Acts 13-14 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Barnabas and Saul Are Chosen and Sent
13 The church at Antioch had several prophets and teachers. They were Barnabas, Simeon, also called Niger, Lucius from Cyrene, Manaen, who was Herod’s[a] close friend, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and going without eating,[b] the Holy Spirit told them, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have chosen them.” 3 Everyone prayed and went without eating for a while longer. Next, they placed their hands on Barnabas and Saul to show that they had been appointed to do this work. Then everyone sent them on their way.
Barnabas and Saul in Cyprus
4 After Barnabas and Saul had been sent by the Holy Spirit, they went to Seleucia. From there they sailed to the island of Cyprus. 5 They arrived at Salamis and began to preach God’s message in the Jewish meeting places. They also had John[c] as a helper.
6 Barnabas and Saul went all the way to the city of Paphos on the other end of the island, where they met a Jewish man named Bar-Jesus. He practiced witchcraft and was a false prophet. 7 He also worked for Sergius Paulus, who was very smart and was the governor of the island. Sergius Paulus wanted to hear God’s message, and he sent for Barnabas and Saul. 8 But Bar-Jesus, whose other name was Elymas, was against them. He even tried to keep the governor from having faith in the Lord.
9 Then Saul, better known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked straight at Elymas 10 and said, “You son of the devil! You are a liar, a crook, and an enemy of everything that is right. When will you stop speaking against the true ways of the Lord? 11 The Lord is going to punish you by making you completely blind for a while.”
Suddenly the man’s eyes were covered by a dark mist, and he went around trying to get someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the governor saw what had happened, he was amazed at this teaching about the Lord. So he put his faith in the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia
13 Paul and the others left Paphos and sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. But John[d] left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14 The rest of them went on from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia. Then on the Sabbath they went to the Jewish meeting place and sat down.
15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets,[e] the leaders sent someone over to tell Paul and Barnabas, “Friends, if you have anything to say that will help the people, please say it.”
16 Paul got up. He motioned with his hand and said:
People of Israel, and everyone else who worships God, listen! 17 The God of Israel chose our ancestors, and he let our people prosper while they were living in Egypt. Then with his mighty power he led them out, 18 and for about forty years he took care of[f] them in the desert. 19 He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave their land to our people. 20 All this happened in about 450 years.
Then God gave our people judges until the time of the prophet Samuel, 21 but the people demanded a king. So for forty years God gave them King Saul, the son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. 22 Later, God removed Saul and let David rule in his place. God said about him, “David the son of Jesse is the kind of person who pleases me most! He does everything I want him to do.”
23 God promised that someone from David’s family would come to save the people of Israel, and that one is Jesus. 24 But before Jesus came, John was telling everyone in Israel to turn back to God and be baptized. 25 Then, when John’s work was almost done, he said, “Who do you people think I am? Do you think I am the Promised One? He will come later, and I am not good enough to untie his sandals.”
26 Now listen, you descendants of Abraham! Pay attention, all of you Gentiles who are here to worship God! Listen to this message about how to be saved, because it is for everyone. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their leaders didn’t realize who Jesus was. And they didn’t understand the words of the prophets that they read each Sabbath. So they condemned Jesus just as the prophets had said.
28-29 They did exactly what the Scriptures said they would. Even though they couldn’t find any reason to put Jesus to death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed.
After Jesus had been put to death, he was taken down from the cross[g] and placed in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from death! 31 Then for many days Jesus appeared to his followers who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Now they are telling our people about him.
32 God made a promise to our ancestors. And we are here to tell you the good news 33 that he has kept this promise to us. It is just as the second Psalm says about Jesus,
“You are my son because today
34 God raised Jesus from death and will never let his body decay. It is just as God said,
“I will make to you
35 And in another psalm it says, “God will never let the body of his Holy One decay.”
36 When David was alive, he obeyed God. Then after he died, he was buried in the family grave, and his body decayed. 37 But God raised Jesus from death, and his body did not decay.
38 My friends, the message is that Jesus can forgive your sins! The Law of Moses could not set you free from all your sins. 39 But everyone who has faith in Jesus is set free. 40 Make sure that what the prophets have said doesn’t happen to you. They said,
41 “Look, you people
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the meeting, the people begged them to say more about these same things on the next Sabbath. 43 After the service, many Jews and a lot of Gentiles who worshiped God went with them. Paul and Barnabas begged them all to remain faithful to God, who had been so kind to them.
44 The next Sabbath almost everyone in town came to hear the message about the Lord.[h] 45 When the Jewish people saw the crowds, they were very jealous. They insulted Paul and spoke against everything he said.
46 But Paul and Barnabas bravely said:
We had to tell God’s message to you before we told it to anyone else. But you rejected the message! This proves that you don’t deserve eternal life. Now we are going to the Gentiles. 47 The Lord has given us this command,
“I have placed you here
48 This message made the Gentiles glad, and they praised what they had heard about the Lord. [i] Everyone who had been chosen for eternal life then put their faith in the Lord.
49 The message about the Lord spread all over that region. 50 But the Jewish leaders went to some of the important men in the town and to some respected women who were religious. They turned them against Paul and Barnabas and started making trouble for them. They even chased them out of that part of the country.
51 Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from that place off their feet[j] and went on to the city of Iconium.
52 But the Lord’s followers in Antioch were very happy and were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Paul and Barnabas in Iconium
14 Paul and Barnabas spoke in the Jewish meeting place in Iconium, just as they had done at Antioch, and many Jews and Gentiles[k] put their faith in the Lord. 2 But the Jews who did not have faith in him made the other Gentiles angry and turned them against the Lord’s followers.
3 Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a while, having faith in the Lord and bravely speaking his message. The Lord gave them the power to work miracles and wonders, and he showed that their message about his great kindness was true.
4 The people of Iconium did not know what to think. Some of them believed the Jewish group, and others believed the apostles. 5 Finally, some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to make trouble for Paul and Barnabas and to stone them to death.
6-7 But when the two apostles found out what was happening, they escaped to the region of Lycaonia. They preached the good news there in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the nearby countryside.
Paul and Barnabas in Lystra
8 In Lystra there was a man who had been born with crippled feet and had never been able to walk. 9 The man was listening to Paul speak, when Paul saw that he had faith in Jesus and could be healed. So he looked straight at the man 10 and shouted, “Stand up!” The man jumped up and started walking around.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they yelled out in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have turned into humans and have come down to us!” 12 The people then gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and they gave Paul the name Hermes,[l] because he did the talking.
13 The temple of Zeus was near the entrance to the city. Its priest and the crowds wanted to offer a sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. So the priest brought some bulls and flowers to the city gates. 14 When the two apostles found out about this, they tore their clothes in horror and ran to the crowd, shouting:
15 Why are you doing this? We are humans just like you. Please give up all this foolishness. Turn to the living God, who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In times past, God let each nation go its own way. 17 But he showed that he was there by the good things he did. God sends rain from heaven and makes your crops grow. He gives food to you and makes your hearts glad.
18 Even after Paul and Barnabas had said all this, they could hardly keep the people from offering a sacrifice to them.
19 Some Jewish leaders from Antioch and Iconium came and turned the crowds against Paul. They hit him with stones and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But when the Lord’s followers gathered around Paul, he stood up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
21 Paul and Barnabas preached the good news in Derbe and won some people to the Lord. Then they went back to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia. 22 They encouraged the followers and begged them to remain faithful. They told them, “We have to suffer a lot before we can get into God’s kingdom.” 23 Paul and Barnabas chose some leaders for each of the churches. Then they went without eating[m] and prayed that the Lord would take good care of these leaders.
24 Paul and Barnabas went on through Pisidia to Pamphylia, 25 where they preached in the town of Perga. Then they went down to Attalia 26 and sailed to Antioch in Syria. It was there that they had been placed in God’s care for the work they had now completed.[n]
27 After arriving in Antioch, they called the church together. They told the people what God had helped them do and how he had made it possible for the Gentiles to believe. 28 Then they stayed there with the followers for a long time.
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