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Saturday, January 16 2010
The First Journey Home
"4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation, a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus" (Acts 4:36 KJV)
The apostle Paul was born in Tarsus, located near the Mediterranean Sea coast of what is today Turkey (Barnabas became a Christian before Saul/Paul did - in fact, Barnabas was a Christian, as recorded in Acts 4:36, while Paul was still persecuting and killing Christians, as recorded in Acts 9:1-2; see Was Paul Among Them?).
"22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew [see the Fact Finder question below], born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day." (Acts 22:3 KJV)
"Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them"
What has become commonly known as Paul's first missionary journey (which it was) was actually a return home, as preachers of the Gospel, for both Barnabas and Paul. Their route took them first through Cyprus, the home country of Barnabas.
"13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." (Acts 13:1-3 KJV)
Barnabas was from Cyprus, so it seemed practical for him to lead on their journey which began there after they had sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch.
"13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
Paul and Barnabas then crossed over into Turkey, completing the rest of the journey through Paul's native land.
"13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. 13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
Fact Finder: Why did Paul sometimes call himself a Jew, but at other times a Benjamite?