Acts 15:20
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.

Berean Study Bible
Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.

Berean Literal Bible
but to write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols, and sexual immorality, and that which is 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.

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.

Contemporary English Version
We should simply write and tell them not to eat anything that has been offered to idols. They should be told not to eat the meat of any animal that has been strangled or that still has blood in it. They must also not commit any terrible sexual sins.

Good News Translation
Instead, we should write a letter telling them not to eat any food that is ritually unclean because it has been offered to idols; to keep themselves from sexual immorality; and not to eat any animal that has been strangled, or any 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.

New Heart 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.

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.

New American Standard 1977
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.

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;
Study Bible
The Council at Jerusalem
19It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not cause trouble for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood. 21For Moses has been proclaimed in every city from ancient times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”…
Cross References
Genesis 9:4
But you must not eat meat with its lifeblood still in it.

Exodus 34:15
Do not make a covenant with the inhabitants of 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 perpetual statute for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.'"

Leviticus 7:26
You must not eat the blood of any bird or animal in any of your dwellings.

Leviticus 17:10
If anyone from the house of Israel or foreigner living among them eats any blood, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from among his people.

Leviticus 17:14
For the life of all flesh is its blood. Therefore I have told the Israelites: You must not eat the blood of any living thing, because the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it must be cut off.

Leviticus 18:6
None of you are to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:26
You must not eat anything with blood still in it. You must not practice divination or sorcery.

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

Deuteronomy 12:23
Only be sure not to 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 on the ground like water.

1 Samuel 14:32
So they rushed greedily to the plunder, taking sheep, cattle, and calves. They slaughtered them on the ground and ate meat with the blood still in it.

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

Daniel 1:8
But Daniel resolved in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's food or wine. So he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself.

Acts 15:29
You must 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 have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

1 Corinthians 8:10
For if someone with a weak conscience sees you who are well informed eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged to eat food sacrificed to idols?

1 Corinthians 8:13
Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to stumble.

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

1 Corinthians 10:14
Therefore, my beloved, 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 ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Genesis 35:2
Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

Exodus 20:3-5,23
Thou shalt have no other gods before me…

fornication.

1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

1 Corinthians 6:9,13,18
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, …

1 Corinthians 7:2
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

things.

Acts 21:25
As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

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

Leviticus 3:17
It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.







Lexicon
Instead,
ἀλλὰ (alla)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 235: But, except, however. Neuter plural of allos; properly, other things, i.e. contrariwise.

we should write
ἐπιστεῖλαι (episteilai)
Verb - Aorist Infinitive Active
Strong's Greek 1989: To write, send by letter to. From epi and stello; to enjoin, i.e. to communicate by letter.

[ and tell] them
αὐτοῖς (autois)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Dative Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

to abstain from
ἀπέχεσθαι (apechesthai)
Verb - Present Infinitive Middle
Strong's Greek 568: To have in full, be far, it is enough. From apo and echo; to have out, i.e. Receive in full; to keep away, i.e. Be distant.

[ food ]
τῶν (tōn)
Article - Genitive Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

polluted
ἀλισγημάτων (alisgēmatōn)
Noun - Genitive Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 234: Pollution, perhaps a polluted thing (especially of food). From alisgeo; defilement.

by idols,
εἰδώλων (eidōlōn)
Noun - Genitive Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 1497: An idol, false god. From eidos; an image; by implication, a heathen god, or the worship of such.

[from]
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

sexual immorality,
πορνείας (porneias)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 4202: Fornication, whoredom; met: idolatry. From porneuo; harlotry; figuratively, idolatry.

[from]
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

the
τοῦ (tou)
Article - Genitive Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

meat of strangled animals,
πνικτοῦ (pniktou)
Adjective - Genitive Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 4156: Strangled (i.e. killed without letting out the blood). From pnigo; throttled, i.e. an animal choked to death.

and
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

from
τοῦ (tou)
Article - Genitive Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

blood.
αἵματος (haimatos)
Noun - Genitive Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 129: Blood, literally, figuratively or specially; by implication, bloodshed, also kindred.
(20) But that we write unto them.--The grounds on which the measure thus defined was proposed are not far to seek. (1) It was of the nature of a compromise. The Gentiles could not complain that the burden imposed on them was anything very grievous. The Pharisee section of the Church could not refuse admission to those who fulfilled these conditions, when they had admitted the proselytes of the gate on like conditions to their synagogues, and had so treated them as no longer unclean. (2) The rules on which stress was now laid found a place among the seven precepts traditionally ascribed to Noah, and based upon the commands recorded in Genesis 9:5. These were held to be binding upon all mankind; while the Law, as such, was binding on Israel only. These, therefore, had been thought sufficient for the proselytes of the gate before, and were urged now as sufficient for the Gentile converts by the teacher who represented the most rigid type of Judaism. (See, once more, the history of Ananias and Izates in the Note on Acts 9:10.) Special reasons attached, as will be seen, to each precept.

From pollutions of idols.--The Greek of the first noun is found only in the LXX. and the New Testament; and perhaps its primary idea is that of "wallowing" in blood and mire, and so incurring pollution. As distinguished from the acts that follow, it indicates any participation, publicly or privately, in idolatrous rites. One who acted on the rule would have to refrain from entering a temple, and to dislodge busts or statues of the gods from his house and gardens. The presence of such things, when they presented themselves on entering a house, was a great stumbling-block to devout Jews, and the Gentile convert who, left to himself, might have been disposed to keep them, though no longer as objects of worship, but as works of art, was required to renounce them. The statues of Zeus and Artemis and Hermes were to be to him henceforth as abominations. In the decree itself, however, we find "things sacrificed to idols" instead of the more general term, and we may accordingly deal here with that question also. So interpreted, the rule brings before us a new phase of the life of the early Christian converts. Under the religion of Greece and Rome, sacrifices were so common that it might fairly be taken for granted that the flesh at any festive meal had been so offered. But a small portion of the flesh was burnt upon the altar, and the rest was cooked for the household meal, or sent to the market for sale. Such meat was, in the eyes of the strict Jews, polluted, and the history of Daniel and his companions (Daniel 1:8) was regarded as a precedent to avoiding it. Partly on this ground, partly on that referred to in the next Note but one, the Jew never bought meat in the market, nor of other than a Jewish butcher. He travelled with his cophinus, or basket, on his back, and carried his provisions with him. So Juvenal (Sat. iii. 14) speaks of--

"Judaeis, quorum cophinus f?numque supellex."

["Basket, and wisp of straw to serve as pillow,--

That's the Jew's luggage."]

Here, therefore, was a new stumbling-block, and the Gentile was required to avoid this also. It involved many sacrifices, and what would seem privations. The convert had to refuse invitations to birthday, and marriage, and funeral feasts; or, if present, to refuse to eat at them. A man with a sensitive conscience would refuse to partake of what was set before him in a private house or offered for sale in the market, unless he had satisfied himself that it had not so been offered. It was natural that this restriction, which did not rest directly on a moral ground, should give rise to some resistance, and the controversy connected with it assumed many different phases. At Corinth men claimed the right to eat what they chose, and St. Paul conceded the right in the abstract, but urged abstinence on the ground of charity (1 Corinthians 8-10.). At Pergamos and Thyatira, somewhat later in the apostolic age (Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:20), the lawfulness of eating things sacrificed to idols was openly maintained in contravention alike of the teaching of St. Paul and of the apostolic decree, and was joined with a like claim to be exempted from the law which forbade illicit sexual intercourse. At Corinth, it would seem from 1Corinthians 8:10, the assertion of freedom had led men so far as not only to eat of the flesh that had been sacrificed, but actually to sit down to a feast in the idol's temple. (Comp. Romans 2:22, as expressing the Jewish feeling.)

And from fornication.--We are surprised at first to find, what seems to us, a moral law placed in juxtaposition with two rules which, like those that follow, seem purely positive and ceremonial. We have to remember, however, (1) that the first command was moral also, and that we may fairly recognise something like a practical, though not a formal distinction, by thinking of the first two precepts as grouped together; (2) that the sin named, involving, as it did, the absence of any true sense of self-respecting purity or reverence for womanhood, was the wide-spread evil of the ancient world, against which Israel had from the first been called to bear its witness (Genesis 34:31; Leviticus 19:29; Deuteronomy 23:17; Proverbs 7:6-27). The increasing laxity of morals throughout the Roman empire, showing itself in the well-known line of Terence--

"Nihil peccati est adolescentulum scortari, "

had led men to think of it as natural and permissible, bringing with it no sense of wrong or shame (comp. Horace, Sat. i. 2, 119), and it might well be that the ethical standard of the Gentile converts was not all at once raised to a true ideal of purity. The old license may have seemed venial, and the disciples may have thought, as Christians have too often thought since, that it did not call for any deep repentance, or exclude them from fellowship with Christ. And yet it was clear that to the Jewish Christian, trained from his childhood to condemn the sin severely, this, too, would legitimately be a very grave stumbling-block in the admission of Gentile converts. How could he feel any assurance that they might not have come from the embraces of a harlot to the Feast of Charity or to the very Supper of the Lord? (Comp. 1Corinthians 6:15; Revelation 2:14.) Such a state of things required to be dealt with by a special enactment. The moral command had to be re-enacted, and brought into a new prominence. The Church had to take its first step in purifying the morals of mankind, not only by its general teaching, but by canons and rules of discipline. Stress has often been laid on the fact that in many cases, as in those of the Hetaerae?, or harlot-priestesses, of Aphrodite at Corinth and Paphos, prostitution was in closest alliance with idolatry, as a reason for the prohibition, and it is, of course, true that in such cases the sin assumed, in the eyes of Jews, an aggravated character. The man identified himself, by his sinful indulgence, with the coltus of the woman who was its avowed devotee. We can scarcely think, however, that the sin was forbidden, not on account of its own intrinsic evil, but only or chiefly, with a view to this ulterior and incidental consequence.

Things strangled.--Literally, of that which has been strangled. The prohibition rested on Genesis 9:4, and was connected with the symbolic meaning of the blood as representing life, and therefore consecrated to Jehovah. It was repeated in the Law (Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26; Deuteronomy 12:16; 1Samuel 14:33), and has been maintained with a wonderful tenacity. For this reason, long after sacrifices have ceased, the Jew will still, if possible, only eat what has been killed by a butcher of his own persuasion. Meat so killed, which may be eaten without defilement, is known technically as Kosher. Here the moral element falls entirely into the background, and the prohibition has simply the character of a concordat to avoid offence. St. Paul and St. Peter were alike persuaded that "there is nothing unclean of itself" (Acts 10:15; Romans 14:14). Practically, the effect of the rule would have been to compel Christians to buy their meat, poultry, &c., from a Jewish butcher or a Christian who followed the Jewish mode of killing, and in some places this must have entailed considerable inconvenience.

From blood.--As distinguished from the preceding rule, this forbade the separate use of blood, as with flour and vegetables, or in the black-puddings of modern cookery, as an article of food. Dishes so prepared were common in the cuisine both of Greeks and Romans, and here also, therefore, the restriction would have involved a frequent withdrawal from social life, or a conspicuous singularity. On the history of the observance, see Note on Acts 15:28.

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. 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.
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