Updated: May 16
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INTRODUCTION. After Paul and Barnabas returned from their journey to Asia Minor,
they went to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders there. Some of the Jews who had become Christians were teaching that the Gentile Christians could not be saved unless they were circumcised according to the custom of the Law of Moses (Acts 15:1-5).
Peter spoke to those gathered in Jerusalem reminding them that God had given the
Gentiles (Cornelius and his household) the Holy Spirit even as He had given Peter and the other apostles the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Peter told the gathering that God, therefore, made no distinction between the Jews and Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas told about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through their preaching. James, probably the brother of the Lord, also spoke, referring to Amos who had prophesied that the “tabernacle of David” which had fallen (the downfall of the Jewish kingdom and overthrow of the house or tent of David) would be rebuilt, and the Gentiles (residue of men, rest of mankind) would seek after the Lord (Acts 15:6-18; Amos 9:11-12).
The council of apostles and elders then determined by the Holy Spirit that no greater
burden should be laid upon the Gentiles than to abstain from: pollutions of idols (things
sacrificed to idols), fornication, things strangled, and blood. These things were written in a letter to be taken to the church at Antioch by Paul and Barnabas with two others from the church in Jerusalem, Judas and Silas. When the letter was read to the Christians in
Antioch, the people were encouraged and rejoiced. Paul and Barnabas tarried in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord (Acts 15:19-35).