15 Now some men came down from Judea 1 and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised 2 according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 When Paul and Barnabas had a major argument and debate 3 with them, the church 4 appointed Paul and Barnabas and some others from among them to go up to meet with 5 the apostles and elders in Jerusalem 6 about this point of disagreement. 7 3 So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia 8 and Samaria, they were relating at length 9 the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy 10 to all the brothers. 4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received 11 by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported 12 all the things God had done with them. 13 5 But some from the religious party of the Pharisees 14 who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary 15 to circumcise the Gentiles 16 and to order them to observe 17 the law of Moses.”
6 Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate 18 about this matter. 7 After there had been much debate, 19 Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that some time ago 20 God chose 21 me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message 22 of the gospel 23 and believe. 24 8 And God, who knows the heart, 25 has testified 26 to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 27 9 and he made no distinction 28 between them and us, cleansing 29 their hearts by faith. 10 So now why are you putting God to the test 30 by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke 31 that neither our ancestors 32 nor we have been able to bear? 11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through 33 the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are.” 34
12 The whole group kept quiet 35 and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs 36 and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 After they stopped speaking, 37 James replied, 38 “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon 39 has explained 40 how God first concerned himself 41 to select 42 from among the Gentiles 43 a people for his name. 15 The 44 words of the prophets agree 45 with this, as it is written,
16 ‘After this 46 I 47 will return,
and I will rebuild the fallen tent 48 of David;
I will rebuild its ruins and restore 49 it,
17 so that the rest of humanity 50 may seek the Lord,
namely, 51 all the Gentiles 52 I have called to be my own,’ 53 says the Lord, 54 who makes these things 18 known 55 from long ago. 56
19 “Therefore I conclude 57 that we should not cause extra difficulty 58 for those among the Gentiles 59 who are turning to God, 20 but that we should write them a letter 60 telling them to abstain 61 from things defiled 62 by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled 63 and from blood. 21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, 64 because he is read aloud 65 in the synagogues 66 every Sabbath.”
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided 67 to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas, 68 leaders among the brothers, to Antioch 69 with Paul and Barnabas. 23 They sent this letter with them: 70
From the apostles 71 and elders, your brothers, 72 to the Gentile brothers and sisters 73 in Antioch, 74 Syria, 75 and Cilicia, greetings! 24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused 76 you, upsetting 77 your minds 78 by what they said, 79 25 we have unanimously 80 decided 81 to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 26 who 82 have risked their lives 83 for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 84 27 Therefore we are sending 85 Judas and Silas 86 who will tell you these things themselves in person. 87 28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us 88 not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 89 29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols 90 and from blood and from what has been strangled 91 and from sexual immorality. 92 If you keep yourselves from doing these things, 93 you will do well. Farewell. 94
30 So when they were dismissed, 95 they went down to Antioch, 96 and after gathering the entire group 97 together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they read it aloud, 98 the people 99 rejoiced at its encouragement. 100 32 Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech. 101 33 After 102 they had spent some time there, 103 they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 34 [[EMPTY]] 104 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, 105 teaching and proclaiming (along with many others) 106 the word of the Lord. 107
36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return 108 and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord 109 to see how they are doing.” 110 37 Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, 38 but Paul insisted 111 that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia 112 and had not accompanied them in the work. 39 They had 113 a sharp disagreement, 114 so that they parted company. Barnabas took along 115 Mark and sailed away to Cyprus, 116 40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended 117 to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters. 118 41 He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening 119 the churches.
16 He also came to Derbe 1 and to Lystra. 2 A disciple 3 named Timothy was there, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, 4 but whose father was a Greek. 5 2 The brothers in Lystra 6 and Iconium 7 spoke well 8 of him. 9 3 Paul wanted Timothy 10 to accompany him, and he took 11 him and circumcised 12 him because of the Jews who were in those places, 13 for they all knew that his father was Greek. 14 4 As they went through the towns, 15 they passed on 16 the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem 17 for the Gentile believers 18 to obey. 19 5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith and were increasing in number every day. 20
6 They went through the region of Phrygia 21 and Galatia, 22 having been prevented 23 by the Holy Spirit from speaking the message 24 in the province of Asia. 25 7 When they came to 26 Mysia, 27 they attempted to go into Bithynia, 28 but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow 29 them to do this, 30 8 so they passed through 31 Mysia 32 and went down to Troas. 33 9 A 34 vision appeared to Paul during the night: A Macedonian man was standing there 35 urging him, 36 “Come over 37 to Macedonia 38 and help us!” 10 After Paul 39 saw the vision, we attempted 40 immediately to go over to Macedonia, 41 concluding that God had called 42 us to proclaim the good news to them.
11 We put out to sea 43 from Troas 44 and sailed a straight course 45 to Samothrace, 46 the next day to Neapolis, 47 12 and from there to Philippi, 48 which is a leading city of that district 49 of Macedonia, 50 a Roman colony. 51 We stayed in this city for some days. 13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the side of the river, where we thought there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down 52 and began to speak 53 to the women 54 who had assembled there. 55 14 A 56 woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth 57 from the city of Thyatira, 58 a God-fearing woman, listened to us. 59 The Lord opened her heart to respond 60 to what Paul was saying. 15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, 61 “If 62 you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, 63 come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded 64 us.
16 Now 65 as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit that enabled her to foretell the future by supernatural means. 66 She 67 brought her owners 68 a great profit by fortune-telling. 69 17 She followed behind Paul and us and kept crying out, 70 “These men are servants 71 of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way 72 of salvation.” 73 18 She continued to do this for many days. But Paul became greatly annoyed, 74 and turned 75 and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ 76 to come out of her!” And it came out of her at once. 77 19 But when her owners 78 saw their hope of profit 79 was gone, they seized 80 Paul and Silas and dragged 81 them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 When 82 they had brought them 83 before the magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion. 84 They are 85 Jews 21 and are advocating 86 customs that are not lawful for us to accept 87 or practice, 88 since we are 89 Romans.”
22 The crowd joined the attack 90 against them, and the magistrates tore the clothes 91 off Paul and Silas 92 and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 93 23 After they had beaten them severely, 94 they threw them into prison and commanded 95 the jailer to guard them securely. 24 Receiving such orders, he threw them in the inner cell 96 and fastened their feet in the stocks. 97
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying 98 and singing hymns to God, 99 and the rest of 100 the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors flew open, and the bonds 101 of all the prisoners came loose. 27 When the jailer woke up 102 and saw the doors of the prison standing open, 103 he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, 104 because he assumed 105 the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul called out loudly, 106 “Do not harm yourself, 107 for we are all here!” 29 Calling for lights, the jailer 108 rushed in and fell down 109 trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside 110 and asked, “Sirs, what must 111 I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, 112 “Believe 113 in the Lord Jesus 114 and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then 115 they spoke the word of the Lord 116 to him, along with all those who were in his house. 33 At 117 that hour of the night he took them 118 and washed their wounds; 119 then 120 he and all his family 121 were baptized right away. 122 34 The jailer 123 brought them into his house and set food 124 before them, and he rejoiced greatly 125 that he had come to believe 126 in God, together with his entire household. 127 35 At daybreak 128 the magistrates 129 sent their police officers, 130 saying, “Release those men.” 36 The jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, 131 “The magistrates have sent orders 132 to release you. So come out now and go in peace.” 133 37 But Paul said to the police officers, 134 “They had us beaten in public 135 without a proper trial 136 – even though we are Roman citizens 137 – and they threw us 138 in prison. And now they want to send us away 139 secretly? Absolutely not! They 140 themselves must come and escort us out!” 141 38 The police officers reported these words to the magistrates. They were frightened when they heard Paul and Silas 142 were Roman citizens 143 39 and came 144 and apologized to them. After 145 they brought them out, they asked them repeatedly 146 to leave the city. 40 When they came out of the prison, they entered Lydia’s house, and when they saw the brothers, they encouraged them and then 147 departed.
17 After they traveled through 1 Amphipolis 2 and Apollonia, 3 they came to Thessalonica, 4 where there was a Jewish synagogue. 5 2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, 6 as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed 7 them from the scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating 8 that the Christ 9 had to suffer and to rise from the dead, 10 saying, 11 “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 12 4 Some of them were persuaded 13 and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group 14 of God-fearing Greeks 15 and quite a few 16 prominent women. 5 But the Jews became jealous, 17 and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, 18 they formed a mob 19 and set the city in an uproar. 20 They attacked Jason’s house, 21 trying to find Paul and Silas 22 to bring them out to the assembly. 23 6 When they did not find them, they dragged 24 Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, 25 screaming, “These people who have stirred up trouble 26 throughout the world 27 have come here too, 7 and 28 Jason has welcomed them as guests! They 29 are all acting against Caesar’s 30 decrees, saying there is another king named 31 Jesus!” 32 8 They caused confusion among 33 the crowd and the city officials 34 who heard these things. 9 After 35 the city officials 36 had received bail 37 from Jason and the others, they released them.
10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea 38 at once, during the night. When they arrived, 39 they went to the Jewish synagogue. 40 11 These Jews 41 were more open-minded 42 than those in Thessalonica, 43 for they eagerly 44 received 45 the message, examining 46 the scriptures carefully every day 47 to see if these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few 48 prominent 49 Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica 50 heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God 51 in Berea, 52 they came there too, inciting 53 and disturbing 54 the crowds. 14 Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast 55 at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. 56 15 Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens, 57 and after receiving an order for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left. 58
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, 59 his spirit was greatly upset 60 because he saw 61 the city was full of idols. 17 So he was addressing 62 the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles 63 in the synagogue, 64 and in the marketplace every day 65 those who happened to be there. 18 Also some of the Epicurean 66 and Stoic 67 philosophers were conversing 68 with him, and some were asking, 69 “What does this foolish babbler 70 want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” 71 (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 72 19 So they took Paul and 73 brought him to the Areopagus, 74 saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some surprising things 75 to our ears, so we want to know what they 76 mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there used to spend their time 77 in nothing else than telling 78 or listening to something new.) 79
22 So Paul stood 80 before the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious 81 in all respects. 82 23 For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, 83 I even found an altar with this inscription: 84 ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it, 85 this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, 86 who is 87 Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, 88 25 nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, 89 because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone. 90 26 From one man 91 he made every nation of the human race 92 to inhabit the entire earth, 93 determining their set times 94 and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, 95 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around 96 for him and find him, 97 though he is 98 not far from each one of us. 28 For in him we live and move about 99 and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ 100 29 So since we are God’s offspring, we should not think the deity 101 is like gold or silver or stone, an image 102 made by human 103 skill 104 and imagination. 105 30 Therefore, although God has overlooked 106 such times of ignorance, 107 he now commands all people 108 everywhere to repent, 109 31 because he has set 110 a day on which he is going to judge the world 111 in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, 112 having provided proof to everyone by raising 113 him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard about 114 the resurrection from the dead, some began to scoff, 115 but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul left the Areopagus. 116 34 But some people 117 joined him 118 and believed. Among them 119 were Dionysius, who was a member of the Areopagus, 120 a woman 121 named Damaris, and others with them.