Category Archives: Mission

Acts 13:13-52 – A Light for the Gentiles



Paul (who was Saul) and Barnabas continue in their mission to take the gospel abroad. They had been sent by the church in Antioch (already a Gentile area), having been called by God, to go and preach the word of God and make disciples. They were successful on the island of Paphos to convert the Roman Procunsul to believe the good news. Their tactic has been to find local Jewish synagogues first before presenting the news to the greater community.



  • 13-15 Paul is invited to speak in a Pisidian Antioch synagogue
  • 16-25 Paul’s address on the history of Israel
    • 16-20 Exodus to the Promised Land
    • 20-22 The Judges to David
    • 23-25 David to Jesus through John
  • 26-41 Paul’s address continues to show Jesus as Messiah
    • 26-31 Jesus was rejected in Jerusalem but God raised him from the dead
    • 32-37 How the prophets spoke about Jesus
    • 38-41 Take care to receive Jesus
  • 42-44 Paul and Barnabas invited back
  • 44-52 The Split reaction to the message

13-15 Paul is invited to speak in a Pisidian Antioch synagogue

“…where John left them…” Remember that this is John who is called Mark (Acts 12:12). A significant little secondary character in the New Testament as he pops up in the story of Acts and later in the Epistles – he may have even appeared in the gospel of Mark (Mark 14:52). His departing in this verse is later viewed as a kind of untrustworthiness from Paul  (Acts 15:37-38).

“On the Sabbath, they entered the synagogue and sat down.” This was Paul’s approach to taking the gospel into the world: start with where God has planted a seed – the Jewish community. Although Paul and Barnabas relied on the Spirit and God’s sovereignty, they also had a strategy of moving forward. They didn’t just walk out the door and see what happens, they proceeded in a planned fashion.

“the Law and the Prophets” This is a Jewish way of describing the Old Testament since the parts were made up of the Law being the first five books and the prophets, evertyhing else. (Matt 7:12; 22:40; Lk 16:16; Rom 3:21 – also Lk 16:29, 31; 24:44)

“..a word of exhortation…” Paul and Barnabas were invited to speak to the people. Their invitation was about taking the word of God and expounding it, applying it, explaining it. They were being asked to encourage the brothers from the scriptures. This is how we apply preaching today – taking a passage of scripture and expounding it to those present to provide encouragement and application.

16-25 Paul’s address on the history of Israel

16-20 Exodus to the Promised Land

“Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God…” Being in the synagogue, he was clearly addressing people who feared the God of the Jews. He doesn’t distinguish between two religions here but between national and non-national Jews. It must be remembered that God made Israel a light to the nations and predicted that people from all nations would come to God through Israel – they were a type of mediator for all the nations. The book of Jonah teaches us that God had other nations in mind to repent and worship him. Daniel and Isaiah are two other clear books on the subject but the whole bible speaks of God having a concern for the whole world – but he would redeem the world through the Jews.

“All this took about 450 years.” Paul extracted a few facts from the story of Genesis to Joshua, covering hundreds of years in a single sentence. What’s important here is that Paul is able to read the entire Pentateuch and Joshua and see that the whole thing is telling a story – it’s a story of God choosing to treat one nation as his. Paul is doing what we have labelled today as “Biblical Theology” – being able to see the overarching story which holds all of the bible together. This is not a modern way of reading the scriptures but it is a Christian way of doing it. If you asked a Jew before Jesus (say David or Moses or Daniel) how do you love God, they would answer, “by obeying the Law.” If you ask Paul how do you love God, he might answer, “by knowing him and worshipping him in Spirit and in truth.” Paul has begun his sermon on what the Bible has to say about Promise and Fulfillment. Paul can see Jesus in the Old Testament story.

  • “God…chose our ancestors.” See Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:1-8.
  • “made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt” The story skips all of the details of Isaac and Jacob and Joseph. They slow the story down to confuse the point.
  • “with might power he led them out of that country.” Names like Moses are not significant. God is the one acting in this story and Moses shall not take centre stage.
  • “he endured their conduct.” In a quick phrase, Paul has included the fact that the people were not great or worth treating as special – they were something which God endured.
  • “giving their land to his people.” the first stage of the story closes with the receiving of land as a gift.

20-22 The Judges to David

“Then the people asked for a king.” This phase of the Biblical story takes us from Joshua to David. The book of Judges was a time when apparently nobody was in charge of Israel. On the one hand, this is a great thing because everybody is dependant on God to lead them. But the reality of sin means that everybody did what was right in their own eyes. Although the people wanted a king, God would make sure that they received a king who was good for them – one after his own heart (this phrase is ambiguous and can mean that David loved God but it can also mean that God loved David – the ambiguity is best not to be resolved and just enjoy the fact that when someone is a God seeker, they are also one who God has sought). This period of Judges to David was also about 300 years.

23-25 David to Jesus through John

“John preached repentance and baptism…” When John was preparing the way for the Saviour that God had brought, he did that by calling Israel to repent and commit their lives to God. The baptism that he gave was in the Jordan river which was a kind of reenactment of the crossing into the promised land. The point is that John was calling people to turn their lives back to God.

“…there is one coming after me…” Paul lands the story briefly with John, a notable and memorable figure in their modern history whose ministry was to point people to Jesus, the one coming after him. The whole story of Genesis to Malachi has been the story of one coming who is worthy to be found. Paul takes the second half of his exhortation to prove that Jesus is the one, just as the scriptures affirm.

Note that the first book of the New Testament begins with a list of names taking us through a similar storyline that Paul used. Matthew Chapter one contains the ancestors of Jesus divided in similarly to Paul’s story.

26-41 Paul’s address continues to show Jesus as Messiah

26-31 Jesus was rejected in Jerusalem but God raised him from the dead

“…this message of salvation…” This is how Paul views the entire Old Testament and the promises to Abraham and his children – a message of salvation! Jesus is the point of that salvation. But when Jesus came, he was not recognised by his own people – the children of the promise. John’s gospel opens with this kind of language.

“…yet…they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.” Paul isn’t referring to a particular verse of scripture which is read every Sabbath but to the Law and the Prophets which all speak of the Messiah (Lk 24:44). Yet, in rejecting the Christ, they did exactly as God had “predicted”.

“…they asked Pilate to have him executed….God raised him from the dead…” Paul’s sermon follows a very similar structure to Peter’s sermons in early Acts and to Stephen’s sermon in Act 7. Jesus is the fulfillment to God’s promises, he was rejected by his people but raised by God and seen by many. Paul recites a short, memorable structure in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 which seems to have been a type of creed taught among Christians. It states the facts that Jesus died, was buried and rose on the third day, all in fulfillment of Scripture and he appeared for many to see.

32-37 How the prophets spoke about Jesus

Paul now takes a few quotes from the Psalms to show that there is a description weeved throughout the scriptures of someone who is God’s son, who will receive the promises given to David (see 2 Sam 7) and who will not see decay. Jesus fulfills these promises.

38-41 Take care to receive Jesus

Paul ends his sermon with two possible outcomes: 1) you believe that Jesus is the promised one and you will receive forgiveness of sins which the law of Moses cannot give; 2) scoff at the news and reject the one who God has sent. The choice is over to them now.

The ramifications of the first outcome are amazing. One thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is that Paul no longer distinguishes between Jews and God-fearing Gentiles. He simply says that “everyone who believes is set free from every sin.”

42-44 Paul and Barnabas invited back

“…the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.” This is a successful outcome for the missionaries. They have opened up the minds of their hearers to the message of Jesus and have been given a second chance to speak more.

“…many…followed Paul and Barnabas, who…urged them to continue in the grace of God.” A second outcome was that some people (many) stayed with the missionaries, talking more, not waiting another week to hear further. These followers were urged to continue in the grace of God. This is cool! They were not being told to abandon Judaism but to continue in the grace of God – I take it by receiving the grace through Jesus! Just as the Bible is the outflowing story of the grace of God which leads its hearers to Jesus, the faith of the Jew is to continue in the scriptures, studying the grace of God which is Jesus.

“On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” Now this is a great outcome of the first sermon – that even more people come. Folk had been talking all week about this news and now, not just the converts to Judaism but other Gentiles in the city came to hear how salvation has come to everybody who believes in Jesus. And they have come to hear what God has to say. They want Paul to talk to them about the word of the Lord.

Wouldn’t it be great to pray for an impact in church like this one?!

45-52 The Split reaction to the message

“…the Jews…were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying.” What a terrible sin it is for people to love themselves more than they love God. How were these Jews being a light for the Gentiles? They were not! Sure, they included some God-fearing Gentiles in their mix but that is ok, since they are still Gentiles – not truly Jews. Power and the feeling of being special rated higher for them than truth. Didn’t they hear that they were not God’s people because they were special? To contradict what Paul was saying could mean that they disagreed with this biblical knowledge or that they disagreed with his testimony about Jesus. But when you are not for Jesus, you are against him.

“We had to speak the word of God to you first.” Well, God had chosen the descendants of Abraham and Jesus said that the gospel must go out, first to the Jew and then to the Gentiles. Paul uses this same sequence in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Paul does not believe that all of the descendants of Abraham will be saved but that all of Israel must hear the gospel and have the opportunity to believe. If they do not believe, they will face the same condemnation – no worse – than the Gentiles.

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” See Isaiah 49:6. This is an Old Testament verse. Several hundred years before Jesus came, God had made Israel the spokespeople, the watchmen, the lighthouse for the whole world – that everybody will come to God for salvation!

“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord…” The Gentiles heard from the Jewish scriptures that salvation is for the whole world – that salvation was for them – that they are not the dregs but much loved by God and welcome into his kingdom! They heard that the bible spoke about them! That God loves them! The Jews, by and large, heard that God was for them and them alone. They failed at their lighthouse ministry.

“But the Jewish leaders…” Jealousy and hate flows out of anyone who does not call on the name of the Lord.

“So they shook the dust off…and…were filled with joy…” The mindset of the disciples was that all who follow Jesus will be persecuted. The world will hate them because it hated Jesus first (Jn 15:18). They had said what they needed to say among the Jews and the word of God had successfully achieved its purpose – it saved some and condemned others. Our place in the mission is not to argue everybody into the Kingdom of God. We preach the word of the Lord and let the Spirit call “all who were appointed for eternal life” to believe.

“The word of the Lord”. It’s worth pausing to think about this little phrase. It’s a phrase that, on face value, means “the words that the Lord has spoken,” or “the message from the Lord”. Gen 15:1 “the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision…” It’s a phrase occurring 237 times in the whole bible. Fifty-seven of those times occur in the book of Ezekiel alone! It is about the message that God wants us to hear. A direct revelation from God – the LORD who is Yahweh. In the New Testament, the phrase occurs 10 times and nine of those are in the book of Acts. The Old Testament came to be through the prophets writing down the words of God and combining them with the narrative which explains and illumines them. The narrative, explains Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16, is also God’s word.

In Acts 8:25, Peter “proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus…preaching the gospel.” What was once about direct revelation from God to a prophet, is now being used to sum up the scriptures. Peter expresses that it’s the word of God which is preached when the gospel of Jesus is proclaimed (1 Peter 1:23-25). We do not abandon any of the scriptures when we preach Jesus. We embrace them and continue to teach it because they speak of Jesus as Lord.


Jesus Christ is God’s gift of salvation to all the earth. The whole of the bible speaks of him fulfilling the promises of God. He is the saviour to everybody who believes and therefore, the scriptures are for everybody to hear and adore.

2 Timothy 3:15 “…you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”


  1. Knowing the word of the Lord. Paul’s understanding of the bible meant that he could see how everything is connected to Jesus. It didn’t matter whether he was preaching to Jews or Gentiles, he used the word of the Lord to show how it is written for all to put their trust in Jesus. Biblical Theology is a modern term used to describe this approach to reading the bible. Being able to read the bible the way Paul did helps us to reach better understanding on everything about this world and to grow in our maturity in Jesus. Reading the Old Testament as Law and ancient history is only a shallow reading. If you would like to grow in your knowledge of God, learn to read the bible as a whole. The “God’s Big Picture Plus” course is aimed to do this. As is the Moore College Distance Learning subject called “Introduction to the Bible.”
  2. Being a light in the world. Although God chose Abraham’s descendants to receive his blessings, they were intended to be a light to the world. This same principle applies to Christians. We are saved and are called to proclaim the word of the Lord to the world (2 Peter 1:9-10; Matt 28:19-20). We live each day because God is holding back his wrath so that more people may hear and respond to the gospel (Romans 2:4).
  3. Loving the gospel regardless of the response to it. Knowing when to speak and when to walk away is a tough thing. Paul’s strategy was to arrive at a new place and seek a Jewish community to speak to. From there, opportunity arose to speak broader than that. His tactic was not to speak only to those who he knew would respond well. History assured him that the Jews could easily reject him and persecute him. When and where to speak are strategic decisions but whether to say something or nothing is really not that hard. Whenever there is opportunity to say something, say it. Let the Spirit call in the elect and learn to rejoice no matter what the outcome. The evangelist, John Chapman, used to ask himself when he returned home from preaching, “Did I preach Jesus? Was I clear? Did I call people to respond? Then shut up and go to bed.”


Acts 12:25-13:12 – Saul is known as Paul


Barnabas was actually named Joseph but called after his gift of encouragement. He had embraced the born-again Saul and brought him to Antioch, a major Greek city which had responded well to the gospel. Saul and Barnabas travelled together from Antioch to Jerusalem on a mission to give aid to the Christians there during a famine that had been prophesied.

Peter had been arrested in Jerusalem but rescued by an angel from God. He went immediately from the prison to the house of John, also called Mark.



  • 12:25 – Barnabas and Saul return to Antioch with Mark
  • 13:1-3 – Barnabas and Saul set apart by God
  • 13:4-5 – Arriving at Salamis
  • 13:6-12 – Titles, names and deceit

12:25 – Barnabas and Saul return to Antioch with Mark

“…they return from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.” This single verse redirects our attention to the mission of Jesus Christ outside of Jerusalem. They began their mission in Antioch and so now they are returning to that city. They bring Mark along with them. The verse is very straightforward and serves to change scenes for us but also introduces a theme of name-changing. John is the English version of the Hebrew Johanan (with a soft J like Y) which means: ‘Yahweh has shown grace.’ Mark is a Latin name from Marcus. It was not uncommon for Jews to also adopt a Greek or Roman name.

13:1-3 – Barnabas and Saul set apart by God

“…prophets and teachers…” The former gift offers new information from the Lord while the latter expounds or instructs from what God has said. As noted in previous blogs, the gift of prophecy is prevalent in the New Testament times (as in the Old) but faded as the scriptures were written and available. We’re told here that there were ample people of God feeding and encouraging the church in Antioch. What follows is the commissioning of Barnabas and Saul to leave that church and spread the gospel abroad.

“worshiping the Lord and fasting…” It’s very encouraging to read that the Christians worshipped the Lord. Our primary goal as Christians is to worship the Lord. We do this out of joy and knowledge of who He is and who we are in Him. We worship by daily offering ourselves as a living sacrifice and we come together to lift one another’s eyes to the truth about Jesus who is our hope. Fasting is not part of our church vision or purpose or practice statements. It is best understood as setting a time aside to focus on prayer and meditation on the word of God. This can be accomplished by skipping meals or not eating for a time. It is not a time of rest but a time of concentration and devotion to God. Some might fast by abstaining from other things. The point here is that the believers were devoted to God and seeking his guidance. The notion of fasting ought not be overlooked by us today. It is commendable to take deliberate steps to focus on God.

“…they place their hands on them and sent them off.” This was a visible and unifying act, like communion or baptism or marriage, where the community showed their support, agreement and commendation to commit their brothers to the work of God. Rather than remaining in Antioch where the believers were growing and being fed, these two were set apart by the calling of God to travel and preach the gospel. It’s one thing to seek the Lord and go and follow, it’s quite another to do it in the company and unity of the church. Barnabas and Saul were not heading off to be lone rangers.

13:4-5 – Arriving at Salamis

“They proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.” Well, firstly, there were Jews living on the island of Salamis. This tells us that Jews were not stationed only in the promised land and seeking to inhabit there but were living abroad. This is due, in part, to the scattering of their nation over the previous 1000 years. The synagogue was a place of congregating for encouragement and learning from the scriptures – but not a place for sacrifice. It was not a temple. But Barnabas and Saul began their mission amongst people who already new Yahweh and were being introduced to Yahweh’s Messiah.

13:6-12 – Titles, names and deceit

“Bar-Jesus…Elymas…child of the devil.” The first name means son of Jesus or Joshua. He would not have been claiming descendancy from Jesus of Nazareth since Jesus was a common name. Although he was a Jewish prophet, he was a false prophet and a sorcerer or magician – not the sort that asks you to pick a card but the sort that conjures up help from the spiritual world. Luke tells us that the word Elymas means magician or sorcerer (v8) and this is how the man was often named. Saul names him a son of the devil. You have to see the contrast between “Bar-Jesus” and son of the devil! Saul rebukes the man for his entire life of deceit and trickery, perverting the ways of the Lord. He aligned himself with the people of God but was in every way a slave to satan.

“…Saul, who was also called Paul…” Again, the Hebrew name is replaced with a Greek one and the name ‘Saul’ is no longer used in the book of Acts except when retelling the Damascus road incident. Saul has begun a life-long ministry now to the Gentile world (which was Hellenistic).

“You are going to be blind for a time…” Paul curses Elymas with a similar curse he had received himself by Jesus. We are not told what became of Elymas after the darkness was lifted but perhaps he also turned to Christ. If he didn’t then he would remain blind even though he can see.

“The proconsul saw what had happened, he believed…” The proconsul was a Roman official placed in charge of a foreign city in the name of Rome. He had been interested in the Jewish ways and so had invited Elymas into his council. He didn’t hesitate to invite Paul and Barnabas to teach him the word of God either. It seems he was an intelligent man who wanted to seek the truth and, although satan had his ear for a while, the truth-seeking led him to Christ. And so, the gospel has reached foreign soil yet again but this time a high official in the Roman world has received Jesus as Lord.


Names and titles are nothing. A child of satan can call himself anything he likes, he will still be a child of satan, full of deceit and corruption. A child of God’s can also change his name to better fit his audience, but he will remain a child of God who brings the word of God to people’s ears and hearts. I recall Paul’s commentary of his method for changing the things that don’t matter for the sake of what really matters…

19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Co 9:19–23)


  1. Those who are children of God will love the truth and the word of God while those who are children of the devil will thrive in deceit and corruption and will oppose the word of God. You won’t tell them by their names or what they wear but by how they respond to the word of God. Are you conscious of this? Some of the nicest people around will still show their true colours when confronted with Jesus and the word of God.
  2. Standing up for the word of God. In what ways do you think we can and should stand up for the word of God? Can you think of when and where and how this might happen?

Acts 11:19-30 – Antioch – a great city saved by grace


In chapter 7, Stephen was martyred with Saul overseeing the execution. As a result, the disciples in Jerusalem fled to many parts of the world. Saul was since converted to believe that Jesus is Lord and has shown himself to be a true convert to the disciples. Barnabas was a great man of faith and an encourager who believed Saul was converted and initiated the meeting between Saul and the disciples.

Peter had been taught by God to expect the gospel to extend beyond the Jews and to all the Gentiles. He was shown that God shows no favouritism.

We now return to the scattered disciples, to Barnabas and to Saul as the gospel finds a stronghold in the large Greek city of Antioch.



  • 19-21 – The gospel spreading to Antioch
  • 22-26 – Saul and Barnabas working together in Antioch
  • 27-30 – Christian charity work

19-21 – The gospel spreading to Antioch

Antioch – this town is in modern Turkey. Jesus travelled as far north as Tyre during his ministry. Although Tyre was part of the promised land, it bordered Gentile country and had been populated with Gentiles for many centuries (since the fall of the Northern Kingdom). Antioch is much further still. As you look at a bible map, you will see that the gospel is heading to the northern corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

Antioch was a major city in Asia minor. We’ll see in this story how significant the city became for the early church. Antioch was as far as people travelled in escaping the persecution in Jerusalem. Ironically, the people who fled Saul’s persecution will be taught the faith by Saul.

“Spreading the word only among Jews.” The theme of God not showing favouritism is continued as we see the disciples break out of their exclusiveness and share the gospel with Greeks, of whom the entire city was filled.

“The Lord’s hand was with them.” The gospel was received because the Lord was active.

People came to Antioch because of persecution and then did one amazing thing: they spoke to people about Jesus. In a land that is foreign to Judaism and the ministry of Jesus, they spoke about Jesus as Lord and a great number of people believed! There is no other name! And people who have lived generations without knowing God must be prepared to meet Him by learning about Jesus.

22-26 – Saul and Barnabas working together in Antioch

“They sent Barnabus to Antioch”. Notice that Jerusalem is the headquarters for the gospel. This is just pragmatics. It’s not that it is a holy place but that this was the seed from which the gospel has come. The disciples in Jerusalem heard what was happening in this major city to the north and they sent a man who had proven to be an encourager, a good man and full of faith. He was the man who spent time with Saul when he was converted (Acts 9:27), believing that he had been saved before the other disciples did. What a perfect fit to send him to a large city which is responding so quickly and rapidly to the gospel.

Barnabas means encouragement (Acts 4:36) and this man was named because this was his gift. He did as God had gifted him to do in 11:23. Barnabas appears to be a man used by God to take the planted seed which is showing life and encourages it to grow and remain true to the faith. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” Not only does Barnabas encourage the believers, however, his presence and work enables the believers to grow in number (Acts 11:26).

27-30 – Christian charity work

“Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul.” Amazingly, Barnabas thought that Saul was the right man to bring in on this mission in Antioch. He was the one who drove the first believers out of Jerusalem toward Antioch because of his persecution on the followers of Jesus. But Barnabas has seen that God has called Saul to the work of evangelism.

“The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Saul and Barnabas spent a year in Antioch and again, we are told that great numbers of people were responding to the gospel. The impression is that this large city was a harvest field for a large number of believers. When we are told that the word Christian was first used in Antioch, we must see that this was no small revival taking place. A movement had occurred which attracted a new name. Christ is the Greek word for Messiah which was used in the Old Testament to point forward to the chosen one of God. The believers in Antioch were known for their belief in – Jesus the Christ. They followed, not a lifestyle or method of religion, but a person.

“Some prophets came down from Jerusalem.” Coming down must refer to the terrain rather than the compass direction. But what about the ‘prophets’? Of course, many prophets appeared in the Old Testament to declare what the Lord has said to the people of Israel or to their kings. The entire Old Testament is described as the Law and the Prophets. Prophecy was still present in the time of Jesus (Luke 2:36) and was expected in the church in the first century (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 14:3). Prophecy is not only limited to unveiling what will happen in the future. It is a matter of revealing the truth about God and what he has declared to the world. The completion of the bible, with the words of the apostles testimony and teaching, has done away with the need for prophecy. Someone may argue that God still uses prophecy today and that may be so. But it is made insignificant next to the brightness of the gospel news written in the scriptures. The Spirit is given to the church to be able to discern right from wrong and to grow in godliness and maturity. The Son has been declared to the ends of the earth and there is no new word from God. There is no need for a new word. God has spoken, in these last days, by his Son (Hebrews 1). And prophecy was prophesied by Paul to come to an end (1 Corinthians 13). Has it ended? I’m not sure. But I do believe that it is not necessary.

The Christian movement displayed their love for their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem by aiding them through the famine. Here, in Antioch, people who believed in the name of Jesus were known as Christians and demonstrated their Christian charity across the known world. Note that the church is growing in the knowledge of Jesus as Lord and that he is Lord of all – this is the universal or ‘catholic’ church. One body.


A new hub of the Christian faith was built in Antioch. The gospel is no longer spreading out from one centre which is Jerusalem – it is now forming a network from which the gospel can be spread further. The disciples of the Disciples are now making disciples. The gospel of Jesus is growing from strength to strength.


  1. Barnabas was known as an encourager and sort for Christian aid to help aid the Christian church. Check out the Barnabus Fund and discuss their method, aims and beliefs
  2. What part of the work are you doing in growing the Christian community? There are planters and waterers and encouragers. Where and how has God gifted you?
  3. The disciples in Jerusalem targeted Barnabas to go to Antioch. Likewise, Barnabas targeted Saul to join him on the mission. These are deliberate strategies for growing the kingdom. The gospel spread initially in Antioch when the Jewish-Christians opened their mouths to talk to the Greeks. What strategies are you aware of by Campbelltown Anglican Churches to further the gospel and to strengthen the kingdom? Discuss.