Acts 11

Peter returns to Jerusalem

1 The apostles and the other believers in Judea heard that Gentiles had also believed the message from God. 2 Peter then returned from Caesarea and he arrived in Jerusalem. Some of the Jews there who were believers spoke against him. These Jews thought that all believers should be circumcised. 3 So they said to Peter, ‘You stayed in the house of men who were not circumcised. You even ate meals with them!’

11:3The Jews that spoke to Peter believed in Jesus. They thought that Peter had done a wrong thing. He had stayed with people who were not Jews. And he had even eaten meals with them.

4 Peter then began to explain everything that had happened. He said to them, 5 ‘I was staying in a house in the city of Joppa. One day, when I was praying, I had a special dream. In this vision, I saw something that came down from heaven. It was like a large piece of cloth. Somebody held it at each of its four corners and let it come down to the ground next to me. 6 I looked carefully at it. I saw that there were farm animals with four legs inside the cloth. There were also wild animals, snakes, and birds in it. 7 Then I heard a voice that said to me, “Peter, stand up and kill some of these animals. Then you can cook them and eat the meat.”

8 But I answered, “No, Lord, I would certainly not do that. I have never eaten an animal that our Law says is unclean.”

9 Then the voice spoke to me from heaven again. It said, “God has made these animals good for people to eat. So you must not say that it is not right to eat them.” 10 All this happened three times. After that, the cloth went back up into heaven again.

11 At that moment, three men from Caesarea arrived at the house where I was staying. Someone had sent these men to find me. 12 The Holy Spirit told me that I should go with them. He said that I should not be afraid. These six believers from Joppa also went with me to Caesarea. We all went into Cornelius's house. 13 Then Cornelius told us what had happened to him. He had seen an angel who appeared in his house and said to him, “Send some men to Joppa to fetch a man who is called Simon Peter. 14 He will come and speak to you. His message will tell you how God will save you and everyone else in your house.”

15 When I started to speak to Cornelius and his family, the Holy Spirit came down on them. It happened in the same way that he first came down on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord Jesus had said to us: “John baptized people with water, but God will baptize you with his Holy Spirit.” 17 So we see that God gave these Gentiles his gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the same gift that he gave to us Jews who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. So I could never try to stop God.’

18 The Jewish believers heard what Peter said. They could not say anything more against him. Instead, they praised God and they said, ‘We now see that God has also let Gentiles have life with him. He will accept them if they stop doing bad things and turn to him.’

The believers go to Antioch

19 After the Jewish leaders had killed Stephen, the believers had a lot of trouble. The believers left Jerusalem and they went to many different places. Some of them went away as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. They told God's message to people in these places. But they only told the message to Jews.

20 Some of the believers were people who came from Cyprus and Cyrene. These men went to Antioch. There they told God's message to Gentiles, as well as to Jews. They told everyone the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord God helped these men with his power. Very many people believed their message and they trusted in the Lord Jesus.

22 The believers in Jerusalem heard about what had happened in Antioch. So they decided to send Barnabas there. 23 Barnabas arrived in Antioch. He saw how God had been kind to the people there and helped them. Barnabas was happy about this. So he said to the new believers, ‘Continue to trust the Lord Jesus completely.’

24 Barnabas was a good man. The power of God's Holy Spirit was with him. He trusted God completely. Many people in Antioch believed in Jesus and joined the group of believers.

25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 When Barnabas found him, he brought him back to Antioch. For one whole year, Barnabas and Saul met together with the group of believers there. They taught very many of them about Jesus. Antioch was the first place where the believers were called Christians.

27 During this time, some prophets travelled from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of these men was called Agabus. The Holy Spirit gave him a message from God. He stood up and he said to the people there, ‘Soon people will be very hungry all over the world because there will be no food.’ (That happened when Claudius ruled the Roman world.)

11:28Claudius ruled the Roman world from AD 41 to 54. There was a famine in many parts of the Roman world at that time. In Judea, this happened in AD 46.

29 The believers in Antioch wanted to help the other believers who lived in Judea. Each of them decided how much of their own money they could give. 30 Then they gave the money to Barnabas and Saul. Barnabas and Saul took this gift to the leaders of the believers in Jerusalem.