Barnabas : Encourger and Enabler
Study Scripture: Acts 4: 36-37; 9: 26-27; 11: 22-26; 15: 36-41
Lesson
10

 We pray that by studying this lesson you will be edified and immensely blessed.  Email your questions or comments concerning this study to questions@7thdaybaptistchurch.org  If you wish to use or reproduce content from this web site please see guides lines for use.

Key Verse

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.
   For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

Acts 11:23-24


INTRODUCTION

The early church as presented in the early chapters of the Book of Acts, is a beautiful and magnificent picture of brethren dwelling together in unity (Psalm 133:1). Seemingly it is a direct answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17, where He prayed that his disciples and followers might be one.

The virtues of this early church, their love for each other and zeal for the Gospel are extolled in the context of God’s grace on his people. As if to typify that congregation, we are introduced to one of it’s members; the subject of today’s study, Barnabas.

 

The Scriptures do not provide us with a continuous story of Barnabas, however there are enough mentions for us to paint a reliable picture of the man. The various texts we look at today will depict a Christian with qualities rooted in love for the brethren, the definitive mark of a heart turned to God. Other texts outside our study that would help to complete his portrait would include, passages from Acts:12; 13; 14; 1 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:1, 9,13 and Col. 4:10. 

 

TEXT

Acts 4:36-37

Barnabas, his actual names is ‘Joses’, ‘Joseph’, is a Levite from the island of Cyprus, a long way from Jerusalem. Interestingly, the name Barnabas means: ‘Son of Consolation’, ‘Son of Encouragement’ or ‘Son of Exhortation’, and ‘Son of Prophecy’ especially in regard to exhortation and comfort. Note that the office of a prophet which the name reflects, is more than simply to foretell.

 

The name bestowed on him by the Apostles and the Church, therefore indicates that he was an eminent preacher, with the many accompanying gifts. 

In those days, the names that were given to people, oftentimes told something about their character and personality. Names then, were not just necessary labels and thus we immediately know something of the kind of person Barnabas was, and from no less a source than the Apostles themselves. Barnabas must have demonstrated these qualities to the brethren and was so named in the recognition and appreciation they had of him. 

The different translations of the root word ‘Barnabas” carry the meanings;  "to summon to one's side to help" giving comfort or consolation, while at other times, the help refers to exhortation or appeal. 

The original word reminds us of the spiritual help followers of Christ must give to each other. Barnabas is always shown as helping the saints who needed help and encouragement. 

The Book of Acts stresses the beauty of his heart, rather than emphasize his eloquence or any ability to perform miracles or to display signs of power. 

But remember that Barnabas was also eloquent, with a particularly impressive kind of dignity. This led the pagans on one occasion to call him Jupiter, the Father of the gods, while calling Paul, Mercury, the messenger, since he at that time did most of the speaking. 

Note that all these characteristics add up to and  indicate he was a true and powerful leader, for all these qualities, including those recognized by the pagans, point to outstanding leadership material. 

Now despite this being a time of explosive growth in the church with accompanying spectacular signs and miracles, these necessary gifts of exhortation, consolation and care for the needy as exemplified by Barnabas, did not go un-noticed by the Apostles and the other brethren. As the story of Barnabas unfolds we will see that the name is a true portrait of the man.

 

He was a Levite, of the priestly tribe and might have officiated in his home synagogue and would also have been eligible for official duties, in the Temple at Jerusalem.

 

Cyprus is the same modern-day Cyprus, an island in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey and east of Syria. It is reasonably close to the Jewish coasts. As was therefore to be expected, Jews were present in Cyprus in significant numbers.

 

It might be significant that Cyprus was linked to form one province with Cilicia, Paul’s country.

 

Barnabas, when we met him first displayed a magnanimous, charitable and loving spirit, demonstrated is his selling some property and donating the proceeds to the church, for the benefit of the brethren.

 

He was generous, and sensitive to the needs of the poor and was personally willing to take practical steps to help. He voluntarily shared what he had, and he has contributed significantly to the good image we have of people in the early Church.  

We are not told whether or not his plot of land was in Palestine or in Cyprus. Levites, as a tribe, were not supposed to own land in Palestine (Numbers 18:20-24; Joshua 18:7). Still it seems that individual Levites certainly might make purchases any where in the country (Jeremiah 32:7-12). 

As Barnabas was from Cyprus, his land was probably there; and it is likely, that he was one of those strangers that came up to Jerusalem to the late feast, and was converted.  Since his noteworthy voluntary contribution to the saints appeared to have occurred shortly after the Day of Pentecost, some believe he must have been a very early convert to Christianity. The Scriptures do not however clearly indicate when he became a Christian. 

He then might have sold his land in the island to some of his own countrymen who were at Jerusalem at this time; and after, just joined himself to the brethren in Jerusalem. 

It is believed that Barnabas gave the total amount he received for the land to the Apostles. In this we see the goodness of a benevolent spirit. It is often said that Barnabas had a 'stewardship' rather than an 'ownership' view of property. This act of his was one of lavish generosity, showing true spiritual wealth. 

One writer comments:

‘…..He having land, whether in Cyprus, where he was born, or in Judea, where he now lived, or elsewhere, is not certain, but he sold it, not to buy elsewhere to advantage, but, as a Levite indeed, who knew he had the Lord God of Israel for his inheritance, he despised earthly inheritances, would be encumbered no more with them, but brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet, to be given in charity. Thus, as one that was designed to be a preacher of the gospel, he disentangled himself from the affairs of this life: and he lost nothing upon the balance of the account, by laying the purchase-money at the apostles' feet…..’ 

His generosity is again shown in the 1 Corinthians 9:6 passage. Both Barnabas and Paul worked at their trade and supported themselves, while labouring as missionaries. Barnabas and Paul had a right to be supported during their missionary endeavours, but they chose not to make demands on the converts, many of whom were often poor.

Not only was Barnabas a man of lavish generosity, and great spiritual wealth, but he had a magnanimous spirit.

 

Acts 9:26-27

Here the now converted Saul, the former Saul of Tarsus, that infamous, tireless, cruel and relentless persecutor of the Christian faith

apparently went to Jerusalem, three years after his conversion (Gal. 1: 18), and wished for fellowship with the believers there. His reputation however preceded him and everyone was afraid and suspicious of him and would have nothing to do with him. 

They would have heard stories of his conversion on the road to Damascus, and his healing by Ananias and subsequent activities, but they still thought he was a wolf in sheep's clothing, an infiltrator attempting to gain their confidence and a list of the Jerusalem church

.members. The disciples needed to be cautious whom they admitted into communion with them. Believe not every spirit, (1 John 4:1)          

It must have been tough on Saul to have been snubbed and rejected. The Jews had abandoned and persecuted him, and the Christians would not receive and entertain him. We must remember to be especially friendly and caring to new Christians. 

Barnabas however proved to be a friend in Saul's difficult hour. He choose to believe that Saul's conversion was genuine, and he took Saul to Peter and James (Col.l :18-19), telling them what Christ had done for Saul, and what Saul had subsequently done (Acts 9:27) for the Gospel. Of course, being a man led by the Spirit, we know that Barnabas accepted the guidance of the Spirit and communicated this forcefully and without fear to the brethren. We know too that Barnabas could be quite forceful and persuasive in putting forward his case. 

Only after Barnabas had vouched for him, did the brethren, accept Saul into fellowship. Barnabas chose to believe the best of men, rather than the worst of men (1 Cor. 13:5), so he took Saul and brought him to the Apostles, thus sponsoring his membership into the group. 

Note the importance of having a good reputation, that the brethren knew came from a character that was genuine. He was no fake. The brethren therefore trusted him. The flip side of that matter is that if a believer does not have a good reputation or track record, that believer can hardly blame the brethren when they do not easily or at all, accept his position. 

We must always ensure therefore that we preach truth, and follow the ways of truth, so that when we cry “Fire” or anything else, we will be believed, since the brethren will know that we are guided by the Spirit. 

This episode seem to confirm that prior to admission into a church of Christ, and in order to satisfy the members of that church, and gain their assent to such an admission, there ought to be a declaration or testimony made to God’s gracious act of salvation on the lives of those seeking the church membership. 

This is a very important matter, for Satan will infiltrate the Church. This is not to say that new converts to the Church are expected to be ‘perfect’. Indeed, they will have many weaknesses. But the brethren must develop the ‘spirit of discernment’ in order to protect the church both from those from outside that would destroy it, and from those on the inside who will corrupt it. 

Note, The introducing of a young convert into the communion of the faithful is a very good work, and one that, as we have opportunity, we should be ready to do. Conversely, believers do themselves harm when they shun the congregation of the saints. Saul’s desire is expressive of the strict union there is between the saints in church relations, and of the close and intimate communion they have with each other, and shows that their incorporation together is by mutual consent and agreement. 

We see here the display of the gift of insight and quick discernment. It also shows his strength of character, since Barnabas did not allow popular prejudice to stop him from acting in the right way.

It shows that he was a kind man with an ‘outreaching’ spirit. Barnabas was not one to be hard and unforgiving. He had a big heart, and he is a model for us, who sometimes tend to be hardened toward repentant sinners, constantly reminding them of their past sins, and putting them down, keeping them "in their place", and refusing to allow them to use their gifts in the work of Christ.

 

Acts 11:22-26

The Apostles and the other brethren recognized the sterling qualities in Barnabas, and when the news came that the mainly Gentile Church in Antioch, Syria was experiencing explosive growth and signs and wonders, he was called on to investigate and to determine if the movement was genuine, and to correct any error. (Acts 11: 19-22). 

The church in Jerusalem sought to determine whether the pure gospel was being preached and to see if the people of Antioch had truly turned from idols to serve the Living God. They were very sensitive to the truth being proclaimed, and wanted to be assured not only of the purity of the gospel, but of the sincerity of the profession. 

The church in Jerusalem seemed to have adopted an ‘overseer’ role to the church in Antioch at this time and probably felt the same about other nascent congregations. Until this time, Gentile converts would have become proselytes, and they would simply have been included (to some degree) in the worship and teaching of the synagogue. But  now, these saints in Antioch are saved as Gentiles, so they need not become ‘Jews’ and all that that implied.

 

The church must be established according to God’s requirements, and it would seem that this was one reason why the church at Jerusalem so quickly and eagerly responded to the report of the salvation of many at Antioch. 

Barnabas, an acknowledged leader, will all the required leadership qualities, is sent to Antioch, in an effort to facilitate and communicate the essential unity that exists between the two churches. To become a Christian was to become a part of the body of Christ. To become a church was to become one with other churches, especially the church in Jerusalem. This was one of the primary goals of Barnabas as he traveled to minister in Antioch—to teach, facilitate, and strengthen the unity of the body of Christ and the unity of these two churches. 

To be sure these admirable traits and gifts of Barnabas that commended him to this mission did not come to the fore, by him being a ‘sitting-on-his-hands-Christian’. The people of God must be active in his work, so their gifts are manifest to the brethren and thus better deployed, to His glory and the edification of the saints.   

The Church was confident that Barnabas could handle this delicate mission. He himself was a Hellenist, acquainted with the language and culture and would understand and properly evaluate the situation. This was a mixed Church with both Jews and Gentiles, and diplomacy would be required.

 

He was a man with the character and the charisma required for the job. He was a man who found great joy in the grace of God, particularly (here) in the lives of others. He was a “good man.” In our words “He was the best man for the job.” He was a man whose personal life was characterized by faith, and in whom the Spirit of God was controlling and producing spiritual fruit.

 

A ‘good man’ means that he knew when to be gentle and sympathetic in dealing with the weak, ‘the bruised reed’.

 

Note that this class of converts were not people who were proselytes such as Cornelius. These people were idolaters, and thus needed special, sensitive, careful and strict treatment.

 

 In summation, Barnabas was the most highly qualified man, in every area. From the standpoint of his culture and background, he is “the best man for the job.” From the standpoint of his character, he is also “the best man for the job.” And finally, from the standpoint of

 spiritual enablement and control, he is “the best man for the job.”

 

 It is noteworthy that it was the character of Barnabas that Luke emphasized, not his methodology or his technique. We, in our day and time, have an undue fixation on methods. We are quick to imitate the methodology of those who are successful. When we see men who are successful, we seek to learn the magical methods they used which assure success. We buy books written by successful people to learn their secrets. Luke does not mention the methods of Barnabas, but only his character, because who a man is, determines what he does. We need more men of character and fewer men of technique. There will always be a shortage of men who are “good men, full of the Spirit, and of faith.”

On his arrival, he was delighted to see the many instances of the powerful and efficacious grace of God in converting so many souls; and the widespread evidence of the wonderful gifts of the Spirit on so many of them. God grace was clearly working, and he stayed to help. (Acts 11 :23) It is most important therefore to recognize that Barnabas saw these people as recipients of divine grace, and as such they deserved his full support and attention, especially as they were ‘weak children’.

He did not just confine himself to that for which he had been sent, but he went further as he saw the need. He exhorted and encouraged, and displayed his goodness and his full possession of the Holy Spirit and his faith. (Acts 11:24). Barnabas recognized the need for these new converts to fully focus on Christ and urged them to this end.

 

He immediately began to encourage them to resolutely remain true to the Lord. Sanctification, like salvation, is the work of God, but it is a work with which the Christian is to cooperate. Barnabas did not envision a passivity on the part of these new Christians. He encouraged them to be diligent in their pursuit of the Christian walk.

 

He recognized the very real danger of some falling away from the Lord, especially if they become lax in the disciplines of the spiritual walk

 

The numbers and zeal of the new converts would have engaged all of his considerable talents but despite this, he seemed to have gone about exhorting and encouraging with a certain cheerfulness of spirit.

One writer offer these comments on Barnabas: He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith, and approved himself so upon this occasion. He showed himself to be a man of a very sweet, affable, courteous disposition, that had himself the art of obliging, and could teach others. He was not only a righteous man, but a good man, a good-tempered man. Ministers that are so recommend themselves and their doctrine very much to the good opinion of those that are without. He was a good man, that is, a charitable man; so he had approved himself, when he sold an estate, and gave the money to the poor, Acts 37:4. By this it appeared that he was richly endued with the gifts and graces of the Spirit. The goodness of his natural disposition would not have qualified him for this service if he had not been full of the Holy Ghost, and so full of power by the Spirit of the Lord. He was full of faith, full of the Christian faith himself, and therefore desirous to propagate it among others; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of that faith that works by love. He was sound in the faith, and therefore pressed them to be so.

Notice his possession of the Holy Spirit and his deep faith. He had been transformed and refined by the Spirit, and he could discern the genuine work of God from the false. The Spirit enables us to that, to which we have been sent. 

He pitched in to help and much people were added to the Church. The work grew rapidly, and the wise Barnabas saw that further help was needed. 

First, we note that when he came he was glad to see the way God had blessed the labour of others. He rejoiced that God had used others to convert sinners. He did not resent in any way the success of other soul-winners. 

Then, next, he did not have any urge to keep the fame and recognition to himself, but saw the urgent need for a well trained scholar versed in the Scriptures to further feed the brethren. He determined that Saul of Tarsus was the right man for the job. 

Verse twenty-five tells us that Barnabas went to "seek" Saul. This word imply that there was some difficulty in the search. But he persevered and finally found him. (Acts 11:26) He then persuaded Saul to return with him to Antioch. In pursuing Saul, Barnabas shows a tremendous sense of responsibility to the mission on which he was sent and his commitment and dedication to the Gospel. He was not content to do the minimum or even with what might have been considered reasonable but would do all to meet the needs of the brethren, both spiritual and physical. 

 Some have speculated on the reasons that might have prompted Barnabas to search out Saul and introduce him at Antioch. Probably it was because the word of the Lord revealed to Ananias, that Saul would bear the Lord's name before the "Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15).  

It is noteworthy that these two great ‘apostles to the gentiles’, though Jewish, were both born in gentile countries. This would likely make the gentiles accept them quite easily, and they, being accustomed to the lifestyle of gentiles, and knowing their language, would more easily deal with them. 

Clearly, God, when determining where we are born, and noting among other things, our life and education, and work habits, use all these, along with the special endowments of the Spirit, to ensure his work is successfully carried out. 

God provides all the qualities in his servants that he needs. He will never send a man to witness to men, before he makes sure that they are ready and able. This means of course that believers have no excuse in not doing the work of God. He has prepared you for some work, and he will train you in that capacity, before he sends you on to greater missions. Jesus trained and moulded his disciples, before he sent them out. May we be open to the training of God. 

Again, Barnabas sponsored Saul. There was no hint of jealousy of Paul's zeal and his ability. Barnabas wanted to lift up both Paul and the brethren. Thus he would bring in Saul at Antioch, even though Saul likely would be a more popular preacher, would likely eclipse him there, by outshining him. Barnabas however was not selfish. He did not seek to build an empire for himself. He did not fear the ministry of Saul, as that which would be competitive to his own interests, because his interest was the growth of the saints at Antioch. 

Note, the growth of the church at Antioch is mentioned twice in our text (verses 21 and 24). The first time it is mentioned (v. 21), it is due to an emphasis on evangelism. The second time, it is the result of an emphasis on edification and discipleship. These two endeavours are not competitive nor are they mutually exclusive. The more the saints grew in their faith, the more they lived their faith and shared it with others. The church that grows spiritually is equipped to grow numerically as well. 

Barnabas was the instrument that God used to give Paul this great opportunity, leading to his lasting fame. Time therefore has shown us that Barnabas was wise and had foresight. 

The teaching ministry of the team of Barnabas, Paul and the other workers was very fruitful. Barnabas and Paul assembled with the church, observing the conventions of that congregation and devoted themselves to teaching to a growing body of believers. It was in Antioch that the name "Christian" was first applied to believers. (Acts 11 :26) 

It is believed that the name ‘Christian’ was used first in a derogatory manner. 

The name was given because these people were followers of Christ their Master. Just as how the followers of Plato were called Platonists, so followers of Jesus took their name from him, since they attended to Christ’s teachings, accepted his doctrines, and followed the rules of life that Christ had laid down for them.

It is remarkable that many claim the name but do not look on Christ as their Teacher, but try as often as they can to change and modify his teachings, calling some teaching relevant only for his culture and his time. Worst of all, they do not follow the rules of life that Christ laid down for them, for they believe that they know better than he did. 

Barnabas was there when the people of God needed him, and he was willing and solicitous for the welfare of the believers. He exhorted perseverance in the teachings of God, with determination of heart, with set, fixed purpose and resolution, that they cleave to the Lord, remain with him, and continue in union and fellowship, keeping his truth, and obediently follow his practise.

 

Acts 15:36-41   

Barnabas was one that insisted on the whole truth. When some men came to Antioch insisting that circumcision was necessary for salvation, Barnabas sided with Paul in strongly opposing them. (Acts 15:1-2) 

The Church sent both men to Jerusalem to discuss the question, indicating their trust in these two men. Both Barnabas and Paul addressed the Council. The Jerusalem Council, in its letter to the Churches, referred to "our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ". (Acts 15:25-26) Barnabas' leadership was well accepted and his view respected. They won the argument. 

Paul and Barnabas then returned from Jerusalem, with the decree of the apostles and the elders, defining and defending the gospel against the legalism of those who would force Gentiles Christians to become Jews, by undergoing circumcision and placing themselves under the Law of Moses.

 

Paul and Barnabas stayed on for some time, teaching and preaching along with others, probably making sure that the error of the Judaizers was laid to rest in Antioch.

 

Eventually, Paul approached Barnabas with a proposal that they return to every city where they had preached Christ on their first missionary campaign. The purpose does not seem to be evangelistic, but edification. It was a trip to strengthen and encourage those who had trusted in Jesus on the first journey, and an opportunity to see how the saints and the churches were doing.

 

Barnabas, as we might expect, was enthusiastic about such a journey, but he was also persistent in his desire to take along John Mark. Paul was adamantly opposed to this proposal, based on Mark’s previous desertion at Perga, and on the fact that he had not gone with then to the work. Paul did not feel he could trust him as a reliable worker. 

Barnabas was not willing to go without Mark; and Paul was unwilling to go with him. They had come to an impasse, and neither was willing to change their position. It was, indeed, a “sharp disagreement      

This disagreement was intense and sharp, since the apostles differed strenuously. 

It is important to note that sharp disagreements do not necessarily mean that there was anger and ill-will. Certainly the words used to describe the argument do not imply that. One commentator writes-

“Here, the two apostles differed, and were strenuous each in support of the part he had adopted. “Paul”, as an ancient Greek commentator has it, “being influenced only with the love of righteousness; Barnabas being actuated by love to his relative”. John Mark had been tried in trying circumstances, and he failed. Paul, therefore would not trust him again. The affection of Barnabas led him to hope the best, and was therefore desirous to give him another trial. Barnabas would not give up: Paul would not agree.

And why is it that most men attach blame to this difference between Paul and Barnabas? And why is it that this is brought in as proof of the sinful imperfection of these holy apostles? Because those who thus treat the subject can never differ with another without feeling wrong tempers; and then, as destitute of good breeding as they are of humility, they attribute to others the angry, proud, and wrathful dispositions which they feel in themselves; and, because they cannot be angry and sin not, they suppose that even the apostles themselves cannot.

Thus in fact, we are always bringing our own moral or immoral qualifications to be a standard, by which we are to judge of the characters and moral feelings of men who were actuated by zeal for God’s glory, brotherly kindness, and charity. Should any man say there was sin in this contention between Paul and Barnabas, I answer, there is no evidence of this in the text.” 

Both Paul and Barnabas seem to be acting in accordance with their own spiritual gifts and calling. Who, but Barnabas, would we expect to come alongside Mark, to encourage him and to be used of God to minister to this stumbling saint, so as to restore and strengthen him to serve the Lord? And who, but Paul, would we expect to come down hard on failure to complete a mission? 

Both men decided to part company, each working in his own field. Barnabas took Mark with him to give him another chance, while Paul took Silas and went in a different direction. 

This was a regrettable incident and none of the men really performed well here. There is no indication that the men put the matter to God in prayer, but maybe they did. Both men had strong personalities and would not easily compromise, on what they considered to be the right thing to do. 

Barnabas ‘might’ have erred on the side of leniency, and Paul erred on the side of sternness. 

Strong men with minds strongly made up often find disagreement between them; and the one redeeming note in this otherwise unhappy and regrettable episode, is that neither party to the dispute permitted it to hinder the work of God. Rather there was a beneficial result in that there were then two teams of missionaries on the field in the place of only one. 

Both men however still held each other in high esteem and there is no mention of any lingering animosity or ill-will between them. Paul referred to Barnabas in glowing terms in his writings. (I Cor. 9:6: Gal 2:13) There was no record that Barnabas and Paul ever worked together again, but Paul came later to appreciate the good work that John Mark eventually did and wanted to work with him. 

Conclusion

Barnabas clearly was one of the great saints in the early Church. The Scriptures makes this point very clearly. He had a gracious personality, characterized by a generous disposition, and possessed a gift of insight, concerning the spiritual potential of others. He excelled in building bridges of sympathy and understanding across the chasms of differences that divided individuals, classes and races.

He lived apart from petty narrowness and suspicion, and had a largeness of heart that enabled him to encourage those who failed and to succour the friendless and needy. 

Barnabas established a great reputation, as a man to be relied upon in times of crisis. When a great famine predicted by the prophet Agabus happened in Judea, the Antioch Church decided to collect relief money for the poor brethren in Judea, and they chose none other than Barnabas and Paul, to take the money to them. (11 :30) Note that Barnabas headed the delegation. When the money was delivered, Barnabas and Saul returned to Antioch taking John Mark with them. 

Barnabas showed a tireless desire to serve the Lord, seen in his missionary journey with Paul and again with John Mark to Cyprus.

Only those who truly love the Lord can endure the rigors of such campaigns. He had the joy of the Spirit and the spirit of humility, which he shared with the brethren. 

He did have his faults and shortcomings, but those faults arose out of the very traits that made him such a kind and generous man, his ready sympathy for others' failings and his eagerness to think the best of everyone. Galatians 2: 11-14 records an incident which revealed a mis-step Barnabas made. The Apostle Peter visited Antioch and fellowshipped with the Gentile brethren. However, when some Jewish brethren from Jerusalem visited, he stopped mixing with the Gentile brethren, and his behaviour was followed by the other Jewish brethren there. 

To Paul's dismay, even Barnabas was involved in this wrong behaviour. Paul had to rebuke Peter for this act. Paul's description "even Barnabas" suggested he was surprised at Barnabas. The phrase suggested that Paul held Barnabas and his behaviour normally in high regard, so this dissimulation surprised him tremendously. Clearly Barnabas' firmness was capable of being shaken momentarily. 

Even a Barnabas can at times succumb to fleshly impulses and all the saints must be on guard. This incident not withstanding, Barnabas is certainly a fine example for us. To this end we must ask the question, are we like Barnabas? Are we helpful and encouraging, are we generous and forbearing? Do we console, encourage and welcome the friendless Christian?

If we do not, we are not displaying the gift of the Holy Spirit, and one day our Saviour will ask us to explain ourselves.

 

Here is a Barnabas checklist:

Acts 11:19-24 - Barnabas was a "good man"

Acts 4:36: "Son of consolation"

 Of Barnabas: "a man gifted in teaching, admonishing, consoling"

Exhortation

He Was Full Of The Holy Spirit - Acts 11: 24   

He Was Full Of Faith - Acts 11:24.

His faith influenced others! (11:24)

Set Godly examples in giving of his possessions - Acts 4:36-37. 

Of his time and energy - Acts 11:22,26; Acts 13-14

An example in trustworthiness - Acts 11:22-23, 30; 13:2; 15:2.

Available for the Lord’s work Acts 14:14 - He was "one sent"

An example in promoting unity among brethren - Acts 9:26-28; 11:19-23.

 Would not compromise truth for peace, unity or fellowship. Acts 15:1-2

He exhorted people with the Word of God - Acts 13:5-12; 15:35.

     

Encouragement, comfort and persuasion are the marks of consolation. Barnabas gave these to others through his maturity of faith, his examples and his teaching. When these qualities are put into our lives, we will be "sons of consolation."

 

Let us not set ourselves up to be ashamed at Christ’ Coming. Be like Barnabas, the Son of Consolation.