Gentiles

Who are gentiles?

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Gentiles
ACTS 15 COMMENTARY
Acts 15:13 James

Acts 15:14-19 Gentiles

Acts 15:20 Sexual Immorality
Acts 15:20-21 Food Sacrificed to Idols
ACTS 15:14  14 "Simon has declared how God at the first visited the gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.

Who are "gentiles" (Acts 15:14)?
Everyone who isn't a Jew.

Why does James say, "God at the first visited the gentiles to take out of them a people for His name" (Acts 15:14)?
James is reminding them that their revered forefather and the first Jew - Abraham - was born as a gentile.

ACTS 15:15-18  15 "And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: 16 ‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; 17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things.’ 18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.

Why does James then cite the Old Testament prophet Amos?
To express that gentiles coming to the Lord not only fulfills a prophecy given to their forefathers, but that the very reason Israel was re-established as a nation after its exile was for the very purpose of affecting the gentiles to come to the Lord: "I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things" (Acts 15:16-17).

So what is James saying?
God began with a gentile. God is continuing with the gentiles. God is doing everything - "the Lord who does all these things" (Acts 15:17) - exactly as He planned from the beginning: "Known to God from eternity are all His works" (Acts 15:18).

ACTS 15:19  19 "Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the gentiles who are turning to God,

Which false requirement, already stated by Peter, is James also saying would cause needless "trouble" (Acts 15:19) to gentile Christians and therefore should be refuted?
Being circumcised to become a proselyte: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1).

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