The Jerusalem Council (15:1-35). Some men came down from Judea to Antioch teaching that circumcision was necessary for salvation. Paul and Barnabas opposed this teaching. After a major argument, Paul and Barnabas were sent by the church to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders about this point of disagreement. The council, directed by the Holy Spirit (see 15:28), concluded that circumcision would not be forced on the Gentiles, but they should be encouraged to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality.
Paul and Barnabas Part Company (15:36-41). As Paul and Barnabas prepared for a second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark, but Paul insisted that they should not take him along because he had left them in Pamphylia, so they had a sharp disagreement and parted company. Barnabas took John Mark and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and set out, passing through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches.
Practical Lessons: (1) Salvation is through the grace of the Lord Jesus. (2) People change – Paul in Acts 15 viewed John Mark useless for ministry, but later consider him useful (see 2 Timothy 4:11). Who changed? Was it Paul or was it John Mark or maybe it was both?