1 Now the apostles and the [other] brothers in Judea heard that the Gentiles had responded to the message of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those [believers] of Jewish descent began to argue with him, 3 saying, "You went in and ate with non-Jewish people, did you not?"
4 Then Peter began to explain the whole matter to them, step by step, saying, 5 "I was in the city of Joppa and [one day], while praying, I fell into a trance [i.e., a semi-conscious, vision-like state] and saw a huge sheet-like container being lowered down from the sky by its four corners. As it came into view 6 I gazed at it and wondered [about it], as I saw [it full of] four-legged [domestic] animals, wild animals, crawling [reptiles] and birds of the sky. 7 I also heard a voice telling me to get up and kill and eat [one of them].
8 But I said, 'O no, Lord, for I have never even tasted anything ordinary or [ceremonially] unfit [for Jews to eat].' 9 Then the voice spoke from the sky again, saying, 'Do not consider something [to be] ordinary that God has made acceptable.'
10 And this was done three times before it was all lifted back up into the sky. 11 "Then, just about that time, three men sent from Caesarea to get me, walked up to the house where we were [staying]. 12 The Holy Spirit directed me to go with them, without showing any discrimination. With these six brothers accompanying me, we went into Cornelius' house 13 and he told us about seeing an angel standing in his house and saying [to him] 'Send to Joppa for Simon Peter and bring him [here] 14 so he can speak words to you that will bring salvation to you and your household.'
15 "And while I was speaking, [the power of] the Holy Spirit descended on them [i.e., Cornelius' Gentile household] just like [it fell] on us [Jewish apostles] at the beginning [i.e., the day of Pentecost, See chapter 2]. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said [See 1:4-5]: 'John immersed you [people] in water but you [apostles] will be immersed in the Holy Spirit.' 17 [Therefore], if God gave to them [i.e., the Gentiles] the same gift as He gave to us [Jews] when we [apostles, See chapter 1-2] believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, how could I stand against [the will of] God [by refusing to immerse them]?'"
18 So, when the apostles and the brothers from Judea heard these things, they stopped arguing [See verse 2] and gave honor to God, saying, "[This means] that God has permitted the Gentiles also [as well as the Jews] to repent [i.e., change their hearts and lives] so they, too, could have [the promise of never ending] life."
19 Those who were scattered everywhere as a result of the persecution [being waged against the church] because of Stephen's [death], traveled as far away as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, declaring the message to Jews only. 20 But when some men from Cyprus and Cyrene came to Antioch, they preached [about] the Lord Jesus to the Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] also. 21 The power of the Lord was upon their efforts so that a large number of people who believed [the message] turned to the Lord [in faithful obedience]. 22 And the news about [what was being done by] these people reached the church in Jerusalem, so that they sent Barnabas to Antioch [in Syria]. 23 When he got there and saw how God was favoring the people [with salvation] he was very happy and [stayed on and] encouraged everyone to remain close to the Lord with a heartfelt purpose. 24 [Now] Barnabas was a good man who was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith [in the Lord], and many people were added to the [church of the] Lord. 25 Then he went on to Tarsus to look for Saul [Note: Tarsus was the home town of Saul, who was later called Paul], 26 and when he found him, he brought him [back] to Antioch. So, for an entire year Saul and Barnabas gathered the church together and taught many people. [It was] here in Antioch that the disciples were first [divinely] called Christians.
27 During those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, a man named Agabus, stood up and indicated by [the direction of] the Holy Spirit that there was going to be a severe worldwide famine, which [actually] took place during the time that Claudius ruled. 29 [In response to this prediction], the disciples decided to send as much relief as they could to help the brothers living in Judea. 30 So, they sent [what was donated] to the elders [of the Judean churches] by Barnabas and Saul.