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ESV — Acts 15

The Jerusalem Council

15 yBut some men came down from Judea and were teaching zthe brothers, “Unless you are acircumcised baccording to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and cdebate with them, Paul and Barnabas and dsome of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to ethe apostles and the elders about this question. So, fbeing sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, gdescribing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and hbrought great joy to all ithe brothers.1 jWhen they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and kthe apostles and the elders, and gthey declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to lthe party of the Pharisees rose up and said, m“It is necessary nto circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

oThe kapostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much pdebate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, qthat by my mouth the Gentiles should hear rthe word of sthe gospel and believe. And God, twho knows the heart, ubore witness to them, vby giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and whe made no distinction between us and them, xhaving cleansed their hearts yby faith. 10 Now, therefore, why zare you putting God to the test aby placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples bthat neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we cbelieve that we will be dsaved through ethe grace of the Lord Jesus, wjust as they will.”

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul fas they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, gJames replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 hSimeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them ia people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16  j“‘After this I will return,

and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;

I will rebuild its ruins,

and I will restore it,

17  that the remnant2 of mankind kmay seek the Lord,

and all the Gentiles lwho are called by my name,

says the Lord, who makes these things 18 mknown from of old.’

19 Therefore nmy judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who oturn to God, 20 but should write to them pto abstain from qthe things polluted by idols, and from rsexual immorality, and from swhat has been strangled, and from sblood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, tfor he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

The Council's Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then it seemed good to uthe apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called vBarsabbas, and wSilas, leading men among xthe brothers, 23 with the following letter: x“The brothers, both uthe apostles and the elders, to the brothers3 who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, ygreetings. 24 Since we have heard that zsome persons have gone out from us and atroubled you4 with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come bto one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our cbeloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 dmen who have erisked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent fJudas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good gto the Holy Spirit and hto us ito lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 jthat you abstain from kwhat has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves lprophets, encouraged and mstrengthened nthe brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off oin peace by nthe brothers to those who had sent them.5 35 But pPaul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit nthe brothers qin every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them rJohn called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one swho had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose ta sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. uBarnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, vhaving been commended by wthe brothers to xthe grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, ystrengthening the churches.

Footnotes

[1] 15:3 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 22
[2] 15:17 Or rest
[3] 15:23 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 32, 33, 36
[4] 15:24 Some manuscripts some persons from us have troubled you
[5] 15:33 Some manuscripts insert verse 34: But it seemed good to Silas to remain there