A Decision based on God’s Word

There is nothing more likely to start disagreement among people or countries than an agreement. (Source Unknown, Lou Nicholes - Missionary/Author).

The thoughts presented by Peter brought silence and a receptive hearing for Paul and Barnabas (v. 12). They followed up with related stories from their missionary journeys, telling how God had saved Gentiles wherever they had gone, in response to the simple message of His saving grace. Then James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, took the floor (vv. 13-21). James was an outstanding man, a pillar of the church (Gal. 1:19), and a rigorous observer of the Law. He was the half-brother of Jesus who didn’t believe in Him until the resurrected Lord appeared to him (1 Cor. 15:7). He was such a good man that people called him “James the Just.” It was said that his knees were as hard as camel’s because he knelt in prayer so often and so long. It was significant, therefore, that James took the side of Peter, Paul, and Barnabas on this issue. 

First, James expressed his full agreement with what Peter had said concerning God saving the Gentiles by grace. To further prove that circumcision had nothing to do with Gentile salvation, James quoted Amos 9:11-12. He said that Amos’ words agreed with the testimony of Peter, Paul, and Barnabas (vv. 15-18). Several theologians have taken issue with how James used this passage, since it is prophetic. However, he did not say that the testimony of Peter, Paul, and Barnabas was a fulfillment of this prophecy, but that it agreed with their testimony. Amos simply presents to us the exit of the Church, the rebuilding of the temple, and the return of Christ to establish His kingdom. James said that they should not put obstacles in the way of the Gentiles that turn to God (v. 19). Instead, they should send word to them in writing to abstain from and avoid anything that had been polluted by being offered to idols, all sexual impurity, eating meat of the animals that had been strangled, and tasting blood (v. 20). 

The decision coming from the Jerusalem Council was that Christians would not be bound by the Old Testament law. The law of Moses had been preached for many years in many places (v. 21). Jewish Christians were more than welcome to continue observing its practices if they so desired, but it would not be forced upon the Gentiles. The issue of circumcision was finally settled.


James uses the Word of God to prove his point to the church leaders. I need to know and use the Word of God in proving the things I stand for.

Acts 15:12-21 (English Standard Version)

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