"Great Catch of Fish," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Council at Jerusalem
Acts 15:1-18 Commentary
by Mary Hinkle Shore
In Bird by Bird: Some Thoughts on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott recalls that, “E. L. Doctorow once said that ‘writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’”1
As Jesus departed from the apostles in Acts 1, he told them that they would be his witnesses “in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (1:8).
The word of God spreads, certainly, yet the road to the ends of the earth is not illuminated all at once. With only the available light, the apostles must make decisions about the direction of the church’s witness. The story of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 narrates how the light of the apostles’ experiences and their reading of Scripture combine in such a way that they recognize God’s mercy extending to Gentiles.
Acts 14 closes with Paul and Barnabas among the believers in Antioch. God had opened “A door of faith for the Gentiles,” and Paul and Barnabas share this news with the church in Antioch. All is well.
Acts 15 opens with the news that “certain individuals” from Judea arrived in Antioch. These teachers say that Gentile members of the church must ...
| Bible Text
Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL272: Council at Jerusalem
May 14, 2017
This podcast on Acts 15:1-18, the Narrative Lectionary reading for May 14, 2017, features Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Matt Skinner. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.