A Dispute Among Church Members

Some men came from Jerusalem to Syrian Antioch, and they started teaching the Gentile believers differently than Paul & Barnabas (270).  “You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised, as the law of Moses requires,” they said.   Paul & Barnabas argued fiercely against this idea.

Eventually, it was decided that Paul & Barnabas (along with some of the others from Syrian Antioch) should go to Jerusalem — to consult with the witnesses & elders there about this matter.


As they travelled through the coastal area of Phoenicia & through Samaria, they reported how the Gentiles had turned to God; this news brought great joy to all the believers they met along their way.

When Paul & Barnabas & the others finally arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the witnesses & the elders.  Then they began to report everything that God had done through them.

But some of the Pharisees, who wanted to all Christians to obey the law of Moses, took an opposing view.  “The Gentiles must be circumcised and told to obey the law of Moses,” they insisted.

The witnesses & the elders met together to consider this question. After a long debate Peter stood up and said, “My brothers, you know that a long time ago God chose me to be the first to preach the good news to the Gentiles, so that they could hear & believe. You also know that God showed his approval of the Gentiles by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he had to us. He made no difference between us & them; he blessed them with faith & forgave their sins, just as He did for us.


“So why should we now challenge God, by imposing on Gentile believers a set of laws which even we Jews have never been able to obey? We simply cannot be saved by obeying the law.  Jews believe & are saved only by the grace of the Lord Jesus, and it’s the same for Gentiles.”

Then the whole group listened carefully as Barnabas & Paul reported all the miracles & wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles.

God, please help me to love not being able to save myself.

(270) Acts 15:1-12