Bible: Acts 13-15

The Church at Antioch Commissions Barnabas and Saul

13:1 Now there were these prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch: 1  Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, 2  Lucius the Cyrenian, 3  Manaen (a close friend of Herod 4  the tetrarch 5  from childhood 6 ) and Saul. 13:2 While they were serving 7  the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart 8  for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 13:3 Then, after they had fasted 9  and 10  prayed and placed their hands 11  on them, they sent them off.

Paul and Barnabas Preach in Cyprus

13:4 So Barnabas and Saul, 12  sent out by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia, 13  and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 14  13:5 When 15  they arrived 16  in Salamis, 17  they began to proclaim 18  the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. 19  (Now they also had John 20  as their assistant.) 21  13:6 When they had crossed over 22  the whole island as far as Paphos, 23  they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 24  13:7 who was with the proconsul 25  Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. The proconsul 26  summoned 27  Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear 28  the word of God. 13:8 But the magician Elymas 29  (for that is the way his name is translated) 30  opposed them, trying to turn the proconsul 31  away from the faith. 13:9 But Saul (also known as Paul), 32  filled with the Holy Spirit, 33  stared straight 34  at him 13:10 and said, “You who are full of all deceit and all wrongdoing, 35  you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness – will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 36  13:11 Now 37  look, the hand of the Lord is against 38  you, and you will be blind, unable to see the sun for a time!” Immediately mistiness 39  and darkness came over 40  him, and he went around seeking people 41  to lead him by the hand. 13:12 Then when the proconsul 42  saw what had happened, he believed, 43  because he was greatly astounded 44  at the teaching about 45  the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas at Pisidian Antioch

13:13 Then Paul and his companions put out to sea 46  from Paphos 47  and came to Perga 48  in Pamphylia, 49  but John 50  left them and returned to Jerusalem. 51  13:14 Moving on from 52  Perga, 53  they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, 54  and on the Sabbath day they went into 55  the synagogue 56  and sat down. 13:15 After the reading from the law and the prophets, 57  the leaders of the synagogue 58  sent them a message, 59  saying, “Brothers, 60  if you have any message 61  of exhortation 62  for the people, speak it.” 63  13:16 So Paul stood up, 64  gestured 65  with his hand and said,

Men of Israel, 66  and you Gentiles who fear God, 67  listen: 13:17 The God of this people Israel 68  chose our ancestors 69  and made the people great 70  during their stay as foreigners 71  in the country 72  of Egypt, and with uplifted arm 73  he led them out of it. 13:18 For 74  a period of about forty years he put up with 75  them in the wilderness. 76  13:19 After 77  he had destroyed 78  seven nations 79  in the land of Canaan, he gave his people their land as an inheritance. 80  13:20 All this took 81  about four hundred fifty years. After this 82  he gave them judges until the time of 83  Samuel the prophet. 13:21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled 84  forty years. 13:22 After removing him, God 85  raised up 86  David their king. He testified about him: 87 I have found David 88  the son of Jesse to be a man after my heart, 89  who will accomplish everything I want him to do.’ 90  13:23 From the descendants 91  of this man 92  God brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, just as he promised. 93  13:24 Before 94  Jesus 95  arrived, John 96  had proclaimed a baptism for repentance 97  to all the people of Israel. 13:25 But while John was completing his mission, 98  he said repeatedly, 99 What do you think I am? I am not he. But look, one is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie the sandals on his feet!’ 100  13:26 Brothers, 101  descendants 102  of Abraham’s family, 103  and those Gentiles among you who fear God, 104  the message 105  of this salvation has been sent to us. 13:27 For the people who live in Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize 106  him, 107  and they fulfilled the sayings 108  of the prophets that are read every Sabbath by condemning 109  him. 110  13:28 Though 111  they found 112  no basis 113  for a death sentence, 114  they asked Pilate to have him executed. 13:29 When they had accomplished 115  everything that was written 116  about him, they took him down 117  from the cross 118  and placed him 119  in a tomb. 13:30 But God raised 120  him from the dead, 13:31 and 121  for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied 122  him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These 123  are now his witnesses to the people. 13:32 And we proclaim to you the good news about the promise to our ancestors, 124  13:33 that this promise 125  God has fulfilled to us, their children, by raising 126  Jesus, as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son; 127  today I have fathered you.’ 128  13:34 But regarding the fact that he has raised Jesus 129  from the dead, never 130  again to be 131  in a state of decay, God 132  has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you 133  the holy and trustworthy promises 134  made to David.’ 135  13:35 Therefore he also says in another psalm, 136 You will not permit your Holy One 137  to experience 138  decay.’ 139  13:36 For David, after he had served 140  God’s purpose in his own generation, died, 141  was buried with his ancestors, 142  and experienced 143  decay, 13:37 but the one 144  whom God raised up did not experience 145  decay. 13:38 Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through this one 146  forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 13:39 and by this one 147  everyone who believes is justified 148  from everything from which the law of Moses could not justify 149  you. 150  13:40 Watch out, 151  then, that what is spoken about by 152  the prophets does not happen to you:

13:41Look, you scoffers; be amazed and perish! 153 

For I am doing a work in your days,

a work you would never believe, even if someone tells you.’ 154 

13:42 As Paul and Barnabas 155  were going out, 156  the people 157  were urging 158  them to speak about these things 159  on the next Sabbath. 13:43 When the meeting of the synagogue 160  had broken up, 161  many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes 162  followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and were persuading 163  them 164  to continue 165  in the grace of God.

13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord. 166  13:45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, 167  and they began to contradict 168  what Paul was saying 169  by reviling him. 170  13:46 Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, 171 It was necessary to speak the word of God 172  to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy 173  of eternal life, we 174  are turning to the Gentiles. 175  13:47 For this 176  is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed 177  you to be a light 178  for the Gentiles, to bring salvation 179  to the ends of the earth. 180  13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice 181  and praise 182  the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life 183  believed. 13:49 So the word of the Lord was spreading 184  through the entire region. 13:50 But the Jews incited 185  the God-fearing women of high social standing and the prominent men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out 186  of their region. 13:51 So after they shook 187  the dust off their feet 188  in protest against them, they went to Iconium. 189  13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy 190  and with the Holy Spirit.

Paul and Barnabas at Iconium

14:1 The same thing happened in Iconium 191  when Paul and Barnabas 192  went into the Jewish synagogue 193  and spoke in such a way that a large group 194  of both Jews and Greeks believed. 14:2 But the Jews who refused to believe 195  stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds 196  against the brothers. 14:3 So they stayed there 197  for a considerable time, speaking out courageously for the Lord, who testified 198  to the message 199  of his grace, granting miraculous signs 200  and wonders to be performed through their hands. 14:4 But the population 201  of the city was divided; some 202  sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 14:5 When both the Gentiles and the Jews (together with their rulers) made 203  an attempt to mistreat 204  them and stone them, 205  14:6 Paul and Barnabas 206  learned about it 207  and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra 208  and Derbe 209  and the surrounding region. 14:7 There 210  they continued to proclaim 211  the good news.

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

14:8 In 212  Lystra 213  sat a man who could not use his feet, 214  lame from birth, 215  who had never walked. 14:9 This man was listening to Paul as he was speaking. When Paul 216  stared 217  intently at him and saw he had faith to be healed, 14:10 he said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” 218  And the man 219  leaped up and began walking. 220  14:11 So when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted 221  in the Lycaonian language, 222 The gods have come down to us in human form! 223  14:12 They began to call 224  Barnabas Zeus 225  and Paul Hermes, 226  because he was the chief speaker. 14:13 The priest of the temple 227  of Zeus, 228  located just outside the city, brought bulls 229  and garlands 230  to the city gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices to them. 231  14:14 But when the apostles 232  Barnabas and Paul heard about 233  it, they tore 234  their clothes and rushed out 235  into the crowd, shouting, 236  14:15 Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures 237  just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn 238  from these worthless 239  things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, 240  the sea, and everything that is in them. 14:16 In 241  past 242  generations he allowed all the nations 243  to go their own ways, 14:17 yet he did not leave himself without a witness by doing good, 244  by giving you rain from heaven 245  and fruitful seasons, satisfying you 246  with food and your hearts with joy.” 247  14:18 Even by saying 248  these things, they scarcely persuaded 249  the crowds not to offer sacrifice to them.

14:19 But Jews came from Antioch 250  and Iconium, 251  and after winning 252  the crowds over, they stoned 253  Paul and dragged him out of the city, presuming him to be dead. 14:20 But after the disciples had surrounded him, he got up and went back 254  into the city. On 255  the next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. 256 

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria

14:21 After they had proclaimed the good news in that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, 257  to Iconium, 258  and to Antioch. 259  14:22 They strengthened 260  the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue 261  in the faith, saying, “We must enter the kingdom 262  of God through many persecutions.” 263  14:23 When they had appointed elders 264  for them in the various churches, 265  with prayer and fasting 266  they entrusted them to the protection 267  of the Lord in whom they had believed. 14:24 Then they passed through 268  Pisidia and came into Pamphylia, 269  14:25 and when they had spoken the word 270  in Perga, 271  they went down to Attalia. 272  14:26 From there they sailed back to Antioch, 273  where they had been commended 274  to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 275  14:27 When they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported 276  all the things God 277  had done with them, and that he had opened a door 278  of faith for the Gentiles. 14:28 So they spent 279  considerable 280  time with the disciples.

The Jerusalem Council

15:1 Now some men came down from Judea 281  and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised 282  according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 15:2 When Paul and Barnabas had a major argument and debate 283  with them, the church 284  appointed Paul and Barnabas and some others from among them to go up to meet with 285  the apostles and elders in Jerusalem 286  about this point of disagreement. 287  15:3 So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia 288  and Samaria, they were relating at length 289  the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy 290  to all the brothers. 15:4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received 291  by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported 292  all the things God had done with them. 293  15:5 But some from the religious party of the Pharisees 294  who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary 295  to circumcise the Gentiles 296  and to order them to observe 297  the law of Moses.”

15:6 Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate 298  about this matter. 15:7 After there had been much debate, 299  Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that some time ago 300  God chose 301  me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message 302  of the gospel 303  and believe. 304  15:8 And God, who knows the heart, 305  has testified 306  to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 307  15:9 and he made no distinction 308  between them and us, cleansing 309  their hearts by faith. 15:10 So now why are you putting God to the test 310  by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke 311  that neither our ancestors 312  nor we have been able to bear? 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through 313  the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are.” 314 

15:12 The whole group kept quiet 315  and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs 316  and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 15:13 After they stopped speaking, 317  James replied, 318 Brothers, listen to me. 15:14 Simeon 319  has explained 320  how God first concerned himself 321  to select 322  from among the Gentiles 323  a people for his name. 15:15 The 324  words of the prophets agree 325  with this, as it is written,

15:16After this 326  I 327  will return,

and I will rebuild the fallen tent 328  of David;

I will rebuild its ruins and restore 329  it,

15:17 so that the rest of humanity 330  may seek the Lord,

namely, 331  all the Gentiles 332  I have called to be my own,’ 333  says the Lord, 334  who makes these things 15:18 known 335  from long ago. 336 

15:19Therefore I conclude 337  that we should not cause extra difficulty 338  for those among the Gentiles 339  who are turning to God, 15:20 but that we should write them a letter 340  telling them to abstain 341  from things defiled 342  by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled 343  and from blood. 15:21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, 344  because he is read aloud 345  in the synagogues 346  every Sabbath.”

15:22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided 347  to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas, 348  leaders among the brothers, to Antioch 349  with Paul and Barnabas. 15:23 They sent this letter with them: 350 

From the apostles 351  and elders, your brothers, 352  to the Gentile brothers and sisters 353  in Antioch, 354  Syria, 355  and Cilicia, greetings! 15:24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused 356  you, upsetting 357  your minds 358  by what they said, 359  15:25 we have unanimously 360  decided 361  to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 who 362  have risked their lives 363  for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 364  15:27 Therefore we are sending 365  Judas and Silas 366  who will tell you these things themselves in person. 367  15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us 368  not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 369  15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols 370  and from blood and from what has been strangled 371  and from sexual immorality. 372  If you keep yourselves from doing these things, 373  you will do well. Farewell. 374 

15:30 So when they were dismissed, 375  they went down to Antioch, 376  and after gathering the entire group 377  together, they delivered the letter. 15:31 When they read it aloud, 378  the people 379  rejoiced at its encouragement. 380  15:32 Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech. 381  15:33 After 382  they had spent some time there, 383  they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 15:34 [[EMPTY]] 384  15:35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, 385  teaching and proclaiming (along with many others) 386  the word of the Lord. 387 

Paul and Barnabas Part Company

15:36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return 388  and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord 389  to see how they are doing.” 390  15:37 Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, 15:38 but Paul insisted 391  that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia 392  and had not accompanied them in the work. 15:39 They had 393  a sharp disagreement, 394  so that they parted company. Barnabas took along 395  Mark and sailed away to Cyprus, 396  15:40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended 397  to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters. 398  15:41 He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening 399  the churches.

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