Who Is Barnabas In The Bible

Background Information

Barnabas was a figure in the Bible, a companion of Saint Paul and a leader in the early church. He is known for his courage and enthusiasm, and his willingness to help other people while pursuing the mission of spreading the Gospel. His story is found in the Acts of the Apostles, which is the fifth book of the New Testament in the Bible. Barnabas is mentioned on eight different occasions in the book of Acts, all of which involve his mission to further the Gospel.

Barnabas was born into a Jewish family in Cyprus, the son of a Levite along the Mediterranean coast. He went by the name of Joseph bar Nebat. He was a great believer in the Good News, so much that he decided to sell off his possessions and give the money to the Apostles in Jerusalem. He became the first Gentile convert to Christianity.

The name Barnabas means ‘Son of Encouragement’, which suggests the nature of his character and his ministry. He was an encourager among the Apostles, bringing unity and peace when disagreements or divisions began to arise. He was a kind man with a cheerful heart, and he often gave of himself to help others.

The Conversion of Saul

One of the first mentions of Barnabas in the Bible is when he chooses to give Saul, the future apostle Paul, the benefit of the doubt when everyone else was too scared to accept him after he had been persecuting Christians. It was Barnabas who took Saul by the hand and declared his conversion to be genuine and real. From that point on, Barnabas and Saul traveled together sharing the message of the Gospel.

He was the one that was there with Paul and was a witness to his courageous stand before the authorities in Jerusalem and in Rome. He was with Paul each step of the way, encouraging him and helping him to gain the faith of the people and ultimately spread the Gospel. This courage and faithfulness to the Gospel would come to define Barnabas’ legacy.

A story is told in the book of Acts that illustrates Barnabas’ character. When the church of Jerusalem was in a time of famine, Barnabas sold a field he owned in order to buy grain to feed the congregation. This showed his generosity and his great faith, trusting that God would provide.

First Missionary Journey

Barnabas was chosen by the church in Jerusalem to go on the first missionary journey. It was at this time that Barnabas took Saul on the journey and their friendship grew. Barnabas was instrumental in furthering the mission of the Gospel and helping to establish the church in other cities.

He was a determined and persistent leader, but even more than that he was a calming presence and a true friend. Barnabas was not only a great ambassador for Christianity, but also an example of what a true Christian should be. His humility, mercy and courage set a shining example for all who followed.

On every journey, Barnabas was a calming presence in times of disagreement and conflict. He was always encouraging, never pushing a person away or shying away from difficult situations. He was a mediator, a teacher, and a friend.

Barnabas not only led the first missionary journey, but he also helped to appoint elders and deacons in the churches that were established. He showed that he was not only a leader of the mission but also a true shepherd of the flock.

Second Missionary Journey

When Paul started on his second missionary journey, Barnabas agreed to go with him, but the two of them had a disagreement about including John Mark in the journey. Paul wanted him to join them, but Barnabas was hesitant because John Mark had deserted them during the first journey.

Paul and Barnabas argued so strongly that they ended up parting ways. This was a great loss to the church, as Barnabas was a faithful companion to Paul and a leader in the missions. Barnabas went on to Cyprus as he had done during the first journey, while Paul continued on with John Mark.

The story of Barnabas can be seen as a warning to those who are in positions of leadership in the church today. He shows us that leadership should come with humility and grace and should be balanced with mercy and compassion. Barnabas was a leader, but he was also an example of a model follower and a true worshipper of God.

Return to Antioch

The last reference to Barnabas in the Bible is when Paul and Barnabas were sent from the church in Jerusalem to Antioch with a letter, informing the church of the decision made at the council concerning the status of Gentiles. This was the final mission of Barnabas and he briefly stopped at his home in Cyprus before going to Antioch and delivering the decree.

Paul and Barnabas worked together to gather the Gentile believers, to strengthen them in the faith, and to encourage them in the hope of salvation. Barnabas was not mentioned after this, so it is assumed that he eventually went back to Cyprus.


The legacy of Barnabas lives on through his example and his commitment to the mission of the church. His courage, humility and willingness to serve as a faithful companion to Paul helped to further the cause of Christianity and bring the Gospel to the world.

Barnabas is a reminder to us that we are all called to share the Gospel and to live out our faith with the same enthusiasm and commitment that Barnabas possessed. He is an example of someone who risked his life to spread the message of love and salvation.

Influence on Paul’s Mission

The impact of Barnabas on Paul’s mission can be seen throughout the New Testament and in the book of Acts. Paul’s success in spreading the Gospel was in large part due to the support and encouragement that Barnabas provided. He was an important figure in Paul’s ministry, aiding in the mission and facing the dangers that came with it.

Barnabas was the one that brought the young Saul to the attention of the Apostles and believed in him, then agreed to go with him in the first two journeys. He was instrumental in setting up churches and appointing leaders, and he encouraged Paul in the face of danger. He was with him in difficult moments, providing a moderating presence and gracious courage.

Barnabas is an example for us of someone who was willing to leave everything behind to serve the Lord. Through his faith and courage, he helped to spread the message of the Gospel to the world.

Sacrifice and Charity

Another major part of Barnabas’ legacy was his commitment to charity and helping those in need. His example of selling his land and donating money to the church in Jerusalem was an act of remarkable sacrifice. His unselfishness and commitment to helping others was an example to the early church of a true Christian.

Barnabas also had a charitable spirit that extended beyond the church. He was generous with his time and resources, and often gave of himself to help those in need. He was a mediator and a peacemaker, using his natural gifts of encouragement and charity to make a positive impact.

Barnabas was an example of someone who was willing to put aside his own ambitions and desires to serve the Lord. His courage and faith is something to be admired and his example of charity and love is something to follow.


The legacy of Barnabas is a powerful example for us all. He put aside his own comfort and security to serve the Lord and to spread the Gospel. He was a faithful companion to Paul and a leader in the missions, and he showed us what it looks like to be a generous and loving Christian. His story is a reminder to us that faith and courage can move mountains.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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