Son of consolation, or JOSES, a disciple of Jesus, and a companion of the apostle Paul. He was a Levite, and a native of the isle of Cyprus, and is said to have sold all his property, and laid the price of it at the apostles' feet, Ac 4:36-37. When Paul came to Jerusalem, three years after his conversion, about A. D. 38, Barnabas introduced him to the other apostles, Ac 9:26-27. Five years afterwards, the church at Jerusalem, being informed of the progress of the gospel at Antioch, sent Barnabas thither, who beheld with great joy the wonders of the grace of God, Ac 11:20-24. He afterwards went to Tarsus, to seek Paul and bring him to Antioch, where they dwelt together two years, and great numbers were converted. They left Antioch A. D. 45, to convey alms from this church to that at Jerusalem, and soon returned, bringing with them John Mark, Ac 11:28-30; 12:25. While they were at Antioch, the holy Ghost directed that they should be set apart for those labors to which he had appointed them, the planting of new churches among the Gentiles. They visited Cyprus and some cities of Asia Minor, Ac 13:2-14, and after three years returned to Antioch. In A. D. 50, he and Paul were appointed delegates from the Syrian churches to consult the apostles and elders at Jerusalem respecting certain questions raised by Jewish zealots; and having obtained the judgment of the brethren at Jerusalem, they returned with it, accompanied by Silas and Barnabas. At Antioch he was led into dissimulation by Peter, and was, in consequence, reproved by Paul. While preparing for a second missionary tour, Paul and Barnabas having a dispute relative to Mark, Barnabas' nephew, they separated, Paul going to Asia, and Barnabas with Mark to Cyprus, Ac 13-15; Ga 2:13. Nothing is known of his subsequent history. There is a spurious gospel, but evidently written by some other hand. The name of Barnabas stands high in the annals of the early church. When he gave all his estates to Christ, he gave himself also, as his life of generous self-devotion and missionary toil clearly shows. He was a beloved fellow-laborer with Paul, somewhat as Melancthon was with Luther, and a true "son of consolation" to the church.
son of consolation, the surname of Joses, a Levite (Ac 4:36). His name stands first on the list of prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch (Ac 13:1). Luke speaks of him as a "good man" (Ac 11:24). He was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He was a native of Cyprus, where he had a possession of land (Ac 4:36-37), which he sold. His personal appearance is supposed to have been dignified and commanding (Ac 14:11-12). When Paul returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas took him and introduced him to the apostles (Ac 9:27). They had probably been companions as students in the school of Gamaliel.
The prosperity of the church at Antioch led the apostles and brethren at Jerusalem to send Barnabas thither to superintend the movement. He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Saul to assist him. Saul returned with him to Antioch and laboured with him for a whole year (Ac 11:25-26). The two were at the end of this period sent up to Jerusalem with the contributions the church at Antioch had made for the poorer brethren there (Ac 11:28-30). Shortly after they returned, bringing John Mark with them, they were appointed as missionaries to the heathen world, and in this capacity visited Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Asia Minor (Ac 13:14). Returning from this first missionary journey to Antioch, they were again sent up to Jerusalem to consult with the church there regarding the relation of Gentiles to the church (Ac 15:1; Ga 2:1). This matter having been settled, they returned again to Antioch, bringing the decree of the council as the rule by which Gentiles were to be admitted into the church.
When about to set forth on a second missionary journey, a dispute arose between Saul and Barnabas as to the propriety of taking John Mark with them again. The dispute ended by Saul and Barnabas taking separate routes. Saul took Silas as his companion, and journeyed through Syria and Cilicia; while Barnabas took his nephew John Mark, and visited Cyprus (Ac 15:36-41). Barnabas is not again mentioned by Luke in the Acts.
("son of prophecy, or exhortation and consolation.") The surname given by the apostles to Joses or Joseph (as the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus manuscripts read), a Levite, settled in Cyprus (Ac 4:36). As a Christian, he brought the price of his field and laid it as a contribution at the apostles' feet. It was he who took Saul after his conversion, when the other disciples were afraid of him, and "brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way," etc., and had "preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus" (Ac 9:27). The book of Acts does not tell us why Barnabas knew Saul better than the rest. But the pagan writer Cicero (Epist. Familiar., 1:7) informs us that Cyprus (Barnabas' country) was generally annexed so as to form one province with Cilicia (Paul's country, of which Tarsus, his native city, was capital).
Possibly they were educated together in Tarsus, famed for its learning, and but 70 miles distant from Cyprus; still more probably at Jerusalem, where Paul was brought up at Gamaliel's feet. As fellow countrymen, they would have mutual friends. Moreover, when Paul had withdrawn from Grecian assailants at Jerusalem to Tarsus, and when subsequently it was thought safe for him to return in the direction of Syria, Barnabas was the one who sought him and brought him from Tarsus to Antioch (Ac 11:25-26). All this bears that impress of unstudied coincidence which marks the truth of the Scripture record. When men of Cyprus preached at Antioch to Greeks (according to the Alexandrinus manuscript and the Sinaiticus manuscript corrected manuscript; but "Grecians," i.e. Greek speaking Jews according to the Vaticanus manuscript. (See ANTIOCH.)
The latter must be wrong; for there could be no difficulty about preaching to Greek speaking Jews), and the news reached Jerusalem, the church there sent Barnabas to Antioch; "who when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad and exhorted (in consonance with his surname, "son of exhortation") them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord" (Ac 11:22-24). The Book of Acts here assigns no reason for the choice of Barnabas; but incidentally it comes out elsewhere that Barnabas was of Cyprus, and so was the fit person to deal with men of Cyprus; besides, his spiritual gift of exhortation and consolation qualified him for the office (compare Ac 15:31). His being "a good man," i.e. beneficent and kind (compare Ro 5:7), would make him gentle and sympathetic in dealing with the new class of converts, namely, those gathered not from proselytes, as the eunuch and Cornelius, but from idolaters (an additional argument for reading "Greeks.".)
Instead of narrow Jewish jealousy at "God s grace" being extended to non-Judaized Gentiles, being "full of the Holy Spirit," be was "glad," and sought Saul as one specially commissioned to evangelize the Gentiles (Ac 26:17; 22:17-21). The two together, on Agabus' prophetic announcement of a coming famine, showed the Jewish brethren that they and the Gentile disciples were not forgetful of the love they owed the church in Jerusalem and Judea, by being bearers of contributions for the relief of the brethren in Judea (Ac 11:27-30). On their return to Antioch, they were marked by the Holy Spirit for missionary work, and were ordained by the church (Ac 13:2), A.D. 45.
With the title of Apostles, i.e. delegates of the church (Ac 14:14), (Paul was also counted with the Lord's apostles by a special call: Ga 1:1-17) they made their first missionary journey to Cyprus and Pamphylia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, and back to Antioch, A.D. 47 (Acts 13; 14). Next (A.D. 50), as apostles of the uncircumcision they were sent to Jerusalem, to the council concerning the question raised by Judaizing Christians whether Gentile converts must be circumcised (Acts 15). (See APOSTLES.) Judas and Silas were sent "with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," to bear back the epistle to Antioch, settling the question in the negative.
After some stay in Antioch Paul proposed to revisit the brethren in the various cities where they had preached. But in consequence of Barnabas desiring to take with them John Mark, his sister's son, and Paul opposing it because of Mark's desertion at Pamphylia in the previous journey, so sharp a contention arose that they separated; and while Paul, with Silas, "being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God" (which marks their approval of Paul's course) "went through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches," Barnabas took Mark with him to Cyprus, his native island. His prominent usefulness ceases at this point; Scripture is henceforth silent about him. In Ga 2:1,9,13, Barnabas suffers himself to be carried away by Peter's and the Jews' dissimulation, in declining to eat with Gentile Christians, contrary to his previous course.
Softness of character, and undue regard for relations, were his weak points, as compared with Paul. He was evidently a man of strong attachments to kindred and country; so that in both his missionary tours his native island and the Jewish synagogue took the first place. The so-called "Epistle of Barnabas" was probably written early in the 2nd century. Its superficial views of the truth and blunders as to Jewish history and worship could never have emanated from the Levite Barnabas. The Clementine Homilies make him a disciple of our Lord, and to have preached in Rome and Alexandria, and converted Clement of Rome. Loving sympathy with others, freedom from narrowness and suspicion, and largeness of heart characterized him in his frank trustfulness toward the late persecutor but now converted Saul, and toward those converted from pagandom without any transitional stage of Judaism.
His not claiming maintenance as a minister (1Co 9:6), but preferring to work for his livelihood, flowed from the same sincere disinterestedness as led him at the first to sell his land and give the price to the church. He was probably soon removed by death after parting with Paul; for Mark is mentioned subsequently as in Paul's favor and ministering to Paul (Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11), which he would not be likely to be, but rather with Barnabas his uncle, if Barnabas were alive. Chrysostom justly infers that Barnabas was of a commanding and dignified appearance, as the people of Lystra, on the cure of the impotent man, supposed that he was their national god, Jupiter, king of the gods, come down from heaven (Ac 14:8-12).
A surname given by the Apostles to Joseph, the Levite, whose first recorded deed (Ac 4:36) was the selling of his property and the devotion of its proceeds to the needs of the Christian community. In this generous act St. Luke sees a proof that Barnabas is, in accordance with the popular etymology of his name, 'a son of comfort.' His kindly introduction of Saul to the Christians at Jerusalem disarmed their fears (Ac 9:27); his broad sympathies made him quick to recognize the work of grace amongst the Greeks at Antioch (Ac 11:23), and to discern the fitness of his gifted friend for that important sphere of service (Ac 11:25 f.). After a year's fellowship in work at Antioch, Barnabas and Saul were appointed to convey 'the relief' sent thence to the brethren in Jud
A Levite of Cyprus. His name was JOSES (or Joseph as in some MSS); but by the apostles he was surnamed Barnabas, 'son of consolation' (rather 'exhortation'). We first read of him as one who sold his land and laid the money at the apostles' feet. Ac 4:36-37. When the disciples at Jerusalem were afraid of Saul, it was Barnabas who introduced him to the apostles. Ac 9:26-27. When the Gentiles were converted at Antioch it was Barnabas who was sent there from Jerusalem. He rejoiced in the reality of the work and exhorted them to cleave to the Lord; the scripture says he was "a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith." He then sought Saul and brought him to Antioch, where they laboured a whole year. They then together visited Jerusalem with contributions from the saints. Ac 11:22-30. Antioch became a centre, from whence the gospel went forth to the Gentiles; it was there that the Holy Ghost said, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them," and from thence they started on what is called Paul's first missionary journey. Ac 13:2-4.
On the question being raised as to the necessity of the Gentile disciples being circumcised, Paul and Barnabas (Paul being now mostly mentioned first) went up to Jerusalem about the subject. Ac 15. After this Paul proposed that they should visit again the brethren in the cities where they had preached. Barnabas insisted that they should take his nephew Mark with them; but Paul objected, for Mark had previously left the work. Barnabas persisting in his desire, they parted, and he and Mark sailed to Cyprus, his own country. Thus were separated these two valuable servants of the Lord who had hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus. We have no record of any further labours of Barnabas. Paul alludes to him as one who had been carried away by the dissimulation of Peter, otherwise he speaks of him affectionately. 1Co 9:6; Ga 2:1,9,13.
BARNABAS, EPISTLE OF. There is an Epistle of 21 chapters attributed to Barnabas. Clement of Alexandria treated it as genuine, and Origen called it a 'catholic epistle;' but it is now commonly held that its author was not the companion of Paul. It was most probably written by a Gentile, for it is strongly opposed to Judaism; it has numerous inaccuracies as to the Old Testament, and absurd interpretations of scripture, and contains many silly allusions to the writer's superior knowledge. It was by Eusebius ranked among the spurious writings.
(son of consolation or comfort) a name given by the apostles,
to Joseph (or Jose), a Levite of the island of Cyprus, who was early a disciple of Christ. In
we find him introducing the newly-converted Saul to the apostles at Jerusalem. Barnabas was sent to Jerusalem,
and went to Tarsus to seek Saul, as one specially raised up to preach to the Gentiles.
He brought him to Antioch, and was sent with him to Jerusalem.
On their return, they were ordained by the church for the missionary work,
and sent forth (A.D. 45). From this time Barnabas and Paul enjoy the title and dignity of apostles. Their first missionary journey is related in
Returning to Antioch (A.D. 47 or 48), they were sent (A.D. 50), with some others, to Jerusalem.
Afterwards they parted and Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, his native island. Here the Scripture notices of him cease. The epistle attributed to Barnabas is believed to have been written early in the second century.
BARNABAS, a disciple of Jesus Christ, and companion of St. Paul in his labours. He was a Levite, born in the isle of Cyprus. His proper name was Joses, to which the Apostles added Barnabas, signifying the son of consolation. He is generally considered one of the seventy disciples, chosen by our Saviour. He was brought up with Paul at the feet of Gamaliel. When that Apostle came to Jerusalem, three years after his conversion, Barnabas introduced him to the other Apostles, Ac 9:26-27, about A.D. 37. Five years afterward, the church at Jerusalem, being informed of the progress of the Gospel at Antioch, sent Barnabas thither, who beheld with great joy the wonders of the grace of God, Ac 11:22,24. He exhorted the faithful to perseverance. Some time afterward, he went to Tarsus, to seek Paul, and bring him to Antioch, where they jointly laboured two years, and converted great numbers; and here the disciples were first called Christians. They left Antioch A.D. 44, to convey alms from this church to that at Jerusalem. At their return they brought John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. While they were at Antioch, the Holy Ghost directed that they should be separated for those labours among the Gentiles to which he had appointed them. They departed into Cyprus, where they converted Sergius Paulus, the pro-consul. They preached at Perga in Pamphylia without much success, by reason of the obstinacy and malice of the Jews; but being come to Iconium, they made many converts. Here the Jews stirred up a sedition, and obliged them to retire to Derbe and Lystra, in Lycaonia, where St. Paul curing one AEneas, who had been lame from his birth, the people of Lystra regarded them as gods; calling Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury; and would have sacrificed to them, which the two Apostles with great difficulty hindered: nevertheless, soon afterward, they were persecuted in this very city. Having revisited the cities through which they had passed, and where they had preached the Gospel, they returned to Antioch in Syria.
In A.D. 51, Barnabas was sent with Paul from Antioch to Jerusalem, on occasion of disputes concerning the observance of legal rites, to which the Jews wished to subject the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas were present in the council at Jerusalem, and returned immediately to Antioch. Peter, arriving there soon afterward, was led to countenance, in some degree, by his conduct, the observance of the Mosaic distinctions. Barnabas, too, (who, being by descent a Levite, might retain some former notions,) used the like dissimulation: but Paul reproved Peter and Barnabas with great freedom: Paul afterward determining to visit the churches in the isle of Cyprus, and in Asia Minor, Barnabas desired that John Mark might accompany them: but Paul objected, because Mark had left them on the first journey. Hereupon the two Apostles separated: Paul went toward Asia; and Barnabas, with Mark, to Cyprus. This is all we know certainly concerning Barnabas.
There is extant among the writings of the fathers an epistle which is attributed to Barnabas; though, being without an inscription, it is not known to whom it professes to have been addressed. It was first published by Archbishop Usher in Greek and Latin, and translated by Archbishop Wake, in his "Genuine Epistles of the Apostolical Fathers," and has often been reprinted. That it is not the production of Barnabas, the companion of Paul, may be safely concluded from internal evidence; though it may have been written by some other person of the same name. There is also a tract which goes by the name of, "The Gospel of Barnabas," still extant; from which Dr. White, at the end of his Bampton Lectures, has given extracts sufficiently copious to satisfy any impartial mind that it is spurious.