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I've been discussing with the friend this incident with Paul and Banabas, in Acts 15....

36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.”
37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark.
38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.
39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.
41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

They had the disagreement over John Mark, Barnabas's cousin. Mark had earlier lost courage and deserted them. Paul wasn't willing to risk the ministry because of Mark, but Barnabas wanted to give him a second chance.

It says that the contention "became so sharp..." Sounds like they had a pretty good "barney"!! :-)

Were they right in having a quarrel, seeing the end result meant that the ministry expanded and the gospel was taken further?

I look forward to hearing what other think. I'm not going to say what I think about it until after.

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Thanks for explain that, ML.

So you are saying that the outcome was right, but the attitude was wrong.

But were there really wrong in expressing anger? Even Jesus was showed anger.
I have a hard time thinking it was God's desire that Paul and Barnabas part ways under those circumstances, just so He could accomplish His purposes. There had to have been ill feelings, at least for a time... and for sure, they were not "one in the Spirit." I can't see God being pleased with that, much less working to make it happen.

As far as disagreeing, is there anything wrong in that... I don't think so. It's inevitable! It's how you come to see a truth beyond what you once saw. But when you are so set in YOUR position that you aren't even willing to see another possibility, so sure you are RIGHT (or that YOUR position is GOD'S position), to the point where you get angry and march off - that doesn't seem so good!

Jesus got angry, but it was a whole different sort of anger! His anger was over injustice and unrighteousness - and not because someone wasn't seeing things HIS way!
Hi Jeanette,
I am new to AAG so this is my first response to any discussion. So I hope I don't sound too stupid.
I think that Paul was pretty hard headed. I guess zealous would be a better word. It is evident when he was Saul and his zeal for the attacks of the early church and christians. I feel that Barnabas being related to John Mark was also a contributing factor in their disagreement. Both seem right from their side of the disagreement. We all have different opinions on things. I feel that we all have had this type of confrontation in our church life. Having different opinions makes us talk and work things out. The two agreed to disagree and their ministry grew because of it.
Thanks Norm!

That was along the lines of my thinking. I didn't feel either were wrong in disagreeing, but just zealous for different things. And I don't imagine they parted with hard feelings, but rather realised that because of their differences, they could no longer work together.

As long as the focus is on issues and not individuals, I don't see that disagreements between passionate people are wrong.

But would say that it may be more wrong to passively agree, just to keep the peace?
Something to consider, Galatians chap. 2. You would think Peter and Barnabus would have it together, especially after all they'd seen and done in the furtherance of the gospel. They were apostles. Peter had an amazing healing ministry. People lined the streets if per chance Peter's shadow would fall upon them so that they'd get healed.

So, in Galatians chap. 2, Peter was enjoying a meal with Gentiles believers. When James' friends came around, Peter got up and left. It says that Barnabus left too. I can't imagine how that hurt the hearts of the Gentile believers.

No one's perfect 24-7, except for Jesus of course. Iron sharpeneth iron. Paul withstood Peter to the face because he was to be blamed. At the first sign that Peter was leaving, Barnabus could have asked him, "Peter, what are you doing?"

God bless!
Mary O.
Mary, thank you for that insight!! I admire Paul for his gumption to confront Peter about his hypocricy.
Displaying anger is not always a bad thing. Didn't Jesus do the same when he overturned the tables in the temple??
2 Timothy 4:11 (BBE)
11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and take him with you; for he is of use to me in the work.

Paul eventually gave Mark a second chance , although Paul was in prison in Rome at the time. I agree with M L . It served the Lord's purpose , in that this way 2 groups were sent out instead of one.

what beautiful discourse i have just read here.  this is what i will say on the topic of disagreements and the purpose and results thereof:


in acts 15, paul greatly disagreed w/barnabus about continuing on w/john mark - who fled back home - causing paul and barnabus to part ways in their ministry work.  later in col 4, paul tells the colossians should john mark ever present himself to them they are to welcome him as a brother of the [spiritual] circumcision, a fellow worker for the kingdom of God, and that john mark has been a proven comfort to paul.

as taught in prov 27:17, paul sharpened barnabus on partiality but did not discount the usefulness of john mark, only that john mark's lack of maturity in faith had no place in the work paul was embarking on. paul did not say it was wrong for barnabus to continue on w/john mark as his assistant.

in matt 10:38, christ says "he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."  this is not to say that those who are not spiritually ready are not worthy of God's love and grace.  it is a chastisement to teach that we are not to go forward preaching/teaching things we do not yet understand. we are yet babes needing milk unable to handle solid food.


God bless and guide you all in His will.





Thanks Sandi!  What you said reminded me of Gideon and his army.  God made him be very selective.


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