The Bible – New Testament

Acts

Chapter 11

1

1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.

2

So when Peter went up to Jerusalem the circumcised believers confronted him,

3

saying, «You entered 2 the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.»

4

Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,

5

«I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when in a trance I had a vision, something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.

6

Looking intently into it, I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.

7

I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’

8

But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir, because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

9

But a second time a voice from heaven answered, ‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’

10

This happened three times, and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.

11

Just then three men appeared at the house where we were, who had been sent to me from Caesarea.

12

The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. These six brothers 3 also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.

13

He related to us how he had seen (the) angel standing in his house, saying, ‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,

14

who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.’

15

As I began to speak, the holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning,

16

and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.’

17

If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?»

18

When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, «God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.»

19

4 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews.

20

There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus.

21

The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

22

The news about them reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas (to go) to Antioch.

23

When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,

24

for he was a good man, filled with the holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord.

25

Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,

26

and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. 5

27

6 At that time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch,

28

and one of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine all over the world, and it happened under Claudius.

29

So the disciples determined that, according to ability, each should send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea.

30

7 This they did, sending it to the presbyters in care of Barnabas and Saul.

1 [1-18] The Jewish Christians of Jerusalem were scandalized to learn of Peter’s sojourn in the house of the Gentile Cornelius. Nonetheless, they had to accept the divine directions given to both Peter and Cornelius. They concluded that the setting aside of the legal barriers between Jew and Gentile was an exceptional ordinance of God to indicate that the apostolic kerygma was also to be directed to the Gentiles. Only in Acts 15 at the «Council» in Jerusalem does the evangelization of the Gentiles become the official position of the church leadership in Jerusalem.
2 [3] You entered . . . : alternatively, this could be punctuated as a question.
3 [12] These six brothers: companions from the Christian community of Joppa (see ⇒ Acts 10:23).
4 [19-26] The Jewish Christian antipathy to the mixed community was reflected by the early missionaries generally. The few among them who entertained a different view succeeded in introducing Gentiles into the community at Antioch (in Syria). When the disconcerted Jerusalem community sent Barnabas to investigate, he was so favorably impressed by what he observed that he persuaded his friend Saul to participate in the Antioch mission.
5 [26] Christians: «Christians» is first applied to the members of the community at Antioch because the Gentile members of the community enable it to stand out clearly from Judaism.
6 [27-30] It is not clear whether the prophets from Jerusalem came to Antioch to request help in view of the coming famine or whether they received this insight during their visit there. The former supposition seems more likely. Suetonius and Tacitus speak of famines during the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41-54), while the Jewish historian Josephus mentions a famine in Judea in A.D. Acts 11:46-48. Luke is interested, rather, in showing the charity of the Antiochene community toward the Jewish Christians of Jerusalem despite their differences on mixed communities.
7 [30] Presbyters: this is the same Greek word that elsewhere is translated «elders,» primarily in reference to the Jewish community.

ACTS

Introduction

The Bible – New Testament

Acts

Chapter 28

1

Once we had reached safety we learned that the island was called Malta.

2

The natives showed us extraordinary hospitality; they lit a fire and welcomed all of us because it had begun to rain and was cold.

3

Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire when a viper, escaping from the heat, fastened on his hand.

4

When the natives saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to one another, «This man must certainly be a murderer; though he escaped the sea, Justice 1 has not let him remain alive.»

5

But he shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no harm.

6

They were expecting him to swell up or suddenly to fall down dead but, after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

7

In the vicinity of that place were lands belonging to a man named Publius, the chief of the island. He welcomed us and received us cordially as his guests for three days.

8

It so happened that the father of Publius was sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, after praying, laid his hands on him and healed him.

9

After this had taken place, the rest of the sick on the island came to Paul and were cured.

10

They paid us great honor and when we eventually set sail they brought us the provisions we needed.

11

Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the Dioscuri 2 as its figurehead.

12

We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days,

13

and from there we sailed round the coast and arrived at Rhegium. After a day, a south wind came up and in two days we reached Puteoli.

14

There we found some brothers and were urged to stay with them for seven days. And thus we came to Rome.

15

The brothers from there heard about us and came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage.

16

When he entered Rome, 3 Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

17

4 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them, «My brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or our ancestral customs, I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.

18

After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me, because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.

19

But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.

20

This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel 5 that I wear these chains.»

21

They answered him, «We have received no letters from Judea about you, nor has any of the brothers arrived with a damaging report or rumor about you.

22

But we should like to hear you present your views, for we know that this sect is denounced everywhere.»

23

So they arranged a day with him and came to his lodgings in great numbers. From early morning until evening, he expounded his position to them, bearing witness to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets.

24

Some were convinced by what he had said, while others did not believe.

25

6 Without reaching any agreement among themselves they began to leave; then Paul made one final statement. «Well did the holy Spirit speak to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah, saying:

26

‘Go to this people and say: You shall indeed hear but not understand. You shall indeed look but never see.

27

Gross is the heart of this people; they will not hear with their ears; they have closed their eyes, so they may not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’

28

Let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.»

29

7

30

8 He remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him,

31

and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 [4] Justice: in Greek mythology, the pursuing goddess of vengeance and justice.
2 [11] Dioscuri: that is, the Twin Brothers, Castor and Pollux, the sons of Zeus and the patrons of the sailors.
3 [16] With Paul’s arrival in Rome, the programmatic spread of the word of the Lord to «the ends of the earth» (⇒ Acts 1:8) is accomplished. In Rome, Paul is placed under house arrest, and under this mild form of custody he is allowed to proclaim the word in the capital of the civilized world of his day.
4 [17-22] Paul’s first act in Rome is to learn from the leaders of the Jewish community whether the Jews of Jerusalem plan to pursue their case against him before the Roman jurisdiction. He is informed that no such plan is afoot, but that the Jews of Rome have heard the Christian teaching denounced. Paul’s offer to explain it to them is readily accepted.
5 [20] The hope of Israel: in the words of Paul (⇒ Acts 23:6), Luke has identified this hope as hope in the resurrection of the dead.
6 [25-28] Paul’s final words in Acts reflect a major concern of Luke’s writings: how the salvation promised in the Old Testament, accomplished by Jesus, and offered first to Israel (⇒ Acts 13:26), has now been offered to and accepted by the Gentiles. Quoting ⇒ Isaiah 6:9-10, Paul presents the scriptural support for his indictment of his fellow Jews who refuse to accept the message he proclaims. Their rejection leads to its proclamation among the Gentiles.
7 [29] The Western text has added here a verse that is not found in the best Greek manuscripts: «And when he had said this, the Jews left, seriously arguing among themselves.»
8 [30-31] Although the ending of Acts may seem to be abrupt, Luke has now completed his story with the establishment of Paul and the proclamation of Christianity in Rome. Paul’s confident and unhindered proclamation of the gospel in Rome forms the climax to the story whose outline was provided in ⇒ Acts 1:8 – «You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem . . . and to the ends of the earth.»

The Bible – New Testament

Acts

Chapter 25

1

Three days after his arrival in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem

2

where the chief priests and Jewish leaders presented him their formal charges against Paul. 1 They asked him

3

as a favor to have him sent to Jerusalem, for they were plotting to kill him along the way.

4

Festus replied that Paul was being held in custody in Caesarea and that he himself would be returning there shortly.

5

He said, «Let your authorities come down with me, and if this man has done something improper, let them accuse him.»

6

After spending no more than eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the following day took his seat on the tribunal and ordered that Paul be brought in.

7

When he appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem surrounded him and brought many serious charges against him, which they were unable to prove.

8

In defending himself Paul said, «I have committed no crime either against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.»

9

2 Then Festus, wishing to ingratiate himself with the Jews, said to Paul in reply, «Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there stand trial before me on these charges?»

10

Paul answered, «I am standing before the tribunal of Caesar; this is where I should be tried. I have committed no crime against the Jews, as you very well know.

11

If I have committed a crime or done anything deserving death, I do not seek to escape the death penalty; but if there is no substance to the charges they are bringing against me, then no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.»

12

Then Festus, after conferring with his council, replied, «You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go.»

13

When a few days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice 3 arrived in Caesarea on a visit to Festus.

14

Since they spent several days there, Festus referred Paul’s case to the king, saying, «There is a man here left in custody by Felix.

15

When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.

16

I answered them that it was not Roman practice to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.

17

So when (they) came together here, I made no delay; the next day I took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in.

18

His accusers stood around him, but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.

19

Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive.

20

Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy, I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these charges.

21

And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.»

22

Agrippa said to Festus, «I too should like to hear this man.» He replied, «Tomorrow you will hear him.»

23

The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great ceremony and entered the audience hall in the company of cohort commanders and the prominent men of the city and, by command of Festus, Paul was brought in.

24

And Festus said, «King Agrippa and all you here present with us, look at this man about whom the whole Jewish populace petitioned me here and in Jerusalem, clamoring that he should live no longer.

25

I found, however, that he had done nothing deserving death, and so when he appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him.

26

But I have nothing definite to write about him to our sovereign; therefore I have brought him before all of you, and particularly before you, King Agrippa, so that I may have something to write as a result of this investigation.

27

For it seems senseless to me to send up a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.»

Index 

1 [2] Even after two years the animosity toward Paul in Jerusalem had not subsided (see ⇒ Acts 24:27).
2 [9-12] Paul refuses to acknowledge that the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem has any jurisdiction over him now (⇒ Acts 25:11). Paul uses his right as a Roman citizen to appeal his case to the jurisdiction of the Emperor (Nero, ca. A.D. 60) (⇒ Acts 25:12). This move broke the deadlock between Roman protective custody of Paul and the plan of his enemies to kill him (3).
3 [13] King Agrippa and Bernice: brother and sister, children of Herod Agrippa I whose activities against the Jerusalem community are mentioned in ⇒ Acts 12:1-19. Agrippa II was a petty ruler over small areas in northern Palestine and some villages in Perea. His influence on the Jewish population of Palestine was insignificant.

Index 

Acts – Chapter 22

The Bible – New Testament Acts Index 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28.  Chapter 22 1 1 «My brothers and fathers, listen to what I am about to say to you in my defense.»… Seguir leyendo Acts – Chapter 22

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Acts – Chapter 19

The Bible – New Testament Acts Chapter 19 1 1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the country and came (down) to Ephesus where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, «Did you receive the holy Spirit when you became believers?» They answered him, «We have never even heard… Seguir leyendo Acts – Chapter 19

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The Bible – New Testament

Chapter 17

1

When they took the road through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they reached Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.

2

Following his usual custom, Paul joined them, and for three sabbaths he entered into discussions with them from the scriptures,

3

expounding and demonstrating that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead, and that «This is the Messiah, Jesus, whom I proclaim to you.»

4

Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas; so, too, a great number of Greeks who were worshipers, and not a few of the prominent women.

5

But the Jews became jealous and recruited some worthless men loitering in the public square, formed a mob, and set the city in turmoil. They marched on the house of Jason, intending to bring them before the people’s assembly.

6

1 When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city magistrates, shouting, «These people who have been creating a disturbance all over the world have now come here,

7

and Jason has welcomed them. They all act in opposition to the decrees of Caesar and claim instead that there is another king, Jesus.» 2

8

They stirred up the crowd and the city magistrates who, upon hearing these charges,

9

took a surety payment from Jason and the others before releasing them.

10

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas to Beroea during the night. Upon arrival they went to the synagogue of the Jews.

11

These Jews were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all willingness and examined the scriptures daily to determine whether these things were so.

12

Many of them became believers, as did not a few of the influential Greek women and men.

13

But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God had now been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea also, they came there too to cause a commotion and stir up the crowds.

14

So the brothers at once sent Paul on his way to the seacoast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind.

15

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens, they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

16

3 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he grew exasperated at the sight of the city full of idols.

17

So he debated in the synagogue with the Jews and with the worshipers, and daily in the public square with whoever happened to be there.

18

Even some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers 4 engaged him in discussion. Some asked, «What is this scavenger trying to say?» Others said, «He sounds like a promoter of foreign deities,» because he was preaching about ‘Jesus’ and ‘Resurrection.’

19

They took him and led him to the Areopagus 5 and said, «May we learn what this new teaching is that you speak of?

20

For you bring some strange notions to our ears; we should like to know what these things mean.»

21

Now all the Athenians as well as the foreigners residing there used their time for nothing else but telling or hearing something new.

22

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: 6 «You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious.

23

For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ 7 What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.

24

The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,

25

nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.

26

He made from one 8 the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,

27

so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us.

28

For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ 9 as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

29

Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.

30

God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent

31

because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.»

32

When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, «We should like to hear you on this some other time.»

33

And so Paul left them.

34

But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Acts

1 [6-7] The accusations against Paul and his companions echo the charges brought against Jesus in ⇒ Luke 23:2.
2 [7] There is another king, Jesus: a distortion into a political sense of the apostolic proclamation of Jesus and the kingdom of God (see ⇒ Acts 8:12).
3 [16-21] Paul’s presence in Athens sets the stage for the great discourse before a Gentile audience in ⇒ Acts 17:22-31. Although Athens was a politically insignificant city at this period, it still lived on the glories of its past and represented the center of Greek culture. The setting describes the conflict between Christian preaching and Hellenistic philosophy.
4 [18] Epicurean and Stoic philosophers: for the followers of Epicurus (342-271 B.C.), the goal of life was happiness attained through sober reasoning and the searching out of motives for all choice and avoidance. The Stoics were followers of Zeno, a younger contemporary of Alexander the Great. Zeno and his followers believed in a type of pantheism that held that the spark of divinity was present in all reality and that, in order to be free, each person must live «according to nature.» This scavenger: literally, «seed-picker,» as of a bird that picks up grain. The word is later used of scrap collectors and of people who take other people’s ideas and propagate them as if they were their own. Promoter of foreign deities: according to Xenophon, Socrates was accused of promoting new deities. The accusation against Paul echoes the charge against Socrates. «Jesus’ and «Resurrection’: the Athenians are presented as misunderstanding Paul from the outset; they think he is preaching about Jesus and a goddess named Anastasis, i.e., Resurrection.
5 [19] To the Areopagus: the «Areopagus» refers either to the Hill of Ares west of the Acropolis or to the Council of Athens, which at one time met on the hill but which at this time assembled in the Royal Colonnade (Stoa Basileios).
6 [22-31] In Paul’s appearance at the Areopagus he preaches his climactic speech to Gentiles in the cultural center of the ancient world. The speech is more theological than christological. Paul’s discourse appeals to the Greek world’s belief in divinity as responsible for the origin and existence of the universe. It contests the common belief in a multiplicity of gods supposedly exerting their powers through their images. It acknowledges that the attempt to find God is a constant human endeavor. It declares, further, that God is the judge of the human race, that the time of the judgment has been determined, and that it will be executed through a man whom God raised from the dead. The speech reflects sympathy with pagan religiosity, handles the subject of idol worship gently, and appeals for a new examination of divinity, not from the standpoint of creation but from the standpoint of judgment.
7 [23] To an Unknown God’: ancient authors such as Pausanias, Philostratus, and Tertullian speak of Athenian altars with no specific dedication as altars of «unknown gods» or «nameless altars.»
8 [26] From one: many manuscripts read «from one blood.» Fixed . . . seasons: or «fixed limits to the epochs.»
9 [28] ‘In him we live and move and have our being’: some scholars understand this saying to be based on an earlier saying of Epimenides of Knossos (6th century B.C.). ‘For we too are his offspring’: here Paul is quoting Aratus of Soli, a third-century B.C. poet from Cilicia.

 

needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for.

The Unknown God (Acts 17:24-31)

Acts – Chapter 16

The Bible – New Testament Acts Chapter 16 1 He reached (also) Derbe and Lystra where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him, 3 and Paul wanted him to… Seguir leyendo Acts – Chapter 16

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Acts – Chapter 26

The Bible – New Testament Acts Chapter 26 1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, «You may now speak on your own behalf.» So Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense. 2 1 «I count myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am to defend myself before you today against all the charges made against me… Seguir leyendo Acts – Chapter 26

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Acts – Chapter 15

The Bible – New Testament Acts Chapter 15 1 1 Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, «Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.» 2 2 Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and… Seguir leyendo Acts – Chapter 15

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