Category Archives: Jerusalem Council

Who Received the Apostolic Decrees

Since Luke seems to place great importance upon the Jerusalem Council, it should be asked who received the letter from James, and more importantly, who received the Apostolic Decrees, if James’ four abstentions were required of all gentiles, if fellowship between them and Jewish believers was an issue. This letter from the Jerusalem Council, signed by James and perhaps other elders from the Jerusalem church, is never mentioned again in the New Testament. Is the great controversy upon which Luke places such importance nothing more than a ‘flash in the pan’ so to speak? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council


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Dividing Barnabas and Paul

It was only a matter of time before Barnabas and Paul would have split with each heading up his own evangelistic effort, thus training other brethren to labor in the glorious work of Christ, and bringing his Name to places where he was not known. Nevertheless, Luke makes a point of showing that this separation took place earlier than it would have under natural circumstances, and he uses Mark as the impetus in that division. Read the rest of this entry »


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The Apostolic Decrees

In Acts 15 James pointed out that the Messianic Age had dawned upon mankind, and because it has, the previous age, the Age of the Law, was coming to a close. The gentiles did not have to be circumcised and become Jews in order to seek the Messiah (cp. Amos 9:11-12 in the LXX). The Mosaic Law was no longer the mediator between God and man. Jesus, to whom both the Law and the Prophets pointed, is our only Mediator between God and us. To force circumcision upon the gentiles who are seeking the true God would be to reject Jesus as our Mediator in favor of the Law of Moses. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in circumcision, Jerusalem Council


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The Pharisees Who Believed

In Acts 15:5 Luke mentions the sect of the Pharisees implying that at least some believed. How should we understand this? I have to admit that I am very unwilling to account these Jews as unbelievers when the text says they are among those who believed. Yet, they are not presented in a very good light in the Gospel narratives, and I am coming to understand that neither does Luke present the sect in a good light in the Book of Acts. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council


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It Seemed Good to the Holy Spirit and Us!

The phrase in Acts 15:28 seems a bit odd in our ears today, but I believe there is more to what Luke is saying than what might appear to us as an overly religious or even a presumptuous remark. “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us…” what does Luke intend for us to see? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council


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The Jerusalem Council’s Verdict

Luke’s placement of the Jerusalem Council at about the center of his thesis tells us how important this event is. It is also only here that we find Paul, Barnabas, James and Peter together in one place at the same time. While Paul did visit with Peter and James on his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion in Acts 9, Luke doesn’t put them all together in one place until here, and according to Paul (Galatians 2:9), the apostle, John, was there too. So, what was done here was of key importance to the Gospel afterward. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council


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The Council’s Sequence of Events

We know that the Jerusalem Council was convened as a result of the heated debate in Antioch by Barnabas and Paul with the men from James (Acts 15:1). I hardly believe that a few Sunday school teachers (like me) could create such a controversy in our denomination of Christianity, just because we disagree with our pastor or the pastor of another body of believers in our denomination. However, if several leading men in my denomination had a disagreement with other leading men, such a conference would inevitably occur to avert a schism within our denomination. Would this be a logical conclusion? If so, shouldn’t we see the men from James as high ranking men at the Jerusalem church as well? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council


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Circumcision ~ What’s at Stake?

Jews were not the only people who practiced circumcision. Some of the men in Arabia practiced it as well. They were among Abraham’s sons, and circumcision was among their traditional customs, just as it was for the Jew, but only the Jews took it so seriously as to draw their identity from its practice. Anyone among the Jews who was not circumcised was cut off from his people. Eventually, the practice of circumcision came to include the whole Mosaic Law. So, to be circumcised, according to Judaism, meant that one embraced the Torah, as well. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in circumcision, Jerusalem Council


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The ‘Men from James’

Awhile back (HERE), I wrote about these men from James who came to Antioch claiming the gentiles there couldn’t be saved, unless they were circumcised (Acts 15:1). In the next few blog posts I wish to offer a slightly different but a more dangerous perspective on the efforts of these men. First of all, their argument made logical sense, and this only made the danger of their scheme more difficult to detect. Nevertheless, logic is only as good as the knowledge upon which it is based. Think about it, the Jewish religion was the only religion on the face of the earth that was begun by God. Why shouldn’t the Jews believe gentiles needed to become Jews to be saved? Isn’t that similar to what is believed by Christians today? Don’t we believe one must become a Christian to be saved? If we believe this way, why would it be so unreasonable for Jews to believe that way too? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Jerusalem Council, Paul


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The Jerusalem Council

Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem cir. spring of 49 CE to discuss the matter of gentile circumcision with James and the other elders of the believing community there. This was Paul’s second visit to Jerusalem, since his meeting with Jesus on the Damascus road, and he and Barnabas came not only to discuss the issue of circumcision with the church elders, but also to bring the gentile famine-relief offering for the poor in Judea (see HERE and HERE for the details). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in circumcision, Jerusalem Council


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