Thematic Bible




Thematic Bible



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.

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." 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. 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. read more.
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. 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. Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 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. And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 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? In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 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. When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues." 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. 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. As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 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." So the messengers were sent out, and they went down to Antioch, called a meeting of the congregation, and delivered the letter. When they had read it, they were delighted with the encouragement it brought them. Now Judas and Silas, as they were prophets themselves, in a lengthy talk encouraged and strengthened the brothers. After spending some time there, they were sent back with a greeting to those who sent them. Omitted Text. 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.


For all of you who have been baptized into union with Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no room for Jew or Greek, no room for slave or freeman, no room for male or female, for you are all one through union with Christ Jesus.

Then John answered, "Master, we saw a man driving out demons by the use of your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not belong to our followers." Jesus said to him, "Stop hindering him, for the man who is not against you is for you."

John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw a man using your name to drive out demons, and we tried to stop him, for he was not one of our followers." Jesus said, "Do not try to stop him, for there is no one who will use my name to do a mighty deed, and then be able soon to abuse me. For whoever is not against us is for us. read more.
"For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink, on the ground that you belong to Christ, I solemnly say to you, he will not fail to get his reward.

So if God had given them the same gift that He gave us when we believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to try -- and how could I if I tried -- to thwart God?" When they heard this, they had no answer to make, but gave God the glory, saying, "So God has given even the heathen the repentance that leads to life."

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." 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. 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. read more.
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. 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. Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 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. And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 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? In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 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. When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues." 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. 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. As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 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." So the messengers were sent out, and they went down to Antioch, called a meeting of the congregation, and delivered the letter. When they had read it, they were delighted with the encouragement it brought them.

Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called as an apostle, set apart to preach God's good news, which long ago He promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, about His Son, who on the physical side became a descendant of David, and on the holy, spiritual side read more.
proved to be God's Son in power by the resurrection from the dead -- I mean, Jesus Christ, our Lord, through whom we have received God's favor and a commission as an apostle in His name to urge upon all the heathen obedience inspired by faith, among whom you too as called ones belong to Jesus Christ -- to all those in Rome who are God's loved ones, called to be His people: spiritual blessing and peace be yours from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

To Greeks and to all the other nations, to cultured and to uncultured people alike, I owe a duty. So, as far as I can, I am eager to preach the good news to you at Rome, too. For I am not ashamed of the good news, for it is God's power for the salvation of everyone who trusts, of the Jew first and then of the Greek.

Because no human creature can be brought into right standing with God by observing the law. For all the law can do is to make men conscious of sin. But now God's way of giving men right standing with Himself has come to light; a way without connection with the law, and yet a way to which the law and the prophets testify. God's own way of giving men right standing with Himself is through faith in Jesus Christ. It is for everybody who has faith, for no distinction at all is made. read more.
For everybody has sinned and everybody continues to come short of God's glory, but anybody may have right standing with God as a free gift of His undeserved favor, through the ransom provided in Christ Jesus. For God once publicly offered Him in His death as a sacrifice of reconciliation through faith, to demonstrate His own justice (for in His forbearance God had passed over men's former sins); yes, to demonstrate His justice at the present time, to prove that He is right Himself, and that He considers right with Himself the man who has faith in Jesus. So where has human boasting gone? It was completely shut out. On what principle? On that of doing something? No, but on the principle of faith. For we hold that a man is brought into right standing with God by faith, that observance of the law has no connection with it. Or is He the God of Jews alone? Is He not the God of heathen peoples too? Of course, He is the God of heathen peoples too, since there is but one God, who will consider the Jews in right standing with Himself, only on condition of their faith, and the heathen peoples on the same condition. Do we then through faith make null and void the law? Not at all; instead, we confirm it.

Since we have been given right standing with God through faith, then let us continue enjoying peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have an introduction through faith into this state of God's favor, in which we safely stand; and let us continue exulting in the hope of enjoying the glorious presence of God.

For He Himself is our peace, He is the one who has made us both into one body and has broken down the barrier that kept us apart; through His human nature He has put a stop to the hostility between us, namely, the law with its commands and decrees, in order to create one new humanity out of the two parties and so make peace through union with Himself, and in one body to reconcile them both to God with His cross after He had killed the hostility through it. read more.
When He came, He brought the good news of peace for you who were far away and for you who were near;

In this new relation there is no Greek and Jew, no circumcised and uncircumcised, no barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is everything and in us all. So as God's own chosen people, consecrated and dearly loved, you must once for all clothe yourselves with tenderheartedness, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience; you must keep on forbearing one another and freely forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; just as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also do. read more.
And over all these qualities put on love, which is the tie of perfection that binds us together. Let the peace that Christ can give keep on acting as umpire in your hearts, for you were called to this state as members of one body. And practice being thankful.


"No one can refuse the use of water, can he, for these to be baptized, since they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did ourselves?"

When the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted God's message, they sent Peter and John there.

When they heard this, they had no answer to make, but gave God the glory, saying, "So God has given even the heathen the repentance that leads to life."

So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God,

To Greeks and to all the other nations, to cultured and to uncultured people alike, I owe a duty.

and because they recognized the favor God had shown me, James, Cephas, and John, the so-called pillar apostles, gave Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, with the understanding that we should go to the heathen and they to the Jews.



through His human nature He has put a stop to the hostility between us, namely, the law with its commands and decrees, in order to create one new humanity out of the two parties and so make peace through union with Himself, and in one body


These men who are trying to force you to let yourselves be circumcised simply want to make a fine outward show, only to keep you from being persecuted for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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. Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 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. read more.
And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 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? In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 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. When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues." 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. 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. As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 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."

since there is but one God, who will consider the Jews in right standing with Himself, only on condition of their faith, and the heathen peoples on the same condition.

Now does this happiness come to the Jews alone, or to the heathen peoples too? For we say, "Abraham's faith was credited to him as right standing." Under what circumstances was it credited to him as right standing? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? Not after but before he was circumcised. Afterward he received the mark of circumcision as God's seal of his right standing with Him on condition of faith which he had before he was circumcised, that he might be the forefather of all who have faith while still uncircumcised, that they might have their faith credited to them as right standing with God;

Has a man been called after he was circumcised? He must not try to change it. Has a man been called without being circumcised? He must not be circumcised. Being circumcised or not being circumcised has no value, but keeping God's commands is important.

But they did not even try to compel my companion, Titus, although he was a Greek, to be circumcised -- they did not try it even for the sake of the false brothers who had been smuggled in, who stole in to spy out the freedom we enjoy in Christ Jesus, so as to make us slaves again.

Here is what I am saying to you: If you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ can do you no good. I again insist that if any man lets himself be circumcised, he is under obligation to obey the whole law. You people, whoever you are among you, who try to get into right standing with God, through law have cut yourselves off from Christ, you have missed the way of God's favor. read more.
For we, by the Spirit, are awaiting the hoped-for blessing which our right standing with God will bring us. For in union with Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor lack of it counts for anything; but only faith that is spurred on to action by love. You were running beautifully! Who was it that cut into your way and kept you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion never came from Him who called you. A little yeast will transform the whole dough. By our union with the Lord I have confidence in you that you will take no other view of the matter. The man who is unsettling you will certainly pay the penalty for it, no matter who it turns out to be. As for me, myself, brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In such a case the hindrance done by the cross has presumably ceased!

So remember that you were once heathen in a physical sense, called the uncircumcised by those who call themselves the circumcised -- though only in a physical sense, by human hands.


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." 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. 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. read more.
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. 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. Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 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. And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 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? In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 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. When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues." 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. 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. As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 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."


Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 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. And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, read more.
and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 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? In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 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. When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues." 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. 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. As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 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."


So the disciples decided to send a contribution, each in proportion to his prosperity, to help the brothers who lived in Judea. And this they did and sent it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

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." 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. 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. read more.
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. 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. Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 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. And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 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? In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 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. When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues." 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. 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. As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 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." So the messengers were sent out, and they went down to Antioch, called a meeting of the congregation, and delivered the letter. When they had read it, they were delighted with the encouragement it brought them. Now Judas and Silas, as they were prophets themselves, in a lengthy talk encouraged and strengthened the brothers. After spending some time there, they were sent back with a greeting to those who sent them. Omitted Text. 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.



As they journeyed on from town to town, they delivered to the brothers to keep the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. So the churches through faith continued to grow in strength and to increase in numbers from day to day.


Take care of yourselves and of the whole flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, so as to continue to be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood. Because I know that after I have gone violent wolves will break in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will appear who will try, by speaking perversions of truth, to draw away the disciples after them. read more.
So ever be on your guard and always remember that for three years, night and day, I never ceased warning you one by one, and that with tears. And now I commit you to the Lord, and to the message of His favor, which is able to build you up and to give you your proper possession among all God's consecrated people.

On the next day we went with Paul to see James, and all the elders of the church came too.

Elders who do their duties well should be considered as deserving twice the salary they get especially those who keep on toiling in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You must not muzzle an ox when he is treading out the grain," and, "The workman deserves his pay." Make it a rule not to consider a charge preferred against an elder, unless it is supported by two or three witnesses.

I left you in Crete for this express purpose, to set in order the things that are lacking, and to appoint elders in each town, as I directed you -- each elder must be above reproach, have only one wife, and his children must not be liable to the charge of profligacy or disobedience. For as God's trustee a pastor must be above reproach, not stubborn or quick-tempered or addicted to strong drink or pugnacious or addicted to dishonest gain, read more.
but hospitable, a lover of goodness, sensible, upright, of pure life, self-controlled, and a man who continues to cling to the trustworthy message as he was taught it, so that he may be competent to encourage others with wholesome teaching and to convict those who oppose him.

For by it the men of old won God's approval.

Is anyone sick among you? He should call in the elders of the church, and they should pray over him, and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer that is offered in faith will save the sick man; the Lord will raise him to health, and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

So, as a joint-elder with them, a witness of the suffering borne by Christ, and a sharer of the glory that is to be uncovered, I beg the elders among you, be shepherds of the flock of God that is among you, not as though you had to but of your own free will, not from the motive of personal profit but freely, and not as domineering over those in your charge but proving yourselves models for the flock to imitate; read more.
and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the glorious crown that never fades. You younger men, on your part, must be submissive to the elders. And you must all put on the servant's apron of humility to one another, because God opposes the haughty but bestows His unmerited favor on the humble.

The Elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I truly love, and not only I but all who know the truth,

The Elder to the dearly beloved Gaius, whom I truly love.


When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: read more.
'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues."



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." 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. 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. read more.
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. 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. Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 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. And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 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? In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 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. When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues." 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. 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. As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 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."


But if it is by His unmerited favor, it is not at all conditioned on what they have done. If that were so, His favor would not be favor at all.

But when I saw that they were not living up to the truth of the good news, I said to Cephas, and that before them all, "If you are living like a heathen and not like a Jew, although you are a Jew yourself, why do you try to make the heathen live like Jews?" We ourselves are Jews by birth and not heathen sinners, and yet, because we know that a man does not come into right standing with God by doing what the law commands, but by simple trust in Christ, we too have trusted in Christ Jesus, in order to come into right standing with God by simple trust in Christ and not by doing what the law commands, because by doing what the law commands no man can come into right standing with God. read more.
Now if, in our efforts to come into right standing with God through union with Christ, we have proved ourselves to be sinners like the heathen themselves, does that make Christ a party to our sin? Of course not. For if I try to build again what I tore down, I really prove myself to be a wrongdoer. For through the law I myself have become dead to the law, so that I may live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I myself no longer live, but Christ is living in me; the life I now live as a mortal man I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I never can nullify the unmerited favor of God. For if right standing with God could come through law, then Christ died for nothing.


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." 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. 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. read more.
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. 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. Now the apostles and elders met to consider this matter. 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. And God who knows men's hearts testifies for them by giving them the Holy Spirit, as He did us, and in this way He put no difference between us and them, because He cleansed their hearts by faith. 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? In fact, we believe that it is through the favor of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 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. When they finished, James responded as follows: "Brothers, listen to me. Symeon has told how God at first graciously visited the heathen to take from among them a people to bear His name. The words of the prophets are in accord with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen dwelling; I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, So that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord, Yes, all the heathen who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has been making this known from ages past.' So I give it as my opinion, we ought not to put difficulties in the way of the heathen who turn to God, 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. For Moses from the ancient generations has had his preachers in every town, and on every sabbath has been read aloud in the synagogues." 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. 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. As we have heard that some of our number have disturbed you by their teaching, by continuing to unsettle your minds, we have passed a unanimous resolution to select and send messengers to you with our beloved brothers Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we send Judas and Silas to you, to bring you the same message by word of mouth. For the Holy Spirit and we have decided not to lay upon you any burden but these essential requirements, 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."