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Acts


The beginnings of the church

  1.The Promise of the Holy Spirit (Jerusalem)

1IN THE FIRST PART of my work, Theophilus, I wrote of all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up to heaven. 3He showed himself to these men after his death, and gave ample proof that he was alive: over a period of forty days he appeared to them and taught them about the kingdom of God. 4While he was in their company he told them not to leave Jerusalem. 'You must wait', he said, 'for the promise made by my Father, about which you have heard me speak: 5John, as you know, baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and within the next few days.'

The Ascension of Jesus Passover, c.30ce (Mount of Olives, Jerusalem)

6So, when they were all together, they asked him, 'Lord, is this the time when you are to establish once again the sovereignty of Israel?' 7He answered, 'It is not for you to know about dates or times, which the Father has set within his own control. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will bear witness for me in Jerusalem, and all over Judaea and Samaria, and away to the ends of the earth.'

9When he had said this, as they watched, he was lifted up, and a cloud removed him from their sight. 10As he was going, and as they were gazing intently into the sky, all at once there stood beside them two men in white 11who said, 'Men of Galilee, why stand there looking up into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken away from you up to heaven, will come in the same way as you have seen him go.'

The Choice of Judas' Successor (Jerusalem)

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, no farther than a Sabbath day's journey. 13Entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were lodging: Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these were constantly at prayer together, and with them a group of women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15It was during this time that Peter stood up before the assembled brotherhood, about one hundred and twenty in all, and said: 16'My friends, the prophecy in Scripture was bound to come true, which the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of David, uttered about Judas who acted as guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17For he was one of our number and had his place in this ministry.' 18(This Judas, be it noted, after buying a plot of land with the price of his villainy, fell forward on the ground, and burst open, so that his entrails poured out. 19This became known to everyone in Jerusalem, and they named the property in their own language Akeldama, which means 'Blood Acre'.) 20 [ Ps.69.25, Ps.109.8. ] 'The text I have in mind', Peter continued, 'is in the Book of Psalms: "Let his homestead fall desolate; let there be none to inhabit it"; and again, "Let another take over his charge." 21Therefore one of those who bore us company all the while we had the Lord Jesus with us, coming and going, 22from John's ministry of baptism until the day when he was taken up from us—one of those must now join us as a witness to his resurrection.'

23Two names were put forward: Joseph, who was known as Barsabbas, and bore the added name of Justus; and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, 'Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, declare which of these two thou hast chosen 25to receive this office of ministry and apostleship which Judas abandoned to go where he belonged.' 26They drew lots and the lot fell on Matthias, who was then assigned a place among the twelve apostles. [Some witnesses read: was then appointed a colleague of the eleven apostles.]


  2.The Coming of the Holy Spirit (Jerusalem)

1WHILE THE DAY of Pentecost was running its course they were all together in one place, 2when suddenly there came from the sky a noise like that of a strong driving wind, which filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared to them tongues like flames of fire, dispersed among them and resting on each one. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them power of utterance.

5Now there were living in Jerusalem devout Jews [Some witnesses read: devout men.] drawn from every nation under heaven; 6and at this sound the crowd gathered, all bewildered because each one heard his own language spoken. 7They were amazed and in their astonishment exclaimed, 'Why, they are all Galileans, are they not, these men who are speaking? 8How is it then that we hear them, each of us in his own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites; inhabitants of Mesopotamia, of Judaea and Cappadocia, of Pontus and Asia, 10of Phrygia and Pamphylia, of Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs, we hear them telling in our own tongues the great things God has done.' 12And they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'What can this mean?' 13Others said contemptuously, 'They have been drinking!'

Peter's Speech at Pentecost (Jerusalem)

14But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: 'Fellow Jews, and all you who live in Jerusalem, mark this and give me a hearing. 15These men are not drunk, as you imagine; for it is only nine in the morning. 16No, this is what the prophet spoke of: 17 [ Jl.2.28-32. ] "God says, 'This will happen in the last days: I will pour out upon everyone a portion of my spirit; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Yes, I will endue even my slaves, both men and women, with a portion of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the sky above, and signs on the earth below-blood and fire and drifting smoke. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before that great, resplendent day, the day of the Lord, shall come. 21And then, everyone who invokes the name of the Lord shall be saved.'"

22'Men of Israel, listen to me: I speak of Jesus of Nazareth, a man singled out by God and made known to you through miracles, portents, and signs, which God worked among you through him, as you well know. 23When he had been given up to you, by the deliberate will and plan of God, you used heathen men to crucify and kill him. 24But God raised him to life again, setting him free from the pangs of death, because it could not be that death should keep him in its grip. 25 [ Ps.16.8-11. ] 'For David says of him:

29'Let me tell you plainly, my friends, that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this very day. 30It is clear therefore that he spoke as a prophet who knew that God had sworn to him that one of his own direct descendants should sit on his throne; 31and when he said he was not abandoned to death, and his flesh never suffered corruption, he spoke with foreknowledge of the resurrection of the Messiah. 32The Jesus we speak of has been raised by God, as we can all bear witness. 33Exalted thus with [Or: at.] God's right hand, he received the Holy Spirit from the Father, as was promised, and all that you now see and hear flows from him. 34 [ Ps.110.1. ] For it was not David who went up to heaven, his own words are: "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand 35until I make your enemies your footstool.'" 36Let all Israel then accept as certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.'

37When they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the apostles, [Some witnesses read: the rest of the apostles.] 'Friends, what are we to do?' 38'Repent,' said Peter, 'repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God may call.' 40In these and many other words he pressed his case and pleaded with them: 'Save yourselves', he said, 'from this crooked age.' 41Then those who accepted his word were baptized, and some three thousand were added to their number that day.

42They met constantly to hear the apostles teach, and to share the common life, to break bread, and to pray.

Life among the Believers.

43A sense of awe was everywhere, and many marvels and signs were brought about through the apostles. 44All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common: [Or: All who had become believers held everything together in common.] 45they would sell their property and possessions and make a general distribution as the need of each required. 46With one mind they kept up their daily attendance at the temple, and, breaking bread in private houses, shared their meals with unaffected joy, 47as they praised God and enjoyed the favour of the whole people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those whom he was saving.


  3.The lame man healed at the gate of the Temple (Beautiful Gate, The Temple, Jerusalem)

1ONE DAY at three in the afternoon, the hour of prayer, Peter and John were on their way up to the temple. 2Now a man who had been a cripple from birth used to be carried there and laid every day by the gate of the temple called 'Beautiful Gate', to beg from people as they went in. 3When he saw Peter and John on their way into the temple he asked for charity. 4But Peter fixed his eyes on him, as John did also, and said, 'Look at us.' 5Expecting a gift from them, the man was all attention. 6And Peter said, 'I have no silver or gold; but what I have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.' 7Then he grasped him by the right hand and pulled him up; and at once his feet and ankles grew strong; 8he sprang up, stood on his feet, and started to walk. He entered the temple with them, leaping and praising God as he went. 9Everyone saw him walking and praising God, 10and when they recognized him as the man who used to sit begging at Beautiful Gate, they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Peter's Speech in Solomon's Portico (Solomon's Portico, The Temple, Jerusalem)

11And as he was clutching Peter and John all the people came running in astonishment towards them in Solomon's Portico, as it is called. 12Peter saw them coming and met them with these words: 'Men of Israel, why be surprised at this? Why stare at us as if we had made this man walk by some power or godliness of our own? 13 [ Ex.3.6, Is.52.13, Is.53.11. ] The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has given the highest honour to his servant Jesus, whom you committed for trial and repudiated in Pilate's court— 14repudiated the one who was holy and righteous when Pilate had decided to release him. You begged as a favour the release of a murderer, 15and killed him who has led the way to life. But God raised him from the dead; of that we are witnesses. 16And the name of Jesus, by awakening faith, has strengthened this man, whom you see and know, and this faith has made him completely well, as you can all see for yourselves.

17'And now, my friends, I know quite well that you acted in ignorance, and so did your rulers; 18but this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold in the utterances of all the prophets: that his Messiah should suffer. 19Repent then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out. Then the Lord may grant you a time of recovery 20and send you the Messiah he has already appointed, that is, Jesus. 21He must be received into heaven until the time of universal restoration comes, of which God spoke by his holy prophets. [Some witnesses add: from the beginning of the world.] 22 [ Dt.18.15-19. ] Moses said, "The Lord God will raise up a prophet for you from among yourselves as he raised me; [Or: like me.] you shall listen to everything he says to you, 23 [ Lv.23.29. ] and anyone who refuses to listen to that prophet must be extirpated from Israel." 24And so said all the prophets, from Samuel onwards; with one voice they all predicted this present time.

25 [ Gn.12.3, Gn.22.18. ] 'You are the heirs of the prophets; you are within the covenant which God made with your fathers, when he said to Abraham, "And in your offspring all the families on earth shall find blessing." 26When God raised up his Servant, he sent him to you first, to bring you blessing by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.'


  4.Peter and John before the Council (Jerusalem)

1They were still addressing the people when the chief [Some witnesses omit: chief.] priests came upon them, together with the Controller of the Temple and the Sadducees, 2exasperated at their teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead—the resurrection of Jesus. 3They were arrested and put in prison for the night, as it was already evening. 4But many of those who had heard the message became believers. The number of men now reached about five thousand.

5Next day the Jewish rulers, elders, and doctors of the law met in Jerusalem. 6There were present Annas the High Priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, [Some witnesses read: John.] Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7They brought the apostles before the court and began the examination. 'By what power', they asked, 'or by what name have such men as you done this?' 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered, 'Rulers of the people and elders, 9if the question put to us today is about help given to a sick man, and we are asked by what means he was cured, 10here is the answer, for all of you and for all the people of Israel: it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; it is by his name [Some witnesses insert: and no other.] that this man stands here before you fit and well. 11 [ Ps.118.22. ] This Jesus is the stone rejected by the builders which has become the keystone-and you are the builders. 12There is no salvation in anyone else at all, [Some witnesses omit: There is no ... at all.] for there is no other name under heaven granted to men, by which we may receive salvation.'

13Now as they observed the boldness of Peter and John, and noted that they were untrained laymen, they began to wonder, then recognized them as former companions of Jesus. 14And when they saw the man who had been cured standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15So they ordered them to leave the court, and then discussed the matter among themselves. 16'What are we to do with these men?' they said; 'for it is common knowledge in Jerusalem that a notable miracle has come about through them; and we cannot deny it. 17But to stop this from spreading further among the people, we had better caution them never is again to speak to anyone in this name.' 18They then called them in and ordered them to refrain from all public speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus.

19But Peter and John said to them in reply: 'Is it right in God's eyes for us to obey you rather than God? Judge for yourselves. 20We cannot possibly give up speaking of things we have seen and heard.'

21The court repeated the caution and discharged them. They could not see how they were to punish them, because the people were all giving glory to God for what had happened. 22The man upon whom this miracle of healing had been performed was over forty years old.

The Believers Pray for Boldness (Jerusalem)

23As soon as they were discharged they went back to their friends and told them everything that the chief priests and elders had said. 24 [ Ex.20.11, Ps.146.6, Is.37.16. ] When they heard it, they raised their voices as one man and called upon God:

'Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth and sea and of everything in them, 25 [ Ps.2.1-2. ] who by the Holy Spirit, [Some witnesses omit: by the Holy Spirit.] through the mouth of David thy servant, didst say,

27They did indeed make common cause in this very city against thy holy servant Jesus whom thou didst anoint as Messiah. Herod and Pontius Pilate conspired with the Gentiles and peoples of Israel 28to do all the things which, under thy hand and by thy decree, were foreordained. 29And now, O Lord, mark their threats, and enable thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness. 30Stretch out thy hand to heal and cause signs and wonders to be done through the name of thy holy servant Jesus.'

31When they had ended their prayer, the building where they were assembled rocked, and all were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

All Things in Common

32THE WHOLE BODY of believers was united in heart and soul. Not a man of them claimed any of his possessions as his own, but everything was held in common, 33while the apostles bore witness with great power to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. They were all held in high esteem; 34for they had never a needy person among them, because all who had property in land or houses sold it, brought the proceeds of the sale, 35and laid the money at the feet of the apostles; it was then distributed to any who stood in need.

36For instance, Joseph, surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means 'Son of Exhortation'), a Levite, by birth a Cypriot, 37owned an estate, which he sold; he brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.


  5.Ananias and Sapphira

1But there was another man, called Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, who sold a property. 2With the full knowledge of his wife he kept back part of the purchase-money, and part he brought and laid at the apostles' feet. 3But Peter said, 'Ananias, how was it that Satan so possessed your mind that you lied to the Holy Spirit, and kept back part of the price of the land? 4While it remained, did it not remain yours? When it was turned into money, was it not still at your own disposal? What made you think of doing this thing? You have lied not to men but to God.' 5When Ananias heard these words he dropped dead; and all the others who heard were awestruck. 6The younger men rose and covered his body, then carried him out and buried him.

7About three hours passed, and then his wife came in, unaware of what had happened. 8Peter turned to her and said, 'Tell me, were you paid such and such a price for the land?' 'Yes,' she said, 'that was the price.' 9Then Peter said, 'Why did you both conspire to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Hark! there at the door are the footsteps of those who buried your husband; and they will carry you away.' 10And suddenly she dropped dead at his feet. When the young men came in, they found her dead; and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11And a great awe fell upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these events.

Many Signs and Wonders Performed

12Many remarkable and wonderful things took place among the people at the hands of the apostles.

THEY USED TO MEET by common consent in Solomon's Portico, 13no one from outside their number venturing to join with them. But people in general spoke highly of them, [Or: ... Portico. Although others did not venture to join them, the common people spoke highly of them.] 14and more than that, numbers of men and women were added to their ranks as believers in the Lord. [Or: and an ever-increasing number of believer, both men and women were added to the Lord.] 15In the end the sick were actually carried out into the streets and laid there on beds and stretchers, so that even the shadow of Peter might fall on one or another as he passed by; 16and the people from the towns round Jerusalem flocked in, bringing those who were ill or harassed by unclean spirits, and all of them were cured.

Persecution of the Apostles (Jerusalem)

17Then the High Priest and his colleagues, the Sadducean party as it then was, were goaded into action by jealousy. 18They proceeded to arrest the apostles, and put them in official custody. 19But an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors during the night, brought them out, and said, 20'Go, take your place in the temple and speak to the people, and tell them about this new life and all it means.' 21Accordingly they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching.

When the High Priest arrived with his colleagues they summoned the 'Sanhedrin', that is, the full senate of the Israelite nation, and sent to the jail to fetch the prisoners. 22But the police who went to the prison failed to find them there, so they returned and reported, 23'We found the jail securely locked at every point, with the warders at their posts by the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.' 24When they heard this, the Controller of the Temple and the chief priests were wondering what could have become of them, [Or: wondering about them, what this could possibly mean.] 25and then a man arrived with the report, 'Look! the men you put in prison are there in the temple teaching the people.' 26At that the Controller went off with the police and fetched them, but without using force for fear of being stoned by the people.

27So they brought them and stood them before the Council; and the High Priest began his examination. 28'We expressly ordered you', he said, 'to desist from teaching in that name; and what has happened? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are trying to make us responsible for that man's death.' 29Peter replied for himself and the apostles: 'We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you had done to death [Or: ... Jesus, and you did him to death ...] by hanging him on a gibbet. 31He it is whom God has exalted with his own right hand [Or: at his right hand.] as leader and saviour, to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to all this, and so is the Holy Spirit given by God to those who are obedient to him.'

33This touched them on the raw, and they wanted to put them to death. 34But a member of the Council rose to his feet, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in high regard by all the people. He moved that the men be put outside for a while. 35Then he said, 'Men of Israel, be cautious in deciding what to do with these men. 36Some time ago Theudas came forward, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. But he was killed and his whole following was broken up and disappeared. 37After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census; he induced some people to revolt under his leadership, but he too perished and his whole following was scattered. 38And so now: keep clear of these men, I tell you; leave them alone. For if this idea of theirs or its execution is of human origin, it will collapse; 39but if it is from God, you will never be able to put them down, and you risk finding yourselves at war with God.'

40They took his advice. They sent for the apostles and had them flogged; then they ordered them to give up speaking in the name of Jesus, and discharged them. 41So the apostles went out from the Council rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer indignity for the sake of the Name. 42And every day they went steadily on with their teaching in the temple and in private houses, telling the good news of Jesus the Messiah. [Or: the good news that the Messiah was Jesus.]


The church moves outwards

  6.The Appointment of the Seven (Jerusalem)

1DURING THIS PERIOD, when disciples were growing in number, there was disagreement between those of them who spoke Greek [Literally: the Hellenists.] and those who spoke the language of the Jews. [Literally: the Hebrews.] The former party complained that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. 2So the Twelve called the whole body of disciples together and said, 'It would be a grave mistake for us to neglect the word of God in order to wait at table. 3Therefore, friends, look out seven men of good reputation from your number, men full of the Spirit and of wisdom, and we will appoint them to deal with these matters, 4while we devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.' 5This proposal proved acceptable to the whole body. They elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch, a former convert to Judaism. 6These they presented to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

7The word of God now spread more and more widely; the number of disciples in Jerusalem went on increasing rapidly, and very many of the priests adhered to the Faith.

The Arrest of Stephen

8Stephen, who was full of grace and power, began to work great miracles and signs among the people. 9But some members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, comprising Cyrenians and Alexandrians and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and argued with Stephen, 10but could not hold their own against the inspired wisdom with which he spoke. 11They then put up men who alleged that they had heard him make blasphemous statements against Moses and against God. 12They stirred up the people and the elders and doctors of the law, set upon him and seized him, and brought him before the Council. 13They produced false witnesses who said, 'This man is for ever saying things against this holy place and against the Law. 14For we have heard him say that Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and alter the customs handed down to us by Moses.' 15And all who were sitting in the Council fixed their eyes on him, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.


  7.Stephen's Speech (Jerusalem)

1Then the High Priest asked, 'Is this so?' 2And he said, 'My brothers, fathers of this nation, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to Abraham our ancestor while he was in Mesopotamia, before he had settled in Harran, 3 [ Gn.12.1, Gn.48.4. ] and said: "Leave your country and your kinsfolk and come away to a land that I will show you." 4Thereupon he left the land of the Chaldaeans and settled in Harran. From there, after his father's death, God led him to migrate to this land where you now live. 5 [ Dt.2.5. ] He gave him nothing in it to call his own, not one yard; but promised to give it in possession to him and his descendants after him, though he was then childless. 6 [ Gn.15.13-14, Ex.3.12, Ex.12.40. ] God spoke in these terms: "Abraham's descendants shall live as aliens in a foreign land, held in slavery and oppression for four hundred years. 7And I will pass judgement", said God, "on the nation whose slaves they are; and after that they shall come out free, and worship me in this place." 8He then gave him the covenant of circumcision, and so, after Isaac was born, he circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs.

9'The patriarchs out of jealousy sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt, 10 [ Gn.41.37-39, Gn.41.40, Ps.105.21. ] but God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He also gave him a presence and powers of mind which so commended him to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he appointed him chief administrator for Egypt and the whole of the royal household.

11 [ Gn.41.54, Gn.42.5. ] 'But famine struck the whole of Egypt and Canaan, and caused great hardship; and our ancestors could find nothing to eat. 12But Jacob heard that there was food in Egypt and sent our fathers there. This was their first visit. 13On the second visit Joseph was recognized by his brothers, and his family connexions were disclosed to Pharaoh. 14So Joseph sent an invitation to his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five persons altogether; 15and Jacob went down into Egypt. There he ended his days, as also our forefathers did. 16Their remains were later removed to Shechem and buried in the tomb which Abraham had bought and paid for from the clan of Emmor at Shechem.

17'Now as the time approached for God to fulfil the promise he had made to Abraham, our nation in Egypt grew and increased in numbers. 18At length another king, who knew nothing of Joseph, ascended the throne of Egypt. 19He made a crafty attack on our race, and cruelly forced our ancestors to expose their children so that they should not survive. 20At this time Moses was born. He was a fine child, and pleasing to God. For three months he was nursed in his father's house, and when he was exposed, 21Pharaoh's daughter herself adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22So Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, a powerful speaker and a man of action.

23'He was approaching the age of forty, when it occurred to him to look into the conditions of his fellow-countrymen the Israelites. 24He saw one of them being ill-treated, so he went to his aid, and avenged the victim by striking down the Egyptian. 25He thought his fellow-countrymen would understand that God was offering them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26The next day he came upon two of them fighting, and tried to bring them to make up their quarrel. "My men," he said, "you are brothers; why are you ill-treating one another?" 27 [ Lk.12.14. ] But the man who was at fault pushed him away. "Who set you up as a ruler and judge over us?" he said. 28"Are you going to kill me like the Egyptian you killed yesterday?" 29At this Moses fled the country and settled in Midianite territory. There two sons were born to him.

30 [ Ex.3.2, Dt.33.16. ] 'After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the flame of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31Moses was amazed at the sight. But as he approached to look closely, the voice of the Lord was heard: 32 [ Ex.3.6. ] "I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Moses was terrified and dared not look. 33 [ Ex.3.5. ] Then the Lord said to him, "Take off your shoes; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 [ Ex.3.7-10, Ex.2.24. ] I have indeed seen how my people are oppressed in Egypt and have heard their groans; and I have come down to rescue them. Up, then; let me send you to Egypt."

35 [ Ex.2.14. ] 'This Moses, whom they had rejected with the words, "Who made you ruler and judge?"—this very man was commissioned as ruler and liberator by God himself, speaking through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36It was Moses who led them out, working miracles and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for forty years in the desert. 37 [ Dt.18.15. ] It was he again who said to the Israelites, "God will raise up a prophet for you from among yourselves as he raised me." [Or: like me.] 38He it was who, when they were assembled there in the desert, conversed with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our forefathers; he received the living utterances of God, to pass on to us.

39'But our forefathers would not accept his leadership. They thrust him aside. They wished themselves back in Egypt, 40 [ Ex.32.1, Ex.32.23. ] and said to Aaron, "Make us gods to go before us. As for that Moses, who brought us out of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." 41That was when they made the bull-calf, and offered sacrifice to the idol, and held a feast in honour of the thing their hands had made. 42 [ Am.5.25-27. ] But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the hosts of heaven, as it stands written in the book of the prophets: "Did you bring me victims and offerings those forty years in the desert, you house of Israel? 43 [ Ex.27.21, Ex.25.40. ] No, you carried aloft the shrine of Moloch, and the star of the god Rephan, the images which you had made for your adoration. I will banish you beyond Babylon."

44'Our forefathers had the Tent of the Testimony in the desert, as God commanded when he told Moses to make it after the pattern which he had seen. 45Our fathers of the next generation, with Joshua, brought it with them when they dispossessed the nations whom God drove out before them, and there it was until the time of David. 46David found favour with God and asked to be allowed to provide a dwelling-place for the God of Jacob; [Some witnesses read: for the house of Jacob.] 47but it was Solomon who built him a house. 48However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men: 49 [ Is.66.1-2. ] as the prophet says, "Heaven is my throne and earth my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord; where is my resting-place? 50Are not all these things of my own making?"

51'How stubborn you are, heathen still at heart and deaf to the truth! You always fight against the Holy Spirit. Like fathers, like sons. 52Was there ever a prophet whom your fathers did not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One; and now you have betrayed him and murdered him, 53you who received the Law as God's angels gave it to you, and yet have not kept it.'

The Stoning of Stephen (Jerusalem)

54This touched them on the raw and they ground their teeth with fury. 55But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, and gazing intently up to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand. 56'Look,' he said, 'there is a rift in the sky; I can see the Son of Man standing at God's right hand!' 57At this they gave a great shout and stopped their ears. Then they made one rush at him and, 58flinging him out of the city, set about stoning him. The witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59So they stoned Stephen, and as they did so, he called out, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' 60Then he fell on his knees and cried aloud, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them', and with that he died.


  8.Saul Persecutes the Church

1And Saul was among those who approved of his murder.

THIS WAS THE BEGINNING of a time of violent persecution for the church in Jerusalem; and all except the apostles were scattered over the country districts of Judaea and Samaria. 2Stephen was given burial by certain devout men, who made a great lamentation for him. 3Saul, meanwhile, was harrying the church; he entered house after house, seizing men and women, and sending them to prison.

The Gospel Preached in Samaria (Samaria)

4As for those who had been scattered, they went through the country preaching the Word. 5Philip came down to a city in Samaria and began proclaiming the Messiah to them. 6The crowds, to a man, listened eagerly to what Philip said, when they heard him and saw the miracles that he performed. 7For in many cases of possession the unclean spirits came out with a loud outcry; and many paralysed and crippled folk were cured; 8and there was great joy in that city.

9A man named Simon had been in the city for some time, and had swept the Samaritans off their feet with his magical arts, claiming to be someone great. 10All of them, high and low, listened eagerly to him. 'This man', they said, 'is that power of God which is called "The Great Power".' 11They listened because they had for so long been carried away by his magic. 12But when they came to believe Philip with his good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, men and women alike. 13Even Simon himself believed, and was baptized, and thereupon was constantly in Philip's company. He was carried away when he saw the powerful signs and miracles that were taking place.

14The apostles in Jerusalem now heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God. They sent off Peter and John, 15who went down there and prayed for the converts, asking that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16For until then the Spirit had not come upon any of them. They had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus, that and nothing more. 17So Peter and John laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

18When Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money 19and said, 'Give me the same power too, so that when I lay my hands on anyone, he will receive the Holy Spirit.' 20Peter replied, 'Your money go with you to damnation, because you thought God's gift was for sale! 21You have no part nor lot in this, for you are dishonest with God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray the Lord to forgive you for imagining such a thing. 23I can see that you are doomed to taste the bitter fruit and wear the fetters of sin.' [Literally: you are for gall of bitterness and a fetter of unrighteousness.] 24Simon answered, 'Pray to the Lord for me yourselves and ask that none of the things you have spoken of may fall upon me.'

25And so, after giving their testimony and speaking the word of the Lord, they took the road back to Jerusalem, bringing the good news to many Samaritan villages on the way.

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Gaza Road, Judaea)

26Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' (This is the desert road.) 27So he set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake, or Queen, of Ethiopia, in charge of all her treasure. He had been to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage 28and was now on his way home, sitting in his carriage and reading aloud the prophet Isaiah. 29The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go and join the carriage.' 30When Philip ran up he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah and said, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' 31He said, 'How can I understand unless someone will give me the clue?' So he asked Philip to get in and sit beside him.

32 [ Is.53.7-8. ] The passage he was reading was this: 'He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered; and like a lamb that is dumb before the shearer, he does not open his mouth. 33He has been humiliated and has no redress. Who will be able to speak of his posterity? For he is cut off from the world of living men.'

34'Now', said the eunuch to Philip, 'tell me, please, who it is that the prophet is speaking about here: himself or someone else?' 35Then Philip began. Starting from this passage, he told him the good news of Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water. 'Look,' said the eunuch, 'here is water: what is there to prevent my being baptized?'; 37[Some manuscripts insert: Philip said, 'If you wholeheartedly believe, it is permitted.' He replied, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'] 38and he ordered the carriage to stop. Then they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water the Spirit snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw no more of him, but went happily on his way. 40Philip appeared at Azotus, and toured the country, preaching in all the towns till he reached Caesarea.


  9.The Conversion of Saul (Damascus Road) - Ac.22.6-16, Ac.26.12-18

1MEANWHILE SAUL was still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest 2and applied for letters to the synagogues at Damascus authorizing him to arrest anyone he found, men or women, who followed the new way, and bring them to Jerusalem. 3While he was still on the road and nearing Damascus, suddenly a light flashed from the sky all around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 5'Tell me. Lord,' he said, 'who you are.' The voice answered, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.' 7Meanwhile the men who were travelling with him stood speechless; they heard the voice but could see no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could not see, so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9He was blind for three days, and took no food or drink.

10There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. He had a vision in which he heard the voice of the Lord: 'Ananias!' 'Here I am. Lord', he answered. 11The Lord said to him, 'Go at once to Straight Street, to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. 12You will find him at prayer; he has had a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying his hands on him to restore his sight.' 13Ananias answered, 'Lord, I have often heard about this man and all the harm he has done to thy people in Jerusalem. 14And here he is with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who invoke thy name.' 15But the Lord said to him, 'You must go, for this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before the nations and their kings, and before the people of Israel. 16I myself will show him all that he must go through for my name's sake.'

17So Ananias went. He entered the house, laid his hands on him and said, 'Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may recover your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' 18And immediately it seemed that scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.

Saul Preaches at Damascus (Damascus, Syria)

19Thereupon he was baptized, and afterwards he took food and his strength returned.

He stayed some time with the disciples in Damascus. 20Soon he was proclaiming Jesus publicly in the synagogues: 'This', he said, 'is the Son of God.' 21All who heard were astounded. 'Is not this the man', they said, 'who was in Jerusalem trying to destroy those who invoke this name? Did he not come here for the sole purpose of arresting them and taking them to the chief priests?' 22But Saul grew more and more forceful, and silenced the Jews of Damascus with his cogent proofs that Jesus was the Messiah.

Saul Escapes from the Jews (Damascus, Syria)

23As the days mounted up, the Jews hatched a plot against his life; 24but their plans became known to Saul. They kept watch on the city gates day and night so that they might murder him; 25but his converts took him one night and let him down by the wall, lowering him in a basket.

Saul at Jerusalem (Jerusalem)

26When he reached Jerusalem he tried to join the body of disciples there; but they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was really a convert. 27Barnabas, however, took him by the hand and introduced him to the apostles. He described to them how Saul had seen the Lord on his journey, and heard his voice, and how he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus at Damascus. 28Saul now stayed with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem. 29He spoke out boldly and openly in the name of the Lord, talking and debating with the Greek-speaking Jews. [Literally: the Hellenists.] 30But they planned to murder him, and when the brethren learned of this they escorted him to Caesarea and saw him off to Tarsus.

31MEANWHILE THE CHURCH, throughout Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria, was left in peace to build up its strength. In the fear of the Lord, upheld by the Holy Spirit, it held on its way and grew in numbers.

The Healing of Aeneas (Lydda)

32Peter was making a general tour, in the course of which he went down to visit God's people at Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas who had been bed-ridden with paralysis for eight years. 34Peter said to him, 'Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you; get up and make your bed', and immediately he stood up. 35All who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him; and they turned to the Lord.

Dorcas Restored to Life (Joppa)

36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek, Dorcas, meaning a gazelle), who filled her days with acts of kindness and charity. 37At that time she fell ill and died; and they washed her body and laid it in a room upstairs. 38As Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who had heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the urgent request, 'Please come over to us without delay.' 39Peter thereupon went off with them. When he arrived they took him upstairs to the room, where all the widows came and stood round him in tears, showing him the shirts and coats that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40Peter sent them all outside, and knelt down and prayed. Then, turning towards the body, he said, 'Get up, Tabitha.' She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 41He gave her his hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the members of the congregation and the widows and showed her to them alive. 42The news spread all over Joppa, and many came to believe in the Lord. 43Peter stayed on in Joppa for some time with one Simon, a tanner.


  10.Peter and Cornelius (Caesarea)

1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Cohort, as it was called. 2He was a religious man, and he and his whole family joined in the worship of God. He gave generously to help the Jewish people, and was regular in his prayers to God. 3One day about three in the afternoon he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God, who came into his room and said, 'Cornelius!' 4He stared at him in terror. 'What is it, my lord?' he asked. The angel said, 'Your prayers and acts of charity have gone up to heaven to speak for you before God. 5And now send to Joppa for a man named Simon, also called Peter: 6he is lodging with another Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.' 7So when the angel who was speaking to him had gone, he summoned two of his servants and a military orderly who was a religious man, 8told them the whole story, and sent them to Joppa.

9Next day, while they were still on their way and approaching the city, about noon Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He grew hungry and wanted something to eat. While they were getting it ready, he fell into a trance. 11He saw a rift in the sky, and a thing coming down that looked like a great sheet of sailcloth. It was slung by the four corners, and was being lowered to the ground. 12In it he saw creatures of every kind, whatever walks or crawls or flies. 13Then there was a voice which said to him, 'Up, Peter, kill and eat.' 14But Peter said, 'No, Lord, no: I have never eaten anything profane or unclean.' 15The voice came again a second time: 'It is not for you to call profane what God counts clean.' 16This happened three times; and then the thing was taken up again into the sky.

17While Peter was still puzzling over the meaning of the vision he had seen, the messengers of Cornelius had been asking the way to Simon's house, and now arrived at the entrance. 18They called out and asked if Simon Peter was lodging there. 19But Peter was thinking over the vision, when the Spirit said to him, 'Some [One witness reads: Two; others read: Three.] men are here looking for you; 20make haste and go downstairs. You may go with them without any misgiving, for it was I who sent them.' 21Peter came down to the men and said, 'You are looking for me? Here I am. What brings you here?' 22'We are from the centurion Cornelius,' they replied, 'a good and religious man, acknowledged as such by the whole Jewish nation. He was directed by a holy angel to send for you to his house and to listen to what you have to say.' 23So Peter asked them in and gave them a night's lodging. Next day he set out with them, accompanied by some members of the congregation at Joppa.

24The day after that, he arrived at Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25When Peter arrived, Cornelius came to meet him, and bowed to the ground in deep reverence. 26But Peter raised him to his feet and said, 'Stand up; I am a man like anyone else.' 27Still talking with him he went in and found a large gathering. 28He said to them, 'I need not tell you that a Jew is forbidden by his religion to visit or associate with a man of another race; yet God has shown me clearly that I must not call any man profane or unclean. 29That is why I came here without demur when you sent for me. May I ask what was your reason for sending?'

30Cornelius said, 'Four days ago, just about this time, I was in the house here saying the afternoon prayers, when suddenly a man in shining robes stood before me. 31He said: "Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your acts of charity remembered before God. 32Send to Joppa, then, to Simon Peter, and ask him to come. He is lodging in the house of Simon the tanner, by the sea." 33So I sent to you there and then; it was kind of you to come. And now we are all met here before God, to hear all that the Lord has ordered you to say.'

Peter Speaks in Cornelius' House (Caesarea)

34Peter began: 'I now see how true it is that God has no favourites, 35but that in every nation the man who is godfearing and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36He sent his word to the Israelites and gave the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37I need not tell you what happened lately all over the land of the Jews, starting from Galilee after the baptism proclaimed by John. 38You know about Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39And we can bear witness to all that he did in the Jewish country-side and in Jerusalem. He was put to death by hanging on a gibbet; 40but God raised him to life on the third day, and allowed him to appear, 41not to the whole people, but to witnesses whom God had chosen in advance—to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to proclaim him to the people, and affirm that he is the one who has been designated by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43It is to him that all the prophets testify, declaring that everyone who trusts in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.'

Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit (Caesarea)

44Peter was still speaking when the Holy Spirit came upon all who were listening to the message. 45The believers who had come with Peter, men of Jewish birth, were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out even on Gentiles. 46For they could hear them speaking in tongues of ecstasy and acclaiming the greatness of God. Then Peter spoke: 47'Is anyone prepared to withhold the water for baptism from these persons, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did ourselves?' 48Then he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. After that they asked him to stay on with them for a time.


  11.Peter's Report to the Church at Jerusalem (Jerusalem)

1News came to the apostles and the members of the church in Judaea that Gentiles too had accepted the word of God; 2and when Peter came up to Jerusalem those who were of Jewish birth raised the question with him. 3'You have been visiting men who are uncircumcised,' they said, 'and sitting at table with them!' 4Peter began by laying before them the facts as they had happened.

5'I was in the city of Joppa', he said, 'at prayer; and while in a trance I had a vision: a thing was coming down that looked like a great sheet of sail-cloth, slung by the four corners and lowered from the sky till it reached me. 6I looked intently to make out what was in it and I saw four-footed creatures of the earth, wild beasts, and things that crawl or fly. 7Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Up, Peter, kill and eat." 8But I said, "No, Lord, no: nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth." 9A voice from heaven answered a second time, "It is not for you to call profane what God counts clean." 10This happened three times, and then they were all drawn up again into the sky. 11At that moment three men, who had been sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where I was [Some witnesses read: we were.] staying; 12and the Spirit told me to go with them. [Some witnesses add: making no distinctions; others add: without any misgivings. (as in 10.20.)] My six companions here came with me and we went into the man's house. 13He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, "Send to Joppa for Simon also called Peter. 14He will speak words that will bring salvation to you and all your household." 15Hardly had I begun speaking, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as upon us at the beginning. 16Then I recalled what the Lord had said: "John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." 17God gave them no less a gift than he gave us when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; then how could I possibly stand in God's way?'

18When they heard this their doubts were silenced. They gave praise to God and said, 'This means that God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles also.'

The Church at Antioch (Antioch, Syria)

19MEANWHILE THOSE who had been scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen made their way to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, bringing the message to Jews only and to no others. 20But there were some natives of Cyprus and Cyrene among them, and these, when they arrived at Antioch, began to speak to Gentiles as well, telling them the good news of the Lord Jesus. 21The power of the Lord was with them, and a great many became believers, and turned to the Lord.

22The news reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem; and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the divine grace at work, he rejoiced, and encouraged them all to hold fast to the Lord with resolute hearts; 24for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers were won over to the Lord.

25He then went off to Tarsus to look for Saul; 26and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year the two of them lived in fellowship with the congregation there, and gave instruction to large numbers. It was in Antioch that the disciples first got the name of Christians.

27During this period some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them, Agabus by name, was inspired to stand up and predict a severe and world-wide famine, which in fact occurred in the reign of Claudius. 29So the disciples agreed to make a contribution, each according to his means, for the relief of their fellow-Christians in Judaea. 30This they did, and sent it off to the elders, in the charge of Barnabas and Saul.


  12.James Killed and Peter Imprisoned (Jerusalem)

1IT WAS ABOUT THIS TIME that King Herod attacked certain members of the church. 2He beheaded James, the brother of John, 3and then, when he saw that the Jews approved, proceeded to arrest Peter also. This happened during the festival of Unleavened Bread. 4Having secured him, he put him in prison under a military guard, four squads of four men each, meaning to produce him in public after Passover. 5So Peter was kept in prison under constant watch, while the church kept praying fervently for him to God.

6On the very night before Herod had planned to bring him forward, Peter was asleep between two soldiers, secured by two chains, while outside the doors sentries kept guard over the prison. 7All at once an angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was ablaze with light. He tapped Peter on the shoulder and woke him. 'Quick! Get up', he said, and the chains fell away from his wrists. 8The angel then said to him, 'Do up your belt and put your sandals on.' He did so. 'Now wrap your cloak round you and follow me.' 9He followed him out, with no idea that the angel's intervention was real: he thought it was just a vision. 10But they passed the first guard-post, then the second, and reached the iron gate leading out into the city, which opened for them of its own accord. And so they came out and walked the length of one street; and the angel left him.

11Then Peter came to himself. 'Now I know it is true,' he said; 'the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.' 12When he realized how things stood, he made for the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where a large company was at prayer. 13He knocked at the outer door and a maid called Rhoda came to answer it. 14She recognized Peter's voice and was so overjoyed that instead of opening the door she ran in and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15'You are crazy', they told her; but she insisted that it was so. Then they said, 'It must be his guardian angel.'

16Meanwhile Peter went on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astounded. 17With a movement of the hand he signed to them to keep quiet, and told them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. 'Report this to James and the members of the church', he said. Then he left the house and went off elsewhere.

18When morning came, there was consternation is among the soldiers: what could have become of Peter? 19Herod made close search, but failed to find him, so he interrogated the guards and ordered their execution.

Afterwards he left Judaea to reside for a time at Caesarea.

The Death of Herod

20He had for some time been furiously angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, who now by common agreement presented themselves at his court. There they won over Blastus the royal chamberlain, and sued for peace, because their country drew its supplies from the king's territory. 21So, on an appointed day, attired in his royal robes and seated on the rostrum, 22Herod harangued them; and the populace shouted back, 'It is a god speaking, not a man!' 23Instantly an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he had usurped the honour due to God; he was eaten up with worms and died.

24Meanwhile the word of God continued to grow and spread.

25Barnabas and Saul, their task fulfilled, returned from Jerusalem, [Some witnesses read: their task fulfilled, returned to Jerusalem; or, as it may be rendered: their task at Jerusalem fulfilled, returned.] taking John Mark with them.


The church breaks barriers

  13.Barnabas and Saul Commissioned (Jerusalem)

1THERE WERE AT ANTIOCH, in the congregation there, certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been at the court of Prince Herod, and Saul. 2While they were keeping a fast and offering worship to the Lord, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set Barnabas and Saul apart for me, to do the work to which I have called them.' 3Then, after further fasting and prayer, they laid their hands on them and let them go.

The Apostles Preach in Cyprus (Cyprus)

4So these two, sent out on their mission by the Holy Spirit, came down to Seleucia, and from there sailed to Cyprus. 5Arriving at Salamis, they declared the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. They had John with them as their assistant. 6They went through the whole island as far as Paphos, and there they came upon a sorcerer, a Jew who posed as a prophet, Bar-Jesus by name. 7He was in the retinue of the Governor, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who had sent for Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. 8This Elymas the sorcerer (so his name may be translated) opposed them, trying to turn the Governor away from the Faith. 9But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on him 10and said, 'You swindler, you rascal, son of the devil and enemy of all goodness, will you never stop falsifying the straight ways of the Lord? 11Look now, the hand of the Lord strikes: you shall be blind, and for a time you shall not see the sunlight.' Instantly mist and darkness came over him and he groped about for someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the Governor saw what had happened he became a believer, deeply impressed by what he learned about the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia (Pisidian Antioch)

13Leaving Paphos, Paul and his companions went by sea to Perga in Pamphylia; John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14From Perga they continued their journey as far as Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they went to synagogue and took their seats; 15and after the readings from the Law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent this message to them: 'Friends, if you have anything to say to the people by way of exhortation, let us hear it.' 16Paul rose, made a gesture with his hand, and began:

'Men of Israel and you who worship our God, listen to me! 17The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers. When they were still living as aliens in Egypt he made them into a nation and brought them out of that country with arm outstretched. 18For some forty years he bore with their conduct [Some witnesses read: he sustained them.] in the desert. 19Then in the Canaanite country he overthrew seven nations, whose lands he gave them to be their heritage 20for some four hundred and fifty years, and afterwards appointed judges for them until the time of the prophet Samuel.

21'Then they asked for a king and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 [ Ps.89.20, 1Sm.13.14. ] Then he removed him and set up David as their king, giving him his approval in these words: "I have found David son of Jesse to be a man after my own heart, who will carry out all my purposes." 23This is the man from whose posterity God, as he promised, has brought Israel a saviour, Jesus. 24John made ready for his coming by proclaiming baptism as a token of repentance to the whole people of Israel. 25And when John was nearing the end of his course, he said, "I am not what you think I am. No, after me comes one whose shoes I am not fit to unfasten."

26'My brothers, you who come of the stock of Abraham, and others among you who revere our God, we are the people to whom the message of this salvation has been sent. 27The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize him, or understand the words of the prophets which are read Sabbath by Sabbath; indeed they fulfilled them by condemning him. 28Though they failed to find grounds for the sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29And when they had carried out all that the scriptures said about him, they took him down from the gibbet and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead; 35and there was a period of many days during which he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.

32'They are now his witnesses before our nation; and we are here to give you the good news that God, who made the promise to the fathers, 33 [ Ps.2.7. ] has fulfilled it for the children [Some witnesses read: out children; others read: their children.] by raising Jesus from the dead, as indeed it stands written, in the second [Some witnesses read: first.] Psalm: "You are my son; this day have I begotten you." 34 [ Is.55.3. ] Again, that he raised him from the dead, never again to revert to corruption, he declares in these words: "I will give you the blessings promised to David, holy and sure." 35 [ Ps.16.10. ] This is borne out by another passage: "Thou wilt not let thy loyal servant suffer corruption." 36As for David, when he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, he died, and was gathered to his fathers, and suffered corruption; 37but the one whom God raised up did not suffer corruption; 38and you must understand, my brothers, that it is through him that forgiveness of sins is now being proclaimed to you. 39It is through him that everyone who has faith is acquitted of everything for which there was no acquittal under the Law of Moses. 40Beware, then, lest you bring down upon yourselves the doom proclaimed by the prophets: 41 [ Hab.1.5. ] "See this, you scoffers, wonder, and begone; for I am doing a deed in your days,
a deed which you will never believe when you are told of it." '

42As they were leaving the synagogue they were asked to come again and speak on these subjects next Sabbath; 43and after the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and gentile worshippers went along with Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to hold fast to the grace of God.

44On the following Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of God. 45When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealous resentment, and contradicted what Paul and Barnabas said, with violent abuse. 46But Paul and Barnabas were outspoken in their reply. 'It was necessary', they said, 'that the word of God should be declared to you first. But since you reject it and thus condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 [ Is.49.6. ] For these are our instructions from the Lord: "I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, and a means of salvation to earth's farthest bounds." ' 48When the Gentiles heard this, they were overjoyed and thankfully acclaimed the word of the Lord, and those who were marked out for eternal life became believers. 49So the word of the Lord spread far and wide through the region. 50But the Jews stirred up feeling among the women of standing who were worshippers, and among the leading men of the city; a persecution was started against Paul and Barnabas, and they were expelled from the district. 51So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52And the converts were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.


  14.Paul and Barnabas at Iconium (Iconium)

1At Iconium [Or: At Iconium they went together ...] similarly they went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke to such purpose that a large body both of Jews and Gentiles became believers. 2But the unconverted Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the Christians. 3For some time Paul and Barnabas stayed on and spoke boldly and openly in reliance on the Lord; and he confirmed the message of his grace by causing signs and miracles to be worked at their hands. 4The mass of the townspeople were divided, some siding with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5But when a move was made by Gentiles and Jews together, with the connivance of the city authorities, to maltreat them and stone them, 6they got wind of it and made their escape to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding country, 7where they continued to spread the good news.

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra (Lystra)

8At Lystra sat a crippled man, lame from birth, who had never walked in his life. 9This man listened while Paul was speaking. Paul fixed his eyes on him and saw that he had the faith to be cured, 10so he said to him in a loud voice, 'Stand up straight on your feet'; and he sprang up and started to walk. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted, in their native Lycaonian, 'The gods have come down to us in human form.' 12And they called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul they called Mercury, because he was the spokesman. 13And the priest of Jupiter, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and he and all the people were about to offer sacrifice.

14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed into the crowd shouting, 15 [ Ex.20.11, Ps.146.6. ] 'Men, what is this that you are doing? We are only human beings, no less mortal than you. The good news we bring tells you to turn from these follies to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16In past ages he allowed all nations to go their own way; 17and yet he has not left you without some clue to his nature, in the kindness he shows: he sends you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons, and gives you food and good cheer in plenty.'

18With these words they barely managed to prevent the crowd from offering sacrifice to them.

19Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came on the scene and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, thinking him dead. 20The converts formed a ring round him, and he got to his feet and went into the city. Next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21After bringing the good news to that town, where they gained many converts, they returned to Lystra, then to Iconium, and then to Antioch, 22heartening the converts and encouraging them to be true to their religion. They warned them that to enter the kingdom of God we must pass through many hardships. 23They also appointed elders for them in each congregation, and with prayer and fasting committed them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.

24Then they passed through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia. 25When they had given the message at Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26and from there set sail for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the task which they had now completed. 27When they arrived and had called the congregation together, they reported all that God had done through them, and how he had thrown open the gates of faith to the Gentiles. 28And they stayed for some time with the disciples there.


  15.The Council at Jerusalem (Jerusalem)

1NOW CERTAIN PERSONS who had come down from Judaea began to teach the brotherhood that those who were not circumcised in accordance with Mosaic practice could not be saved. 2That brought them into fierce dissension and controversy with Paul and Barnabas. And so it was arranged that these two and some others from Antioch should go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

3They were sent on their way by the congregation, and travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling the full story of the conversion of the Gentiles. The news caused great rejoicing among all the Christians there.

4When they reached Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, and reported all that God had helped them to do. 5Then some of the Pharisaic party who had become believers came forward and said, 'They must be circumcised and told to keep the Law of Moses.'

6The apostles and elders held a meeting to look into this matter; and, after a long debate. 7Peter rose and addressed them. 'My friends,' he said, 'in the early days, as you yourselves know. God made his choice among you and ordained that from my lips the Gentiles should hear and believe the message of the Gospel. 8And God, who can read men's minds, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, as he did to us. 9He made no difference between them and us; for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Then why do you now provoke God by laying on the shoulders of these converts a yoke which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear? 11No, we believe that it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus that we are saved, and so are they.'

12At that the whole company fell silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and miracles that God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

13When they had finished speaking, James summed up: 'My friends,' he said, 'listen to me. 14Simeon has told how it first happened that God took notice of the Gentiles, to choose from among them a people to bear his name; 15and this agrees with the words of the prophets, as Scripture has it: