4. The Trouble concerning Circumcision
a. A Conference of the Apostles and Elders
Held in Jerusalem
- And certain men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers, Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.
- And when no little dissension and discussion with them came about through Paul and Barnabas, the brothers directed Paul and Barnabas and certain others among them to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem concerning this question.
- They therefore, having been sent forward by the church, passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, telling in detail about the turning of the Gentiles; and they brought great joy to all the brothers.
- And when they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared the things that God had done with them.
- But certain men from the sect of the Pharisees who had believed rose up from among them, saying, It is necessary to circumcise them and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.
- And the apostles and the elders were gathered together to see about this matter.
- And when much discussion had taken place, Peter rose up and said to them, Men, brothers, you know that from the early days God chose from among you that through my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
- And God, the Knower of hearts, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit even as also to us;
- And He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
- Therefore why are you now testing God by placing a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
- But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we are saved in the same way also as they are.
- And all the multitude became silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul relating all the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.
- And when they finished speaking, James answered, saying, Men, brothers, listen to me.
- Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles to take out from them a people for His name.
- And with this the words of the prophets agree, even as it is written,
- After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen; and I will rebuild its ruins and erect it again,
- So that the remainder of men may seek out the Lord, even all the Gentiles upon whom My name has been called,
- Says the Lord, who is making these things known from of old.
- Therefore I judge that we do not harass those from the Gentiles who are turning to God,
- But that we write to them to abstain from the contaminations of idols and fornication and what is strangled and blood.
- For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who proclaim him in the synagogues, he being read every Sabbath.
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