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Acts 15 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

The Meeting at Jerusalem

15 Then some men came to Antioch from Judea and began teaching the non-Jewish believers: “You cannot be saved if you are not circumcised as Moses taught us.” Paul and Barnabas were against this teaching and argued with these men about it. So the group decided to send Paul, Barnabas, and some others to Jerusalem to talk more about this with the apostles and elders.

The church helped them get ready to leave on their trip. The men went through the countries of Phoenicia and Samaria, where they told all about how the non-Jewish people had turned to the true God. This made all the believers very happy. When the men arrived in Jerusalem, the apostles, the elders, and the whole church welcomed them. Paul, Barnabas, and the others told about all that God had done with them. Some of the believers in Jerusalem had belonged to the Pharisees. They stood up and said, “The non-Jewish believers must be circumcised. We must tell them to obey the Law of Moses!”

Then the apostles and the elders gathered to study this problem. After a long debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “My brothers, I am sure you remember what happened in the early days. God chose me from among you to tell the Good News to those who are not Jewish. It was from me that they heard the Good News and believed. God knows everyone, even their thoughts, and he accepted these non-Jewish people. He showed this to us by giving them the Holy Spirit the same as he did to us. To God, those people are not different from us. When they believed, God made their hearts pure. 10 So now, why are you putting a heavy burden[a] around the necks of the non-Jewish followers of Jesus? Are you trying to make God angry? We and our fathers were not able to carry that burden. 11 No, we believe that we and these people will be saved the same way—by the grace of the Lord Jesus.”

12 Then the whole group became quiet. They listened while Paul and Barnabas told about all the miraculous signs and wonders that God had done through them among the non-Jewish people. 13 When they finished speaking, James said, “My brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon Peter has told us how God showed his love for the non-Jewish people. For the first time, God accepted them and made them his people. 15 The words of the prophets agree with this too:

16 ‘I will return after this.
    I will build David’s house again.
    It has fallen down.
I will build again the parts of his house that have been pulled down.
    I will make his house new.
17 Then the rest of the world will look for the Lord God—
    all those of other nations who are my people too.
The Lord said this.
    And he is the one who does all these things.’

18 ‘All this has been known from the beginning of time.’[b]

19 “So I think we should not make things hard for those who have turned to God from among the non-Jewish people. 20 Instead, we should send a letter telling them only the things they should not do:

Don’t eat food that has been given to idols. This makes the food unclean.

Don’t be involved in sexual sin.

Don’t eat meat from animals that have been strangled or any meat that still has the blood in it.

21 They should not do any of these things, because there are still men in every city who teach the Law of Moses. The words of Moses have been read in the synagogue every Sabbath day for many years.”

The Letter to the Non-Jewish Believers

22 The apostles, the elders, and the whole church wanted to send some men with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch. The group decided to choose some of their own men. They chose Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were respected by the believers. 23 The group sent the letter with these men. The letter said:

From the apostles and elders, your brothers,

To all the non-Jewish brothers in the city of Antioch and in the countries of Syria and Cilicia.

Dear Brothers:

24 We have heard that some men have come to you from our group. What they said troubled and upset you. But we did not tell them to do this. 25 We have all agreed to choose some men and send them to you. They will be with our dear friends, Barnabas and Paul. 26 Barnabas and Paul have given their lives to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we have sent Judas and Silas with them. They will tell you the same things. 28 We agree with the Holy Spirit that you should have no more burdens, except for these necessary things:

29 Don’t eat food that has been given to idols.

Don’t eat meat from animals that have been strangled or any meat that still has the blood in it.

Don’t be involved in sexual sin.

If you stay away from these, you will do well.

We say goodbye now.

30 So Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas left Jerusalem and went to Antioch. There they gathered the group of believers together and gave them the letter. 31 When the believers read it, they were happy. The letter comforted them. 32 Judas and Silas, who were also prophets, said many things to encourage the believers and make them stronger in their faith. 33 After Judas and Silas stayed there for a while, they left. They received a blessing of peace from the believers. Then they went back to those who had sent them. 34 [c]

35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught the believers and told other people the Good News about the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 A few days later, Paul said to Barnabas, “We should go back to all the towns where we told people the message of the Lord. We should visit the believers to see how they are doing.”

37 Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark with them too. 38 But on their first trip John Mark did not continue with them in the work. He had left them at Pamphylia. So Paul did not think it was a good idea to take him this time. 39 Paul and Barnabas had a big argument about this. It was so bad that they separated and went different ways. Barnabas sailed to Cyprus and took Mark with him.

40 Paul chose Silas to go with him. The believers in Antioch put Paul into the Lord’s care and sent him out. 41 Paul and Silas went through the countries of Syria and Cilicia, helping the churches grow stronger.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 15:10 burden The Jewish law. Some of the Jews tried to make the non-Jewish believers follow this law.
  2. Acts 15:18 See Isa. 45:21.
  3. Acts 15:34 Some Greek copies add verse 34: “But Silas decided to remain there.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Acts 15 New International Version (NIV)

The Council at Jerusalem

15 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

16 “‘After this I will return
    and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
    and I will restore it,
17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
    even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’[b]
18     things known from long ago.[c]

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell.

30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. [34] [d] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.

Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas

36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 15:14 Greek Simeon, a variant of Simon; that is, Peter
  2. Acts 15:17 Amos 9:11,12 (see Septuagint)
  3. Acts 15:18 Some manuscripts things’— / 18 the Lord’s work is known to him from long ago
  4. Acts 15:34 Some manuscripts include here But Silas decided to remain there.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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