Acts 15:33

ESV And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.
NIV After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.
NASB After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brothers and sisters in peace to those who had sent them out.
CSB After spending some time there, they were sent back in peace by the brothers and sisters to those who had sent them.
NLT They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace.
KJV And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.

What does Acts 15:33 mean?

The work of the messengers from the church in Jerusalem is complete. They have delivered the letter which affirms Gentiles do not have to convert to Judaism. That is, no one needs to be circumcised and follow the Mosaic law to receive salvation from the Messiah. They have found fellowship with this Jewish-Gentile church, encouraging and strengthening them through their own gifts of prophecy (Acts 15:22–32). Now, the elders from the church in Syrian Antioch send them back to Jerusalem.

There is some confusion about who came from Jerusalem and who stayed. Only Judas Barsabbas and Silas are identified as representatives from Jerusalem (Acts 15:22), and more than one person returns to Jerusalem. Soon after, however, Silas leaves with Paul to take the letter to the other churches in Syria as well as the church plants in Galatia (Acts 15:40).

Acts 15:34 in the King James Version reads, "Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still." But the verse is not found in the earlier, more accurate sources. For this reason, the words are not included in versions such as the English Standard Version or the New American Standard Bible. Likely, Judas and Silas had assistants who returned to Jerusalem with Judas.

Regardless, the extended presence of the messengers serves its purpose. The church in Syrian Antioch is relieved to find their salvation is affirmed by the original apostles and they are encouraged by their renewed relations with the elders in Jerusalem. Their church remains a vitally important part of the early church and the development of theology in the following centuries.
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