Daily Word

Church’s judgment | Acts 15:22-29

22 Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders[f]—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. 23 This is the letter they took with them:

“This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!

24 “We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! 25 So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.

28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29 You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”

Acts 15:22-29 (NLT) 中文

Church dispute

Some legalistic Jewish believers went to Antioch preaching that the Gentiles must (also) uphold the law of Moses (as they do) in order to be saved.  Paul and Barnabus have taken the issue to the apostles in Jerusalem. It was discussed and Peter shared his experience with Cornelius. James, the half-brother of Jesus and leader of the church, gave his recommendation. Here we have the letter that we sent.

About the letter

So the church formalized their collective thinking and sent a letter back to the church in Antioch with their judgment. What do we see about this letter?

  • The apostles, deacons and the whole church in Jerusalem sent it. This demonstrated great unity in the faith – repeated 3 times in v22, 23, 25.
  • It was sent by means of two leaders of the church, Judas and Silas. They served to certify the authenticity of the letter. Silas will come into play shortly in Paul’s next missionary journey.
  • As a real sign of acceptance of Gentiles into the church, they referred to them as “brothers” (v23).
  • It denied the teaching of the original ones who went to Antioch and started this whole issue (Acts 15:1).
  • Paul and Barnabas are recognized and true brothers and laborers for the Lord. 

Church’s judgment

As noted, they rejected the teaching of the instigators from v1. But what did they teach? As James has recommended (v19-20):

  • Don’t feel obligated to obey the OT laws (circumcision implied in the context).
  • Keep these 4 basic rules listed. Why these? “Gentile Christians had the “right” to eat meat sacrificed to idols, to continue their marriage practices, and to eat food without a kosher bleeding, because these were aspects of the Mosaic Law they definitely were not under. However, they were encouraged (required?) to lay down their rights in these matters as a display of love to their Jewish brethren.” (enduringword.com)


  • How do you think the whole church in Jerusalem could be in complete unity on this critical decision? Leave your comments. Can we expect and strive for this same type of unity?
  • Do we need to keep these same rules given to the church at Antioch? It’s in the Bible so we must, right? Re-read the enduringword.com quote as well as 1 Corinthians 8.
Image from Pxfuel.com

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