Jan 18, 2020

Point of View: Acts 15:36-41

Robert Gonzalez Jr. discusses  the conflict between Barnabas and Paul narrated in Acts 15:36-41 here. one of his conclusions is that Luke is not taking a position on the dispute. But I am not so sure. Luke's point of view is revealed in several ways. Admittedly, it is subtle but consider the following.
  1. The first words of this incident portray Paul interested in ministry (v. 36) and Barnabas interested in John Mark (v. 37).
  2. The word (ἀφίστημι) used to describe John Mark’s actions is a very negative one (v. 38).
  3. Luke suggests that Barnabas and John Mark left first (v. 39).
  4. Paul’s new coworker (v. 40a) has received strong affirmation (see vv. 22, 32).
  5. Luke merely reports that Barnabas and John Mark left for Cyprus but does not state that they were committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord, as he does for Paul and Silas (v. 40b).
  6. Paul alone is credited in the narrative with “strengthening the churches,” that is completing the original mission (v. 41).
  7. Luke never mentions either Barnabas or John Mark in Acts again.

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