1. Then some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, 'Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.'
2. This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the question with the apostles and elders.
3. The members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the gentiles had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by all the brothers.
4. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done through them.
5. But certain members of the Pharisees' party who had become believers objected, insisting that gentiles should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses.
6. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter,
7. and after a long discussion, Peter stood up and addressed them. 'My brothers,' he said, 'you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the gentiles were to learn the good news from me and so become believers.
8. And God, who can read everyone's heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us.
9. God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith.
10. Why do you put God to the test now by imposing on the disciples the very burden that neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were strong enough to support?
11. But we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.'
12. The entire assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the gentiles.
13. When they had finished it was James who spoke. 'My brothers,' he said, 'listen to me.
14. Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the gentiles.
15. This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:
16. After that I shall return and rebuild the fallen hut of David; I shall make good the gaps in it and restore it.
17. Then the rest of humanity, and of all the nations once called mine, will look for the Lord, says the Lord who made this
18. known so long ago.
19. 'My verdict is, then, that instead of making things more difficult for gentiles who turn to God,
20. we should send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from illicit marriages, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
21. For Moses has always had his preachers in every town and is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.'
22. Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose delegates from among themselves to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas, known as Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood,
23. and gave them this letter to take with them: 'The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of gentile birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia.
24. We hear that some people coming from here, but acting without any authority from ourselves, have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds;
25. and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26. who have committed their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written.
28. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to impose on you any burden beyond these essentials:
29. you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from illicit marriages. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.'
30. The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter.
31. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.
32. Judas and Silas, being themselves prophets, spoke for a long time, encouraging and strengthening the brothers.
33. These two spent some time there, and then the brothers wished them peace andwent back to those who had sent them.
35. Paul and Barnabas, however, stayed on in Antioch, and there with many others they taught and proclaimed the good news, the word of the Lord.
36. On a later occasion Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord, so that we can see how they are doing.'
37. Barnabas suggested taking John Mark,
38. but Paul was not in favour of taking along the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had refused to share in their work.
39. There was sharp disagreement so that they parted company, and Barnabas sailed off with Mark to Cyprus.
40. Before Paul left, he chose Silas to accompany him and was commended by the brothers to the grace of God.
41. He travelled through Syria and Cilicia, consolidating the churches.