What does the Bible tell us about Barnabas?

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Barnabas is a nickname for an apostle by the name Joseph. He was a Levite from the island of Cyprus. His nickname, translated “Son of Encouragement” was given to him because of his willingness to help others with his resources. He had land and sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37). He was very active in preaching and was highly trusted to handle support and finances (Acts 11:25-31). He was also the first of the Jewish brethren at Jerusalem to listen to Paul and confirm his conversion (Acts 9:27).

The Holy Spirit called this apostle to join Paul in a missionary journey. Barnabas’ took with him his cousin John Mark to be their assistant (Acts 13:5). But later on John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). Barnabas and Paul continued in their efforts of preaching to the Gentiles (Acts 13:42-52). But the Jews that were converted refused to erase the walls between them and the gentiles and would not eat with the gentiles, these ones influenced Barnabas for a season (Galatians 2:13).

As Paul and Barnabas began to plan their second trip, this apostle was determined to take with him again John Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take him since he left them during their first trip. The disagreement became clear and they decided to go on separate evangelistic trips. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;  but Paul chose Silas and departed (Acts 15:36-41). John Mark was trained by Barnabas and he became a faithful disciple that later he was called for ministry by Paul (2 Timothy 4:11).

Barnabas, outstanding among the Greeks and the Jews of Antioch, had a great influence on the early church. And the Bible describes him as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24). His life is an inspiration to all Christians to work diligently in the ministry to spread the truth breaking all barriers by the power of God and the mighty work of the Holy Spirit.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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