1 But certain individuals came down from Jerusalem and taught the brothers that "unless you get circumcised after the custom of Moses you cannot be saved." 2 As a sharp dispute and controversy sprang up between them and Paul and Barnabas, it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas, along with some others of their number, should go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and presbyters at Jerusalem about this question. 3 The church sped them on their journey, and they passed through both Phoenicia and Syria informing the brothers, to the great joy of all, that the Gentiles were turning to God.
4 On arriving at Jerusalem they were received by the church, the apostles and the presbyters, and they reported how God had been with them and what he had done. 5 But some of the believers who belonged to the Pharisaic party got up and said, "Gentiles must be circumcised and told to observe the law of Moses."
6 The apostles and the presbyters met to investigate this question, 7 and a keen controversy sprang up; but Peter rose and said to them, "Brothers, you are well aware that from the earliest days God chose that of you all I should be the one by whom the Gentiles were to hear the word of the gospel and believe it. 8 The God who reads the hearts of all attested this by giving them the holy Spirit just as he gave it to us; 9 in cleansing their hearts by faith he made not the slightest distinction between us and them. 10 Well now, why are you trying to impose a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we ourselves could bear? 11 No, it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus that we believe and are saved, in the same way as they are."
12 So the whole meeting was quieted and listened to Barnabas and Paul recounting the signs and wonders God had performed by them among the Gentiles. 13 When they had finished speaking, James spoke. "Brothers," he said, "listen to me. 14 Symeon has explained how it was God's original concern to secure a People from among the Gentiles to bear his Name. 15 This agrees with the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16 After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent, its ruins I will rebuild and erect it anew, 17 that the rest of men may seek for the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by my name, saith the Lord, 18 who makes this known from of old.
19 Hence, in my opinion, we ought not to put fresh difficulties in the way of those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but write them injunctions to abstain from whatever is contaminated by idols, from sexual vice, from the flesh of animals that have been strangled, and from tasting blood; 21 for Moses has had his preachers from the earliest ages in every town, where he is read aloud in the synagogues every sabbath."
22 Then the apostles and the presbyters, together with the whole church, decided to select some of their number and send them with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch. The men selected were Judas (called Bar-Sabbas) and Silas, prominent members of the brotherhood. 23 They conveyed the following letter. "The apostles and the presbyters of the brotherhood to the brothers who belong to the Gentiles throughout Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: greeting.
24 Having learned that some of our number, quite unauthorized by us, have unsettled you with their teaching and upset your souls, 25 we have decided unanimously to select some of our number and send them to you along with our beloved Paul and Barnabas 26 who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We therefore send Judas and Silas with the following message, which they will also give to you orally. 28 The holy Spirit and we have decided not to impose any extra burden on you, apart from these essential requirements: 29 abstain from food that has been offered to idols, from tasting blood, from the flesh of animals that have been strangled, and from sexual vice. Keep clear of all this and you will prosper. Goodbye."
30 When the messengers were despatched, they went down to Antioch and after gathering the whole body they handed them the letter. 31 On reading it the people rejoiced at the encouragement it brought; 32 and as Judas and Silas were themselves prophets, they encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many a counsel. 33 Then after some time had passed the brothers let them go with a greeting of peace to those who had sent them. 34 -- 35 Paul and Barnabas, however, stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord along with a number of others.
36 Some days later, Paul said to Barnabas, "Come and let us go back to visit the brothers in every town where we have proclaimed the word of the Lord. Let us see how they are doing." 37 But while Barnabas wanted to take John (who was called Mark) along with them, 38 Paul held they should not take a man with them who had deserted them in Pamphylia, instead of accompanying them on active service. 39 So in irritation they parted company, Barnabas taking Mark with him and sailing for Cyprus, 40 while Paul selected Silas and went off, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He made his way through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.