All The Same? - 31 Days in Acts

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Today is Day 25 of my 31 Days in Acts and today we are going to look at chapter 15

verses 1 - 5

The chapter starts with the controversy over circumcision.
The leaders in Jerusalem who probably all come from Jewish background were saying all believers should be circumcised.
Some people come to Antioch and speak about this but Paul & Barnabas disagree.  So they are sent to Jerusalem to talk with the Apostles there. 

verses 6 - 21

Peter is in Jerusalem and he tells how he was led by God to take the gospel to the Gentiles and he does not advocate circumcision for them.
Then Paul & Barnabas speak of their work among the Gentiles and they also do not advocate imposing circumcision.

verses 22 - 29

The leaders in Jerusalem take heed of the advice and agree with them.  They then send Paul, Barnabas and two others (Silas and Judas) back to Antioch with a letter telling the new gentile converts that they are not commanded to be circumcised but 

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.

Good type of advice for today as well.
New believers should not be given a list of things they must or must not do but they should be taught to learn from the Bible how to conduct themselves and know that there are aspects of life that God will not condone but also that other Christians do not have the right to insist on a lot of other secondary rules which will only put pressure on people.

verses 30 - 35

The believers in Antioch received the letter well and were encouraged by it.
Judas and Silas, being recognised as prophets, also spoke words from God to the people.
After a while Judas returned to Jerusalem but Silas remained in Antioch with Paul & Barnabas.

verses 36 - 41

A while later Paul wanted to go back to all the places he and Barnabas had visited and preached and discipled people in.  Barnabas must have been in agreement about the travelling but they differed in opinion as to who should go with them.
Barnabas wanted to take John Mark but Paul did not because John Mark had left them previously which we read about in chapter 13  Day 23  A Specific Job for the Kingdom  
 They could not come to an agreement over this so in the end Barnabas took John Mark and they went to Cyprus, while Paul took Silas and they went to Syria.

Was Barnabas giving Mark a second chance whereas Paul would not or was it because Barnabas and Mark were related as some commentators say they were cousins?

There is an indication in verse 40 that Paul may have been considered to be in the right

40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren
 to the grace of God.

but because Barnabas was always known for being a great encourager and helper and mentor of Paul in the first years after Paul's conversion, I can't bring myself to think that he was wrong (maybe I just always have had a certain likeness for his character).

I think they both had different ideas of how the ministry could continue and who they could work with but we have not been given any other information on who made the final decision or if any other apostles had any input to it.

Sometimes relationships change but it should be for the better.

However it was decided, it resulted in Paul and Silas going to the churches in Syria etc. on the mainland and Barnabas taking John Mark to the island of Cyprus which we heard of in chapter 13 Day 23  A Specific Job  of our reading of Acts.  There we saw only one convert which was the proconsul and John Mark had been helping Paul and Barnabas at that time.

In the end it did mean that instead of one missionary trip with Paul and Barnabas together, there were two trips to different areas with two other people involved learning from the Apostles.

I'm trying to read and write about the Book of Acts for 31 Days so please come back and join me for some notes & some thoughts each day. 

As the month goes on each Day's Link will be added in 

Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
Then Try these commentaries

Or this Bible Study

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