Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 11th June 2021: Barnabas the Apostle

Paul Acts 9 Barnabas Apostle Jesus

Reading : Verses from Acts, Chapter 9

Barnabas and Paul

* Picture - Paul and Barnabas receive the Holy Spirit at their commissioning to go to out as missionaries.

When Paul had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Today we remember St Barnabas. We have seen Barnabas and Paul on their first Missionary Journey already, but the incident above takes us back to their first meeting. Remembering how Paul (then called Saul) sought out Christians to kill them before his conversion, the disciples were nervous of him when he arrives in Jerusalem, although he has been preaching the good news of Jesus for about three years by now since his conversion on the road to Damascus.

However, one person who does welcome him is Barnabas. His original name seems to have been Joseph the Levite, and he has come from Cyprus. He was a Hellenized Jew, that is a Jew living in a dispersed area who speaks Greek not Hebrew, and who embraces Greek culture. They were among the first to become Christians as it spread beyond Judea and Jerusalem. Upon joining the new Church he sells his property and gives the proceeds to the community (see Acts 4.36-37), and it is he who takes Paul to see the church leaders in Jerusalem to explain his conversion and the good work he had been doing in Damascus in preaching the gospel.

Later Barnabas was sent to Antioch where new Christians had been dispersed by persecution (Acts 11.19-27), and later still he and Paul would be commissioned at Antioch for a Missionary Journey (see Acts 13 and 14). Nothing is know about his death, though tradition says he travelled to Alexandria and Egypt among other places, and eventually died in Salamis among the Christian community that he and Paul founded.


Heavenly Father,
we thank You for the faithfulness of Barnabas,
who sought to take the good news of Jesus
to the world of his time.
May he inspire us to follow his example
and help to spread the Gospel
to those we live among.

Follow Up Thoughts

If you would like to find out more about St Barnabas the following site has both legendary and factual material:

If you want to read more about Barnabas from the Bible, look at the following verses:

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