November 22

Acts 11:1 — 13:52
(words in gray are deemed interpolations)

Now the apostles and the brothers that were in Judea heard that people of the nations had also received the word of God. 2 So when Peter came up to Jerusalem, the [supporters] of circumcision began to contend with him, 3 saying he had gone into the house of men that were not circumcised and had eaten with them. 4 At this Peter commenced and went on to explain the particulars to them, saying:

5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, some sort of vessel descending like a great linen sheet being let down by its four extremities from heaven, and it came clear to me. 6 Gazing into it, I made observations and saw four-footed creatures of the earth and wild beasts and creeping things and birds of heaven. 7 I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Rise, Peter, slaughter and eat!’ 8 But I said, ‘Not at all, Lord, because a defiled or unclean thing has never entered into my mouth.’ 9 The second time the voice from heaven answered, ‘You stop calling defiled the things God has cleansed.’ 10 This occurred for a third time, and everything was pulled up again into heaven. 11 Also, look! at that instant there were three men standing at the house in which we were, they having been dispatched from Caesarea to me. 12 So the spirit told me to go with them, not doubting at all. But these six brothers also went with me, and we entered into the house of the man.

13 “He reported to us how he saw the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Dispatch men to Joppa and send for Simon who is surnamed Peter, 14 and he will speak those things to you by which you and all your household may get saved.’ 15 But when I started to speak, the holy spirit fell upon them just as it did also upon us in [the] beginning. 16 At this I called to mind the saying of the Lord, how he used to say, ‘John, for his part, baptized with water, but YOU will be baptized in holy spirit.’ 17 If, therefore, God gave the same free gift to them as he also did to us who have believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I should be able to hinder God?”

18 Now when they heard these things, they acquiesced, and they glorified God, saying: “Well, then, God has granted repentance for the purpose of life to people of the nations also.”

19 Consequently those who had been scattered by the tribulation that arose over Stephen went through as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but speaking the word to no one except to Jews only. 20 However, out of them there were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene that came to Antioch and began talking to the Greek-speaking people, declaring the good news of the Lord Jesus. 21 Furthermore, the hand of Jehovah was with them, and a great number that became believers turned to the Lord.

22 The account about them got to the ears of the congregation that was in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas as far as Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the undeserved kindness of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all to continue in the Lord with hearty purpose; 24 for he was a good man and full of holy spirit and of faith. And a considerable crowd was added to the Lord. 25 So he went off to Tarsus to make a thorough search for Saul 26 and, after he found him, he brought him to Antioch. It thus came about that for a whole year they gathered together with them in the congregation and taught quite a crowd, and it was first in Antioch that the disciples were by divine providence called Christians.

27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus rose and proceeded to indicate through the spirit that a great famine was about to come upon the entire inhabited earth; which, for that matter, did take place in the time of Claudius. 29 So those of the disciples determined, each of them according as anyone could afford it, to send a relief ministration to the brothers dwelling in Judea; 30 and this they did, dispatching it to the older men by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

About that particular time Herod the king applied his hands to mistreating some of those of the congregation. 2 He did away with James the brother of John by the sword. 3 As he saw it was pleasing to the Jews, he went on to arrest Peter also. (As it was, those were days of the unfermented cakes.) 4 And laying hold of him, he put him in prison, turning him over to four shifts of four soldiers each to guard him, as he intended to produce him for the people after the passover. 5 Consequently Peter was being kept in the prison; but prayer to God for him was being carried on intensely by the congregation.

6 Now when Herod was about to produce him, that night Peter was sleeping bound with two chains between two soldiers, and guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 But, look! Jehovah’s angel stood by, and a light shone in the prison cell. Striking Peter on the side, he roused him, saying: “Rise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 The angel said to him: “Gird yourself and bind your sandals on.” He did so. Finally he said to him: “Put your outer garment on and keep following me.” 9 And he went out and kept following him, but he did not know that what was happening through the angel was real. In fact, he supposed he was seeing a vision. 10 Going through the first sentinel guard and the second they got to the iron gate leading into the city, and this opened to them of its own accord. And after they went out they advanced down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 And Peter, coming to himself, said: “Now I actually know that Jehovah sent his angel forth and delivered me out of Herod’s hand and from all that the people of the Jews were expecting.”

12 And after he considered it, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John who was surnamed Mark, where quite a few were gathered together and praying. 13 When he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to attend to the call, 14 and, upon recognizing the voice of Peter, out of joy she did not open the gate, but ran inside and reported that Peter was standing before the gateway. 15 They said to her: “You are mad.” But she kept on strongly asserting it was so. They began to say: “It is his angel.” 16 But Peter remained there knocking. When they opened, they saw him and were astonished. 17 But he motioned to them with his hand to be silent and told them in detail how Jehovah brought him out of the prison, and he said: “Report these things to James and the brothers.” With that he went out and journeyed to another place.

18 Well, when it became day, there was no little stir among the soldiers over what really had become of Peter. 19 Herod made diligent search for him and, when not finding him, he examined the guards and commanded them to be led off [to punishment]; and he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent some time there.

20 Now he was in a fighting mood against the people of Tyre and of Sidon. So with one accord they came to him and, after persuading Blastus, who was in charge of the bedchamber of the king, they began suing for peace, because their country was supplied with food from that of the king. 21 But on a set day Herod clothed himself with royal raiment and sat down upon the judgment seat and began giving them a public address. 22 In turn the assembled people began shouting: “A god’s voice, and not a man’s!” 23 Instantly the angel of Jehovah struck him, because he did not give the glory to God; and he became eaten up with worms and expired.

24 But the word of Jehovah went on growing and spreading.

25 As for Barnabas and Saul, after having fully carried out the relief ministration in Jerusalem, they returned and took along with them John, the one surnamed Mark.

Now in Antioch there were prophets and teachers in the local congregation, Barnabas as well as Symeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who was educated with Herod the district ruler, and Saul. 2 As they were publicly ministering to Jehovah and fasting, the holy spirit said: “Of all persons set Barnabas and Saul apart for me for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then they fasted and prayed and laid their hands upon them and let them go.

4 Accordingly these men, sent out by the holy spirit, went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed away to Cyprus. 5 And when they got to be in Salamis they began publishing the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They had John also as an attendant.

6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met up with a certain man, a sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 and he was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. Calling Barnabas and Saul to him, this man earnestly sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (that, in fact, is the way his name is translated) began opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Saul, who is also Paul, becoming filled with holy spirit, looked at him intently 10 and said: “O man full of every sort of fraud and every sort of villainy, you son of the Devil, you enemy of everything righteous, will you not quit distorting the right ways of Jehovah? 11 Well, then, look! Jehovah’s hand is upon you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sunlight for a period of time.” Instantly a thick mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went around seeking men to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul, upon seeing what had happened, became a believer, as he was astounded at the teaching of Jehovah.

13 The men, together with Paul, now put out to sea from Paphos and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. But John withdrew from them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 They, however, went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia and, going into the synagogue on the sabbath day, they took a seat. 15 After the public reading of the Law and of the Prophets the presiding officers of the synagogue sent out to them, saying: “Men, brothers, if there is any word of encouragement for the people that YOU have, tell it.” 16 So Paul rose, and motioning with his hand, he said:

“Men, Israelites and YOU [others] that fear God, hear. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our forefathers, and he exalted the people during their alien residence in the land of Egypt and brought them out of it with an uplifted arm. 18 And for a period of about forty years he put up with their manner of action in the wilderness. 19 After destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he distributed the land of them by lot: 20 all that during about four hundred and fifty years.

“And after these things he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 But from then on they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And after removing him, he raised up for them David as king, respecting whom he bore witness and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man agreeable to my heart, who will do all the things I desire.’ 23 From the offspring of this [man] according to his promise God has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus, 24 after John, in advance of the entry of that One, had preached publicly to all the people of Israel baptism [in symbol] of repentance. 25 But as John was fulfilling his course, he would say, ‘What do YOU suppose I am? I am not he. But, look! one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

26 “Men, brothers, YOU sons of the stock of Abraham and those [others] among YOU who fear God, the word of this salvation has been sent forth to us. 27 For the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their rulers did not know this One, but, when acting as judges, they fulfilled the things voiced by the Prophets, which things are read aloud every Sabbath, 28 and, although they found no cause for death, they demanded of Pilate that he be executed. 29 When, now, they had accomplished all the things written about him, they took him down from the stake and laid him in a memorial tomb. 30 But God raised him up from the dead; 31 and for many days he became visible to those who had gone up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.

32 “And so we are declaring to YOU the good news about the promise made to the forefathers, 33 that God has entirely fulfilled it to us their children in that he resurrected Jesus; even as it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my son, I have become your Father this day.’ 34 And that fact that he resurrected him from the dead destined no more to return to corruption, he has stated in this way, ‘I will give YOU people the loving-kindnesses to David that are faithful.’ 35 Hence he also says in another psalm, ‘You will not allow your loyal one to see corruption.’ 36 For David, on the one hand, served the express will of God in his own generation and fell asleep [in death] and was laid with his forefathers and did see corruption. 37 On the other hand, he whom God raised up did not see corruption.

38 “Let it therefore be known to YOU, brothers, that through this One a forgiveness of sins is being published to YOU; 39 and that from all the things from which YOU could not be declared guiltless by means of the law of Moses, everyone who believes is declared guiltless by means of this One. 40 Therefore see to it that what is said in the Prophets does not come upon YOU, 41 ‘Behold it, YOU scorners, and wonder at it, and vanish away, because I am working a work in YOUR days, a work that YOU will by no means believe even if anyone relates it to YOU in detail.’”

42 Now when they were going out, the people began entreating for these matters to be spoken to them on the following sabbath. 43 So after the synagogue assembly was dissolved, many of the Jews and of the proselytes who worshiped [God] followed Paul and Barnabas, who in speaking to them began urging them to continue in the undeserved kindness of God.

44 The next sabbath nearly all the city gathered together to hear the word of Jehovah. 45 When the Jews got sight of the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began blasphemously contradicting the things being spoken by Paul. 46 And so, talking with boldness, Paul and Barnabas said: “It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken first to YOU. Since YOU are thrusting it away from YOU and do not judge yourselves worthy of everlasting life, look! we turn to the nations. 47 In fact, Jehovah has laid commandment upon us in these words, ‘I have appointed you as a light of nations, for you to be a salvation to the extremity of the earth.’”

48 When those of the nations heard this, they began to rejoice and to glorify the word of Jehovah, and all those who were rightly disposed for everlasting life became believers. 49 Furthermore, the word of Jehovah went on being carried throughout the whole country. 50 But the Jews stirred up the reputable women who worshiped [God] and the principal men of the city, and they raised up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and threw them outside their boundaries. 51 These shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples continued to be filled with joy and holy spirit.