Barnabas: 3 Great Attributes Every Christian Must Replicate

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Everyone needs encouragement. Even spiritually mature Christians need the encouragement of their fellow believers. Every believer needs to be like Barnabas, a great encourager to others. This blog will show us great truths from the Bible about who Barnabas was.

36And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 4:36-37

The majority of Christians know Joses by his surname Barnabas. His name means that he was an encourager. But he was not only an encourager by his name. He was also an encouragement, as revealed by his actions. By observing his life and example, we can also encourage others.

Barnabas was an encourager.

26And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Acts 9:26-27

Many Christians knew Saul as a persecutor. Many feared him because of his zeal for being harmful to the believers. But the Lord Jesus Christ saved him while traveling the road to Damascus. However, the majority of the believers shunned him because of his past.

Barnabas was the only person willing to vouch for him before the apostles. He must have been a great encouragement to Saul as a new believer.

People in the church shun new believers because of their past. As a result, they get discouraged, leave the church and return to living in the world. Therefore, church members must learn to be an encouragement to new believers. Remember that we also needed encouragement when we were new believers.

Note that there is a difference between encouraging and flattering. People use flattery to manipulate other people. On the other hand, we use encouragement to motivate others. Flattery is being selfish, while encouragement is being selfless.

Barnabas recognized the abilities of others.

25Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. 26And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Acts 11:25-26

Barnabas took it upon himself to look for Saul in Tarsus. He spent his time and resources to bring Saul to Antioch because he knew his unique personality and abilities could be used in the ministry.

Saul became a teacher and preacher in the church of Antioch (Acts 13:1-2.) He also became a missionary with Barnabas, preaching the gospel to people as far as they could reach (Acts 13:43-46.)

We must not be insecure about the abilities of others if we want to be an encouragement. Instead, we must help others improve their abilities so that we can do more for the Lord Jesus Christ.

We should not be like King Saul, who treated David as an enemy. They fought on the same side and could have done great things together. But his insecurities blinded him from this truth.

We don’t compete with each other, we complete each other.

Edifiying the Saints

Barnabas was patient with the faults of others.

36And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.”

Acts 15:36-40

Paul (formerly Saul) and Barnabas were about to continue their missionary journey. However, they disagreed about whether they would bring John Mark with them. Paul didn’t want to bring him because he abandoned them on their first missionary journey. But Barnabas being an encourager, was willing to bring John Mark.

Paul and Barnabas separated from each other because of this disagreement. Paul believed that John Mark would only be a burden. But Barnabas knew that even though John Mark had his faults, God could still use him.

We must not be quick to dismiss others because of their faults. All of us have our faults. Therefore, the Bible commands us to restore those who have fallen. (Those who want to get right with God.)

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Galatians 6:1

Barnabas was right, as it turned out in the end. God can still use John Mark even though he has his faults. The Apostle Paul even considered John Mark profitable to him in the ministry.

Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

2 Timothy 4:11

We can’t all be like the Apostle Paul, Peter, Elijah, or the Bible’s other great men of God. But we can be like Barnabas. Let us be an encouragement to others.

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