Acts 15-16 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Council at Jerusalem
15 Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised in accordance with the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Paul and Barnabas disagreed greatly and debated with them, so it was determined that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others from their group would go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders [and confer with them] concerning this issue. 3 So, after being supplied and sent on their way by the church, they went through both Phoenicia and Samaria telling in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they brought great joy to all the [a]believers. 4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received warmly by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported to them all the things that God had accomplished through them. 5 But some from the sect of the Pharisees who had believed [in Jesus as the Messiah] stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentile converts and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”
6 The apostles and the elders came together to consider this matter. 7 After a long debate, Peter got up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the message of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows and understands the heart, testified to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith [in Jesus]. 10 Now then, why are you testing God by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to endure? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the [precious, undeserved] grace of the Lord Jesus [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life], in just the same way as they are.”
12 All the people remained silent, and they listened [attentively] to Barnabas and Paul as they described all the signs and wonders (attesting miracles) that God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13 When they had finished speaking, [b]James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 [c]Simeon (Simon Peter) has described how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name [to honor Him and be identified with Him]. 15 The words of the Prophets agree with this, just as it is written [in Scripture],
19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble and make it difficult for those who are turning to God among the Gentiles [by putting obstacles in their way], 20 but that we write to them that they are to abstain from [d]anything that has been contaminated by [being offered to] idols and from sexual impurity and from [eating the meat of] what has been strangled and from [the consumption of] [e]blood. 21 For from ancient generations [the writing of] Moses has been preached in every city, since [f]he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
22 Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, decided to select some of their men to go to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas [also called Silvanus, both], leading men among the brothers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
“The apostles and the brothers who are the elders, to the brothers and sisters who are from the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, Greetings.
24 Since we have heard that some of our men have troubled you with their teachings, causing distress and confusion—men to whom we gave no such orders or instructions— 25 it has been decided by us, having met together, to select men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we have sent Judas and Silas, who will report by word of mouth the same things [that we decided in our meeting]. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place on you any greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from [consuming] blood, and from [eating the meat of] things that have been strangled, and from sexual impurity. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell.”
30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch; and after assembling the congregation, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, the people rejoiced greatly at the encouragement and comfort [it brought them]. 32 Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets (divinely inspired spokesmen), encouraged and strengthened the [g]believers with many words. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent back by the brothers with [the greeting of] peace to those who had sent them. 34 [h][However, Silas decided to stay there.] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, and with many others also continued teaching and proclaiming the good news, the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ].
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
36 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers and sisters (believers) in every city where we preached the message of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take [his cousin] John, who was called Mark, along with them. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 And it became such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took [John] Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas [who was again in Antioch] and set out [on his second journey], commended by the brothers to the grace and favor of the Lord. 41 And he traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
The Macedonian Vision
16 Now Paul traveled to Derbe and also to Lystra. A disciple named Timothy was there, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer [in Christ], however, his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well spoken of by the brothers and sisters who were in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to go with him [as a missionary]; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decrees decided on by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for the churches to observe. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they continually increased in number day after day.
6 Now they passed through the territory of Phrygia and Galatia, after being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor]; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; 8 so passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 Then a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man from [the Roman province of] [i]Macedonia was standing and pleading with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 And when he had seen the vision, [j]we (including Luke) tried to go on into Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 So setting sail from Troas, we ran a direct course to Samothrace, and the next day [went on] to Neapolis; 12 and from there [we came] to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony. We stayed on in this city for several days; 13 and on the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the bank of the [Gangites] river, where we thought there would be a [k]place of prayer, and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had come there.
First Convert in Europe
14 A woman named [l]Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a dealer in [m]purple fabrics who was [already] a worshiper of God, listened to us; and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention and to respond to the things said by Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, along with her household, she pleaded with us, saying, “If you have judged me and decided that I am faithful to the Lord [a true believer], come to my house and stay.” And she persuaded us.
16 It happened that as we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave-girl who had [n]a spirit of divination [that is, a demonic spirit claiming to foretell the future and discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners a good profit by fortune-telling. 17 She followed after Paul and us and kept screaming and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” 18 She continued doing this for several days. Then Paul, being greatly annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit [inside her], “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ [as His representative] to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the market place [where trials were held], 20 and when they had brought them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men, who are Jews, are throwing our city into confusion and causing trouble. 21 They are publicly teaching customs which are unlawful for us, as Romans, to accept or observe.”
Paul and Silas Imprisoned
22 The crowd also joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and ordered that Paul and Silas be beaten with rods. 23 After striking them many times [with the rods], they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely. 24 He, having received such a [strict] command, threw them into the inner prison (dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks [in an agonizing position].
25 But about midnight when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 suddenly there was a great earthquake, so [powerful] that the very foundations of the prison were shaken and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer, shaken out of sleep, saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, saying, “Do not hurt yourself, we are all here!” 29 Then the jailer called for torches and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out [of the inner prison], he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The Jailer Converted
31 And they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus [as your personal Savior and entrust yourself to Him] and you will be saved, you and your household [if they also believe].” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their bloody wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 Then he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, since he had believed in God with his entire family [accepting with joy what had been made known to them about the Christ].
35 Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their officers, saying, “Release those men.” 36 And the jailer repeated the words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you; so come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now they are sending us out secretly? No! Let them come here themselves and bring us out!” 38 The officers reported this message to the chief magistrates, and [o]when they heard that the prisoners were Romans, they were frightened; 39 so they came [to the prison] and appealed to them [with apologies], and when they brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city. 40 So they left the prison and went to Lydia’s house; and when they had seen the brothers and sisters, they encouraged and comforted them, and left.
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