1 But some men came down from Judea and attempted to teach the brethren, saying, "Unless you are circumcised according to Moses' custom, you cannot be saved." 2 Now when dispute and controversy sprang up between them and Paul and Barnabas, the brethren appointed Paul and Barnabas, and certain others, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 So the church saw them off on their journey, and they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria. Here they set forth the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.
4 Upon their arrival in Jerusalem they were received by the church and the apostles and elders, and they told them all things that God had done with them. 5 But certain men who had belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, but were now believers, stood up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise Gentile, and to order them to keep the Law of Moses."
6 The apostles and elders met to consider the matter; 7 and after there had been a long discussion, Peter rose and said: "Brothers, you know how a good while ago God made choice among you, that from my lips the Gentiles were to hear the message of the gospel and believe. 8 "And God, who knows the hearts of all, gave this testimony in their behalf, by bestowing upon them the Holy Spirit just as he did upon us; 9 "and he made no distinction between us and them, in cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 "Now then, why are you tempting God by laying on the necks of these disciples a yoke which neither our forefathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 "On the contrary we believe that it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we and they shall be saved."
12 Then the whole assembly remained silent, and listened to Barnabas and Saul as they told the signs and wonders which God had wrought among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they had finished speaking, James said: 14 "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God first looked graciously upon the Gentiles, to take out from among them a people to be called by his name. 15 "And this is in harmony with the language of the prophets, which says.
16 "After these things I will return, And I will rebuild David's fallen tent; And I will build again its ruins, And I will set it up; 17 "So that the rest of men may seek after the Lord, Even all the Gentiles, who are called by my name, 18 "Says the Lord, who has been making this known from the beginning of the world.
19 "My judgment therefore, is against troubling those who turn to God from among the Gentiles; 20 "but that we should write to them to abstain from the pollution of idols and from fornication, from meat killed by strangling, and from blood. 21 "For Moses from the earliest times has had his preachers in every town where he is read aloud, Sabbath after Sabbath, in the synagogues."
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, to select some of their number, and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The men chosen were Judas called Bar-Sabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. 23 They took with them the following letter. "The apostles and older brothers send greeting to the Gentile Brotherhood throughout Antioch and Syria and Cilicia;
24 "as we have heard that some of your number who went out from us have troubled you with words and upset your souls, without having received any such instruction from us; 25 "we have unanimously decided to select certain men, and to send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul; 26 "men who have risked their very lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 "So we have sent Judas and Silas to tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 "For it has seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 "that you abstain from food that has been sacrificed to idols, and from tasting blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication. Keep yourselves clear from these things and it will be well with you. Farewell."
30 So they, when they had been dispatched, went down to Antioch, and after gathering the whole multitude together, they handed them the letter, 31 and when they had read it they rejoiced at the comfort it brought. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many a good counsel. 33 After spending some time there the brothers let them go with a greeting of peace to those who had sent them. 34 Silas, however, stayed with them. 35 Paul and Barnabas also stayed in Antioch teaching and proclaiming the word of the Lord, in company with others.
36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let is go back and visit the brothers in every city in which we have proclaimed the word of the Lord. Let us see how they fare." 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John, who was called Mark. 38 But Paul thought it unwise to take with them one who had deserted them to the Pamphylia, and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 So there arose a sharp irritation, so that they parted company; Barnabas taking Mark with him, sailed away to Cyprus; 40 while Paul chose Silas, and set forth commended by the brothers to the grace of God. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.