Peter Reports at Jerusalem
1Now the apostles and the believers who were throughout Judea heard [with astonishment] that the Gentiles also had received and accepted the word of God [the message concerning salvation through Christ]. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision [certain Jewish believers who followed the Law] took issue with him [for violating Jewish customs], 3saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and [even] ate with them!” 4But Peter began [at the beginning] and explained [the events] to them step by step, saying, 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision of an object coming down from heaven, like a huge sheet being lowered by the four corners; and [it descended until] it came right down to me, 6and looking closely at it, I saw all kinds of the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air [both clean and unclean according to the Law], 7and I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8But I said, ‘Not at all, Lord; for nothing common (unholy) or [ceremonially] unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9But the voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, no longer consider common (unholy).’ 10This happened three times, and everything was drawn up again into heaven. 11And right then the three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12The Spirit told me to go with them without the slightest hesitation. So these six brothers also went with me and we went to the man’s house. 13And Cornelius told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying, ‘Send word to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; 14he will bring a message to you by which you will be saved [and granted eternal life], you and all your household.’ 15When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did on us at the beginning [at Pentecost]. 16Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17So, if God gave Gentiles the same gift [equally] as He gave us after we accepted and believed and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ [as Savior], who was I to interfere or stand in God’s way?” 18When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified and praised God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance that leads to eternal life [that is, real life after earthly death].”
The Church at Antioch
19So then [since they were unaware of these developments] those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with [the stoning of] Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, without telling the message [of salvation through Christ] to anyone except Jews. 20But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks as well, proclaiming [to them] the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21And the hand (the power and presence) of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord [for salvation, accepting and drawing near to Jesus as Messiah and Savior]. 22The news of this reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the grace of God [that was bestowed on them], he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with an unwavering heart to stay true and devoted to the Lord. 24For Barnabas was a good man [privately and publicly—his godly character benefited both himself and others] and he was full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith [in Jesus the Messiah, through whom believers have everlasting life]. And a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25And Barnabas left for Tarsus to search for Saul; 26and when he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. For an entire year they met [with others] in the church and instructed large numbers; and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
27Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up and prophesied through the [Holy] Spirit that a severe famine would come on the entire world. And this did happen during the reign of Claudius. 29So the disciples decided to send a contribution, each according to his individual ability, to the believers who lived in Judea. 30And this they did, sending the contribution to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.