Acts 11

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The Pharisees' interpretation of the Torah and rules on circumcision and the food laws come into question.
Many of the teachings and interpretations of the Pharisees had gone astray because of sophistry.
In verse 28 they speak of a "great dearth", "which was a scarcity or lack of something." In this case it was grain. It is more often translated "famine" in the Bible.
Some falsely teach that the Church got in trouble trying socialism. It is correct that Christ never promoted socialism, which is not only a common Purse, but it includes covetous practices. Christ came to redeem and return every man to his family and possessions[1] which is capitalism where charity is used to care for the needs of society through the practice of pure Religion.
The famine was not local to Jerusalem but began in 41 A.D around Rome and had spread across the empire from 45 to 47 A.D. It was the result of a poor harvest and bad management. The free bread policies of Rome were already causing problems with the production and supply of grain.
Josephus wrote in Antiquities 20 chapter 1.3-2.5. Queen of Adiabene Helena's "son Izates became aware of this famine, he sent a large gift to the leaders in Jerusalem.”
Even the Roman historian Dion Cassius and also Tacitus mention the famine. In Tacitus's "Annals", chapter 11:4 blames the famine on "predicted lean harvests”.
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus mentions this famine in ‘Life of Claudius’ chapter 18: “There was a scarcity of food, which was the result of bad harvests that occurred during a span of several years.”
Later the historian Orosius mentions a famine in 46 and 47 A.D. quoted in 'The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' that states, "a great famine in Syria took place which Luke mentions in his book, “The Acts of the Apostles.”
The phrase all things common is not a reference to socialism but is about the requirements imposed by Christ for His disciples who were to be the called out ministers concerning the sale of their property.[2]


1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, 3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. 4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, 5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: 6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. 8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. 12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house: 13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; 14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

19 ¶ Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. 22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. 25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

27 ¶ And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. 28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: 30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.


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  1. Leviticus 25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
    Leviticus 25:41 And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
  2. Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.