Antioch in Syria
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This suggestion pleased the whole group. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a gentile convert to Judaism from Antioch.
Now the people who were scattered by the persecution that started because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.
When he found him, he brought him to Antioch, and for a whole year they were guests of the church and taught many people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
When the church in Jerusalem heard this news, they sent Barnabas all the way to Antioch. When he arrived, he rejoiced to see what the grace of God had done, and with hearty determination he kept encouraging all of them to remain faithful to the Lord, because he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. And so a large number of people was brought to the Lord.
Then Barnabas left for Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him to Antioch, and for a whole year they were guests of the church and taught many people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. At that time some prophets from Jerusalem came down to Antioch. read more.
One of them named Agabus got up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine all over the world. This happened during the reign of Claudius. So all of the disciples decided they would send a contribution to the brothers living in Judea, as they were able, by sending it through Barnabas and Saul to the elders.
Now Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius from Cyrene, Manaen, who grew up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul were prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set Barnabas and Saul apart for me to do the work for which I called them." Then they fasted and prayed, laid their hands on them, and let them go. read more.
After they had been sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus.
Both Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch to teach and proclaim the word of the Lord, as did many others. A few days later, Paul told Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they're doing." Barnabas wanted to take along John, who was called Mark, read more.
but Paul did not think it was right to take along the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and who had not gone with them into the work. The disagreement was so sharp that they parted ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, while Paul chose Silas and left after the brothers had entrusted him to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia and strengthened the churches.
From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been entrusted to the grace of God for the work they had completed. When they arrived, they called the church together and told them everything that God had done with them and how he had opened a door so that gentiles would believe. Then they spent a long time with the disciples.
Then some men came down from Judea and started to teach the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the Law of Moses, you can't be saved." Paul and Barnabas had quite a dispute and argument with them. So Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles and elders about this question. They were sent on their way by the church, and as they were going through Phoenicia and Samaria they told of the conversion of the gentiles and brought great joy to all the brothers. read more.
When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported everything that God had done through them.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly wrong. Until some men arrived from James, he was in the habit of eating with the gentiles, but after those men came, he withdrew from the gentiles and would not associate with them any longer, because he was afraid of the circumcision party. The other Jews also joined him in this hypocritical behavior, to the extent that even Barnabas was caught up in their hypocrisy. read more.
But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas in front of everyone, "Though you are a Jew, you have been living like a gentile and not like a Jew. So how can you insist that the gentiles must live like Jews?" We ourselves are Jews by birth, and not gentile sinners, yet we know that a person is not justified by doing what the Law requires, but rather by the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. We, too, have believed in the Messiah Jesus so that we might be justified by the faithfulness of the Messiah and not by doing what the Law requires, for no human being will be justified by doing what the Law requires. Now if we, while trying to be justified by the Messiah, have been found to be sinners, does that mean that the Messiah is serving the interests of sin? Of course not! For if I rebuild something that I tore down, I demonstrate that I am a wrongdoer. For through the Law I died to the Law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with the Messiah. I no longer live, but the Messiah lives in me, and the life that I am now living in this body I live by the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not misapply God's grace, for if righteousness comes about by doing what the Law requires, then the Messiah died for nothing.