22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- v24-29: Following on from the previous passage (Acts 15:1-21), the letter in v24-29 was with regards to the incorrect teaching of gentiles needing to be circumcised in accordance with the Law of Moses. A letter was sent along with the apostles to Antioch to preach, encourage and strengthen the brothers and the church (v32)
- v39: In this section, Paul and Barnabas have a disagreement. Paul was influenced primarily with the love of righteousness: doing things faithfully even in trying circumstances (which it is recorded John Mark failed to continue, hence why Paul would not trust him again); and Barnabas was bound by the fact that John Mark was his nephew and wanted to give him a second chance at another trial. This disagreement between two apostles was only sparked out of love and for the purpose of spreading the gospel and doing God’s work. However in v39 “They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.” They were both ministers of the word, and both with much passion and both not willing to step down for the sake of the gospel, both intentions were good.
- It was concluded that they both agreed to depart from each other and take different parts of the work, each had their own companion: Barnabas took John Mark sailing to Cyprus; Paul took Silas and went to Syria. John Mark’s second chance at another trial went well and he proved faithful to God by staying to help his uncle Barnabas. Though disagreements might seem like bad storms at the time, God can still use that situation and turn it well for His Glory. The fact that they split into two parties wasn’t a bad thing, but it meant the work could be done more widely, effectively and visitations were made at double speed.
submitted by Ansy Wong
PRAYING IN FAITH
Pray that we can see past all disagreements with our fellow brothers/sisters and to humbly have good intentions for each other and for the sake of the gospel.
For your five
Ask God to strengthen your five to see past the outward appearance, and instead to give the gospel a chance as it is a gospel of love.
For our church
Pray for our church to be used by God for the extension of His Kingdom, and that we as a church can be used effectively.