New American Standard Bible
Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."
King James Bible
And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
Darby Bible Translation
And certain persons, having come down from Judaea, taught the brethren, If ye shall not have been circumcised according to the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
World English Bible
Some men came down from Judea and taught the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised after the custom of Moses, you can't be saved."
Young's Literal Translation
And certain having come down from Judea, were teaching the brethren -- 'If ye be not circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye are not able to be saved;'
Acts 15:1 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
And certain men - These were undoubtedly men who had been Jews, but who were now converted to Christianity. The fact that they were willing to refer the matter in dispute to the apostles and elders Acts 15:2 shows that they had professedly embraced the Christian religion. The account which follows is a record of the first internal dissension which occurred in the Christian church. Hitherto the church had been struggling against external foes. Violent persecutions had raged, and had fully occupied the attention of Christians. But now the churches were at peace. They enjoyed great external prosperity in Antioch, and the great enemy of souls took occasion then, as he has often done in similar circumstances since, to excite contentions in the church itself, so that when external violence could not destroy it, an effort was made to secure the same object by internal dissension and strife. This history, therefore, is particularly important, as it is the record of the first unhappy debate which arose in the bosom of the church. It is further important, as it shows the manner in which such controversies were settled in apostolic times, and as it established some very important principles respecting the perpetuity of the religious rites of the Jews.
Came down from Judea - To Antioch, and to the regions adjacent, which had been visited by the apostles, Acts 15:23. Judea was a high and hilly region, and going from that toward the level countries adjacent to the sea was represented to be descending, or going down.
Taught the brethren - That is, Christians. They endeavored to convince them of the necessity of keeping the laws of Moses.
Except ye be circumcised - This was the leading or principal rite of the Jewish religion. It was indispensable to the name and privileges of a Jew. Proselytes to their religion were circumcised as well as native-born Jews, and they held it to be indispensable to salvation. It is evident from this that Paul and Barnabas had dispensed with this rite in regard to the Gentile converts, and that they intended to found the Christian church on the principle that the Jewish ceremonies were to cease. When, however, it was necessary to conciliate the minds of the Jews and to prevent contention, Paul did not hesitate to practice circumcision, Acts 16:3.
After the manner of Moses - According to the custom which Moses commanded; according to the Mosaic ritual.
Ye cannot be saved - The Jews regarded this as indispensable to salvation. The grounds on which they would press it on the attention of Gentile converts would be very plausible, and such as would produce much embarrassment. For:
(1) It would be maintained that the laws of Moses were the laws of God, and were therefore unchangeable; and,
(2) It would doubtless be maintained that the religion of the Messiah was only a completing and perfecting of the Jewish religion that it was designed simply to carry out its principles according to the promises, and not to subvert and destroy anything that had been established by divine authority. It is usually not difficult to perplex and embarrass young converts with questions of modes, and rites, and forms of religion; and it is not uncommon that a revival is followed by some contention just like this. Opposing sects urge the claims of their special rites, and seek to make proselytes, and introduce contention and strife into an otherwise peaceful and happy Christian community.
LibraryA Good Man's Faults
'And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.'--ACTS xv. 37, 38. Scripture narratives are remarkable for the frankness with which they tell the faults of the best men. It has nothing in common with the cynical spirit in historians, of which this age has seen eminent examples, which fastens upon the weak places in the noblest natures, like a wasp …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts
"Now the End of the Commandment," &C.
Whether the Justification of the Ungodly is the Remission of Sins
Whether Purification of the Heart is an Effect of Faith
'On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.
At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us."
Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren.
But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."
Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas-- Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren,
and they sent this letter by them, "The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.
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