In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.
When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus,
who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.
But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.
Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,
"You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?
Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun." Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.
From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.
After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak."
Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: "Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!
The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country,
he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert,
he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance.
All this took about 450 years. "After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.
After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'
"From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.
Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.
As John was completing his work, he said: `Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.'
"Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.
The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.
Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
"We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers
he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: "`You are my Son; today I have become your Father. '
The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: "`I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.'
So it is stated elsewhere: "`You will not let your Holy One see decay.'
"For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.
But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.
"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.
Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
"`Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.' "
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.
When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "`I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' "
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.
But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.
The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.
There was a plot afoot among the Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them.
But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country,
where they continued to preach the good news.
In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked.
He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed
and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!"
Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.
The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:
"Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.
In the past, he let all nations go their own way.
Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy."
Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.
But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,
strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia,
and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.
On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.