|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:7-21 We see from the words purifying their hearts by faith, and the address of St. Peter, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, cannot be separated; and that both are the gift of God. We have great cause to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves, and attests by the seal of the Holy Spirit. Then our hearts and consciences will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from the burdens some try to lay upon the disciples of Christ. Paul and Barnabas showed by plain matters of fact, that God owned the preaching of the pure gospel to the Gentiles without the law of Moses; therefore to press that law upon them, was to undo what God had done. The opinion of James was, that the Gentile converts ought not to be troubled about Jewish rites, but that they should abstain from meats offered to idols, so that they might show their hatred of idolatry. Also, that they should be cautioned against fornication, which was not abhorred by the Gentiles as it should be, and even formed a part of some of their rites. They were counselled to abstain from things strangled, and from eating blood; this was forbidden by the law of Moses, and also here, from reverence to the blood of the sacrifices, which being then still offered, it would needlessly grieve the Jewish converts, and further prejudice the unconverted Jews. But as the reason has long ceased, we are left free in this, as in the like matters. Let converts be warned to avoid all appearances of the evils which they formerly practised, or are likely to be tempted to; and caution them to use Christian liberty with moderation and prudence.
Verse 19. - Judgment for sentence, A.V. (ἐγὼ κρίνω); turn for are turned, A.V. (ἐπιστρέφουσιν Judgment. Sentence is the best word, as expressing the decisive judgment of St. James, which, being delivered with the authority of his office at the close of the debate, carried with it the suffrages of the whole council. The things decreed by them were called Τὰ δόγματα τὰ κεκρίμενα ὑπὸ σῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων Turn. It applies to those that should hereafter turn as well as to those who were already turned.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore my sentence is,.... Opinion or judgment in this case, or what he reckoned most advisable to be done; for he did not impose his sense upon the whole body, but proposed it to them:
that we trouble not them; by obliging them to be circumcised, which would have been very afflicting and disturbing to them; not only because of the corporeal pain produced by circumcision, but because of the bondage their minds would be brought into, and they become subject to the whole law, and all its burdensome rites and ceremonies:
which from among the Gentiles are turned to God; the one true and living God, Father, Son, and Spirit, and from idols, and the worshipping of them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. Wherefore, my sentence—or "judgment."
is, that we trouble not—with Jewish obligations.
them which from among the Gentiles are turned to God—rather, "are turning." The work is regarded as in progress, and indeed was rapidly advancing.
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