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by Wayne Blank
Barnabas was a Levite. His actual name was Joseph, or Joses, but the apostles called him Barnabas which meant "son of encouragement," or "son of consolation." One account of his appearance is that of a tall, physically powerful man who was kind and gentle in speech and manner. He seemed to like nearly everyone, and nearly everyone liked him.
Barnabas was among the earliest converts to Christianity (see Bible History and Christian Living). He sold a piece of property that he owned and donated the money to the church (Acts 4:36-37) at about the same time as the infamous "Ananias and Sapphira incident" (Acts 5:1-11). Barnabas' honesty and generosity contrasted sharply with the deceitful behavior of Ananias and Sapphira.
After the conversion of Saul On The Road To Damascus, it was Barnabas who brought him to the Apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-27). They, and the church in general were distrustful and even justifiably fearful of Saul because of the harm and persecution that he had been doing to the church before his calling, including his involvement in the martyrdom of Stephen. By then however, Saul had been converted to Paul. Barnabas apparently recognized Paul's sincerity, and the exceptional role that he would thereafter make to the church, including the writing of numerous books of The Bible that millions of people read and learn from every day.
Barnabas accompanied Paul on his First Missionary Journey, at first in the role of a senior member, but sensing Paul's greater calling, he eventually deferred to Paul's lead. By all accounts Barnabas was never diminished however in the love and respect of all who knew him.
Barnabas was a good man, a good Christian. We would all do well by his example.
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