November 23

Acts 14:1 — 16:40

Now in Iconium they entered together into the synagogue of the Jews and spoke in such a manner that a great multitude of both Jews and Greeks became believers. 2 But the Jews that did not believe stirred up and wrongly influenced the souls of people of the nations against the brothers. 3 Therefore they spent considerable time speaking with boldness by the authority of Jehovah, who bore witness to the word of his undeserved kindness by granting signs and portents to occur through their hands. 4 However, the multitude of the city was split, and some were for the Jews but others for the apostles. 5 Now when a violent attempt took place on the part of both people of the nations and Jews with their rulers, to treat them insolently and pelt them with stones, 6 they, on being informed of it, fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe and the country round about; 7 and there they went on declaring the good news.

8 Now in Lystra there was sitting a certain man disabled in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, and he had never walked at all. 9 This man was listening to Paul speak, who, on looking at him intently and seeing he had faith to be made well, 10 said with a loud voice: “Stand up erect on your feet.” And he leaped up and began walking. 11 And the crowds, seeing what Paul had done, raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian tongue: “The gods have become like humans and have come down to us!” 12 And they went calling Barnabas Zeus, but Paul Hermes, since he was the one taking the lead in speaking. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose [temple] was before the city, brought bulls and garlands to the gates and was desiring to offer sacrifices with the crowds.

14 However, when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they ripped their outer garments and leaped out into the crowd, crying out 15 and saying: “Men, why are YOU doing these things? We also are humans having the same infirmities as YOU do, and are declaring the good news to YOU, for YOU to turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them. 16 In the past generations he permitted all the nations to go on in their ways, 17 although, indeed, he did not leave himself without witness in that he did good, giving YOU rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling YOUR hearts to the full with food and good cheer.” 18 And yet by saying these things they scarcely restrained the crowds from sacrificing to them.

19 But Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and persuaded the crowds, and they stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, imagining he was dead. 20 However, when the disciples surrounded him, he rose up and entered into the city. And on the next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. 21 And after declaring the good news to that city and making quite a few disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to remain in the faith and [saying]: “We must enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations.” 23 Moreover, they appointed older men for them in each congregation and, offering prayer with fastings, they committed them to Jehovah in whom they had become believers.

24 And they went through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia, 25 and, after speaking the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 And from there they sailed off for Antioch, where they had been entrusted to the undeserved kindness of God for the work they had fully performed.

27 When they had arrived and had gathered the congregation together, they proceeded to relate the many things God had done by means of them, and that he had opened to the nations the door to faith. 28 So they spent not a little time with the disciples.

And certain men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless YOU get circumcised according to the custom of Moses, YOU cannot be saved.” 2 But when there had occurred no little dissension and disputing by Paul and Barnabas with them, they arranged for Paul and Barnabas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and older men in Jerusalem regarding this dispute.

3 Accordingly, after being conducted partway by the congregation, these men continued on their way through both Phoenicia and Samaria, relating in detail the conversion of people of the nations, and they were causing great joy to all the brothers. 4 On arriving in Jerusalem they were kindly received by the congregation and the apostles and the older men, and they recounted the many things God had done by means of them. 5 Yet, some of those of the sect of the Pharisees that had believed rose up from their seats and said: “It is necessary to circumcise them and charge them to observe the law of Moses.”

6 And the apostles and the older men gathered together to see about this affair. 7 Now when much disputing had taken place, Peter rose and said to them: “Men, brothers, YOU well know that from early days God made the choice among YOU that through my mouth people of the nations should hear the word of the good news and believe; 8 and God, who knows the heart, bore witness by giving them the holy spirit, just as he did to us also. 9 And he made no distinction at all between us and them, but purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are YOU making a test of God by imposing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our forefathers nor we were capable of bearing? 11 On the contrary, we trust to get saved through the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus in the same way as those people also.”

12 At that the entire multitude became silent, and they began to listen to Barnabas and Paul relate the many signs and portents that God did through them among the nations. 13 After they quit speaking, James answered, saying: “Men, brothers, hear me. 14 Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, 16 ‘After these things I shall return and rebuild the booth of David that is fallen down; and I shall rebuild its ruins and erect it again, 17 in order that those who remain of the men may earnestly seek Jehovah, together with people of all the nations, people who are called by my name, says Jehovah, who is doing these things, 18 known from of old.’ 19 Hence my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, 20 but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21 For from ancient times Moses has had in city after city those who preach him, because he is read aloud in the synagogues on every sabbath.”

22 Then the apostles and the older men together with the whole congregation favored sending chosen men from among them to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was called Barsabbas and Silas, leading men among the brothers; 23 and by their hand they wrote:

“The apostles and the older men, brothers, to those brothers in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the nations: Greetings! 24 Since we have heard that some from among us have caused YOU trouble with speeches, trying to subvert YOUR souls, although we did not give them any instructions, 25 we have come to a unanimous accord and have favored choosing men to send to YOU together with our loved ones, Barnabas and Paul, 26 men that have delivered up their souls for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We are therefore dispatching Judas and Silas, that they also may report the same things by word. 28 For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to YOU, except these necessary things, 29 to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If YOU carefully keep yourselves from these things, YOU will prosper. Good health to YOU!”

30 Accordingly, when these men were let go, they went down to Antioch, and they gathered the multitude together and handed them the letter. 31 After reading it, they rejoiced over the encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, since they themselves were also prophets, encouraged the brothers with many a discourse and strengthened them. 33 So, when they had passed some time, they were let go in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them out. 34 —— 35 However, Paul and Barnabas continued spending time in Antioch teaching and declaring, with many others also, the good news of the word of Jehovah.

36 Now after some days Paul said to Barnabas: “Above all things, let us return and visit the brothers in every one of the cities in which we published the word of Jehovah to see how they are.” 37 For his part, Barnabas was determined to take along also John, who was called Mark. 38 But Paul did not think it proper to be taking this one along with them, seeing that he had departed from them from Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 At this there occurred a sharp burst of anger, so that they separated from each other; and Barnabas took Mark along and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 Paul selected Silas and went off after he had been entrusted by the brothers to the undeserved kindness of Jehovah. 41 But he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the congregations.

So he arrived at Derbe and also at Lystra. And, look! a certain disciple was there by the name of Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman but of a Greek father, 2 and he was well reported on by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul expressed the desire for this man to go out with him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places, for one and all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 Now as they traveled on through the cities they would deliver to those there for observance the decrees that had been decided upon by the apostles and older men who were in Jerusalem. 5 Therefore, indeed, the congregations continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number from day to day.

6 Moreover, they went through Phrygia and the country of Galatia, because they were forbidden by the holy spirit to speak the word in the [district of] Asia. 7 Further, when getting down to Mysia they made efforts to go into Bithynia, but the spirit of Jesus did not permit them. 8 So they passed Mysia by and came down to Troas. 9 And during the night a vision appeared to Paul: a certain Macedonian man was standing and entreating him and saying: “Step over into Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now as soon as he had seen the vision, we sought to go forth into Macedonia, drawing the conclusion that God had summoned us to declare the good news to them.

11 Therefore we put out to sea from Troas and came with a straight run to Samothrace, but on the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, a colony, which is the principal city of the district of Macedonia. We continued in this city, spending some days. 13 And on the sabbath day we went forth outside the gate beside a river, where we were thinking there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women that had assembled. 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira and a worshiper of God, was listening, and Jehovah opened her heart wide to pay attention to the things being spoken by Paul. 15 Now when she and her household got baptized, she said with entreaty: “If YOU men have judged me to be faithful to Jehovah, enter into my house and stay.” And she just made us come.

16 And it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a certain servant girl with a spirit, a demon of divination, met us. She used to furnish her masters with much gain by practicing the art of prediction. 17 This [girl] kept following Paul and us and crying out with the words: “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who are publishing to YOU the way of salvation.” 18 This she kept doing for many days. Finally Paul got tired of it and turned and said to the spirit: “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 Well, when her masters saw that their hope of gain had left, they laid hold of Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the rulers, 20 and, leading them up to the civil magistrates, they said: “These men are disturbing our city very much, they being Jews, 21 and they are publishing customs that it is not lawful for us to take up or practice, seeing we are Romans.” 22 And the crowd rose up together against them; and the civil magistrates, after tearing the outer garments off them, gave the command to beat them with rods. 23 After they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Because he got such an order, he threw them into the inner prison and made their feet fast in the stocks.

25 But about the middle of the night Paul and Silas were praying and praising God with song; yes, the prisoners were hearing them. 26 Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so that the foundations of the jail were shaken. Moreover, all the doors were instantly opened, and the bonds of all were loosened. 27 The jailer, being awakened out of sleep and seeing the prison doors were open, drew his sword and was about to do away with himself, imagining that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying: “Do not hurt yourself, for we are all here!” 29 So he asked for lights and leaped in and, seized with trembling, he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them outside and said: “Sirs, what must I do to get saved?” 31 They said: “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of Jehovah to him together with all those in his house. 33 And he took them along in that hour of the night and bathed their stripes; and, one and all, he and his were baptized without delay. 34 And he brought them into his house and set a table before them, and he rejoiced greatly with all his household now that he had believed God.

35 When it became day, the civil magistrates dispatched the constables to say: “Release those men.” 36 So the jailer reported their words to Paul: “The civil magistrates have dispatched men that YOU [two] might be released. Now, therefore, come out and go YOUR way in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them: “They flogged us publicly uncondemned, men who are Romans, and threw us into prison; and are they now throwing us out secretly? No, indeed! but let them come themselves and bring us out.” 38 So the constables reported these sayings to the civil magistrates. These grew fearful when they heard that the men were Romans. 39 Consequently they came and entreated them and, after bringing them out, they requested them to depart from the city. 40 But they came out of the prison and went to the home of Lydia, and when they saw the brothers they encouraged them and departed.