Acts 13

The believers in Antioch send Saul and Barnabas to Cyprus

1 There were some prophets among the group of believers in Antioch. They taught the other believers more about Jesus. Barnabas and Simeon were two of these men. (People also called Simeon ‘Niger’.) There was Lucius who had lived in Cyrene. There was also Manaen who had lived together with the ruler Herod when they were children. And there was Saul.

13:1‘Niger’ was a word in the language of the Roman people (Latin). It means ‘Black’. Simeon was probably a man with dark skin who came from north Africa.

2 One day, the believers were meeting together. They were praising the Lord God and they were praying. They also fasted for a time. During that time, the Holy Spirit said to them, ‘I have chosen Barnabas and Saul to do a special work for me. Let them go now and do it.’

3 The believers continued to pray and to fast. Then the leaders put their hands on Barnabas and Saul and they prayed for them. They sent them away to start this new work.

What happened in Cyprus

4 The Holy Spirit sent Barnabas and Saul away from Antioch. They travelled to the town of Seleucia, which is near the coast. From there they travelled on a ship to an island called Cyprus. 5 They arrived at a town called Salamis. There they went into the Jewish meeting places and they told the people God's message about Jesus. John Mark went with Barnabas and Saul to help them with their work.

6 They travelled across the whole island and they arrived at a town called Paphos. There they met a man called Bar-Jesus. He was a Jew. He used magic to do surprising things. He said that he was a prophet from God. But his messages were not true.

13:6‘Bar-Jesus’ means ‘the son of Jesus’.

7 The ruler of Cyprus was called Sergius Paulus. Bar-Jesus was his friend. Sergius Paulus understood things well. So he asked Barnabas and Saul to come to him. He wanted them to tell him God's message. 8 Bar-Jesus was also called Elymas. That was his name in the Greek language. He did not like what Barnabas and Saul were saying. He did not want Sergius Paulus to believe in Jesus. So he tried to stop him. 9 Then God filled Saul with the power of his Holy Spirit. (Saul was also now called Paul. ) Paul looked straight at Elymas and he said, 10 ‘You are a servant of the Devil! You are against everything that is right. Your mind is full of lies and other bad things. You try to change the true message of the Lord and make it into lies. You must stop doing that! 11 The Lord will now punish you. You will become blind for a time. You will not even see the light of the sun.’

13:9Luke now begins to call Saul by his new name, Paul.

When Paul said that, immediately something like a dark cloud covered Elymas's eyes. He could not find his own way. He needed someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Sergius Paulus saw what had happened to Elymas. He was very surprised about the things that Barnabas and Paul taught him about the Lord Jesus. And so he believed in Jesus.

Paul and Barnabas go to Antioch in Pisidia

13 Paul and the two other men got in a ship and they sailed away from Paphos. They arrived at a town called Perga, which is in the region called Pamphylia. John Mark left them there and he returned to Jerusalem. 14 Paul and Barnabas left Perga, and they went to a town called Antioch in Pisidia. On the Jewish day of rest, they went into the meeting place and they sat down. 15 Someone read aloud some words from the Bible. They read from God's Law and from the messages of God's prophets. After this, the leaders of the Jewish meeting place passed a note to Paul and Barnabas. The note said, ‘Friends, do you have a message that will help the people? If you do, please speak now.’

16 So Paul stood up. He raised his hand towards the people so that they would listen to him. Then he said to them, ‘Some of you are Jews, like us. Some of you are Gentiles who now worship our God. All of you, listen carefully to me.

17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors to be his people. While they lived in Egypt, God caused his people to become a very large group. They lived as foreign people in Egypt. But God used his great power to bring them out from that country. 18 The people of Israel did not obey God. But God took care of them in the wilderness for 40 years. 19 He destroyed seven nations of people who lived in the land of Canaan. God gave their land to his own people so that they could live there. 20 All of these things happened during about 450 years.

13:17We can read about the Israelites when they left Egypt in Exodus 12.

After this, God gave to his people leaders who were called judges. They ruled Israel until the time when God's prophet Samuel was alive. 21 Then the people of Israel asked Samuel to choose a king for them. So God gave Saul to them as their king. Saul was the son of Kish and he was from the tribe of Benjamin. He ruled Israel for 40 years. 22 Then God removed Saul as king. He caused David to be their king instead. God said this about David: “I have watched David, the son of Jesse. He does things that make me happy. I know that he will do everything that I want.”

13:22We can read about Samuel, Saul and David in 1 Samuel 8-31.

23 God promised to send to the people of Israel someone who would save us. Jesus is the man that God sent to save us. He is a descendant of King David. 24 Before Jesus began his work in this world, John spoke a message to all the people of Israel. He told people to stop doing wrong things and to turn to God. Then he would baptize them. 25 When John had almost finished his work, he said to the people, “Perhaps you think that I am the special man that God will send. I am not that man. But listen! That man will come soon. I am not good enough even to undo his shoes for him.” ’

13:24We can read about John the Baptist and his work in Luke 3.
13:25It was the job of servants to remove their master's shoes.

26 Paul then said, ‘I speak to all you people here. Some of you, like us, have Abraham as your ancestor. Some of you are Gentiles who now worship our God. God has sent this message to all of us. It tells us how he will save us. 27 The people who were living in Jerusalem, and their leaders, did not understand about Jesus. They did not know that he was God's special man. Every Jewish day of rest, someone reads aloud the messages of God's prophets. But the people in Jerusalem did not understand. Instead, they said that Jesus had done bad things. They said that he should die. In that way, they caused the message of the prophets to become true. 28 The Jewish leaders could not find any reason to kill Jesus for what he had done. But they continued to say to Pilate, “Your soldiers must kill him.” 29 When the soldiers did that, it happened just like the prophets had written about him long ago. After that, some of Jesus' disciples took him down from the cross where he had died. They took his body and they buried it. 30 But after Jesus died, God caused him to become alive again. 31 For many days after this, Jesus appeared to his disciples. The people who had earlier travelled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem saw him. They are now telling the people of Israel all about it.

13:31We can read about what happened to Jesus in Jerusalem in Luke 22-24.

32 So we have come here to tell you this good news. God promised our ancestors that he would do these great things for his people. 33 Now he has done these things for us who are alive today. He has raised up Jesus to live again. We can read about this in the second Psalm. God says,

“You are my Son.

Today, I have become your Father.”

13:33See Psalm 2:7.

34 God caused Jesus to live again so that nothing would destroy his body. He will not die again. This is what God said to our ancestors:

“I will surely help you with good things,

just like I promised to King David.”

13:34See Isaiah 55:3.

35 God also says this in another Psalm:

“Your servant who loves you will not remain dead.

You will not let anything destroy the body of your Holy One.”

13:35See Psalm 16:10

36 While David was alive, he served God as God wanted him to do. Then he died and men buried him next to his ancestors. So worms destroyed David's body. 37 But as for Jesus, God caused him to become alive again. He did not die again and nothing destroyed his body.

38 My friends, I want all of you to know this. God forgives us for the bad things that we have done. He does this because of what Jesus did. That is my message to you. 39 God can cause anyone to become right with him. If you believe in Jesus, God will make you free from your sins. God's Law that he gave to Moses cannot do this for you. That Law cannot make you free, even if you obey all of it. 40 Be careful then! Remember what God's prophets spoke about long ago. Do not let that happen to you. This is what one of them wrote:

13:40See Habakkuk 1:5

41 “Listen to me, you people who laugh at God!

You will be surprised at the great things that I do.

And then you will die.

I am working now, while you are still alive.

But still you will not believe what is true.

Even if someone explains everything to you,

you will never believe.” ’

42 After Paul spoke this message, he and Barnabas were leaving the meeting place. The people there said to them, ‘Please return on our next day of rest. Then you can tell us more about what you have already told us.’ 43 When the meeting finished, many people followed Paul and Barnabas. Some of them were Jews. Others were Gentiles who now worshipped God. Paul and Barnabas said to them, ‘God has been very kind to you. You should continue to trust him.’

44 On the next Jewish day of rest, almost everyone in the town came together to hear the Lord God's message. 45 But when some Jews saw the crowds of people, they became angry. They were very jealous because the people listened to Paul and Barnabas. They said that Paul was teaching wrong things. They also said bad things against him.

46 But Paul and Barnabas were not afraid of them. They said to them, ‘It was right that we first tell you who are Jews the message from God. But now you say that God's message is not true. You have shown that you do not deserve true life with God. So we will leave you now. We will go and tell this message to the Gentiles.

47 The Lord God has also told us to do this. He said:

“I have chosen you to be like a light to the Gentiles.

You must go to people everywhere in the world.

You must tell them how God wants to save them.” ’

13:47See Isaiah 42:6; 49:6.

48 When the Gentiles there heard this, they were very happy. They thanked God for the message about the Lord Jesus. Many people believed in Jesus. They were the people that God had chosen to have true life with him.

49 Many people in that part of the country heard the message about the Lord Jesus. 50 But the Jewish leaders spoke to the important men in the city. They also spoke to some rich women who worshipped God. The Jewish leaders told them bad things about Paul and Barnabas. So these important people started to speak against Paul and Barnabas. They caused Paul and Barnabas to leave that region. 51 So Paul and Barnabas cleaned the dirt of that place off their feet. This showed that the people in that town had done a bad thing. Paul and Barnabas then travelled to a town called Iconium.

52 The believers in Antioch continued to be very happy. The Holy Spirit completely filled them.