Good News Translation (GNB)
14

In Iconium

141The same thing happened in Iconium: Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of Jews and Gentiles became believers. 2But the Jews who would not believe stirred up the Gentiles and turned them against the believers. 3The apostles stayed there for a long time, speaking boldly about the Lord, who proved that their message about his grace was true by giving them the power to perform miracles and wonders. 4The people of the city were divided: some were for the Jews, others for the apostles.

5Then some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to ill-treat the apostles and stone them. 6When the apostles learnt about it, they fled to the cities of Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia and to the surrounding territory. 7There they preached the Good News.

In Lystra and Derbe

8In Lystra there was a man who had been lame from birth and had never been able to walk. 9He sat there and listened to Paul's words. Paul saw that he believed and could be healed, so he looked straight at him 10and said in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” The man jumped up and started walking around. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they started shouting in their own Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!” 12They gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and Paul the name Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of the god Zeus, whose temple stood just outside the town, brought bulls and flowers to the gate, for he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice to the apostles.

14When Barnabas and Paul heard what they were about to do, they tore their clothes and ran into the middle of the crowd, shouting, 15

14.15:
Ex 20.11
Ps 146.6
“Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human beings like you! We are here to announce the Good News, to turn you away from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven, earth, sea, and all that is in them. 16In the past he allowed all people to go their own way. 17But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness.” 18Even with these words the apostles could hardly keep the crowd from offering a sacrifice to them.

19Some Jews came from Antioch in Pisidia and from Iconium; they won the crowd over to their side, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. 20But when the believers gathered round him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia. 22They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught. 23In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

24After going through the territory of Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25There they preached the message in Perga and then went to Attalia, 26and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the place where they had been commended to the care of God's grace for the work they had now completed.

27When they arrived in Antioch, they gathered the people of the church together and told them about all that God had done with them and how he had opened the way for the Gentiles to believe. 28And they stayed a long time there with the believers.

15

The Meeting at Jerusalem

151

15.1:
Lev 12.3
Some men came from Judea to Antioch and started teaching the believers, “You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised as the Law of Moses requires.” 2Paul and Barnabas got into a fierce argument with them about this, so it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others in Antioch should go to Jerusalem and see the apostles and elders about this matter.

3They were sent on their way by the church; and as they went through Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported how the Gentiles had turned to God; this news brought great joy to all the believers. 4When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, to whom they told all that God had done through them. 5But some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and told to obey the Law of Moses.”

6The apostles and the elders met together to consider this question. 7

15.7:
Acts 10.1–43
After a long debate Peter stood up and said, “My brothers and sisters, you know that a long time ago God chose me from among you to preach the Good News to the Gentiles, so that they could hear and believe. 8
15.8:
Acts 2.4
10.44
And God, who knows the thoughts of everyone, showed his approval of the Gentiles by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he had to us. 9He made no difference between us and them; he forgave their sins because they believed. 10So then, why do you now want to put God to the test by laying a load on the backs of the believers which neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were able to carry? 11No! We believe and are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”

12The whole group was silent as they heard Barnabas and Paul report all the miracles and wonders that God had performed through them among the Gentiles. 13When they had finished speaking, James spoke up: “Listen to me, my brothers and sisters! 14Simon has just explained how God first showed his care for the Gentiles by taking from among them a people to belong to him. 15The words of the prophets agree completely with this. As the scripture says:

16

15.16–18:
Amos 9.11–12
‘After this I will return, says the Lord,

and restore the kingdom of David.

I will rebuild its ruins

and make it strong again.

17And so all the rest of the human race will come to me,

all the Gentiles whom I have called to be my own.

18So says the Lord, who made this known long ago.’

19“It is my opinion,” James went on, “that we should not trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20

15.20:
Ex 34.15–17
Lev 17.10–16
18.6–23
Instead, we should write a letter telling them not to eat any food that is ritually unclean because it has been offered to idols; to keep themselves from sexual immorality; and not to eat any animal that has been strangled, or any blood. 21For the Law of Moses has been read for a very long time in the synagogues every Sabbath, and his words are preached in every town.”

The Letter to the Gentile Believers

22Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, decided to choose some men from the group and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose two men who were highly respected by the believers, Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, 23and they sent the following letter by them:

“We, the apostles and the elders, your brothers, send greetings to all our brothers of Gentile birth who live in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. 24We have heard that some who went from our group have troubled and upset you by what they said; they had not, however, received any instruction from us. 25And so we have met together and have all agreed to choose some messengers and send them to you. They will go with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We send you, then, Judas and Silas, who will tell you in person the same things we are writing. 28The Holy Spirit and we have agreed not to put any other burden on you besides these necessary rules: 29eat no food that has been offered to idols; eat no blood; eat no animal that has been strangled; and keep yourselves from sexual immorality. You will do well if you take care not to do these things. With our best wishes.”

30The messengers were sent off and went to Antioch, where they gathered the whole group of believers and gave them the letter. 31When the people read it, they were filled with joy by the message of encouragement. 32Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, spoke a long time with them, giving them courage and strength. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off in peace by the believers and went back to those who had sent them.15.33 Some manuscripts add verse 34: But Silas decided to stay there.

35Paul and Barnabas spent some time in Antioch, and together with many others they taught and preached the word of the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit our brothers and sisters in every town where we preached the word of the Lord, and let us find out how they are getting on.” 37Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, 38

15.38:
Acts 13.13
but Paul did not think it was right to take him, because he had not stayed with them to the end of their mission, but had turned back and left them in Pamphylia. 39There was a sharp argument, and they separated: Barnabas took Mark and sailed off for Cyprus, 40while Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the care of the Lord's grace. 41He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

16

Timothy Goes with Paul and Silas

161Paul travelled on to Derbe and Lystra, where a Christian named Timothy lived. His mother, who was also a Christian, was Jewish, but his father was a Greek. 2All the believers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy. 3Paul wanted to take Timothy along with him, so he circumcised him. He did so because all the Jews who lived in those places knew that Timothy's father was Greek. 4As they went through the towns, they delivered to the believers the rules decided upon by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, and told them to obey those rules. 5So the churches were made stronger in the faith and grew in numbers every day.

In Troas: Paul's Vision

6They travelled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit did not let them preach the message in the province of Asia. 7When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go into the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8So they travelled right on through16.8 travelled right on through; or passed by. Mysia and went to Troas. 9That night Paul had a vision in which he saw a Macedonian standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10As soon as Paul had this vision, we got ready to leave for Macedonia, because we decided that God had called us to preach the Good News to the people there.

In Philippi: the Conversion of Lydia

11We left by ship from Troas and sailed straight across to Samothrace, and the next day to Neapolis. 12From there we went inland to Philippi, a city of the first district of Macedonia;16.12 a city of the first district of Macedonia; some manuscripts have a leading city of the district of Macedonia; or a leading city of that district in Macedonia. it is also a Roman colony. We spent several days there. 13On the Sabbath we went out of the city to the riverside, where we thought there would be a place where Jews gathered for prayer. We sat down and talked to the women who gathered there. 14One of those who heard us was Lydia from Thyatira, who was a dealer in purple cloth. She was a woman who worshipped God, and the Lord opened her mind to pay attention to what Paul was saying. 15After she and the people of her house had been baptized, she invited us, “Come and stay in my house if you have decided that I am a true believer in the Lord.” And she persuaded us to go.

In Prison at Philippi

16One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a young servant woman who had an evil spirit that enabled her to predict the future. She earned a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. 17She followed Paul and us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They announce to you how you can be saved!” 18She did this for many days, until Paul became so upset that he turned round and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I order you to come out of her!” The spirit went out of her that very moment.

19When her owners realized that their chance of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the authorities in the public square. 20They brought them before the Roman officials and said, “These men are Jews, and they are causing trouble in our city. 21They are teaching customs that are against our law; we are Roman citizens, and we cannot accept these customs or practise them.” 22And the crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas.

Then the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be whipped. 23After a severe beating, they were thrown into jail, and the jailer was ordered to lock them up tight. 24Upon receiving this order, the jailer threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet between heavy blocks of wood.

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, which shook the prison to its foundations. At once all the doors opened, and the chains fell off all the prisoners. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he thought that the prisoners had escaped; so he pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. 28But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, “Don't harm yourself! We are all here!”

29The jailer called for a light, rushed in, and fell trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. 30Then he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your family.” 32Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that very hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; and he and all his family were baptized at once. 34Then he took Paul and Silas up into his house and gave them some food to eat. He and his family were filled with joy, because they now believed in God.

35The next morning the Roman authorities sent police officers with the order, “Let those men go.”

36So the jailer told Paul, “The officials have sent an order for you and Silas to be released. You may leave, then, and go in peace.”

37But Paul said to the police officers, “We were not found guilty of any crime, yet they whipped us in public — and we are Roman citizens! Then they threw us in prison. And now they want to send us away secretly. Not likely! The Roman officials themselves must come here and let us out.”

38The police officers reported these words to the Roman officials; and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were afraid. 39So they went and apologized to them; then they led them out of the prison and asked them to leave the city. 40Paul and Silas left the prison and went to Lydia's house. There they met the believers, spoke words of encouragement to them, and left.