And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
“‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’
Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.” (Acts 15:12-21)
After Peter’s words – silence! Then Barnabas and Paul were allowed to tell their story in full, and how God had shown his acceptance of their preaching by granting signs (as at Iconium, see Acts 14:3).
Finally James, respected leader of the Jewish Church, spoke up to give his judgment: ‘This story is both exactly like that first occasion which Peter, one of us, has just described, and, further, it agrees with the prophecy which says that God would act to restore salvation to us Jewish people, and as a result also call out a people for himself from those seeking him in the rest of the world.’
And he suggested writing just four rules for Gentile membership of the church, and that circumcision should not be needed.