- The point at issue between the newly-established Gentile church at Antioch and the older Jewish church at Jerusalem was: ‘On what terms can Gentiles be saved?
What answer was given by:
(a) Paul and Barnabas (see 14:27).
And (b) the teachers from Judaism (verses 1, 5)?
Write down what you think is essential for salvation.
- Verses 7-11. Of what three facts did Peter remind the Council at Jerusalem, and what conclusions does he draw from them?
Is it possible for old established churches to impose upon young churches of a different culture, or for mature Christians to impose upon new converts, patterns of behavior or ceremonies that are not essential to Christianity?
- Verses 14-21. Here James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, the Lord’s brother, and probably President of the Council, sums up.
What judgment does he give, and for what reasons?
Do you think this would satisfy both Jew and Gentile
- Verses 22, 23. In what ways was the decision to be made known to the gentiles, and with what results?
From the whole debate, what principles can you draw out to guide you when there is a disagreement among fellow Christians:
(a) on essentials of the faith and
(b) about non-essentials and matters of individual conscience?
- What was the contention between Paul and Barnabas?
Which was right, or were both wrong?
Cf. John 21:21, 22; 2 Tim. 4:11. Can you disagree with another Christian without falling out with them?
- What provision did God make for Paul when he lost the help of Barnabas and John Mark?
What was the keynote of their work at this stage? Cf. 14:21-23; 18:23. In what ways can you help a young Christian to be strong in the faith?
- 12:225-16:5. List the developments which took place in this fourth period (see Analysis).