Acts 11The Voice (VOICE)
11 1-2 By the time Peter and his friends from Joppa returned to Jerusalem, news about outsiders accepting God’s message had already spread to the Lord’s emissaries[a] and believers there. Some of the circumcised believers didn’t welcome Peter with joy, but with criticism.
Circumcised Believers: 3 Why did you violate divine law by associating with outsiders and sitting at the table with them for a meal? This is an outrage!
4 Peter patiently told them what had happened, laying out in detail the whole story.
Peter: 5 I was in Joppa, I was praying, and I fell into a trance. In my vision, something like a huge sheet descended from the sky as if it were being lowered by its four corners. It landed right in front of me. 6 It was full of all kinds of four-footed creatures that we would call unclean—I could identify mammals, snakes, lizards, and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice say, “Get up, Peter! Kill these creatures and eat them!” 8 Of course, I replied, “No way, Lord! Not a single bite of forbidden, nonkosher food has ever touched my lips.” 9 But then the voice spoke from heaven a second time: “If God makes something clean, you must not call it dirty or forbidden.” 10 This whole drama was repeated three times, and then it was all pulled back up into the sky.
11 At that very second, three men arrived at the house where I was staying. They had come to me from Caesarea. 12 The Holy Spirit told me I should go with them, that I shouldn’t make any distinction between them as Gentiles and us as Jews. These six brothers from Joppa came with me; and yes, we entered the man’s home even though he was an outsider.
13 The outsider told us the story of how he had seen a heavenly messenger standing in his house who said, “Send to Joppa and bring back Simon, also called Peter, 14 and he will give you a message that will rescue both you and your household.” 15 Then I began to speak; and as I did, the Holy Spirit fell upon them—it was exactly as it had been with us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what Jesus had said to us: “John ritually cleansed people with water through baptism,[b] but you will be washed with the Holy Spirit.”[c] 17 So, if God gave them the same gift we were given when we believed in the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, who was I to stand in God’s way?
18 There was no argument, only silence.
Circumcised Believers: Well then, we must conclude that God has given to the outsiders the opportunity to rethink their lives, turn to God,[d] and gain a new life.
Just as the experience of the Holy Spirit transforms that small community of believers into the church at the beginning of this book, the presence of the Spirit’s work among these outsiders, the ones who were not a part of God’s covenant with Moses, demonstrates that they, too, are part of the church. This isn’t what many expected, and questions about inclusion of outsiders consume the early life of the church.
19 The believers who were scattered from Judea because of the persecution following Stephen’s stoning kept moving out, reaching Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. Until this time, they had only shared their message with Jews. 20 Then some men from Cyprus and Cyrene who had become believers came to Antioch, and they began sharing the message of the Lord Jesus with some Greek converts to Judaism. 21 The Lord was at work through them, and a large number of these Greeks became believers and turned to the Lord Jesus.
22 Word of this new development came to the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch to investigate. 23 He arrived and saw God’s grace in action there, so he rejoiced and urged them to remain faithful to the Lord, to maintain an enduring, unshakable devotion. 24 This Barnabas truly was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith. A very large number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Barnabas soon was off again—now to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 He found Saul and brought him back to Antioch. The two of them spent an entire year there, meeting with the church and teaching huge numbers of people. It was there, in Antioch, where the term “Christian” was first used to identify disciples of Jesus.
27 During that year, some prophets came north from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 A prophet named Agabus stood in a meeting and made a prediction by the Holy Spirit: there would be an expansive, terrible famine in the whole region during the reign of Claudius. 29 In anticipation of the famine, the disciples determined to give an amount proportionate to their financial ability and create a relief fund for all the believers in Judea. 30 They sent Barnabas and Saul to carry this fund to the elders in Jerusalem.
Acts 11New International Version (NIV)
Peter Explains His Actions
11 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[a] water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
The Church in Antioch
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.