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July 8, 2006

Barnabas: Son of Encouragement

Filed under: Bible Studies,Old and New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 10:49 am


Barnabas “Son of Encouragement”

A Bible Study by Adam Osborne, Jr.

Taught on Sunday, 30 July 2006

Who can tell me about Barnabas?

  • Friend and companion of Paul.
  • Barnabas, was originally named Joseph, he was given his nickname by the disciples.
  • He was a committed Christian who sold the land he owned and gave the money to the Church.?
  • The Christian leaders respected him.
  • Instrumental in bringing the newly converted Saul from Tarsus to Antioch.
  • Influential in having Saul received by the apostles in Jerusalem.
  • Barnabas and Saul (Paul) were commissioned by the church at Antioch to conduct a missionary tour.
  • Barnabas was a “developer”.
    • Developers look for “potential”
    • Developers don’t give up.
  • Barnabas was a mentor.
  • What does “Barnabas” actually mean?
    • Son of Encouragement…he lived up to that name.

Acts 4:36-37 (NIV) Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

  • What can you say about this scripture? It not only introduces us to Barnabas, but his introduction also gives us an example on how God’s people give to the kingdom of God. He challenges us with his servanthood and charity for the body of Christ.

Acts 11:21-24 (NIV) The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. A little history. The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution. What was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God. Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.

  • How many of you know someone who obviously the Lord just “uses?”
  • What kinds of personality do they have? What’s different about them? Is it always “obvious” to everyone why God is using them, or is it sometimes hidden?

Developers look for potential

Acts 9:26-30 (NIV) When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.
30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

QUESTION: What do you think Barnabas saw in Paul that the others did not? (Barnabas had seen Saul preach…so he saw the Holy Spirit in Barnabas). What a blessing Barnabas was to Paul. Barnabas was not only helping a future LEADER in God’s church, he was helping a NEW CHRISTIAN.

NOTICE: Barnabas “took him”. Took is a verb here, an action word. Men and women of God need to get up off the couch and take action for God’s church.

QUESTION: Of all the older Christians in this class, how many of you had a Christian man or woman just put their arms around you and help you along in your Christian growth?

This is an example that we all need to remember. All new Christians need some “older” more mature Christian to help build them up in the faith.

Developers never give up

Acts 15:36-41 (NIV) (When planning for Paul’s and Barnabas’ second missionary journey) Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”
37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

QUESTION: Who was John Mark? (Barnabas’ cousin).
John Mark had let the disciples down once, but Barnabas gave him a second chance and went with him. Barnabas recognized John Mark’s potential. Things to see in this scripture.

  • Paul wanted to go back and check on the brothers in the cities where they had preached.?
  • New Christians need to be checked on.? Left to their own, bad things can possibly happen.? We need to “lead” and “train” our Christian brothers.
  • Notice that Barnabas, the son of encouragement didn’t back down. Paul wanted to do one thing, Barnabas the other.

This tells us a couple of things (a) Barnabas knew the John Mark deserved another chance…. and… (b) Barnabas / Paul were both human. They argued and couldn’t work things out, so they separated. However, here’s the important point. Saints can disagree without being disagreeable. This could have been disastrous in God’s church. But fortunately because they let God control their lives, things were totally worked out in the end. This is a GREAT example for us to follow in God’s church.

QUESTION: What was the consequence of Barnabas taking John Mark. How did things work out?

(Paul writing Timothy) 2 Tim 4:11 (NIV) Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

John Mark went on to help Paul and to write the Gospel of Mark. By the way, Barnabas and Paul rejoined forces again later. They remained friends.

Barnabas Trivia

  • He was a Jew, from the tribe of Levi.? Can anyone tell me what was special about the tribe of Levi?? (Tribe of priests).
  • He was from the island of Cyprus.
  • Even though the scripture said that no one was in need, Barnabas sold some land and gave the money to the disciples.? Can anyone remember another New Testament story about two people who sold land and things didn’t go to well for them? (Ananias and Sapphira)

Acts 5:1-10 (NIV) Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.?

Godly developers want to make others more like Christ.

Heb 10:24-25 (NIV) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The biblical pattern for mentorship

1 Corinthians 11:1? (NIV) Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Matt 5:16 (NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven


  • How many of us can say that we set the example for others, and that we are following the example of Christ?
  • Can someone give me an example of an instance when someone you know claimed to be a Christian, but then set a horrible example at work (or some other place) for others to follow?

One more thing to consider as a mentor

James 3:1 (NIV) Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Other mentors & leaders who used encouragement like Barnabas

2 Chron 35:1-2 (NIV) Josiah celebrated the Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem, and the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 He appointed the priests to their duties and encouraged them in the service of the Lord’s temple.

Matt 9:2 (NIV) Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.

Matt 14:27 (NIV) But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”Acts 27:22 (NIV) (Paul speaking) But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. (Paul speaking) But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.


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