The Acts of the Apostles: part 2 -
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And Saul gave approval to his death. Now at that time a violent attack was started against the church in Jerusalem; and all but the Apostles went away into all parts of Judaea and Samaria.
And God-fearing men put Stephen’s body in its last resting-place, making great weeping over him.
But Saul was burning with hate against the church, going into every house and taking men and women and putting them in prison.
But those who had gone in flight went everywhere preaching the word.
And Philip went down to Samaria and was teaching them about Christ.
And all the people gave attention to the words which Philip said, when they saw the signs which he did.
For unclean spirits came out from those who had them, crying with a loud voice; and a number of those who were ill and broken in body were made well.
And there was much joy in that town.
But there was a certain man named Simon, who in the past had been a wonder-worker and a cause of surprise to the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was a great man:
To whom they all gave attention, from the smallest to the greatest, saying, This man is that power of God which is named Great.
And they gave attention to him, because for a long time his wonder-working powers had kept them under his control.
But when they had faith in the good news given by Philip about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, a number of men and women had baptism.
And Simon himself had faith and, having had baptism, he went with Philip and, seeing the signs and the great wonders which he did, he was full of surprise.
Now when the Apostles at Jerusalem had news that the people of Samaria had taken the word of God into their hearts, they sent to them Peter and John;
Who, when they came there, made prayer for them, that the Holy Spirit might be given to them:
For up to that time he had not come on any of them; only baptism had been given to them in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they put their hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came on them.
Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the touch of the Apostles’ hands, he made them an offering of money, saying,
Give me this power, so that when I put my hands on anyone he may get the Holy Spirit.
But Peter said, May your money come to destruction with you, because you had the idea that what is freely given by God may be got for a price.
You have no part in this business, because your heart is not right before God.
Let your heart be changed, and make prayer to God that you may have forgiveness for your evil thoughts.
For I see that you are prisoned in bitter envy and the chains of sin.
And Simon, answering, said, Make prayer for me to the Lord, so that these things which you have said may not come on me.
So they, having given their witness and made clear the word of the Lord, went back to Jerusalem, giving the good news on their way in a number of the small towns of Samaria.
But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Get up, and go to the south, to the road which goes from Jerusalem to Gaza, through the waste land.
And he went and there was a man of Ethiopia, a servant of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, and controller of all her property, who had come up to Jerusalem for worship;
He was going back, seated in his carriage, and was reading the book of the prophet Isaiah.
And the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and get on his carriage.
And Philip, running up to him, saw that he was reading Isaiah the prophet, and said to him, Is the sense of what you are reading clear to you?
And he said, How is that possible when I have no guide? And he made Philip get up by his side.
Now the place in the book where he was reading was this: He was taken, like a sheep, to be put to death; and as a lamb is quiet when its wool is being cut, so he made no sound:
Being of low degree, his cause was not given a hearing: who has knowledge of his family? for his life is cut off from the earth.
And the Ethiopian said to Philip, About whom are these words said by the prophet? about himself, or some other?
So Philip, starting from this writing, gave him the good news about Jesus.
And while they were going on their way, they came to some water, and the Ethiopian said, See, here is water; why may I not have baptism?
And he gave orders for the carriage to be stopped, and the two of them went down into the water, and Philip gave him baptism.
And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away; and the Ethiopian saw him no more, for he went on his way full of joy.
But Philip came to Azotus, and went through all the towns, preaching the good news, till he came to Caesarea.
But Saul, still burning with desire to put to death the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,
And made a request for letters from him to the Synagogues of Damascus, so that if there were any of the Way there, men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
And while he was journeying, he came near Damascus; and suddenly he saw a light from heaven shining round him;
And he went down on the earth, and a voice said to him, Saul, Saul, why are you attacking me so cruelly?
And he said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus, whom you are attacking:
But get up, and go into the town, and it will be made clear to you what you have to do.
And the men who were with him were not able to say anything; hearing the voice, but seeing no one.
And Saul got up from the earth, and when his eyes were open, he saw nothing; and he was guided by the hand into Damascus.
And for three days he was not able to see, and he took no food or drink.
Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias! and he said, Here I am, Lord.
And the Lord said to him, Get up, and go to the street which is named Straight, and make search at the house of Judas for one named Saul of Tarsus: for he is at prayer;
And he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hands on him, so that he may be able to see.
But Ananias said, Lord, I have had accounts of this man from a number of people, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem:
And here he has authority from the chief priests to make prisoners all who give worship to your name.
But the Lord said, Go without fear: for he is a special vessel for me, to give to the Gentiles and kings and to the children of Israel the knowledge of my name:
For I will make clear to him what troubles he will have to undergo for me.
And Ananias went out and came to the house, and putting his hands on him, said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, whom you saw when you were on your journey, has sent me, so that you may be able to see, and be full of the Holy Spirit.
And straight away it seemed as if a veil was taken from his eyes, and he was able to see; and he got up, and had baptism;
And when he had taken food his strength came back. And for some days he kept with the disciples who were in Damascus.
And straight away, in the Synagogues, he was preaching Jesus as the Son of God.
And all those hearing him were full of wonder and said, Is not this the man who in Jerusalem was attacking all the worshippers of this name? and he had come here so that he might take them as prisoners before the chief priests.
But Saul went on increasing in power, and the Jews in Damascus were not able to give answers to the arguments by which he made it clear that Jesus was the Christ.
Then, after some days, the Jews made an agreement together to put him to death:
But Saul got knowledge of their design. And they kept watch day and night on the roads out of the town, so that they might put him to death:
But his disciples took him by night and let him down from the wall in a basket.
And when he came to Jerusalem, he made an attempt to be joined to the disciples, but they were all in fear of him, not taking him for a disciple.
But Barnabas took him to the Apostles and gave them an account of how he had seen the Lord on the road, and had given hearing to his words, and how at Damascus he had been preaching in the name of Jesus without fear.
And he was with them, going in and out at Jerusalem,
Preaching in the name of the Lord without fear; and he had discussions with the Greek Jews; but they were working for his death.
And when the brothers had knowledge of it, they took him to Caesarea and sent him to Tarsus.
And so the church through all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was made strong; and, living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, was increased greatly.
And it came about that while Peter was going through all parts of the country he came to the saints who were living at Lydda.
And there was a certain man there, named Aeneas, who for eight years had been in bed, without power of moving.
And Peter said to him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ makes you well: get up and make your bed. And straight away he got up.
And all those living in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and were turned to the Lord.
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, that is, Dorcas: this woman was given to good works and acts of mercy at all times.
And it came about, in those days, that she got ill and came to her death: and when she had been washed, they put her in a room which was high up.
And because Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having knowledge that Peter was there, sent two men to him, requesting him to come to them straight away.
And Peter went with them. And when he had come, they took him into the room: and all the widows were there, weeping and putting before him the coats and clothing which Dorcas had made while she was with them.
But Peter made them all go outside, and went down on his knees in prayer; and turning to the body, he said, Tabitha, get up. And, opening her eyes, she saw Peter and got up.
And he took her hand, lifting her up; and, sending for the saints and widows, he gave her to them, living.
And news of it went all through Joppa, and a number of people had faith in the Lord.
And he was living in Joppa for some time with Simon, a leather-worker.
Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, named Cornelius, the captain of the Italian band of the army;
A serious-minded man, fearing God with all his family; he gave much money to the poor, and made prayer to God at all times.
He saw in a vision, clearly, at about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of the Lord coming to him and saying to him, Cornelius!
And he, looking on him in fear, said, What is it, Lord? And he said to him, Your prayers and your offerings have come up to God, and he has kept them in mind.
Now send men to Joppa, and get one Simon, named Peter,
Who is living with Simon, a leather-worker, whose house is by the sea.
And when the angel who said these words to him had gone away, he sent for two of his house-servants, and a God-fearing man of the army, one of those who were waiting on him at all times;
And having given them an account of everything, he sent them to Joppa.
Now the day after, when they were on their journey and were near the town, Peter went up to the top of the house for prayer, about the sixth hour:
And he was in need of food: but while they were getting it ready, a deep sleep came on him;
And he saw the heavens opening, and a vessel coming down, like a great cloth let down on the earth,
In which were all sorts of beasts and birds.
And a voice came to him, saying, Come, Peter; take them for food.
But Peter said, No, Lord; for I have never taken food which is common or unclean.
And the voice came to him a second time, What God has made clean, do not you make common.
And this was done three times: and then the vessel was taken back into heaven.
Now while Peter was in doubt as to the purpose of this vision, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made search for Simon’s house, came to the door,
To see if Simon, named Peter, was living there.
And, while Peter was turning the vision over in his mind, the Spirit said to him, See, three men are looking for you.
Go down, then, and go with them, doubting nothing, for I have sent them.
And Peter went down to the men, and said, I am the man you are looking for: why have you come?
And they said, Cornelius, a captain, an upright and God-fearing man, respected by all the nation of the Jews, had word from God by an angel to send for you to his house, and to give hearing to your words.
So he took them in for the night. And the day after, he went with them, taking some of the brothers from Joppa with him.
And the day after that, they came to Caesarea. And Cornelius was waiting for them, having got together his relations and his near friends.
And when Peter came in, Cornelius came to him and, falling down at his feet, gave him worship.
But Peter, lifting him up, said, Get up, for I am a man as you are.
And saying these words, he went in, and saw that a great number of people had come together;
And he said to them, You yourselves have knowledge that it is against the law for a man who is a Jew to be in the company of one who is of another nation; but God has made it clear to me that no man may be named common or unclean:
And so I came without question, when I was sent for. What then is your purpose in sending for me?
And Cornelius said, Four days from now I was in my house in prayer at the ninth hour; and I saw before me a man in shining clothing,
Who said, Cornelius, your prayer has come to the ears of God, and your offerings are kept in his memory.
Send, then, to Joppa, and get Simon, named Peter, to come to you; he is living in the house of Simon, a leather-worker, by the sea.
So, straight away, I sent for you; and you have done well to come. And now, we are all present before God, ready to give attention to all the things which the Lord has given you to say.
Then Peter said, Truly, I see clearly that God is no respecter of persons:
But in every nation, the man who has fear of him and does righteousness is pleasing to him.
The word which he sent to the children of Israel, giving the good news of peace through Jesus Christ (who is Lord of all)–
That word you yourselves have knowledge of, which was made public through all Judaea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism of which John was the preacher,
About Jesus of Nazareth, how God gave the Holy Spirit to him, with power: and how he went about doing good and making well all who were troubled by evil spirits, for God was with him.
And we are witnesses of all the things which he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom they put to death, hanging him on a tree.
On the third day God gave him back to life, and let him be seen,
Not by all the people, but by witnesses marked out before by God, even by us, who took food and drink with him after he came back from the dead.
And he gave us orders to give news of this to the people, and to give public witness that this is he whom God has made judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets give witness, that through his name everyone who has faith in him will have forgiveness of sins.
While Peter was saying these words, the Holy Spirit came on all those who were hearing the word.
And the Jews of the faith, who had come with Peter, were full of wonder, because the Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles,
And they were talking in tongues, and giving glory to God. Then Peter said,
Will any man say that these may not have baptism who have been given the Holy Spirit as we have?
And he gave orders for them to have baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they kept him with them for some days.
Now the Apostles and the brothers who were in Judaea had news that the word of God had been given to the Gentiles.
And when Peter came to Jerusalem, those who kept the rule of circumcision had an argument with him,
Saying, You went to men without circumcision, and took food with them.
But Peter gave them an account of it all in order, saying to them,
I was in the town of Joppa, at prayer: and falling into a deep sleep, I saw in a vision a vessel like a great cloth let down from heaven, and it came down to me:
And looking on it with attention I saw in it all sorts of beasts and birds.
And a voice came to my ears saying, Come, Peter; take them for food.
But I said, No, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever come into my mouth.
But the voice, coming a second time from heaven, said, What God has made clean, do not you make common.
And this was done three times, and they were all taken up again into heaven.
And at that minute, three men, sent from Caesarea, came to the house where we were.
And the Spirit gave me orders to go with them, doubting nothing. And these six brothers came with me; and we went into that man’s house:
And he gave us an account of how he had seen the angel in his house, saying, Send to Joppa, and get Simon, named Peter, to come to you;
Who will say words to you through which you and all your family may get salvation.
And, while I was talking to them, the Holy Spirit came on them, as on us at first.
And the words of the Lord came into my mind, how he said, The baptism of John was with water, but you will have baptism with the Holy Spirit.
If then God gave them, when they had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the same as he gave to us, who was I to go against God?
And hearing these things they said nothing more, but gave glory to God, saying, Then to the Gentiles as to us has God given a change of heart, so that they may have life.
Then those who had gone away at the time of the trouble about Stephen, went as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus, preaching to the Jews only.
But some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, when they came to Antioch, gave the good news about the Lord Jesus to the Greeks.
And the power of the Lord was with them, and a great number had faith and were turned to the Lord.
And news of them came to the ears of the church at Jerusalem: and they sent Barnabas as far as Antioch:
Who, when he came and saw the grace of God, was glad; and he made clear to them the need of keeping near the Lord with all the strength of their hearts:
For he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith: and a great number were joined to the Lord.
Then he went on to Tarsus, looking for Saul;
And when he had come across him, he took him to Antioch. And they were with the church there for a year, teaching the people; and the disciples were first given the name of Christians in Antioch.
Now in those days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.
And one of them, named Agabus, said publicly through the Spirit that there would be serious need of food all over the earth: which came about in the time of Claudius.
And the disciples, everyone as he was able, made a decision to send help to the brothers living in Judaea:
Which they did, sending it to the rulers of the church by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
Now, about that time, Herod the king made cruel attacks on the Christians.
And he put James, the brother of John, to death with the sword.
And when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he went on to take Peter in addition. This was at the time of the feast of unleavened bread.
And having taken him, he put him in prison, with four bands of armed men to keep watch over him; his purpose being to take him out to the people after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison: but the church made strong prayer to God for him.
And when Herod was about to take him out, the same night Peter was sleeping in chains between two armed men, and the watchmen were keeping watch before the door of the prison.
And a great light was seen shining in the room, and an angel of the Lord came to Peter and, touching him on his side so that he came out of his sleep, said, Get up quickly. And his chains came off his hands.
Then the angel said, Put on your shoes and get ready to go. And he did so. And he said, Put your coat round you and come with me.
And he went out after him; and he was not certain if what was done by the angel was a fact, for it seemed to him that he was seeing a vision.
And when they had gone past the first and second watchmen they came to the iron door into the town, which came open by itself: and they went out and down one street; and then the angel went away.
And when Peter came to his senses he said, Now, truly, I am certain that the Lord has sent his angel and taken me out of the hands of Herod, against all the hopes of the Jews.
And when he became clear about this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John named Mark, where a number of them had come together for prayer.
And he gave a blow on the door, and a young girl came to it, named Rhoda.
And hearing the voice of Peter, in her joy she went running, without opening the door, to say that Peter was outside.
And they said to her, You are off your head. But still she said, with decision, that it was so. And they said, It is his angel.
But Peter went on giving blows on the door: and when it was open and they saw him, they were full of wonder.
But he made a sign to them with his hand to be quiet, and gave them an account of how the Lord had taken him out of prison. And he said, Give the news to James and the brothers. And then he went away.
Now when it was day, the armed men were greatly troubled about what had become of Peter.
And Herod, when he sent for him, and he was not there, after questioning the watchmen, gave orders that they were to be put to death. Then he went down from Judaea to Caesarea for a time.
Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon: and they came to him, all together, and having made friends with Blastus, the controller of the king’s house, they made a request for peace, because their country was dependent on the king’s country for its food.
And on the day which had been fixed, Herod, dressed in his robes and seated in his place, made a public statement to them.
And the people, with loud cries, said, It is the voice of a god, not of a man.
And straight away the angel of the Lord sent a disease on him, because he did not give the glory to God: and his flesh was wasted away by worms, and so he came to his end.
But the word of the Lord went on increasing.
And Barnabas and Saul came back from Jerusalem, when their work was ended, taking with them John named Mark.
Now there were at Antioch, in the church there, prophets and teachers, Barnabas, and Symeon who was named Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, a relation of Herod the king, and Saul.
And while they were doing the Lord’s work, and going without food, the Holy Spirit said, Let Barnabas and Saul be given to me for the special work for which they have been marked out by me.
Then, after prayer and going without food they put their hands on them, and sent them away.
So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they went by ship to Cyprus.
And at Salamis they were preaching the word of God in the Synagogues of the Jews: and John was with them, helping them.
And when they had gone through all the island to Paphos, they came across a certain wonder-worker and false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus;
Who was with the ruler, Sergius Paulus, an able man. This man sent for Barnabas and Saul, desiring to have knowledge of the word of God.
But Elymas, the wonder-worker (for that is the sense of his name), put himself against them, with the purpose of turning the ruler from the faith.
But Saul, whose other name is Paul, being full of the Holy Spirit, looking hard at him, said,
O you, who are full of false tricks and evil ways, a son of the Evil One, hating all righteousness, will you for ever be turning people from the right ways of the Lord?
And now, see, the hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind and not able to see the sun for a time. And straight away a dark mist came down on him; and he went about looking for a guide.
Then the ruler, when he saw what was done, had faith, being full of wonder at the teaching of the Lord.
Then Paul and those who were with him went by ship from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia: and there John went away from them and came back to Jerusalem.
But they, going through from Perga, came to Antioch in Pisidia; and they went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath and were seated.
And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the Synagogue sent to them, saying, Brothers, if you have a word of comfort for the people, say on.
And Paul, getting up and making a sign with his hand, said, Men of Israel, and you who have the fear of God, give ear.
The God of this people Israel made selection of our fathers, lifting the people up from their low condition when they were living in the land of Egypt, and with a strong arm took them out of it.
And for about forty years he put up with their ways in the waste land.
And having put to destruction seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them the land for their heritage for about four hundred and fifty years.
And after these things he gave them judges, till the time of Samuel the prophet.
Then at their request for a king, God gave them Saul, the son of Kish, a man of the family of Benjamin, who was their king for forty years.
And having put him on one side, he made David their king, to whom he gave witness, saying, I have taken David, the son of Jesse, a man dear to my heart, who will do all my pleasure.
From this man’s seed has God given to Israel a Saviour, even Jesus, as he gave his word;
For whose coming John made ready the way by preaching to all the people of Israel the baptism which goes with a change of heart.
And when John was completing his work, he said, What do I seem to you to be? I am not he; but one is coming after me, whose shoes I am not good enough to undo.
My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those among you who have the fear of God, to us the word of this salvation is sent.
For the men of Jerusalem and their rulers, having no knowledge of him, or of the sayings of the prophets which come to their ears every Sabbath day, gave effect to them by judging him.
And though no cause of death was seen in him, they made a request to Pilate that he might be put to death.
And when they had done all the things said in the Writings about him, they took him down from the tree, and put him in the place of the dead.
But God gave him back from the dead:
And for a number of days he was seen by those who came with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses before the people.
And we are giving you the good news of the undertaking made to the fathers,
Which God has now put into effect for our children, by sending Jesus; as it says in the second Psalm, You are my Son; this day I have given you being.
And about his coming back from the dead, never again to go to destruction, he has said these words, I will give you the holy and certain mercies of David.
Because he says in another Psalm, You will not let your Holy One see destruction.
Now David, having done God’s work for his generation, went to sleep, and was put with his fathers, and his body came to destruction:
But he, who was lifted up by God, did not see destruction.
And so, let it be clear to you, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is offered to you:
And through him everyone who has faith is made free from all those things, from which the law of Moses was not able to make you free.
So take care that these words of the prophets do not come true for you;
See, you doubters, have wonder and come to your end; for I will do a thing in your days to which you will not give belief, even if it is made clear to you.
And when they went out, they made a request that these words might be said to them again on the Sabbath after.
Now when the meeting was ended, a number of the Jews and of the God-fearing Gentiles who had become Jews, went after Paul and Barnabas: who put before them how important it was to keep on in the grace of God.
And on the Sabbath after, almost all the town came together to give hearing to the word of God.
But when the Jews saw such a great number of people, they were full of envy and said evil words against Paul’s preaching.
Then Paul and Barnabas without fear said, It was necessary for the word of God to be given to you first; but because you will have nothing to do with it, and have no desire for eternal life, it will now be offered to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has given us orders, saying, I have given you for a light to the Gentiles so that you may be for salvation to the ends of the earth.
And the Gentiles, hearing this, were glad and gave glory to the word of God: and those marked out by God for eternal life had faith.
And the word of the Lord went through all the country.
But the Jews, working up the feelings of the God-fearing women of high position and of the chief men of the town, got an attack started against Paul and Barnabas, driving them out of those parts.
But they, shaking off the dust of that place from their feet, came to Iconium.
And the disciples were full of joy and of the Holy Spirit.