happened in about four hundred fifty years. "After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
21 Then the people asked for a king, so God gave them Saul son of Kish. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin and was king for forty years.
22 After God took him away, God made David their king. God said about him: 'I have found in David son of Jesse the kind of man I want. He will do all I want him to do.'
23 So God has brought Jesus, one of David's descendants, to Israel to be its Savior, as he promised.
24 Before Jesus came, Johnn preached to all the people of Israel about a baptism of changed hearts and lives.
25 When he was finishing his work, he said, 'Who do you think I am? I am not the Christ. He is coming later, and I am not worthy to untie his sandals.'
26 "Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those of you who are not Jews who worship God, listen! The news about this salvation has been sent to us.
27 Those who live in Jerusalem and their leaders did not realize that Jesus was the Savior. They did not understand the words that the prophets wrote, which are read every Sabbath day. But they made them come true when they said Jesus was guilty.
28 They could not find any real reason for Jesus to be put to death, but they asked Pilate to have him killed.
29 When they had done to him all that the Scriptures had said, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb.
30 But God raised him up from the dead!
31 After this, for many days, those who had gone with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem saw him. They are now his witnesses to the people.
32 We tell you the Good News about the promise God made to our ancestors.
33 God has made this promise come true for us, his children, by raising Jesus from the dead. We read about this also in Psalm 'You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.'
34 God raised Jesus from the dead, and he will never go back to the grave and become dust. So God said: 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings that I promised to David.'
35 But in another place God says: 'You will not let your Holy One rot.'
36 David did God's will during his lifetime. Then he died and was buried beside his ancestors, and his body did rot in the grave.
37 But the One God raised from the dead did not rot in the grave.
39 Brothers, understand what we are telling you: You can have forgiveness of your sins through Jesus. The law of Moses could not free you from your sins. But through Jesus everyone who believes is free from all sins.
40 Be careful! Don't let what the prophets said happen to you:
41 'Listen, you people who doubt! You can wonder, and then die. I will do something in your lifetime that you won't believe even when you are told about it!'"
42 While Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people asked them to tell them more about these things on the next Sabbath.
43 When the meeting was over, many Jews and those who had changed to the Jewish religion and who worshiped God followed Paul and Barnabas from that place. Paul and Barnabas were persuading them to continue trusting in God's grace.
44 On the next Sabbath day, almost everyone in the city came to hear the word of the Lord.
45 Seeing the crowd, the Jewish people became very jealous and said insulting things and argued against what Paul said.
46 But Paul and Barnabas spoke very boldly, saying, "We must speak the message of God to you first. But you refuse to listen. You are judging yourselves not worthy of having eternal life! So we will now go to the people of other nations.
47 This is what the Lord told us to do, saying: 'I have made you a light for the nations; you will show people all over the world the way to be saved.'"
48 When those who were not Jewish heard Paul say this, they were happy and gave honor to the message of the Lord. And the people who were chosen to have life forever believed the message.
49 So the message of the Lord was spreading through the whole country.
50 But the Jewish people stirred up some of the important religious women and the leaders of the city. They started trouble against Paul and Barnabas and forced them out of their area.
51 So Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feetn and went to Iconium.
52 But the followers were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.