Be Encouraged and Rejoice!


There are countless times that Christians disagree with each other, whether it is a theological debate or about the way we are living. This has been going on throughout church history, as we will see in today’s text. Some in the Antioch church had been saying that circumcision was required for Gentiles to be saved. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and the elders to address this issue. Church leaders, led by the Holy Spirit, discerned that salvation came from grace through faith alone, and that Gentiles were not required to be circumcised or follow Jewish Law. In response, they sent Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas to deliver the good news to the Gentiles in Antioch.

  • When was a time when rules or regulations at a job or in school were weighing you down? How would you have felt if those rules and regulations had been lifted?


30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What was the reaction of the people of Antioch to the letter?
  2. Why do you think the people were so pleased to hear from the church leaders in Jerusalem?
  3. What did Judas and Silas do for the church after delivering the letter (vs. 32)? How about Paul and Barnabas?
  4. Who do you know who needs to be reminded (or told) that salvation is a gift of grace through faith alone? Do you need that reminder today?


When Paul and the apostles visited Antioch, they were met with much rejoicing. This was because they were able to give clarity to a group of people who were confused by the false teachings they had heard. The Gentiles in Antioch could now rest in the knowledge that their salvation was accomplished by the grace of God and not by following Jewish laws or traditions. The removal of the burden of religious rules is cause for rejoicing and strengthening to both the Antioch church and to churches of today.

  • Thank God that you are saved by grace through faith, and not by any other work you might try to accomplish.