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Acts 15

1 And some, having come down from Judea, were teaching the brothers that: If you not be circumcised in the custom of Moses, you are not able to be saved. 2 So when not [a] little strife and debate came to pass to Paul and to Barnabbas with the, they designated Paul and Barnabbas and some others from them to be going up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem concerning this question. 3 Indeed therefore those having been sent by the assembly1 went through Phoenicia and Samaria recounting the conversion of the Gentiles, and were doing great joy to all the brothers. 4 So having arrived in Jerusalem, they were received by the assembly1 and the apostles and the elders, and they reported as much as God did with them. 5 Now some of those from the sect of the Pharisees [who have] believed were astonished, saying that: They must be commanded to be being circumcised and to be giving heed to the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and the elders were gathered to know concerning this word. 7 Now much debate having come to pass, Peter having stood said to them: Men, brothers, you were persuaded that from [the] ancient days God chose among you, the nations, to hear through my mouth the word of the good-news and to believe. 8 And the heart-knower God witnessed to them, having given the Holy Spirit just as to us also, 9 and differentiated nothing between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by belief. 10 Now therefore why do you test God, to place [a] yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor you are able to bear? 11 But through the grace of the Lord Jesus do we believe to be saved according to which manner these [do] also. 12 Now all the multitude was silent, and they were hearing Barnabbas and Paul describing as much as God did signs and wonders among the Gentiles through them. 13 Now after the silence James answered them saying: Men, brothers, hear me. 14 Symeon explained just how God first did visit to receive from [the] nations [a] people to his name. 15 And to this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written2:
16 After these [things] I will return
And I will rebuild the fallen dwelling [of] David,
And its ruins I will rebuild
And I will restore it,
17 In order that the remnant of men seek out the Lord
And all the nations by whom my name is called by them,
18 Says [the] Lord doing these [things] known from [the] ages.

19 Therefore I judge to be not troubling those from the nations turning to God, 20 but write to them to be abstaining from the pollutions of idols and of fornication and of [a] strangled [animal] and of [drinking] blood. 21 For Moses has from the ancient generations those in every city proclaiming him, reading [him] in the synagogues every Sabbath.3 22 Then it seemed [good] to the apostles and the elders with the whole assembly1, having chosen men from [among] them, to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabbas: Judas called Barsabba, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 having written through their hand:

The apostles and the elders brothers to those brothers in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia from the Gentiles—greetings. 24 Since we heard that some among you disturb you with words unsettling your psyche-lives4 , by which we are not commanded, 25 it seemed [good] to us to become of one purpose, having chosen to send to you with your agape-beloved Barnabbas and Saul, 26 men having delivered up their psyche-lives4 in behalf of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We sent therefore Juda and Silas, and those proclaiming the same [thing] through word. 28 For it seemed [good] to the Holy Spirit and to us to place on you no more burden except necessarily these [things]: To abstain from idols and [drinking] blood and strangled [animals] and fornication; from which keeping yourselves you do well. Farewell.

30 Indeed therefore having departed, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the multitude, they delivered the letter. 31 Now having read it, they rejoiced upon the encouragement. 32 Juda and Silas, they also being prophets, through many words called upon the brothers and strengthened [them]; 33 So having done time, they departed, with peace from the brothers to those having sent them. [But it seemed [good] to Silas to remain [with] them]5. 35 So Paul and Barnabbas stayed in Antioch, teaching and good-newsing the word of the Lord with many others also.

36 Now after some days Paul said to Barnabbas: Having then returned, let us visit the brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, how they have [things]. 37 So Barnabbas wanted to also bring John called Mark. 38 But Paul requested—[John being] the [one] having left them from Pamphylia and not having come with them to the work—not to be bringing this [one]. 39 So sharp disagreement came to pass, so that they separated from one another, and Barnabbas having taken Mark sailed to Cypris. 40 But Paul having chosen Silas departed, delivered up to the grace of the Lord by the brothers. 41 So he was going through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the assemblies1.

1EKKLESIA (εκκλησια) from "called out". Appears 114 times in the N.T., but only in two places in the Gospels ( Matt.16:18 (twice) and Matt.18:17 (twice)). It's worth noting that when Jesus uses the term EKKLESIA, Christian community as we know it didn't yet exist—there were only the disciples. EKKLESIA is apparently different from 'synagogue' (SYNAGOGE (συναγωγη) which occurs 56 times in the N.T.) EKKLESIA is used in secular Greek literature of a popular assembly 'called to assemble', and also of those 'called' to a cult. EKKLESIA is used frequently in the N.T. outside of the Gospels to refer to Christian communities, but in Acts.7:38 it is used of the people of Israel led through the desert by Moses, and in Acts.19:32 ff. of a secular assembly. Thus, all told, the common translation of EKKLESIA as 'church' doesn't really reflect 1st century usage—it seems to mean more like 'a group of people assembled for some specific purpose'.

2Amos 9:11-12

3i.e. So why should we proclaim Moses too?

4from PSYCHE (ψυχη): an individual manifestation of life/consciousness. Animals have PSYCHEs as well as humans. Contrast ZOE (ζωη)—Life 'collectively', interdependent, interconnected.

5omit vs. 34: p74ℵB; include vs. 34: D