Daily Bible Reading
Today's reading: Acts 13-15
Look for the promises in God’s word. As you read and find them, write them in your journal along with the scripture reference.
The Church at Antioch Commissions Barnabas and Saul
1. Now there were these prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, Manaen (a close friend of Herod the tetrarch from childhood) and Saul.
2. While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
3. Then, after they had fasted and prayed and placed their hands on them, they sent them off.
Paul and Barnabas Preach in Cyprus
4. So Barnabas and Saul, sent out by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
5. When they arrived in Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. (Now they also had John as their assistant.)
6. When they had crossed over the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus,
7. who was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. The proconsul summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God.
8. But the magician Elymas (for that is the way his name is translated) opposed them, trying to turn the proconsul away from the faith.
9. But Saul (also known as Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, stared straight at him
10. and said, “You who are full of all deceit and all wrongdoing, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness – will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
11. Now look, the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind, unable to see the sun for a time!” Immediately mistiness and darkness came over him, and he went around seeking people to lead him by the hand.
12. Then when the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, because he was greatly astounded at the teaching about the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas at Pisidian Antioch
13. Then Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia, but John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
14. Moving on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.
15. After the reading from the law and the prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, “Brothers, if you have any message of exhortation for the people, speak it.”
16. So Paul stood up, gestured with his hand and said, “Men of Israel, and you Gentiles who fear God, listen:
17. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay as foreigners in the country of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it.
18. For a period of about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness.
19. After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave his people their land as an inheritance.
20. All this took about four hundred fifty years. After this he gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
21. Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.
22. After removing him, God raised up David their king. He testified about him: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my heart, who will accomplish everything I want him to do.’
23. From the descendants of this man God brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, just as he promised.
24. Before Jesus arrived, John had proclaimed a baptism for repentance to all the people of Israel.
25. But while John was completing his mission, he said repeatedly, ‘What do you think I am? I am not he. But look, one is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie the sandals on his feet!’
26. Brothers, descendants of Abraham’s family, and those Gentiles among you who fear God, the message of this salvation has been sent to us.
27. For the people who live in Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize him, and they fulfilled the sayings of the prophets that are read every Sabbath by condemning him.
28. Though they found no basis for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
29. When they had accomplished everything that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb.
30. But God raised him from the dead,
31. and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are now his witnesses to the people.
32. And we proclaim to you the good news about the promise to our ancestors,
33. that this promise God has fulfilled to us, their children, by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son; today I have fathered you.’
34. But regarding the fact that he has raised Jesus from the dead, never again to be in a state of decay, God has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and trustworthy promises made to David.’
35. Therefore he also says in another psalm, ‘You will not permit your Holy One to experience decay.’
36. For David, after he had served God’s purpose in his own generation, died, was buried with his ancestors, and experienced decay,
37. but the one whom God raised up did not experience decay.
38. Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through this one forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,
39. and by this one everyone who believes is justified from everything from which the law of Moses could not justify you.
40. Watch out, then, that what is spoken about by the prophets does not happen to you:
41. ‘Look, you scoffers; be amazed and perish! For I am doing a work in your days, a work you would never believe, even if someone tells you.’”
42. As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people were urging them to speak about these things on the next Sabbath.
43. When the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and were persuading them to continue in the grace of God.
44. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city assembled together to hear the word of the Lord.
45. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and they began to contradict what Paul was saying by reviling him.
46. Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, “It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles.
47. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
48. When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed.
49. So the word of the Lord was spreading through the entire region.
50. But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high social standing and the prominent men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their region.
51. So after they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, they went to Iconium.
52. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Paul and Barnabas at Iconium
1. The same thing happened in Iconium when Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a large group of both Jews and Greeks believed.
2. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
3. So they stayed there for a considerable time, speaking out courageously for the Lord, who testified to the message of his grace, granting miraculous signs and wonders to be performed through their hands.
4. But the population of the city was divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.
5. When both the Gentiles and the Jews (together with their rulers) made an attempt to mistreat them and stone them,
6. Paul and Barnabas learned about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding region.
7. There they continued to proclaim the good news.
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra
8. In Lystra sat a man who could not use his feet, lame from birth, who had never walked.
9. This man was listening to Paul as he was speaking. When Paul stared intently at him and saw he had faith to be healed,
10. he said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man leaped up and began walking.
11. So when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”
12. They began to call Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
13. The priest of the temple of Zeus, located just outside the city, brought bulls and garlands to the city gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
15. “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.
16. In past generations he allowed all the nations to go their own ways,
17. yet he did not leave himself without a witness by doing good, by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying you with food and your hearts with joy.”
18. Even by saying these things, they scarcely persuaded the crowds not to offer sacrifice to them.
19. But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and after winning the crowds over, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, presuming him to be dead.
20. But after the disciples had surrounded him, he got up and went back into the city. On the next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
21. After they had proclaimed the good news in that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch.
22. They strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “We must enter the kingdom of God through many persecutions.”
23. When they had appointed elders for them in the various churches, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the protection of the Lord in whom they had believed.
24. Then they passed through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia,
25. and when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
26. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.
27. When they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported all the things God had done with them, and that he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles.
28. So they spent considerable time with the disciples.
The Jerusalem Council
1. Now some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
2. When Paul and Barnabas had a major argument and debate with them, the church appointed Paul and Barnabas and some others from among them to go up to meet with the apostles and elders in Jerusalem about this point of disagreement.
3. So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they were relating at length the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy to all the brothers.
4. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all the things God had done with them.
5. But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of Moses.”
6. Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate about this matter.
7. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that some time ago God chose me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message of the gospel and believe.
8. And God, who knows the heart, has testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,
9. and he made no distinction between them and us, cleansing their hearts by faith.
10. So now why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
11. On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are.”
12. The whole group kept quiet and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.
13. After they stopped speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me.
14. Simeon has explained how God first concerned himself to select from among the Gentiles a people for his name.
15. The words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written,
16. ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David; I will rebuild its ruins and restore it,
17. so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord, namely, all the Gentiles I have called to be my own,’ says the Lord, who makes these things
18. known from long ago.
19. “Therefore I conclude that we should not cause extra difficulty for those among the Gentiles who are turning to God,
20. but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood.
21. For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, because he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
22. Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas, leaders among the brothers, to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
23. They sent this letter with them: From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings!
24. Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said,
25. we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul,
26. who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person.
28. For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules:
29. that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell.
30. So when they were dismissed, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the entire group together, they delivered the letter.
31. When they read it aloud, the people rejoiced at its encouragement.
32. Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech.
33. After they had spent some time there, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.
35. But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming (along with many others) the word of the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas Part Company
36. After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord to see how they are doing.”
37. Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too,
38. but Paul insisted that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work.
39. They had a sharp disagreement, so that they parted company. Barnabas took along Mark and sailed away to Cyprus,
40. but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters.
41. He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.