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People of the Bible: Barnabas

Who was Barnabas?

Barnabas was not one of Jesus’s twelve disciples, but he did play a major role in the New Testament and early church. We first see Barnabas in Acts 4 where he had sold everything he had and gave it to the disciples so they could use it for ministry. It was clear from early on that Barnabas was all in for God and willing to do whatever God led him to.

After this, we eventually see Barnabas team up with Paul on missionary journeys. They would go far and wide preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus. They would travel and establish churches for all the people that put their faith in Jesus. Barnabas played a critical role in these endeavors because he was a great encourager. Barnabas was not even his real name. He was given this name as a nickname. Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement”, and the other apostles gave him this name based on his heart to give and serve others continuously. Without men and women like Barnabas, ministry would not be possible.

Throughout his life, Barnabas served and led in different situations. While he was with Paul, he served as an encourager and a helper. After he and Paul parted ways, John Mark joined Barnabas. In this situation Barnabas served as more of a leader / mentor. Based on the circumstances, Barnabas could take a step back and help, or step up and lead, but he was always encouraging. He gave his entire life towards serving God. It shows us that we can be useful in any situation and should always keep a servant's heart.

It is no coincidence that the Holy Spirit is often described as a comforter, encourager, or a helper. These are things that everyone needs, and people like Barnabas are a joy to be around. We should learn from Barnabas and seek to encourage the people around us to be everything God wants them to be.

Service to men and to God is a vital part of human existence. Having a humble heart helps us encourage and serve other people. We see this clearly with Barnabas, but even more so with Jesus. Jesus came to earth not to be served as a king, but to serve as a servant. He gave his life as a sacrifice so that anyone who would believe in him would have eternal life. If the son of God was called to serve other people, surely we are too.

Key Takeaways:

  • Be Encouraging

  • Help Someone Else

  • Live for God

Parents, 3treesKIDS will also be learning about Barnabas this Sunday, both in-person and online.

Be sure to check out their lesson at

To find service times and locations, visit


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