Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'
And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.
Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.
But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.'
The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.
After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.
"And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us;
and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
"Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
"But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.'
All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, "Brethren, listen to me.
" Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.
"With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,
" AFTER THESE THINGS I will return, AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN, AND I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL RESTORE IT,
SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,'
SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO.
"Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,
but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
"For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.'
Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and BarnabasJudas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren,
and they sent this letter by them, " The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.
" Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls,
it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
" Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth.
" For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:
that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.'
So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.
When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.
Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.
After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out.
[ But it seemed good to Silas to remain there.]
But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.
After some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.'
Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also.
But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.
And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.
But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.
And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. 16
Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek,
and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.
Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.
So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia;
and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them;
and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us.'
When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis;
and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days.
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.
A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.
And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.' And she prevailed upon us.
It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.
Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, "These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.'
She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!' And it came out at that very moment.
But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities,
and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, "These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews,
and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.'
The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods.
When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;
and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;
and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened.
When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!'
And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,
and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'
They said, " Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.'
And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.
And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.
And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their policemen, saying, "Release those men.'
And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, "The chief magistrates have sent to release you. Therefore come out now and go in peace.'
But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.'
The policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans,
and they came and appealed to them, and when they had brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city.
They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed. 17