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Acts 15:19-21 (NIV, Emph mine)

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.

This verse is used for and against observing law. Seems like this could mean either, "There are enough people following Moses and observing the law, so no need for more people to follow the law." or "The law is repeated in synagogues and new believers will go to synagogues, so they'll learn and follow them later."

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@richard I expanded a bit, v21 is a paragraph break so I stopped there. –  wax eagle Sep 12 '11 at 19:50
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Thanks! Nice question +1 –  Richard Sep 12 '11 at 20:02
    
related Question - christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/2498/… –  Jamess Sep 13 '11 at 4:49
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3 Answers 3

I don't think this is saying the Gentiles should have to learn the law of Moses. Quite the contrary, I believe it is saying they should not have to be burdened with the law of Moses.

Earlier in Acts 15 Peter asks why should the Gentiles be required to follow the law the Jews have.

Acts 15:10-11 NIV
10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.

When contrasted with this, I would understand James response in verses 19-21 to be saying most of the law of Moses would be an extreme burden on the Gentiles, considering even the Jews who heard the law weekly were not able to uphold it.

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This is related to the question discussed here. Both question discuss the same passage.

Quoting from the verse given by user

therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.

What was difficult for gentiles turning to God ? Difficulty was following the Law as we can see in verse 5 (NLT)

some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”

The conclusion was that gentiles should not be burdened by the Law of Moses

Verse 10

why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear?

Then as I explained in question quoted, leaders given some concessions considering that complete disregard of Law should not be a stumbling block to Jewish Christians. Considering "For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath", they asked Gentile believers to observe just four things, two which are affirmed elsewhere in the New Testament: food offered to idols and sexual immorality. So I believe those principles are binding to us even today, and another two (eating the meat of strangled animals, and consuming blood), which appear more to the situation at hand (strong views of Jewish Christians).

So I believe in summary, this do not call for observing the law, but re-affirming that salvation is not by Law, but by Grace as pointed out already by a_hardin.

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there is no such thing as a jewish christion. the terms appose one another. and are a compound of 21st century chircheanty teaching witch if one takes apon him self to study are easly made faulse.

ok acts chapter 15. does any beliver know what the prodomante religen at this conversation was? and if so ave you studyed it/ its called judisem. forgive my spelling. judisem is full of man made tradictions that are a heavy yoke. witch even christ was mad about saying you make void the commandments i.e law i.e torah of god for your tradictions. thies are what none of them could bear not gods commands given to moses and theres more then jest 10 of them witch most greek 21 century constine christions olny keep 8 and in some circles thats a strech. so they said and was concluded do thies 4 things for now( witch are in the torah and add to the ten commands) for the law the god gave to moses is preached in the assembleys every sunday? no sabbath. for in 6 days god created heaven and earth and rested on the 7th. all the confucition starts in the letters of paul and if paul is saying not to obay the law then some one who is learned must ask this... if christ came to do away with the law of the father how is he the messiah? deut 13;1? why does peter say his letters are hard to understand with the ignurent twist do say the law is done away with? 2 peter 3:15 why does christ say depart from me you who work lawlessness g459 in a lexicon go ahead look it up. and why does christ himself keep and teach the torah in his 1000 year rain on earth micah 4;1-2? why does king daved a man after god own heart love the torah psamls 119 and on read it. the problum is every body has been told there a gentile and paul was sent to them and belive the karzaers in israel who say there jewish are the real jews ask one witch tribe are you from a real jew would say juda as paul said he was from the tribe of what???? bengermen... when the people in israel converted to judisem in the 11th century for political reasons pryer to 1948 they never steped foot in the holy land. they say they fofill the prophecy of israel becoming a nation in one day but if any body is learned the nation if israel is 12 tribes not jest the tribe of juda witch the messiah still has to fofill hents i did not come to do away with the torah or the prophets i did not but to teach 9 look up the word fofill in a lexicon) for truly i say to not one jot or tiddle will by no means pass tell all has been fofilled there for (pay close attenion to what he says next) IF ANY ONE TEACHES THE LEAST COMMANDMENTS IN THE TORAH AND DOES SO THE SAME HE SHALL BE THE LEAST IN THE KINGDOM now if im not mistaken the person who wroght this site incurages torah braking and says he a gentile so he dont half to keep them well.... on the day of judgment he gunna have a problum.. paul is not the messiah and if you have been emursed in water in hes name acording to paul romans you are a israelite partakers in the promice not a jewish christion... acts 15 is the precept to understanding galations and romans. why do you thing paul addresses circtumcition so much. becouse the prests at the time belived and went around teaching that one has forgivness of sin threw circumcition. we know that the torah says there must be a sheding of blood somthing must die. you or christ. well prase be to the most high for christ! so if you do away with the torah have you done away with your atonment as well? think about it. and if in the biggining was the word (begining) 1000s of years before the new testamate0 and the word was with god and the word was god and it 9 (the torah) became flesh and dwelt amung us how can you do away with your messiah!!!? the path is stright and narrow and very few find it. p.s. theres 14 book missing from your bible its called the apcrypha. it was even found along with the dead sea scrolls. ever wonder about dinasours? i have.. read the book of enouch its mentiond 3 times in the new testamate. the deciples knew about it to quote from it how come your paster dont? study to show yourself approved.

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Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour page and read how we are different than other sites. In particular, this answer (a) sounds like a comment, not an answer, (b) has no support for its claim (that Jews cannot be Christians, and I know Messaianic Jews would beg to differ, (c) is poorly written and (d) has no basis in fact. These things are all fine for a forum, but this is a Q&A site. Thank you for understanding. –  Affable Geek Oct 6 '13 at 2:29
    
This is almost unreadable. You have blatantly ignored standard English capitalization and punctuation rules. This makes it very difficult to decipher. On top of this there are a lot of misspellings and the whole post could use some basic formatting like paragraphs to organize it by concept. Please treat posting to this site like you would writing for an academic journal, not your diary or facebook wall. –  Caleb Oct 6 '13 at 4:33
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