Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

Friendship – Day 5

Barnabas and Paul – let’s agree to disagree

Bible text(s)

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit our brothers and sisters in every town where we preached the word of the Lord, and let us find out how they are getting on.” 37Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, 38but Paul did not think it was right to take him, because he had not stayed with them to the end of their mission, but had turned back and left them in Pamphylia. 39There was a sharp argument, and they separated: Barnabas took Mark and sailed off for Cyprus,

Acts 15:36-39GNBOpen in Bible reader

40while Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the care of the Lord's grace.

Acts 15:40GNBOpen in Bible reader

This is what many people remember most about Paul and Barnabas – the argument that ended the friendship between two great men of Christ. How could this happen!

There is an unspoken and damaging expectation that Christians never get angry or fight. Paul and Barnabas remind us that conflict is inevitable among even the best of people. It only gets ugly when people handle it poorly. Could it be that when we are stirred up, we forget to ask God for help?

A little further along, we read that Barnabas and Paul each went their separate way but, most importantly, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. (Acts 15:40)

It is apparent that there was discussion and prayer among the believers. This is how our differences need to be worked out – in love and prayer, and with the support and prayer of the community of believers, not in secret or by ignoring the situation. The important thing is to keep focused on doing the will of Christ. That is what Paul and Barnabas both did. As a result, perhaps even more work was accomplished for the Lord, because of the manner in which their disagreement was handled. In any friendship, disagreements will happen, it is inevitable and Christians are not exempt from this. What matters is how we handle them.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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