What Do We Make of Barnabas in Acts 4:36-37

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Puritan Board Freshman
I'm curious if anyone has insight into this passage. I'm writing a sermon on the second summary statement of Acts, and I've been trying to figure out the significance of the mention of Barnabas here. I've consulted several commentaries. Options seem to be one or more of the following:

1) Barnabas is mentioned by way of introduction because he will be mentioned in more detail later.
2) Barnabas is presented as a contrast to the upcoming Ananias and Sapphira passage.
3) Barnabas is a special example of sacrifice for some reason. This could be because:
a) He was a Levite and therefore entitled to provision from others (this seems
doubtful given the context and the fact that he was from Cyprus, where Jewish
law was probably not followed to this extent)
b) He was a Levite and therefore had to purchase his land, making it a greater
sacrifice (greater than the others who were selling ancestral land? Doesn't seem

But the itch remains: if it's not number 3, are 1 and 2 strong enough reasons to warrant mention of him? Am I missing something?


Puritan Board Senior
I think the character of Barnabus comes out in later chapters.
*he alone welcomes Paul into the fellowship of the church at Antioch
*at Antioch he fetches Paul from Tarsus as his coworker
*He and Paul are companions on the first missionary journey
*He seems content to play second fiddle to Paul who is the one stoned and left for dead
*When they are mistaken for greek gods he is Zeus, probably because of his noble bearing
*He stands up to Paul over the issue of John Mark to the point where they decide that they will get on best apart
*He sides with the Pharisee group over table-fellowship with the Gentiles but is receives his rebuke from Paul well (A rebuke impresses a wise man more than a hundred lashes a fool - Proverbs)

A gentle "son of encouragement" who is concerned for others, the nurturing of others who in some ways surpass his own abilities (humility). He uses what he has spiritually and physically for the benefit of others. His heart is in the right place and although he may be blown of course (Galatians 2) he has the humility to get back on track and support Paul in his visit to Jerusalem Acts 15.

If you are doing a systematic study I don't know if I would major on Barnabus in Acts 4 his character and nature develop as he himself does spiritually as he comes to understand the relationship of the believer to the law of Moses. Acts 4 raises all sorts of other issues about private ownership of property. It raises the question of why there was such need in Jerusalem. It also begs the question if the consumption of capital (as opposed to income) is a cause of the impoverishment of Jerusalem.
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