Acts 15:14

ESV Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.
NIV Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.
NASB Simeon has described how God first concerned Himself about taking a people for His name from among the Gentiles.
CSB Simeon has reported how God first intervened to take from the Gentiles a people for his name.
NLT Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself.
KJV Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

What does Acts 15:14 mean?

James, the half-brother of Jesus, is addressing the church in Jerusalem. They need to decide if Gentiles must first convert to Judaism before they can follow Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. Paul and Barnabas have related their work during their first missionary voyage. They went to the island of Cyprus and through the center of modern-day Asia Minor (Acts 13—14). They have shared the many miracles the Holy Spirit empowered them to perform, affirming their message and work, and described how Gentiles have received salvation through Jesus (Acts 15:4, 12).

Now, James reiterates Peter's testimony, how God allowed him to visit a Roman centurion in Caesarea Maritima and share Jesus' offer of salvation to him and a house filled with friends, neighbors, and fellow soldiers. While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles and gave them such signs that made Peter realize these non-Jews were chosen to receive God's grace (Acts 10; 15:7–11).

James is not saying that God visited the Gentiles "first" before He visited the Jews. Rather, he means that Peter's encounter was the first conversion of a large group of Gentiles. Jesus made it clear that salvation came from the Jews, meaning the Messiah is Jewish and Jews were first offered eternal forgiveness from God (John 4:22). God had promised Abraham, long before, that this salvation would be to "all the families of the earth" (Genesis 12:3). The Old Testament prophet recorded God speaking of people from foreign nations who would be "called by [His] name" (Amos 9:12), meaning, identifying with God as their sovereign ruler. And Jesus said, "I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd" (John 10:16). This "one flock" is comprised of Jews and Gentiles all of whom, as Peter asserted, are "saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 15:11).

"Simeon" is from the Hebrew Shim'on and means "hearkening." It is a variation of "Simon," Peter's birth name (Mark 1:16). Jesus gave Simon the name "Peter" in Matthew 16:13–18. In his letters, Paul sometimes uses "Cephas," which is the Aramaic version of the Greek Peter (1 Corinthians 1:12; Galatians 1:18). By using the name "Simeon," James may be reminding the council that Peter is a Jew and Jesus' chosen evangelist to the Jews. James is not basing his decision on Paul, who took on a Greek name and spent only limited time in Jerusalem since his conversion to Christianity (Acts 9:26–30). Nor does James rely on the beloved Barnabas, who first invited Paul to help him reach the Gentiles (Acts 11:19–26). James references the testimony of Peter.
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