Jul. 27. Paul Writes First Letter to Corinth from Ephesus

I Cor. 1:1-9

Paul did not have access to forms of instant communication, but he did receive news from the churches. The news from the church at Corinth disturbed him. The Holy Spirit guided him to write a letter while he was in Ephesus to correct the problems that were in the Corinthian church.

As previously stated, the people of Corinth were highly immoral. The church was made up of this class of individuals who had been converted from their idolatry, prostitution and general immoral behavior. It became necessary for Paul to remind them that they were to refrain from returning to this way of life.

Paul identified himself as an apostle in order to emphasize his authority. He addressed the church as saints who were set apart in Christ and called by the preaching of the gospel. The first part of the letter complemented the Corinthians by pointing out their spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.


Jul. 26. Paul Begins Third Missionary Journey

Acts 18:23-19:10

Having completed his report to the church at Antioch, Paul began what is known as his third missionary journey. He traveled through Galatia and Phrygia revisiting some of the churches and strengthening the disciples in that area before arriving at Ephesus.

Approximately twenty-five years after the church had been established at Jerusalem, there were men who continued to preach the teachings of John the Baptist regarding Jesus. One of these men was a Jew named Apollos who was born at Alexandria near the Nile River on the northern coast of Africa.

Alexandria was the seat of Greek and Hebrew learning and Apollos was highly educated in the Scriptures. Even with knowledge superior to many of that day, he was preaching error regarding the baptism of John.

After Apollos arrived in Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla heard him preaching in the synagogue and they recognized the error that he was preaching. “They took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Observe that when great men, as Apollos are corrected, they accept that correction and continue with their new knowledge.

Sometime later, Apollos left Ephesus and went to Corinth in Achaia to strengthen the church there. The Ephesians sent a letter to encourage the disciples there to accept him. He did a great work in Corinth and was very helpful to Paul.

When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he found a group of disciples who had been baptized according to John’s baptism. It is not known, but it is possible that they had been baptized by Apollos. After Paul had taught them about the baptism of Christ, they were then “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

If the kind of baptism were not important, it would not have been necessary for these men to be baptized again. We see in this account that their first baptism was not valid, even though they were sincere in this error.

As had been his practice in other cities, Paul began to teach in the synagogue. He was able to continue for three months, but as before, the opposition of the Jews made it necessary for him to change to another place.

This new location was in the school of Tyrannus. Paul worked out of that school for a period of two years. During that time, the gospel was preached to the Jews and Gentiles of Ephesus and throughout all Asia. While there, he also replied to a letter from Corinth to correct problems and answer questions from that church.


Jul. 25. Paul’s Second Missionary Journey Ends

Acts 18:12-22

During the time that Paul, Silas and Timothy were in Corinth, the Jews continued to oppose their work. On one occasion they seized Paul and took him to Gallio, the proconsul. They charged that, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”

Since this was a Gentile court and the Jews’ charges against Paul were related to their own law, Gallio refused to hear them. Roman officials at that time did not involve themselves with religious quarrels. This is evidence of the Lord’s promise in the vision that He would protect Paul.

At the end of Paul’s eighteen-month stay in Corinth, he departed to return to Antioch. Aquila, Priscilla, possibly Silas and probably Timothy accompanied him as far as Ephesus. After this, Silas was referred to in the Scriptures as Silvanus, his Latin name. They probably remained with the church in Ephesus to prepare for Paul’s return several months later.

Paul’s journey to Antioch included visits to Caesarea and Jerusalem. After arriving, he spent a period of time reporting on the fruits of his travels during the last three or four years.


Jul. 24. Letter Ends with Warnings Against Idleness

II Thes. 2:13-3:18

As Paul began to conclude his letter, he stressed the importance of continuing to observe the things that he had taught them in person and by letter. He then called for divine comfort and support for the Thessalonians as they continued in their work for the Lord.

Paul had shown his love and support of the Thessalonian church in his admonitions to them. He now asked them to support him in their prayers that others might receive the word as they had.

There were still those in Corinth who opposed Paul in his work. He expressed confidence in the Thessalonians that they would remain faithful to the commands, which he had taught them.

After praising the Thessalonians, Paul addressed a problem of some of their individual members. There are those who for some reason, feel that the world owes them a living. They are too proud to work. Some of these people were in the Thessalonian church. Instead of working, they were busy minding the business of others.

As an apostle, Paul had the right to expect support from the churches. He chose to set an example for them by working night and day to not be a financial burden on them.

Paul was so adamant in this practice that he taught that a person who would not work should not eat. He commanded the Thessalonians to withdraw from and not to associate with those who walked disorderly in that regard.

Even in shaming a person, Paul taught compassion. This action was not to destroy a person, but to get his attention and to make him realize his Christian responsibility and repent of that sin. He stated, “Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”

Paul ended his letter by invoking grace and peace from the Lord of peace upon the Thessalonians.


Jul. 23. Second Thessalonian Letter Clarifies Description of Christ’s Final Return

II Thes. 1:1-2:12

Shortly after writing the first epistle to the Thessalonians, it became necessary to follow it up with a second letter. Paul had attempted to correct some misconceptions about the final return of Christ, but had been misunderstood. The Thessalonians were still expecting Jesus to return soon and feared that some who had already died would not share in this glorious event. Some even feared that He had already come and that they had been left out.

The Thessalonian church was still under great persecution and Paul thanked God and praised them for their faith and perseverance in the face of such difficulties. He continued to use them as an example of faith to encourage other churches.

Paul pointed out again the judgment that is to come upon those who persecute God’s children and the rest that they will receive if they continue to endure. This punishment is described as a flaming fire with everlasting destruction and separation from God.

There were some events that must take place before the coming of Christ. Paul said that there would be the falling away. This falling away would be a period of time in which the world would refuse to follow God. In all likelihood, this apostasy would be led by the man of sin, the man of perdition (the antichrist).

Since that time the church has gone through a long period of apostasy and there have been many who have usurped God’s authority on earth. Even today there are those in the church who are teaching false doctrine. It is very possible that those events that Paul mentioned have already taken place.

Paul reminded the Thessalonians that he had told them those things when he was with them. Even at that time, there were lawless people beginning to undermine the church with false teachings.

The antichrist was described by Paul as an agent of Satan. His very being was in opposition to Christ. He would come with power, signs and lying wonders and deceive the people. God would allow those who would not love and receive His truth to believe the deceptions of the antichrist and be destroyed. (Stop! Look! Listen! Are we receiving and obeying the truth or are we being deceived by what some man is saying?)

Paul was thankful for the submissive attitude of the Thessalonians as they had shown their love for the truth. That was in contrast with those previously described as following after the antichrist. They had received the promise that was delivered at the beginning to all Gentiles who obeyed the call of the gospel.


Jul. 22. Concluding Words of Instruction

I Thes. 5:12-28

Paul concluded his epistle to the Thessalonians by issuing a list of general commands and exhortations. Leading his list was the command to recognize and respect the elders of the church. The elders are responsible for the leadership and welfare of the church—to ensure that Christians receive the divine instructions left by Christ. Also included in this first command was an exhortation to recognize other workers and teachers.

One of the most important qualities of a healthy church is to be at peace with one another. Paul said, “Warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.”

A joyful attitude is of utmost importance in living the Christian life. Paul said on another occasion that he had learned in whatever state he was to be content. Joy and contentment come from being constantly communing in a prayerful spirit with God through thanksgiving and supplication.

Christians receive their instructions from the writings of men inspired by the Holy Spirit. When these writings are ignored, it is like pouring water on a fire. The Spirit is quenched.

Paul admonished the Thessalonians to accept only the truth when facing decisions regarding right and wrong. If a teaching or practice appears evil or false, Christians are to reject it.

Paul ended his letter by calling for a blessing from God for the Thessalonians, asking them to pray for him and commanding that this epistle be read to all of the church. Since Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit in this writing, it is equally important that it be read and studied today.


Jul. 21. Christ’s Final Return Described

I Thes. 4:13-5:11

One of the concerns of the Thessalonians that Paul addressed in his letter was the eternal destiny of those who had died before the return of Christ. Some thought that only those living at His return would go with Him into heaven and those already dead would be left behind.

Paul reminded them that Jesus died and rose again. Jesus also said, “All who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” Both the good and evil will be raised to face the judgment on that last day at the end of time.

The dead in Christ (Those who had died in a right relationship with Christ) will rise first. Paul further explained that those who are living will then be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ in the air.

There will be no announcements or warnings just before the Lord returns. He will descend from heaven with a shout; a shout from an archangel; and the trumpet of God. This will be an awesome moment. There will be no further time for preparation. Judgment Day will have arrived! If we die before Christ returns, our death will be the end of preparation time for us. We should live each moment as if it were our last. Someday, it WILL be our last!


Jul. 20. Further Instructions for Righteous Living

I Thes. 4:1-12

Up to this point in Paul’s letter, he had reviewed his previous relationship with the Thessalonians. He exhorted them to remain faithful in their walk with God.

Since Paul was in Corinth when he wrote this letter, he was constantly reminded of the grossly immoral behavior of the non-Christians of that day. He warned the Thessalonians that it was God’s will that after becoming Christians, they would turn from those sins and keep their bodies under control and avoid the sexual immorality that had been a part of so many of their lives.

Paul further admonished the church to continue to increase in their love for one another and to, “Aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”


Jul. 19. Encouraging Words to A Persecuted Church

I Thes. 2:1-3:13

As he continued, Paul reminded the Thessalonians of his beaten condition when he had arrived from Philippi and first preached to them. The beating he and Silas had received did not keep them from boldly preaching the gospel to the Thessalonians. They did not claim authority from anyone but God and were as firm as a father, but gentle as a mother in their presentation of it.

Paul pointed out to the Thessalonians that they did not preach for earthly gain, but had worked in order to earn their own support. They had worked equally hard to present God’s plan of salvation to those who were willing to hear it and obey.

Words that Paul and Silas had taught the Thessalonians were not the words of man, but the word of God. Paul complimented them for their determination to obey it even in the face of severe persecution.

The church at Thessalonica was like the churches in Judea who had suffered persecution at the hands of the Jews. Those Jews had killed the Lord and their own prophets and had persecuted the apostles. They had tried, but without success to prevent Paul from preaching to the Gentiles.

Paul expressed his desire to visit the Thessalonians in person to encourage them, and how Satan had prevented this from happening. He said that this would change at the coming of the Lord.

Since Paul had been unable to personally visit the Thessalonians, he had sent Timothy from Athens to learn of their state, encourage and strengthen them. He had feared that the young church probably only six months old had possibly given up their faith because of their persecution. Paul’s fears here illustrate the fact that one can be lost even after becoming a Christian. Note that he had called them the elect.

Paul expressed his joy and comfort at hearing Timothy’s report of their faith and love. A great burden of concern had been lifted from his shoulders. He had received a positive answer to his many prayers on behalf of the Thessalonians.

A brief prayer was written along with Paul’s message to the church. In it, he asked that he would be allowed to come their way. He also prayed that they would continue to increase in love for one another and that they would be blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Jul. 18. Paul Writes First Letter to Thessalonica from Corinth

I Thes. 1:1-10

During the one and one-half years that Paul and his team preached in Corinth, he wrote two letters to the church in Thessalonica. The first epistle was written shortly after Timothy had rejoined Paul in Corinth.

Paul had left Thessalonica under a great persecution. It was only about a month since he had established this church. After his departure, the Jews had continued to persecute the young church. He had sent Timothy to encourage and strengthen them. Timothy returned with the news that they were enduring the persecution and continuing to flourish.

The letter began with Paul, [along with Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy] stating how thankful he was to God for their work of faith and love, their patience of hope and their election by God. They were elected by God in the same manner as all who obey His commands in becoming Christians.

Paul observed how well the Thessalonians had received his teachings—not just as words, but as the power of the Holy Spirit had guided him. They had followed him even as he had followed the Lord.

After Rome had overtaken Greece, the country was divided into two parts—Macedonia to the north and Achaia to the south. Because of its location, the Thessalonian church had a large influence in both areas.

This church that was only a few months old was able to endure much affliction from the Jews and to overcome the presence of a vast number of idol worshippers. Paul complimented them because their examples of faithful living were spreading throughout all of Greece.


Jul. 17. Second Journey Continues Through Various Cities

Acts 17:1-18:11

Paul and Silas traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica about one hundred miles from Philippi. Thessalonica was an important commercial city on the southern coast of Macedonia. There was a synagogue in this city and Paul preached there three Sabbaths.

Many of the Gentiles and leading women and some of the Jews were receptive to Paul’s preaching. Their obedience to the gospel led to the establishment of a congregation of the Lord’s church in Thessalonica.

Paul and Silas met the same kind of opposition in Thessalonica as they had experienced in the other places they had preached. The unbelieving Jews went into the marketplace and gathered a group of unruly men and incited a riot.

The Jews charged that Paul and Silas had turned the world upside down and that they were saying there was another king instead of Caesar—Jesus. Their anger was so strong against Paul and Silas, that they also attacked the house of Jason because he had provided lodging for them.

Paul and Silas were able to remain in Thessalonica for only a short time. They were sent away by night because of the danger of being seen during the day.

Berea, a city west of Thessalonica was the next stop for the traveling preachers. Again, they went to the synagogue to teach the people. They found a receptive attitude that was different from the other places they had preached. The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things Paul was teaching were so. One should not take the word of another person without studying the Bible for himself. That person may be sincere, but also be sincerely mistaken.

Things were going well for Paul and Silas. Many of the Jews, Gentiles and prominent women believed and obeyed the gospel. Timothy had also rejoined them.

Again, opposition from unbelieving Jews became an obstacle. Word that they were preaching in Berea had reached the Jews in Thessalonica. These Jews came and stirred the crowds to the extent that Paul again was forced to leave a fertile field.

Paul left Berea to go as far as the sea, but with a change in plans, he traveled as far as Athens in Achaia. (Ancient Greece) Silas and Timothy had remained in Berea, but since his plans had changed, he sent word for them to join him immediately.

While Paul waited for the arrival of Silas and Timothy, he preached in the synagogues and marketplaces. The people of Athens were inquisitive regarding anything new and spent much of their time telling and learning about new things. They worshipped many gods and Paul seemed to be introducing them to a new god, “Because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.”

A group of philosophers took Paul to the Areopagus (A hill known as Mars’ Hill) to hear him speak. His sermon on Mars’ Hill was different from most of his lessons. The people of Athens were so corrupt in their worship of heathen idols, that they did not know the true God whom they worshipped in their synagogue.

Paul began by observing that they were a very religious people. They had erected idols to all of the gods they knew and in fear of omitting one, they had an altar inscribed: “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” He then introduced them to their unknown “God, who made the world and everything in it.”

As Paul continued his presentation of the true God, he pointed out the contrasts between God and the gods whom they worshipped. He stated that God had previously overlooked this ignorance, but then He was bringing it to their attention and that they must repent of their past ways of living. In overlooking their ignorance, God had not excused it. He had only ignored it.

Paul also informed the Athenians of the judgment and the Man (Christ) who would be the Judge—A Man whom God had ordained and raised from the dead.

Some of the people interrupted Paul’s sermon and began to mock him when he mentioned the resurrection of the dead. Others said that they would hear him again.

With the conclusion of his sermon disrupted, Paul left and went away. Even with the sudden end of his teaching, there were some influential individuals who believed and the church was established in Athens. It is likely that after Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul in Athens, that he sent them to Thessalonica to encourage the young church there. Possibly, Silas had remained in Berea and Timothy had gone alone.

After being somewhat disappointed by his reception in Athens, Paul traveled a short distance to the west to Corinth. This was an important commercial city on the Mediterranean coast, but like other places he visited, he found very low morals among the people.

There were many Jews in Corinth because of the city’s business opportunities and also because Claudius Caesar had expelled all of the Jews from Rome. Among those from Italy was a Jew named Aquila with his wife, Priscilla.

It was a financial necessity at times for Paul to work at his trade of making tents. Aquila and Priscilla were also tentmakers and Paul stayed for a time in their home. He related later in a letter back to the Corinthian church that this had been a difficult period during his ministry. Even though he made tents during the week, he continued to preach in the synagogue every Sabbath and many Jews and Gentiles were converted.

After several weeks, Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul in Corinth. With their arrival, he had a renewed vigor in his preaching—so much that the Jews increased their opposition to his message. He then said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Even after this declaration, some prominent Jews along with many Gentiles believed and were baptized.

One night during Paul’s ministry in Corinth, he saw the Lord in a vision. This came at a time when he really needed encouragement. The Lord said, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

Armed with this declaration and the encouraging news from Timothy regarding the church in Thessalonica, Paul, Silas and Timothy remained for another year and one-half preaching and teaching the people of Corinth.


Jul. 16. Philippian Jailer Converted

Acts 16:16-40

One day as Paul and his company went to prayer, they were met by a young slave woman who was demon possessed. She followed them many days declaring, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

The demon had given the woman the power to tell fortunes and her masters had been realizing great profits from her ability. After Paul had removed this demon, the source of their profit was gone. Paul could have allowed the demon to remain in the woman, but this would have given the impression that the preaching of the gospel was in cooperation with demons. This could not happen.

The woman’s masters grabbed Paul and Silas and brought them before the Roman authorities. Instead of stating the real reason for their anger, the men said that Paul and Silas were teaching customs that were not lawful for the Romans to receive or observe.

After a severe beating, Paul and Silas were thrown into prison to be kept securely. Secure they were—in the inner prison with their feet fastened in stocks. Or were they secure?

Paul and Silas were happy that they were worthy to suffer for Christ. They were praying and praising God in song, even at midnight, loud enough that the other prisoners heard them. God also heard them!

A great earthquake shook the foundations of the building, opened the doors of the jail and released the chains from all of the prisoners. The jailer woke up from his sleep and when he saw the doors open, he supposed that all of the prisoners had escaped.

To allow a prison break of that magnitude meant sure death to the person in charge of security. With that in mind, the jailer drew his sword to kill himself in order to avoid the disgrace of execution.

When Paul realized what the jailer was about to do, he called out, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

The jailer was both relieved and terrified. He was relieved that the prisoners were all in their places, but terrified because he realized that the men whom he had unmercifully mistreated were indeed preaching salvation. With this in mind, he fell at the feet of his prisoners, Paul and Silas and called them Sirs. He said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The jailer was told to, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Paul and Silas proceeded to explain to the jailer the obedience that was involved in believing. After they had spoken the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house, he took his prisoners to a place where there was water.

In an act of repentance, the jailer washed the stripes of Paul and Silas. “And immediately he and all his family were baptized.”

To further demonstrate his repentance, the jailer set food before his teachers. There was great rejoicing in his household because they had believed in God and found salvation. Note that the jailer rejoiced after his baptism instead of before.

Paul and Silas returned to prison as if nothing had happened. The next morning, the magistrates sent to have them released. Paul had something to say about their treatment.

It was unlawful to beat a Roman citizen and because of their citizenship, this law had been broken. Paul demanded that the magistrates themselves release them.

Upon releasing Paul and Silas, the magistrates pleaded with them and asked them to leave the city. They went to Lydia’s house, encouraged the brethren and left Philippi. Luke and Timothy probably stayed behind to further edify the church.


Jul. 15. Timothy and Luke Join Paul and Silas

Acts 16:1-15

While Paul and Silas were in Lystra, Timothy, a young man who would serve a great role in the later life of Paul joined the team. It is not known just when he was baptized, but it is possible that Timothy, as a new Christian was involved in the rescue of Paul when he was so savagely stoned in that city.

Timothy’s father was a Greek (Gentile) and his mother was a Jew. Paul commended his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice years later for their role in Timothy’s spiritual development. We see in Timothy how wholesome examples impart a positive influence on the lives of others.

Paul had refused to allow Titus to be circumcised while they were at the conference in Jerusalem because he was a Greek. Circumcision would have yielded to the demands of the Jews that circumcision of Gentiles was necessary for their salvation. Timothy however was a Jew who had never been circumcised. Paul did many things to gain the trust of those whom he taught. Since he reasoned that it would be easier to influence the Jews, he circumcised Timothy.

Paul, Silas and Timothy traveled throughout Cilicia, Galatia and Phrygia strengthening the churches and baptizing new believers. They also shared the Jerusalem letter. As they left Phrygia and approached Mysia, the Spirit prevented them from going into Asia and the area of Bithynia. Instead, they were directed to Troas.

Troas was a seaport city beside a large bay area of the Mediterranean Sea. While in Troas, Paul had a vision in which a man of Macedonia called for them to, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

Immediately, Paul and his company sailed northwest toward Macedonia to preach the gospel to the residents of that area.

By then, another man who would be important to Paul had joined the team. Luke was a physician and soon became very active in teaching and as a historian recording the events that occurred during Paul’s journeys.

Paul and his companions arrived at Macedonia and went to Philippi. Philippi was a Roman colony populated by pagans who did not care about God.

Some days later on the Sabbath, Paul’s team went outside the city to a riverside where a group of women were worshipping. After hearing the gospel, Lydia, a prominent merchant of Thyatira and her household were baptized. They accepted her invitation and stayed in her house for a period of time.


Jul. 14. Second Missionary Journey Begun

Acts 15:36-41

After some days following the report of the Jerusalem conference, Paul suggested to Barnabas that they should, “Go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.”

Barnabas agreed that this was a good idea, but he wanted to take John Mark with them again. Since John had turned back from the work during the first journey, Paul insisted that he should not be included on this trip. Their disagreement became so sharp that they separated.

Barnabas took John Mark with him and they sailed to Cyprus and Paul selected Silas to go with him. He and Silas went in a north-westerly direction, starting in Syria and Cilicia visiting churches Paul had established several years earlier after returning to Tarsus from Jerusalem and before he had joined Barnabas in Antioch.

Paul and Silas advanced in their journey to Derbe and Lystra. It was in Lystra during his first missionary journey, that the residents tried to worship him and Barnabas as gods and then later stoned him.


Jul. 13. Conference in Jerusalem

Acts 15:1-35

Some of the Jewish Christians had been concerned about accepting the Gentiles, even from the conversion of Cornelius and his household. They felt that the Gentiles were obligated to be circumcised according to the Law of Moses to be saved.

Even after the passage of several years since the first Gentiles became Christians, there were those of the Jerusalem area who went to Antioch to bring those Christians under their rules. Paul and Barnabas tried to teach against this practice, but were met with much opposition. The church decided to send them and certain others to visit with the apostles and elders in the Jerusalem church regarding this question and to completely settle it.

Paul had received divine revelation soon after his conversion and should have been accepted as a final authority of such spiritual matters. Since he was not one of the original apostles, the church probably doubted his qualifications. He stated later that he had gone to Jerusalem by revelation.

After traveling through Phoenicia and Samaria reporting on the conversion of the Gentiles, Paul and his companions reached Jerusalem. There, they continued their report on the things that God had done with them.

Some of the Pharisees had been converted, but were still holding on to the traditions of the Law of Moses. When Paul and his company met with James (the brother of Jesus), Peter, John and the elders, there was much discussion with these false teachers.

After this discussion, Peter addressed the group. He related how he had been chosen by God to preach to the Gentiles and that they had received the Holy Spirit just as the Jews had received Him on Pentecost.

Peter pointed out how the yoke of the Law of Moses was one they were unable to bear and how absurd it was to expect the Gentiles to bear it. He stated that God makes no distinction between Jews and Gentiles and that everyone’s heart is purified by faith.

After Barnabas and Paul had reported on the miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles, James began to speak. He repeated Peter’s declaration that God had included the Gentiles in His plan. James further declared how the prophets had pointed out the same thing. He referred to a prophecy of Amos to make this point.

James, through the Holy Spirit concluded his remarks by stating that the Gentiles abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled and from blood.

Titus, a Gentile, was a part of the group with Paul and Barnabas. The fact that he was not subjected to circumcision was unifying evidence that this act was not a requirement for salvation.

After the conference had concluded, the apostles, elders and other Jerusalem Christians wrote a letter to the Gentile churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. They disassociated themselves in that letter from the ones who had tried to bind the Law of Moses upon the Gentile churches. The letter also stated the instructions that the Holy Spirit had guided James to present. They commended Judas (Barsabas) and Silas, leading men of the church, whom they had sent with Paul and Barnabas to report the same things by word of mouth.

When the letter was read to the church at Antioch, they were very pleased with its encouragement. Judas and Silas preached to the brethren for a time. Afterwards, Judas returned to Jerusalem, but Silas remained. Paul and Barnabas also remained and taught and preached the word.