1 Some people came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised in accordance with the custom that Moses handed down, you cannot be saved." 2 So, as a dire disturbance and a serious discussion had been created between Paul and Barnabas and them, they decided that Paul and Barnabas and some others from their number should go up to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles and elders about this question. 3 So they were endorsed and sent on by the church, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told of the conversion of the heathen and brought great rejoicing to all the brothers.
4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported what God had done through them as instruments. 5 But some members of the Pharisaic party, who had become believers, arose and said that such converts must be circumcised and told to keep the law of Moses.
6 Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 7 After a lengthy discussion Peter got up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God chose among you that through me the heathen should hear the message of the good news and believe it. 8 And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, 9 and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Then why do you now try to test God by putting on these disciples' necks a yoke which neither our forefathers nor we could bear? 11 In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."
12 By this he quieted the whole congregation, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul tell of the signs and wonders which God had done through them among the heathen. 13 When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. 14 Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. 15 The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written:
16 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, 17 So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, 18 who has been making this known from ages past.'
19 So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 20 but we should write them to abstain from everything that is contaminated by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from tasting blood. 21 For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues."
22 Then the apostles and elders in cooperation with the whole church passed a resolution to select and send some men of their number with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch. These were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers. 23 They sent this letter by them: "The apostles and elders as brothers send greeting to the brothers from among the heathen in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.
24 As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, 25 we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. 28 For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 29 that you abstain from everything that is offered to idols, from tasting blood, from the meat of animals that have been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves free from these things, you will prosper. Good-by."
30 So the messengers were sent out, and they went down to Antioch, called a meeting of the congregation, and delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they were delighted with the encouragement it brought them. 32 Now Judas and Silas, as they were prophets themselves, in a lengthy talk encouraged and strengthened the brothers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent back with a greeting to those who sent them. 34 Omitted Text. 35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed on at Antioch, and with many others continued to teach the Lord's message and to tell the good news.
36 Some days after this Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in every town where we preached the Lord's message, to see how they are." 37 But Barnabas persisted in wanting to take along John who was called Mark. 38 Paul, however, did not consider such a man fit to take along with them, the man who deserted them in Pamphylia and did not go on with them to the work. 39 The disagreement was so sharp that they separated, and Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus. 40 But Paul selected Silas and set out, after the brothers had committed him to the favor of the Lord. 41 He journeyed on through Syria and Cilicia and continued to strengthen the churches.