Peter Returns to Jerusalem
11 The apostles and the believers in Judea heard that non-Jewish people had accepted God’s teaching too. 2 But when Peter came to Jerusalem, some Jewish believers[a] argued with him. 3 They said, “You went into the homes of people who are not Jews and are not circumcised, and you even ate with them!”
4 So Peter explained the whole story to them. 5 He said, “I was in the city of Joppa. While I was praying, I had a vision. I saw something coming down from heaven. It looked like a big sheet being lowered to the ground by its four corners. It came down close to me, 6 and I looked inside. I saw all kinds of animals, including wild ones, as well as reptiles and birds. 7 I heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill anything here and eat it!’
8 “But I said, ‘I can’t do that, Lord! I have never eaten anything that is not pure or fit to be used for food.’
9 “But the voice from heaven answered again, ‘God has made these things pure. Don’t say they are unfit to eat!’
10 “This happened three times. Then the whole thing was taken back into heaven. 11 Suddenly there were three men standing outside the house where I was staying. They had been sent from Caesarea to get me. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them without wondering if it was all right. These six brothers here also went with me, and we went to the house of Cornelius. 13 He told us about the angel he had seen standing in his house. The angel said, ‘Send some men to Joppa to get Simon, the one who is also called Peter. 14 He will speak to you, and what he tells you will save you and everyone living in your house.’
15 “After I began speaking, the Holy Spirit came on them just as he came on us at the beginning.[b] 16 Then I remembered the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘John baptized people in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.’ 17 God gave these people the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. So how could I object to what God wanted to do?”
18 When the Jewish believers heard this, they stopped arguing. They praised God and said, “So God is also allowing even those who are not Jews to change their hearts so that they can have the life he gives!”
The Good News Comes to Antioch
19 The believers were scattered by the persecution[c] that began when Stephen was killed. Some of them went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. They told the Good News in these places, but only to Jews. 20 Some of these believers were men from Cyprus and Cyrene. When these men came to Antioch, they began speaking to people who were not Jews.[d] They told them the Good News about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord was helping these men, and a large number of people believed and decided to follow the Lord.
22 When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23-24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. When he went to Antioch and saw how God had blessed the believers there, he was very happy. He encouraged them all, saying, “Always be faithful to the Lord. Serve him with all your heart.” Many more people became followers of the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to the city of Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 When he found him, he brought him to Antioch. They stayed there a whole year. Every time the church came together, Barnabas and Saul met with them and taught many people. It was in Antioch that the followers of the Lord Jesus were called “Christ-followers” for the first time.
27 About that same time some prophets went from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and spoke with the help of the Spirit. He said, “A very bad time is coming to the whole world. There will be no food for people to eat.” (This time of famine happened when Claudius was emperor.) 29 The Lord’s followers decided that they would each send as much as they could to help their brothers and sisters who lived in Judea. 30 They gathered the money and gave it to Barnabas and Saul, who took it to the elders in Judea.
- Acts 11:2 Jewish believers Literally, “those of circumcision.” This may mean Jews who thought all followers of Christ must be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses. See Gal. 2:12.
- Acts 11:15 beginning The day of Pentecost described in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit came on Jesus’ first followers to give them power to begin their work of telling the world the Good News of salvation through Jesus.
- Acts 11:19 persecution A time when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were punishing people who believed in Christ. See Acts 8:1-4.
- Acts 11:20 people who were not Jews Literally, “Hellenists,” meaning people who have been influenced by Greek culture. Some Greek copies have “Greeks.”