A Decision for Unity

In the Church there is the bond of family, yet room for variety. The devil tries to disrupt unity ... More


The Jerusalem Council reached a united decision, concluding that converted Gentiles should not be required to become Law abiding Jew to be saved (Acts 15:1-21). The false teachers had done some damage already, going out from Jerusalem claiming to have the authority of the elders and the apostles (v. 24). Therefore, it was decided that two men should accompany Paul and Barnabas back to the church in Antioch with an official statement from the church in Jerusalem to refute the false teachers (vv. 22-23). These two men were Judas and Silas, leaders among the church in Jerusalem (v. 23). Judas had a Jewish name and a nickname, “Barsabbas” meaning “Son of the Sabbath”. He was likely a Hebraic Jew. Silas, on the other hand, had a Greek name and was likely a Hellenistic Jew. Silas, a Roman citizen, was also known by his Roman name, Silvanus (2 Cor. 1:19) and would go on to be a traveling companion of Paul on his second missionary journey. 

The first thing this letter did was to carefully isolate the false teachers who had come pretending to have the endorsement of the leaders of the Jerusalem church (vv. 24-27). The apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem wanted no association with these legalistic teachers whatsoever. There comes a time when those who propagate false teachings must be confronted, their teachings denounced, and their errors exposed.

The doctrinal position was clearly worded that faith alone was all that was needed for salvation. At the same time the council made some suggestions for the Gentiles concerning fellowship. That being that they would abstain from certain things which would be offensive to Christians with Jewish background. The three things the Gentiles were to abstain from (v. 29) were: (1) Eating food that had been offered to idols, (2) Becoming involved in sexual immorality, and (3) Eating meat from any animal that had been killed by strangulation.


In this letter it is good to see the loving unity of people who had once been debating each other with opposing views.  I need to take time to listen, love and learn from my brothers and sisters in Christ.  A person who is always right, and who insists on having his or her own way, is difficult to live with.

Acts 15:22-29 (English Standard Version)

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