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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Barnabas

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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. Acts 4:36,37 . When the disciples at Jerusalem were afraid of Saul, it was Barnabas who introduced him to the apostles. Acts 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. Acts 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. Acts 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. Acts 15:1-41 . 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. 1 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 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.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Barnabas'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/mbd/b/barnabas.html. 1897.

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