International Standard Version
Controversy about the Law
1Then some men came down from Judea and started to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Law of Moses, you can’t be saved.” 2Paul and Barnabas had quite a dispute and argument with them. So Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles and elders about this question. 3They were sent on their way by the church, and as they were going through Phoenicia and Samaria they told of the conversion of the gentiles and brought great joy to all the brothers. 4When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported everything that God had done through them. 5But some believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The gentilesa must be circumcised and ordered to keep the Law of Moses.”
6So the apostles and the elders met to look into this claim. 7After a lengthy debate, Peter stood up and told them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days, God chose me to be the one among you through whom the gentiles would hear the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows everyone’s heart, showed them he approved by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between them and us, because of their faith-cleansed hearts. 10So why do you test God by putting on the disciples’ neck a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we could carry? 11We certainly believe that it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah,b that we are saved, just as they are.”
12The whole crowd was silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul tell about all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the gentiles. 13After Paul and Barnabasc had finished speaking, James responded, “Brothers, listen to me: 14Simeond has explained how God first showed his concern for the gentiles by taking from among them a people for his name. 15This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written,
16‘“After this, I will come back
and set up David’s fallen tent again.
I will restore its ruined places
and set it up again
17so that the rest of the people may search for the Lord,
including all the gentiles who are called by my name,’
declares the Lord.e
‘He is the one who has been doing these things
19“Therefore, I have decided that we should not trouble these gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write to them to keep away from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from anything strangled,g and from blood.h 21 21After all, Moses has had people to proclaim him in every city for generations, and on every Sabbath his books arei read aloud in the synagogues.”
The Reply of the Church
22Then the apostles, the elders, and the whole church decided to choose some of their men to send with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch. These were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, who were leaders among the brothers. 23They wrote this letter for them to deliver:j
“From:k The apostles and the elders, your brothers
To: Their gentile brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.
Greetings. 24We have heard that some men, coming from us without instructions from us, have said things to trouble you and have unsettled you.l 25So we have unanimously decided to choose men and send them to you with our dear Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah.m 27We have therefore sent Judas and Silas to tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place on you any burden but these essential requirements: 29to keep away from food sacrificed to idols, from blood,n from anything strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you avoid these things, you will do well. Goodbye.”
30So the men were sent on their way and arrived in Antioch. They gathered the congregation together and delivered the letter. 31When the peopleo read it, they were pleased with how the letter encouraged them. 32Then Judas and Silas, who were also prophets, said a lot to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33After staying there for some time, they were sent back with a greetingp from the brothers to those who had sent them.q 34 35Both Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch to teach and proclaim the word of the Lord, as did many others.
Paul and Barnabas Disagree
36A few days later, Paul told Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they’re doing.” 37Barnabas wanted to take along John, who was called Mark, 38but Paul did not think it was right to take along the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and who had not gone with them into the work. 39The disagreement was so sharp that they parted ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, 40while Paul chose Silas and left after the brothers had entrusted him to the grace of the Lord.r 41He went through Syria and Cilicia and strengthened the churches.
a 15:5 Lit. They
b 15:11 Or Christ
c 15:13 Lit. After they
d 15:14 i.e. Simon Peter
e 15:17 MT citation source reads LORD
f 15:18 Cf. Amos 9:11-12; Isa 45:21
g 15:20 Other mss. lack from anything strangled
h 15:20 i.e. uncooked meat
i 15:21 Lit. Sabbath he is
j 15:23 Lit. They wrote through their hand
k 15:23 The Gk. lacks From
l 15:24 Other mss. read you by saying, ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law.’
m 15:26 Or Christ
n 15:29 i.e. uncooked meat
o 15:31 Lit. they
p 15:33 Lit. sent back with peace
q 15:33 Other mss. read sent them. But it seemed good to Silas to remain there, and Judas went back alone.
r 15:40 Other mss. read of God