Acts 15:22-35

22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.

23 They wrote this, letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.

24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” — to whom we gave no such commandment —

25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:

29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.

30 So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter.

31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement.

32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.

33 And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles.

34 However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there.

35 Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Judas Barsabas (v.22) — a Hebrew — may have been the brother of Joseph Barsabas (Acts 1:23).

Silas (v.22) — probably a Grecian Jew (Hellenist). His name is Latin and he was a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37). Silas was an abbreviated form of Silvanus.

After performing his special mission in Antioch (vs.30-35), Silas accompanied Paul, in place of Barnabas, on his second missionary journey (v.40) through Syria, Cilicia, south Galatia, and the Road to Macedonia. He remained in Berea with Timothy after Paul’s departure to Athens (17:14), but seems to have followed his leader to Athens later (17:15), only, however, to be sent back to Macedonia, like Timothy, on some special errand (18:5), and his name is associated with the apostle’s in the two epistles written to the Thessalonians from that city. Here we lose sight of him, so far as Paul’s further labors are concerned. It is generally supposed, however, that he is identical with the Silvanus mentioned in 1 Peter 5:12, as the bearer of Peter’s first epistle. — Walker, page 331.

Greetings (v.23) = lit. “we wish you joy”

unsettling (v.24) = dismantling, devastating

risked (v.26) = lit. “handed over”

burden (v.28) — referring back to Peter’s “yoke” in verse 10.

exhorted (v.32) = comforted — The prophetic ministry of Judas and Silas was encouragement, not prediction.

Some manuscripts omit verse 34.

Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch (v.35) — A considerable period seems to be intended. To this period must be referred the incidents of Peter’s vacillating conduct and Barnabas’ compromising actions related in Galatians 2:11-18. Doubtless, it prepared the way for the breach which follows (vs. 39-40). — Walker, pages 335-336.

This letter is the last reference to any of the 12 apostles in Acts.

Because of the transition from the kingdom program to that of the present economy the council’s written decision was necessary both to establish Gentile liberty and to confirm Paul’s apostolic authority among the Gentiles. It did not, however, supersede Paul’s own God-given authority and commission. He needed no Jerusalem council to endorse his apostleship. Thus while he accepted its decision as a satisfactory settlement of the matter in question, he never once refers to this letter in his epistles, not even when discussing the principal matter with which it dealt (Galatians 2). Anyway, Paul found higher reasons why the Gentiles — and even the Jews — should not be under the law (Romans 7:2; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14) and higher motives for sustaining from anything that might in any way injure others, whether lost or saved (Romans 14:13-15; 1 Corinthians 8:1, 4, 7, 9; 10:28-33; Galatians 5:13). — Stam page 281.

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