Paul and Barnabas

My Small Group had been studying the book of Acts and had some discussion about Paul and Barnabas.

After Paul’s conversion in Acts 9, many of the believers did not believe that he was indeed a disciple of Christ. While many people were afraid of Paul, Barnabas took him in and even defended him by saying how he had changed and preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:27)

Later, the church was told to set apart Barnabas and Paul for the work which God had called them to. (Acts 13:2-3) Both men set sail and thus Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13-14) began. They had been travelling companions, spending time together at Jewish synagogues and various places speaking boldly for the Lord. Through this first missionary journey, God opened the door of faith to many Gentiles through them.

However, there arose a sharp disagreement between them whether Mark should join them on their next journey, so they separated from one another and went their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed to Cyprus while Paul chose Silas and departed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15: 36-41)

Some learning points from this:

  • Have we been lukewarm in spreading the gospel or in helping the church grow? We all have a part to play like the early church in spreading the gospel and welcoming new people to our church.
  • Sometimes in the body of Christ, we may have disagreements with one another, but if it is Christ-centred, ultimately God can turn a negative situation into something good. When we disagree about secondary or minor issues, we should remind ourselves of the unity we have in Christ. When we serve in different ministries, we know we are still doing God’s work.
  • While both Paul and Barnabas were no longer travelling together on missionary journeys, both men were able to have new travelling companions (2 sets of missionary journeys concurrently) with more people involved in growing the early church and making the gospel known.

Deacon Bryan Tan