Acts 15:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood.

English Standard Version
but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.

New American Standard Bible
but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

King James Bible
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood.

International Standard Version
Instead, we should write to them to keep away from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from anything strangled, and from blood. 21

NET Bible
but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“But let it be sent to them that they separate from the defilement of sacrifices and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Instead, we should write a letter telling them to keep away from things polluted by false gods, from sexual sins, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from eating bloody meat.

Jubilee Bible 2000
but that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols and from fornication and from things strangled and from blood.

King James 2000 Bible
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from defilements of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

American King James Version
But that we write to them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

American Standard Version
but that we write unto them, that they abstain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But that we write unto them, that they refrain themselves from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Darby Bible Translation
but to write to them to abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood.

English Revised Version
but that we write unto them, that they abstain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood.

Webster's Bible Translation
But that we write to them that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from lewdness, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Weymouth New Testament
Yet let us send them written instructions to abstain from things polluted by connexion with idolatry, from fornication, from meat killed by strangling, and from blood.

World English Bible
but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.

Young's Literal Translation
but to write to them to abstain from the pollutions of the idols, and the whoredom, and the strangled thing; and the blood;
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 20. - The pollutions for pollutions, A.V.; what is strangled for things strangled, A.V. The pollutions. In the decree itself (ver. 29) this is explained by εἰδωλοθύτων, things offered to idols, though some apply the "pollutions" to all the things here mentioned, not the idols only. Later St. Paul somewhat enlarged the liberty of Gentile converts in respect to meats offered to idols (see 1 Corinthians 8:4-13; 1 Corinthians 10:25-28). What is strangled, etc. The things forbidden are all practices not looked upon as sins by Gentiles, but now enjoined upon them as portions of the Law of Moses which were to be binding upon them, at least for a time, with a view to their living in communion and fellowship with their Jewish brethren. The necessity for some of the prohibitions would cease when the condition of the Church as regards Jews and Gentiles was altered; others were of eternal obligation.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But that we write unto them,.... Or send an epistle to them, to this effect, concerning the following things:

that they abstain from pollutions of idols; that is, from eating things offered to idols; see Acts 15:29 for not idolatry, or the worshipping of idols itself, is here spoken of; for that was no indifferent thing; and besides, these converted Gentiles were turned from that, and there was no danger of their returning to it; but eating things sacrificed to idols was an indifferent thing; but yet inasmuch as it had a tendency to lead to idolatry, and gave offence to the Jewish believers in the churches, and was a stumbling block to weak minds, who by the example of stronger Christians, were led to eat them as sacrificed to an idol, and so their weak consciences were defiled, therefore it was very proper to abstain from them;

and from fornication; not spiritual fornication or idolatry, but fornication taken in a literal sense, for the carnal copulation of one single person with another, and which is commonly called simple fornication: the reason why this is put among, things indifferent is, not that it was so in itself, but because it was not thought to be criminal by the Gentiles, and was commonly used by them, and which must be offensive to the believing Jews, who were better acquainted with the will of God; this is omitted in the Ethiopic version:

and from things strangled; that is; from eating them, and design such as die of themselves, or are torn with beasts, or are not killed in a proper way, by letting out their blood; but their blood is stagnated or congealed in the veins: the Jews might not kill with a reaper's sickle, nor with a saw, nor with the teeth, or nail; because these "strangled" (a): and what was not slain as it should be, was reckoned all one as what dies of itself; and whoever ate of either of these was to be beaten (b); the law respecting these things was of the ceremonial kind, and peculiar to the Jews, and was not binding upon the Gentiles; for that which died of itself might be given to a stranger, and he might eat it, or it might be sold to an alien, Deuteronomy 14:21 this has been wanting in many copies, and it was not read by several of the ancient fathers:

and from blood: which is not to be understood of the blood of men and shedding of that, which is of a moral nature; but of the blood of beasts, and of eating of that. There were several laws about eating of blood, and which are different, and ought to be carefully distinguished. The first is in Genesis 9:4 "but flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood there of, shall you not eat"; which forbids the eating of flesh with the blood; but not the eating of flesh separately, nor the eating of blood separately, provided they were properly prepared and dressed, but the eating of them together without any preparation. As this was the first hint to man that we know of, that he might eat flesh, it was proper that the manner in which he should eat it, should be suggested to him; that he should not take the creature alive and eat it, or tear off any of its members and eat it whilst alive, or eat raw flesh; but should prepare it by roasting or boiling, or some way, in which it might become proper food: and it is the constant sense of the Jewish synagogue (c), that this law is to be understood of the member of a living creature, torn from it, and eaten whilst alive; six commands, the Jews say, were given to the first man Adam, the first five forbid idolatry, blasphemy, shedding of blood, uncleanness, and theft, or robbery, and the sixth required judgment against offenders; to these were added, for the sons of Noah, a seventh, which forbid the eating of the member of a living creature, as it is said, Genesis 9:4 (d). So that this law has nothing to do with eating of blood, simply considered, and no more forbids eating of it separately, than it does eating of flesh separately: in like manner is the law in Deuteronomy 12:23 to be understood, and is so interpreted by the Jewish writers (e): another law is in Leviticus 19:26 "ye shall not eat anything with the blood"; which according to our version, seems to be the same law with the former, but is not; for it is not said here, as before, "in", or "with", but "upon", "over", or "by" the blood. This is differently understood: some think the sense is, that no one should eat of the sacrifices, before the sprinkling of the blood upon the altar (f); or until it stands or is congealed in the basons (g); others, that it is a caution to judges, that they do not eat until they have finished judgment; for whoever judges or passes sentence after he has eat and drank, is as if he was guilty of blood (h): another observes (i), that next to this clause, it is said, "neither shall ye use enchantment"; meaning that they should not use enchantment by eating, in the way that murderers do, who eat bread over the slain, that the avengers of the slain may not take vengeance on them; this author smells something superstitious or diabolical in this matter; and indeed this is the case; the truth of the matter is, it refers to a practice among the Heathens, who fancied that blood was the food of the demons, to whom they sacrificed; and therefore when they sacrificed to them, they took the blood of the beast and put it into a vessel, and sat down by it, and round about it, and ate the flesh; imagining that whilst they ate the flesh, the demons eat the blood, and by this means friendship and familiarity were contracted between them; so that they hoped to receive some advantage from them, and be informed of things to come (k). Hence, this law is placed with others against enchantments and observing times, to which may be added, Ezekiel 33:25 "ye eat with the blood", or "over it", or "by" it; "and lift up your eyes to your idols": which is to be understood in the same light, and with these compare 1 Samuel 14:32. But besides these, there was a third law, which is frequently repeated, Leviticus 3:17 which absolutely forbids the eating of blood, as well as fat; the Jews except the blood of fishes, and locusts, and creeping things, and the blood of men, and the blood that is in eggs, and that which is squeezed out of flesh, or drops from it, which a man may eat and not be guilty of the breach of this law (l) the reason of this law was, because the blood, which is the life, was given in sacrifice for the life of men, to be an atonement for them; wherefore, to keep up a just reverence of the sacrifice, and to direct to the blood of the great sacrifice of the Messiah, blood was forbidden to be eaten, till that sacrifice was offered up; and then that blood itself was to be spiritually eaten by faith: and now if eating of blood in general was morally evil in itself, it would be a monstrous shocking thing in the Christian religion, that the blood of Christ is to be drank; though it be to be understood in a spiritual sense: the law against eating blood was very strictly enjoined the Jews, and severely punished; whoever ate of blood, but the quantity of an olive, if he ate it wilfully, was guilty of cutting off; if ignorantly, he was to bring a sin offering (m): James knew that the breach of this law would give great offence to the Jews, and therefore for the peace of the church he moves that the Gentiles might be wrote to, to abstain from blood; and which was agreed to and done: and this was attended to with much strictness by the primitive Christians, who seemed to have observed this advice in the form of a law, and thought it criminal to eat blood; but in process of time it was neglected; and in Austin's time abstinence from blood was derided, as a ridiculous notion; and it is at least now high time that this, and everything else of a ceremonial kind, was dropped by Christians; though where the peace of the brethren is in danger, this, and everything of an indifferent nature should be abstained from: Beza's ancient copy adds, "and whatsoever they would not have done to themselves, do not unto others"; and so two of Stephens's: the Ethiopic version is, "whatsoever they hate should be done to themselves, let them not do to their brethren".

(God forbids his people from eating the blood of any animal. Blood carries both infections and toxins that might circulate in the animal's body. Therefore, by eating an animal's blood, one exposes himself needlessly to potential toxins and infections. The harmful effects of eating blood can be illustrated by tribes in Africa who consume large amounts of blood in their pagan culture. These people have developed the chronic diseases seen in our elderly while still teenagers. Their life span is approximately 30 years. Rex D. Russel, M.D. p. 229, "Proceedings of the 1992 Twin-Cities Creation Conference". Editor's note.)

(a) Misn. Cholin, c. 1. sect. 2.((b) Maimon. Hilchot Maacolot Assurot, c. 4. sect. 1.((c) Targum Jon Jarchi, Aben Ezra & Abendanae not. in Sol. ben Melec in loc. (d) Maimon. Hilchot Melacim, c. 9. sect. 1.((e) Jarchi and Baal Hatturim in loc. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 56. 2. & 59. 1. & Cholin, fol 102. 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 95, 4. (f) Jarchi & Aben Ezra in loc. (g) Targum Jon. in loc. (h) Zohar in Exod. fol. 50. 3. Vid. Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 13. sect. 4. (i) Baal Hatturim in Leviticus 19.26. (k) Maimon. Morch Nevochim, par. 3. c. 46. Kimchi in 1 Samuel 14.32. & in Ezekiel 33.25. (l) Misn. Ceritot, c. 5. sect. 1. Maimon. Maacolot Asurot, c. 6, sect. 1. Jarchi in Leviticus 17.10. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. pag. 137. (m) Maimon. Maacolot Asurot, c. 6. sect.7

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20. But … that they abstain from pollutions of idols—that is, things polluted by having been offered in sacrifice to idols. The heathen were accustomed to give away or sell portions of such animals. From such food James would enjoin the Gentile converts to abstain, lest it should seem to the Jews that they were not entirely weaned from idolatry.

and from fornication—The characteristic sin of heathendom, unblushingly practiced by all ranks and classes, and the indulgence of which on the part of the Gentile converts would to Jews, whose Scriptures branded it as an abomination of the heathen, proclaim them to be yet joined to their old idols.

and from things strangled—which had the blood in them.

and from blood—in every form, as peremptorily forbidden to the Jews, and the eating of which, therefore, on the part of the Gentile converts, would shock their prejudices. See on [2023]Ac 15:28.

Acts 15:20 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Council at Jerusalem
19"Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21"For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath."
Cross References
Genesis 9:4
"But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

Exodus 34:15
"Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.

Leviticus 3:17
"'This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.'"

Leviticus 7:26
And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal.

Leviticus 17:10
"'I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people.

Leviticus 17:14
because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."

Leviticus 18:6
"'No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:26
"'Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. "'Do not practice divination or seek omens.

Deuteronomy 12:16
But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.

Deuteronomy 12:23
But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.

Deuteronomy 15:23
But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.

1 Samuel 14:32
They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.

1 Samuel 14:33
Then someone said to Saul, "Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it." "You have broken faith," he said. "Roll a large stone over here at once."

Daniel 1:8
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Acts 15:29
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.

1 Corinthians 8:1
Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that "We all possess knowledge." But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

1 Corinthians 8:10
For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol's temple, won't that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?

1 Corinthians 8:13
Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

1 Corinthians 10:7
Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry."

1 Corinthians 10:14
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
Treasury of Scripture

But that we write to them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

from pollutions.

Acts 15:29 That you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and …

Genesis 35:2 Then Jacob said to his household, and to all that were with him, …

Exodus 20:3-5,23 You shall have no other gods before me…

Exodus 34:15,16 Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they …

Numbers 25:2 And they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods: and the …

Psalm 106:37-39 Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to devils…

Ezekiel 20:30,31 Why say to the house of Israel, Thus said the Lord GOD; Are you polluted …

1 Corinthians 8:1,4-13 Now as touching things offered to idols, we know that we all have …

1 Corinthians 10:20-22,28 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice …

Revelation 2:14,20 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them …

Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet …

Revelation 10:2,8 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot …

fornication.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written to you not to keep company, if any man that …

1 Corinthians 6:9,13,18 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of …

1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, …

2 Corinthians 12:21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and …

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, …

Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not …

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, …

1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should …

Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for …

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators …

1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have worked the will …

things.

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded …

Genesis 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.

Leviticus 3:17 It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all …

Leviticus 7:23-27 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, You shall eat no manner …

Leviticus 17:10-14 And whatever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers …

Deuteronomy 12:16,23-25 Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth as water…

Deuteronomy 14:21 You shall not eat of anything that dies of itself: you shall give …

Deuteronomy 15:23 Only you shall not eat the blood thereof; you shall pour it on the …

1 Samuel 14:32 And the people flew on the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, …

Ezekiel 4:14 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul has not been polluted…

Ezekiel 33:25 Why say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; You eat with the blood, …

1 Timothy 4:4,5 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if …

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