The Example of Barnabas

Text: Acts 11:24

The Scriptures teach us that we should imitate the lives of the faithful (Philippians 3:17). Barnabas is one such example of faith that we should follow. He was a “good man” – not by the world’s standard of goodness, but by God’s. His goodness was rooted in his faith and his being led by the Holy Spirit. So let us consider the good example of Barnabas.

He Sacrificed to Help Others

  • Shortly after the church was established in Jerusalem, brethren needed to engage in the work of benevolence to address the needs of certain saints (Acts 4:34-35) – Barnabas was singled out for his participation (Acts 4:36-37)
  • In Barnabas, we see the example of one who was willing to sacrifice to help others – we must be willing to do this as well (Ephesians 4:28)
  • In Barnabas, we also see the example of one who was not seeking the praise of men – contrast with Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5:1-5); those who desire the praise of men, when they receive it, will have their reward (Matthew 6:1-4); our goal should be to be seen of God, not men

He Encouraged Others

  • Barnabas was known as the “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36) – this was what he was known for
  • He encouraged others through his example (Acts 4:37) – we are to follow his example as well (Philippians 3:17)
  • He encouraged others by convincing the brethren to accept Saul (Acts 9:26-27) – each member is a potential source of encouragement (Ephesians 4:16)
  • He encouraged others to be faithful to Christ (Acts 11:23) – the primary goal of encouragement is not to make people “feel good,” but to remain faithful (Hebrews 3:12-13)

He Was Willing to Work with Others

  • Remember the history of the Antioch church – disciples scattered because of persecution (Acts 8:1-4); some came to Antioch & preached to the Gentiles also (Acts 11:19-20); large numbers were converted (Acts 11:21); Barnabas was sent (Acts 11:22); he taught and the gospel spread (Acts 11:23-24); then he left to find Saul & bring him back to help (Acts 11:25-26)
  • Barnabas did not care about receiving all the glory for himself (2 Corinthians 4:5)
  • He was not concerned with complications that might come with bringing Saul – Saul started the persecution that led certain disciples to Antioch; but Barnabas thought Saul was the best man for the job, so he brought him

He Was Willing to Stand for the Truth

  • In Antioch of Pisidia, some of the Jews contradicted & blasphemed (Acts 13:44-45) – Barnabas, with Paul, did not compromise, but spoke out boldly (Acts 13:46)
  • In Antioch of Syria, certain men started teaching that the Gentiles must be circumcised (Acts 15:1) – Barnabas, with Paul, “had great dissension and debate with them” (Acts 15:2)
  • Controversy will come – we must stand for the truth (Jude 3)


  • Remember why Barnabas was a “good man” – he was “full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24)
  • We must put our trust in God & walk according to His word so that we might be good men & women today

(Adapted from an article by Mark McCrary from the book, People of the Past with Lessons for Today.)

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