Acts 15:7-21

Peter talks to the leaders of the believers in Jerusalem.

7 After they had all talked about this problem for a long time, the apostle called Peter stood up. He said, ‘My friends, you know that a long time ago, God chose me from among all you leaders. He wanted me to teach Gentiles the good news about Jesus. God wanted them to hear his message and to believe in Jesus. 8 God knows what people really believe. He showed clearly that he accepts Gentile believers as his people. He gave his Holy Spirit to them in the same way that he did for us. 9 He made no difference between them and us. When they believed in Jesus, he saved them. He made them clean inside.

10 So, do not say that God has done a wrong thing. God has shown us that he accepts Gentiles when they believe in Jesus. If you make them obey the Law of Moses, that is like a heavy weight on their necks. Even we Jews and our ancestors could not carry that heavy weight. 11 God saves us who are Jews when we believe in Jesus. It is not because we obey the Law of Moses. It is because the Lord Jesus is very kind to us. God saves Gentiles in the same way, when they believe in Jesus.’

12 After Peter said this everybody in the group was quiet. Then Barnabas and Paul spoke to them. They said, ‘God helped us to do great miracles among the Gentiles. These showed that God was with us.’

13 When they had finished their report, James spoke to the group. ‘Listen to me, my friends!’ he said. 14 ‘Simon Peter has just described to us what happened first with the Gentile believers. He explained how God chose some of them to be his own people. He chose them to worship him.

15 The message of God's prophets agrees completely with this. They wrote long ago:

16 The Lord God said, “Later I will return.

At that time I will bring back the family of King David.

15:16Jesus was a descendant of David.

People have destroyed his kingdom,

but I will make it strong again.

17 Then other people in the world will look for me, the Lord God.

I have chosen some Gentiles to be my people.

All of them will look for me.

I, the Lord, say this,

and I will make these things happen.

18 Long ago I caused people to know all these things.” ’

19 James then said, ‘So, this is what I have decided about this problem. Many Gentiles are now turning to God as believers. We should not make it difficult for them. 20 Instead of that, we should write a letter to tell them how to live as believers. We should say to them, “Do not eat any food which people have given to their idols. That food has become dirty. Do not have sex with anyone that you are not married to. If people have killed an animal with a rope round its neck, do not eat its meat. Do not eat anything that still has blood in it.” 21 These rules are important, because people have known the Law of Moses for a very long time. On every Jewish rest day, someone teaches us about the Law in our Jewish meeting places in every city.’

15:20We can read about these rules in Leviticus 18:6-23; 17:10-12.