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Paul and Barnabas Part Company
Bible Passage Acts 15:36-41
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books 1 Corinthians, 2 Timothy, Acts, Colossians, Philemon.

Paul and Barnabas Part Company

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached February 8, 2023

36 A few days later, Paul told Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they’re doing.”

37 Barnabas wanted to take along John, who was called Mark,

38 but Paul did not think it was right to take along the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and who had not gone with them into the work.

39 The disagreement was so sharp that they parted ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus,

40 while Paul chose Silas and left after the brothers had entrusted him to the grace of the Lord.

41 He went through Syria and Cilicia and strengthened the churches.

Paul and Barnabas were missionaries who moved together and opened churches and visited some. At a point, due to the troubles with the Judaisers, Paul proposed to Barnabas that they should revisit the newly established churches in Asia Minor (Acts 13:14). They had started those churches on their first journey as missionaries.

Unfortunately, they could not agree on whether to take Mark with them. Barnabas wanted to but Paul refused, as he considered Mark to be unreliable.

Barnabas wanted his cousin, John Mark (also called Mark), to come with them. So, then Mark could help them again. He was the son of a sister of Barnabas Col 4:10, and it is probable that Barnabas’ affection for his cousin was the main reason for inducing him to wish to take him with him on the journey. Perhaps Barnabas wanted to give him a second chance because, on their first journey, John Mark had left them. He had given up and they had to finish the work without him (Acts 13:13).

The reason John Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas earlier is not known. It was evident, however, for some cause that Paul did not consider satisfactory, and which, in his view, disqualified him from following them again.

Paul did not trust John Mark any longer. He thought that Mark might do the same thing again. Paul would not give him a second chance.

At the end they separated, Barnabas going to his native Cyprus (Acts 4:36) with Mark, and Paul going to his native Cilicia with Silas.

Silas had, by his actions at the Jerusalem meeting and by his Christian service at Antioch, shown himself to be a person of ability and wisdom. Also, as Paul was to visit the churches where the Judaisers had just been, he no doubt saw some value in having with him a member of the Jerusalem church. Added to this, Silas was, like Paul, a Roman citizen (see 16:37), which would be an advantage in the Gentile areas.

We know that Paul and Barnabas became friends again later. In two letters, Paul wrote good things about Barnabas (1 Corinthians 9:6 and Colossians 4:10 ). Paul also became friends with John Mark again. Later, he wrote that Mark had helped him (2 Timothy 4:11 and Philemon 24 ). Also, when Paul’s life was ending, he wanted Mark to be near him. “Take Mark, and bring him with thee; for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).

Disagreement made them go their separate ways, but the ending is so significant to help us. Disagreements are not bad. But disagreements should never become hatred.

🔷 We must still love those we disagree with and never wish evil for them

🔷 People must be allowed time to heal their wounds to be able to come closer and better

🔷 Disagreements must come to strengthen our faith and encourage us to work harder

💥 Pray that all disagreements should work for mutual benefits
💥 Ask God to heal your heart of all pains

As human beings, we may disagree with each other even in our zeal for the kingdom’s business. Our disagreements should not be turned into strife, hatred, or collusion that will impair the work or create a perpetual chasm between us.

In series Bright Morning Reflections