Barnabas the Encourager

To be named in the Bible is significant. To be noted in the Bible is even more significant.

Barnabas has appeared many times in the book of Acts. His real name is Joseph, but Barnabas means “son of encouragement,” and Barnabas definitely lived up to this name.

Born as a Jew on Cyprus, he reputedly was martyred in 61 AD at Salamis in Cyprus. We first meet him in Acts 4:37 where he sold his field and gave the proceeds to the poor in Jerusalem. Barnabas has played such a significant role in Paul’s life.

  • Barnabas led Paul to the apostles after he converted (Acts 9:26-27).
  • Barnabas is “a good man and full of the Holy Spirt and faith” (Acts 11:24)
  • Barnabas thought of Paul’s role in the church (Acts 11:25-26)
  • Both Paul and Barnabas carried back alms to Jerusalem to help with famine (Acts 11:27-30)
  • Barnabas helped Paul realize his calling to the Gentiles
  • Barnabas was handpicked to go with Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-3)
  • Barnabas helped in the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:2)
  • Both Paul and Barnabas carried the decrees of the Council to the churches in Syria and Asia Minor (Acts 15:22-35)
  • Barnabas left Paul to go with his cousin, Mark, during Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (Acts 15:36-41)

Paul writes about Barnabas in his epistles (1 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:1, 9, 13; Colossians 9:10), showing how Barnabas helped him in his journey in life. Who is helping you on yours?

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