15:1Now some people came down from Judea, who were teaching the brothers and sisters that “If you are not circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”15:2And there was a big dispute going on among them as Paul and Barnabas arrived. So those two and some others were sent to Jerusalem to see the Ambassadors and elders in Jerusalem about this matter.
15:3Having been sent out by the Congregation, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, and as they went along they described in great detail how the non-Judeans were being converted. This made all the believers very happy.15:4When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the Congregation, the Ambassadors, and the elders, and they gave detailed reports of all that God had done through them.15:5But some from the Pharisee sect who had come to faith stood up and insisted that the non-Judeans were to be circumcised, and to keep the whole law of Moses.
15:6So the Ambassadors and elders convened a meeting to resolve the matter.15:7After much discussion Peter stood up and addressed them: “Folks, fellow believers, you are well aware that early in the beginning God chose me from among you to speak to the non-Judeans and tell them the Word of the Gospel so they could believe.15:8And God, the one who knows people’s hearts, testified on their behalf by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.15:9He did not draw any distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.15:10So why are you now provoking God by putting on their necks a harness that neither we nor our ancestors could bear?15:11No, it is through the favor of Master Jesus that we believe and are saved, the same way they are.”
15:12The entire crowd listened in silence as Barnabas and Paul then gave their account of all the signs and miracles God did among the non-Judeans through them.15:13When they were done, James responded: “Folks, fellow believers, hear me!15:14Simon informed us about how God first visited the non-Judeans, to obtain a people belonging to him.15:15This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written:
15:16“‘After this I will turn back and rebuild David’s fallen sanctuary; I will rebuild and restore its ruins15:17so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Master— all the nations who call on my name’, says the Master who does all of this,15:18whose work he had known before the ages.”
15:19“Therefore, it is my judgment that we should not harass the non-Judeans who are turning toward God.15:20Instead, let us write a letter to them, saying that they should abstain from ceremonial pollution with idols, with promiscuity, and with any animal that has been strangled or still has its blood.15:21For the laws of Moses have been proclaimed from ancient times in every city, and they are read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
15:22Then the Ambassadors and elders, along with the whole Congregation, thought it best to choose men from among them to go to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas: Judas (also called Bar-Sabbas), and Silas, leading men from among the believers.15:23Here is the text of the letter:
“From the Ambassadors, elders, and fellow believers,
“To the non-Judean fellow believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
15:24“It has come to our attention that some people came without our sanction and disturbed you with unsettling words that troubled your souls.15:25So after we reached an agreement about this, we thought it best to choose men to send to you, along with our dear Barnabas and Paul—15:26people who have dedicated their lives for the sake of the name of our Master Jesus the Anointed.
15:27“We have therefore commissioned Judas and Silas to give this report verbally as well.15:28It was the conclusion of the Holy Spirit and us to put no heavier burden upon you except these essentials:15:29to abstain from idol sacrifices, from animals that were strangled or still have their blood, and from promiscuity. You will do well to carefully observe these requirements.
15:30After they were sent on their way, they came down to Antioch and called everyone to a meeting. They handed over the letter,15:31and after it was read they were all very happy and relieved.15:32Then Judas and Silas, who were both prophets, spoke many words to comfort and strengthen the believers.15:33And after spending some time, the believers send them back in peace to those who had commissioned them.15:3415:35Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch with many others to teach and spread the Gospel of the Word of the Master.
15:36Now after some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, “We really should go back to check on the believers in all the cities where we have proclaimed the Word of the Master, to see how they’re doing.”15:37Barnabas wanted to take John (also called Mark) along,15:38but Paul saw no point in working with this one who had deserted them in Pamphylia.15:39They had such a sharp disagreement that they decided to part company. So Barnabas took Mark with him, sailing off to Cyprus,15:40while Paul chose Silas once the believers had entrusted them to the favor of the Master.
15:41Paul passed through Syria and Cilica, strengthening the Congregations.