Scripture: Acts 15

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READ and STUDY the WORD

The Council At Jerusalem

Acts 15:1-21 (KJV) And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.  And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.  And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.  And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.  12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.  13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name.  15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.  18 Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.  19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.  21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 

Questions:

1. What was the disagreement between certain men from Judaea and Paul and Barnabas; and what was decided that they do (Acts 15:1-2)?

2. What happened when they arrived at Jerusalem (Acts 15:4)?

3. What did some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees say (Acts 15:5)?

4. What did Peter answer (Acts 15:11)?

5. What did James say (Acts 15:19-20)?

Answers:

1. The disagreement was about circumcision and salvation.  It was decided that Paul and Barnabas should go to Jerusalem and talk to the apostles and elders.

2. They were welcomed by the church, the apostles and the elders and they reported everything God had done through them.

3. Some of the believers said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”

4. Peter answered, “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

5. James said, “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

The Council’s Letter To Gentile Believers

Acts 15:22-35 (KJV) 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barnabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.  24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:  25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.  28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.  30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: 31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.  32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.  33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.  34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.  35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. 

Questions:

1. What did the apostles and elders with the whole church do (Acts 15:22-23)?

2. What did they say to the believers of Antioch about circumcision (Acts 15:24)?

3. What did they say to the believers about Barnabas and Paul (Acts 15:25-26)?

4. What did they say to the believers about the message Judas and Silas were bringing (Acts 15:27-29)?

5. How did the people respond to what was shared with them (Acts 15:30-31)?

6. What did Judas and Silas do (Acts 15:32)?

7. What did Silas do (Acts 15:34)?

8. What did Paul and Barnabas do (Acts 15:35)?

Answers:

1. Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barnabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren: And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. 

2. They said, “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment.”

3. “It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

4. “We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.  For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” 

5. So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 

6. And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. 

7. It pleased Silas to abide there still. 

8. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. 

Disagreement Between Paul And Barnabas

Acts 15:36-41 (KJV) 36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.  37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.  38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.  39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.  41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

Questions:

1. What did Paul say to Barnabas (Acts 15:36)?

2. What did Barnabas want to do (Acts 15:37)?

3. What did Paul think about Barnabas’ idea and why did he think that (Acts 15:38)?

4. What did Barnabas do (Acts 15:39)?

5. What did Paul do (Acts 15:40-41)?

Answers:

1. Paul said unto Barnabas, “Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.”

2. Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 

3. Paul thought it wasn’t a good idea to take John Mark with them because he had departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 

4. The contention was so sharp between Paul and Barnabas, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.

5. Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.  And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

HEAR the WORD

Acts 15:5-11 (NIV) Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”  The apostles and elders met to consider this question After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for He purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

MEDITATE on the WORD

Ponder the above verses.  I gave the short answer to what Peter answered when some believers thought that circumcision was necessary to be saved. Above is Paul’s long answer. I believe it is worth reading.

MEMORIZE the WORD

Acts 15:11 … We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.

LOVE and LIVE the WORD

God worked through the conflict between Paul and Barnabas (see Acts 15:37-41).  There may be a time in each of our lives that this happens.

TEACH and SHARE the WORD

Christians do not always agree, but problems can be solved by agreeing to disagree and letting God work His will. 

PRAY the WORD

Lord, I pray we will share with others all that You’ve done in our lives (Acts 15:4).  Lord, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to each of us (Acts 15:8). Lord, thank You for purifying our heart by faith (Acts 15:9). Lord, thank You for saving us through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:11).  Lord, help us to share the plan of salvation in a way that can be understood by even the youngest and least educated (Acts 15:19). Lord, thank You for our pastors and teachers who teach and preach Your Word (Acts 15:35).  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.

ENCOURAGEMENT

“May you and I allow the Lord to use us to reach others for Him.” <>< Dona