Conflict over Circumcision
And certain men came down from Judea and
taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised
according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be
2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no
small dissension and dispute with them, they
determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain
others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the
apostles and elders, about this question.
So, being sent on their way by the church, they
passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing
the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused
great joy to all the brethren.
And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were
received by the church and the apostles and the
elders; and they reported all things that God
had done with them.
But some of the sect of the Pharisees who
believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to
circumcise them, and to command them to
keep the law of Moses.”
Now the apostles and elders came together to
consider this matter.
And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose
up and said to them: “Men and
brethren, you know that a good while ago God
chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles
should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them
by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He
did to us,
and made no distinction between us and them,
purifying their hearts by faith.
Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a
yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither
our fathers nor we were able to bear?
But we believe that through the grace of the
Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same
manner as they.”
Then all the multitude kept silent and listened
to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles
and wonders God had worked through them among
And after they had become silent, James
answered, saying, “Men and brethren,
listen to me:
Simon has declared how God at the first visited
the Gentiles to take out of them a people for
And with this the words of the prophets agree,
just as it is written:
16 ‘ After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of
David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek
Even all the Gentiles who are called by
Says the LORD who does all these
“Known to God from eternity are all His works.
Therefore I judge that we should not trouble
those from among the Gentiles who are turning to
but that we write to them to abstain from things
polluted by idols, from sexual
immorality, from things
strangled, and from blood.
For Moses has had throughout many generations
those who preach him in every city, being read
in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with
the whole church, to send chosen men of their
own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas,
namely, Judas who was also named
Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the
They wrote this, letter by them:
The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,
To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in
Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
Since we have heard that some who went out from
us have troubled you with words, unsettling your
souls, saying, “You must be circumcised
and keep the law”—to
whom we gave no such commandment—
it seemed good to us, being assembled with one
accord, to send chosen men to you with our
beloved Barnabas and Paul,
men who have risked their lives for the name of
our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will
also report the same things by word of mouth.
For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to
us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these
that you abstain from things offered to idols,
from blood, from things strangled, and from
If you keep yourselves from these, you will do
Continuing Ministry in Syria
So when they were sent off, they came to
Antioch; and when they had gathered the
multitude together, they delivered the letter.
When they had read it, they rejoiced over its
Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets
also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren
with many words.
And after they had stayed there for a
time, they were sent back with greetings from
the brethren to the apostles.
However, it seemed good to Silas to remain
Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch,
teaching and preaching the word of the Lord,
with many others also.
Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let
us now go back and visit our brethren in every
city where we have preached the word of the
Lord, and see how they are doing.”
Now Barnabas was determined to take with them
John called Mark.
But Paul insisted that they should not take with
them the one who had departed from them in
Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the
39 Then the contention became so sharp
that they parted from one another. And so
Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;
but Paul chose Silas and departed, being
commended by the brethren to the grace of God.
And he went through Syria and Cilicia,
strengthening the churches.