Acts 15:22-41

The leaders in Jerusalem write a letter to the Gentile believers

22 The whole group of believers agreed with what James said. So the apostles and the other leaders decided to choose some men from among the group of believers. These men would go to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Silas and Judas, who was also called Barsabbas. The believers all respected these men as leaders.

23 This is the letter that they sent with those men:

‘We, the apostles and leaders of the believers here say “hello” to you, our friends who also believe in Jesus. We say “hello” to all of you Gentile believers who live in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia.

15:23Antioch was a city, but Syria and Cilicia were regions.

24 We have heard that some men from our group have confused your thoughts. These men came to you and they taught you without our authority. The things that they said were not right and they have upset you. 25 So now we have all met together. We have agreed what to do about this problem. We have chosen some men to bring this message to you. They will travel with our good friends, Barnabas and Paul. 26 These two men have worked as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that, they have almost lost their lives. 27 So we are also sending Judas and Silas to you. They will tell you the same things that we have written in this letter. 28 The Holy Spirit has shown us what we should do. We also think that this is the right thing to do. We do not want to put a heavy weight on you. So these are the only rules that we want you to obey: 29 Do not eat any food that people have given to their idols. Do not eat anything that still has blood in it. If people have killed an animal with a rope round its neck, do not eat its meat. Do not have sex with anyone that you are not married to. If you obey these rules, you will do well. Goodbye.’

30 So the believers in Jerusalem sent these four men to go to Antioch. When they arrived there, they told the group of believers to meet together. When they all met, Silas and Judas gave them the letter. 31 When the believers in Antioch read the letter, they were very happy. They said, ‘This message will help us very much.’ 32 Judas and Silas were both prophets. They spoke a message from God to the believers there. They spoke for a long time to help the believers and to make them strong. 33 Judas and Silas remained in Antioch for some time. Then the group of believers sent them back to Jerusalem. The believers prayed that God would help them and take care of them. 34  [But Silas decided to stay there.]

15:34Many Bibles leave out Acts 15:34.

35 Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch for a longer time. Together with many other believers, they taught the people, and they spoke the message about the Lord Jesus.

36 After some time, Paul said to Barnabas, ‘We should go back to the towns where we spoke the message of the Lord Jesus before. Then we can visit the believers in all those places. We can see if they are doing well.’

37 Barnabas agreed and he wanted to take John Mark with them. 38 But Paul did not think that this was right. He said to Barnabas, ‘John Mark did not remain with us until we had finished our work. He left us when we were in Pamphylia.’

39 Paul and Barnabas argued strongly about this. They could not agree, so they went in different directions. Barnabas took John Mark with him and they sailed to Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas to go with him. The believers in Antioch asked the Lord God to help Paul and Silas. 41 They travelled through Syria and Cilicia. Paul taught the believers in those regions. He helped them to be strong and to trust Jesus.