“So, here’s what I think you should do,” James continues. “There are four men here who have taken the vow of the Nazarite – that they will not drink any alcoholic beverages, nor will they cut their hair, until the time for the vow has been completed. Their time is almost up, and then they will go to a priest and have him shave their heads, and also offer sacrifices. As you know, most of the church here is made up of former Jews, and although some have taken your teaching to heart, the majority of the brothers and sisters here still uphold the Jewish customs. So, in order to show them and all the visiting Jewish believers that you have not turned against our ways, you should join in the vow of the Nazarite with those four men. Abstain from alcoholic beverages and from cutting your hair until the time of their vow is complete. Offer to pay for their sacrifices and for the ceremonial shaving of their heads, and join them in those rituals.
This should be no hardship for you, since you took such a vow yourself the last time you were in Jerusalem. This will show everyone that the rumors they have heard about you are untrue, and that you still hold to the teachings of our people. As for the Gentile believers among us, you may recall that the last time you were here with us, we decided that they need not adhere to the Law, but that they must stay away from anything having to do with idolatry, that they should not eat any meat that still has blood in it or that has been improperly slaughtered, and that they must not participate in anything sexually immoral.”