The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Acts of the Apostles
But now some visitors came down from Judaea, who began to tell the brethren, You cannot be saved without being circumcised according to the tradition of Moses.
Paul and Barnabas were drawn into a great controversy with them; and it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and certain of the rest✻ should go up to see the apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem about this question.
So the church saw them on their way, and they passed through Phoenice and Samaria, relating how the Gentiles were turning to God, and so brought great rejoicing to all the brethren.
When they reached Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, and by the apostles and presbyters; and they told them of all that God had done to aid them.
But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees came forward and declared, They must be circumcised; we must call upon them to keep the law of Moses.
When the apostles and presbyters assembled to decide about this matter
there was much disputing over it, until Peter rose and said to them, Brethren, you know well enough how from early days it has been God’s choice that the Gentiles should hear the message of the gospel from my lips, and so learn to believe.
God, who can read men’s hearts, has assured them of his favour by giving the Holy Spirit to them as to us.
He would not make any difference between us and them; he had removed all the uncleanness from their hearts when he gave them faith.
How is it, then, that you would now call God in question, by putting a yoke on the necks of the disciples, such as we and our fathers have been too weak to bear?✻
It is by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that we hope to be saved, and they no less.
Then the whole company kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had performed among the Gentiles by their means.
And when they had finished speaking, James answered thus, Listen, brethren, to what I have to say.
Simon has told us, how for the first time God has looked with favour on the Gentiles, and chosen from among them a people dedicated to his name.
This is in agreement with the words of the prophets, where it is written:
Afterwards, I will come back, and build up again David’s tabernacle that has fallen; I will build up its ruins, and raise it afresh;
so that all the rest of mankind may find the Lord, all those Gentiles among whom my name is named, says the Lord, who is the doer of all this.✻
God has known from all eternity what he does to-day.✻
And so I give my voice for sparing the consciences of those Gentiles who have found their way to God;
only writing to bid them abstain from what is contaminated by idolatry, from fornication, and from meat which has been strangled or has the blood in it.
As for Moses, ever since the earliest times he has been read, sabbath after sabbath, in the synagogues, and has preachers in every city to expound him.✻
Thereupon it was resolved by the apostles and presbyters, with the agreement of the whole church, to choose out some of their own number and despatch them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas who was called Barsabas, and Silas, who were leading men among the brethren.
And they sent, by their hands, this message in writing; To the Gentile brethren in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, their brethren the apostles and presbyters send greeting.
We hear that some of our number who visited you have disquieted you by what they said, unsettling your consciences, although we had given them no such commission;
and therefore, meeting together with common purpose of heart, we have resolved to send you chosen messengers, in company with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul,
men who have staked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have given this commission to Judas and Silas, who will confirm the message by word of mouth.
It is the Holy Spirit’s pleasure and ours that no burden should be laid upon you beyond these, which cannot be avoided;
you are to abstain from what is sacrificed to idols, from blood-meat and meat which has been strangled, and from fornication. If you keep away from such things, you will have done your part. Farewell.
So they took their leave and went down to Antioch, where they called the multitude together and delivered the letter to them;
and they, upon reading it, were rejoiced at this encouragement.
Judas and Silas, for they were prophets too, said much to encourage the brethren and establish their faith;
they stayed there for some time before the brethren let them go home, in peace, to those who had sent them.
But Silas had a mind to remain there; so Judas went back alone to Jerusalem.✻
Paul and Barnabas waited at Antioch, teaching and preaching God’s word, with many others to help them;
and then, after some days, Paul said to Barnabas, Let us go back and visit the brethren in all the cities where we have preached the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.
And Barnabas was for taking John, also called Mark, with them.
But Paul said, here was a man who left them when they reached Pamphylia, and took no part with them in the work; it was not right to admit such a man to their company.
So sharp was their disagreement, that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed off to Cyprus,
while Paul chose Silas for his companion and went on his journey, commended by the brethren to the Lord’s grace.
And he travelled all through Syria and Cilicia, establishing the churches in the faith, and bidding them observe the commands which the apostles and presbyters had given.✻
The Holy Bible