Key Bible Verses

Acts 4:34-37, Acts 9:26-27, Acts 15:36-39

Who Was He?

Barnabas was one of the followers of Jesus in the early Jerusalem church. He was from Cyprus, and was also ethnically Jewish. This made him particularly well positioned to play a key role in spreading the good news of the Messiah to the Gentile nations. He participated in several missionary journeys, initially with Paul and then with John Mark.

How Did the Spirit Work In Him?

1.He was an encourager.

Barnabas was an encourager. So much so that he was given the nickname ‘son of encouragement’. This word (paraklesis) comes for the same root word (parakletos) that is used to describe the Holy Spirit himself in John 14:16. One of the results of walking by the Spirit is that we live lives that are known for how we encourage others.

2. He was generous

Acts 4 explains how the believers in the early Jerusalem church used their possessions to meet each others’ needs, and Barnabas is set forth as the example of this in action. He sold a field that had belonged to him and gave the money to the apostles to distribute as they saw fit. One of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 is generosity (sometimes translated as ‘goodness’) and this is clearly seen in Barnabas.

3. He thought the best

One of the most striking things about Barnabas was the way he saw the best in others and stuck up for them. When Paul first became a Christian and was known as a persecutor of the church, many were sceptical about his story. It was Barnabas who vouched for him and made the case for him to be welcomed into fellowship. Similarly, after John Mark had fallen away from the mission and then returned, Paul thought he was too unreliable to be allowed back onto the team, but Barnabas so strongly believed in giving him a second chance that he split with Paul over it and they went on separate missionary journeys (with Barnabas taking John Mark along on his). History shows that in both cases Barnabas was right and God was at work in those who others would have written off.