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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Joses Barnabas: The Encourager

Some people in the Bible play “minor” roles but are very, very important to the larger picture. I think Barnabas is one of those people.

Here are some of the facts about him:
  • His name was really Joses, but the apostles gave him the surname (nickname) Barnabas, which means “the son of consolation.” (Acts 4:36)
  • He was a Jew, a Levite. (Acts 4:36)
  • He was from Cyprus. (Acts 4:36)
  • Barnabas ministered with: the Apostle Paul, John Mark, Simeon (Niger), Lucius, Manaen, Judas Barsabas, Titus, and Silas.
  • He was a bold preacher. (Acts 13:43, 46) 

Barnabas’ character traits are revealed in his actions. Let’s look at them:
  • He sold his land and gave all the money to the apostles for their general fund. (Acts 4:37)
  • When Saul was recently saved, had started preaching, had escaped a death threat, Saul (later called Paul) wanted to join up with the disciples in Jerusalem. They are afraid of him, because, not so long ago, he persecuted the church. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:26-27)
  • The church in Jerusalem heard of the people being saved in Antioch, and they sent Barnabas there. He went and got Saul and took him with him to Antioch. This is what is said about the character of Barnabas: 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).
  • John Mark, Barnabas’ nephew, got to go on several mission trips with his uncle Barnabas. (Acts 12:25; 15:37-39) John Mark had the opportunity to learn first-hand from the Apostle Paul as well as from his faithful uncle. John Mark abandoned the mission, and Paul was very disappointed in him, so much so that he didn’t want him along on a later missionary voyage. Here, Barnabas and Paul had a difference of opinion. In fact, the Bible says the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus (Acts 15:39). God used this second chance in the life of John Mark, who later wrote the book of Mark in the New Testament.
  • Barnabas served in the church at Antioch alongside men from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. (Acts 13:1)
  • He was ordained with Paul to the ministry of the gospel and traveled with him. (Acts 13:2)
  • He preached (with Paul) to both Jews and Gentiles. (Acts 13)
  • Barnabas was persecuted and run out of the city, along with Paul. (Acts 13:50)
  • When Barnabas was praised as a god, instead of enjoying the praise, he tore his clothes and proclaimed the Lord as God. (Acts 14:12-15)

What practical things can we learn from Barnabas?
  • Be generous to God’s work. Think of creative ways to be able to give. (Acts 4:37)
  • Take recently saved people under your wing, even if they have dubious backgrounds. Be willing to take a chance on them. Introduce them to other Christians. (Acts 9:26-27)
  • Be good. (Acts 11:24)
  • Be full of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 11:24)
  • Be full of faith. (Acts 11:24)
  • Mentor young people. If they fail at first, give them second chances. (Acts 12:25; 15:37-39)
  • Accept anyone of any nationality/ethnicity as your equal. (Acts 13:1)
  • Be willing to play second fiddle to a greater man/woman. (Acts 13:2)
  • Share the gospel with everyone. (Acts 13)
  • If you’re busy doing right, expect persecution. (Acts 13:50)
  • Be humble and give all glory to God. Use every time you are praised to give God the credit, not yourself. (Acts 14:12-15)

When Joses was nicknamed Barnabas, “the son of consolation,” it described his character: consoling, exhorting, comforting. (Online Bible)

How would your friends nickname you?

I would love to have all of Barnabas’ qualities in my life. Wouldn’t you? What a great example!


  1. Si un gran ejemplo;) Sería bueno tener sus cualidades y poder compartirlas.

    1. Es uno de los personajes que más admiro. Gracias por tu comentario, Tere. ¡Que el Señor te bendiga!

      He's one of the Bible characters I most admire. Thank you for your commentary, Tere. May the Lord bless you!


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