Acts 15

Acts 15: Circumcision; Yes or No?

                Certain men came down from Judea to teach that; “…Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1) Paul and Barnabas disagreed with the men and suggested they go to Jerusalem to speak with the other Apostles regarding the matter. Even though many in the church believed it was not necessary to be circumcised, a great number of Pharisees that had joined the church believed in the Law of Moses. The Apostles council in Jerusalem and after some time they decide and letters are sent to the churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, saying that circumcision is not necessary. However, the letter goes on to explain that only abstinence from idolatry, blood, things strangled and sexual immorality is necessary. Judas [surnamed Barnabas] and Silas [Chief men among the brethren] serve as missionaries in Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. Paul and Barnabas make plans to visit all the churches they have established, but they quarrel about whether to take John Mark with them, so in the end, Barnabas and John Mark go to Cyprus, while Paul takes Silas with him to Syria and Cilicia. They went throughout the land “…confirming the churches.” (Acts 15:41)

Acts 13

Acts 13: Saul = Paul

                In the church at Antioch, the Holy Ghost calls Barnabas and Saul to missionary work. They are both set apart by the Holy Ghost to administer this missionary work (see Acts 13:2). This act of ‘separating’ them for the work is the same way LDS Missionaries are set apart for 18-24 months to preach the Gospel throughout the world.

Barnabas, John and Saul depart for Seleucia, Cyprus, Salamis, Paphos and during their travels they encounter a man named Bar-jesus, who was a false prophet and a sorcerer. Another man named Sergius Paulus, who was a prudent deputy of the country desired to hear the word of God from Saul and Barnabas. However, Bar-jesus [Elymas, as it was being interpreted] desired to turn him away from the faith. Saul, who is also called Paul looked at Elymas and said; “…O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10) Sergius wanted to learn about Jesus and the His Gospel; however those with evil intent were trying to say him away from hearing the truth. Paul causes Elymas to go blind for a season. When Sergius saw this, he believed. John departs back to Jerusalem and Paul and Barnabas continue on to Perga where Paul delivers a sermon in the synagogue on the Sabbath day.

Paul gives a extended history of Israel, and explains how Jesus came from the lineage of David. Paul preaches the risen Christ. When the Jews see the popularity of Paul’s message, they become envious. Paul quotes Isaiah, saying that Christ is a light to the gentiles. Paul explains that they need to be careful if they don’t want the wrath of God, as promised by the prophets of old. Paul explains that God will “…work a work in your days, a work which ye shall no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” (Acts 13:14, see also Habakkuk 1:5) Paul is explaining the great Restoration the Gospel of Jesus Christ that will happen in the Last. Many will not believe of the great work, even if someone were to tell them. That Restoration has already occurred, and the Church of Jesus Christ is back on the Earth today; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These statements angered the Jews, which causes them to expel Paul and Barabas from the region; they shake the dust from their shoes, and move on to Iconium.

Summary of Mark

Summary of Mark

                The book of Mark contains a Narrative History, Sermons, Parables and Prophetic words. The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the other Gospels; Matthew, Luke, and John. Mark emphasizes more of the miracles performed by Jesus; 27 in total. Mark moves a lot faster than the other gospels and uses the word ‘immediately’ to quickly move through the story of Jesus. If you want to understand the most amount of information about the life of Jesus in the shortest amount of time, Mark is the book to read.

The book is supposedly written by John Mark, who was one of the missionaries who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on different trips. The book can be divided into two sections; chapters 1-8 deal with Jesus traveling north while preaching and chapters 9-16 deal with Jesus teaching His Apostles what to do and follows His life up until His death on the Cross of Calvary.