Tag Archives: Paul and Barnabas

The Pharisees Who Believed

In Acts 15:5 Luke mentions the sect of the Pharisees implying that at least some believed. How should we understand this? I have to admit that I am very unwilling to account these Jews as unbelievers when the text says they are among those who believed. Yet, they are not presented in a very good light in the Gospel narratives, and I am coming to understand that neither does Luke present the sect in a good light in the Book of Acts. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council


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The Jerusalem Council’s Verdict

Luke’s placement of the Jerusalem Council at about the center of his thesis tells us how important this event is. It is also only here that we find Paul, Barnabas, James and Peter together in one place at the same time. While Paul did visit with Peter and James on his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion in Acts 9, Luke doesn’t put them all together in one place until here, and according to Paul (Galatians 2:9), the apostle, John, was there too. So, what was done here was of key importance to the Gospel afterward. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council


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Barnabas and Paul in Iconium

When the missionary team was expelled from Pisidian Antioch by the civil rulers there, they traveled to Iconium and entered the local synagogue. An interesting point, at least to me, is that Luke doesn’t mention either Barnabas or Paul by name while they preached in Iconium. Luke refers to them always in the plural using the pronouns they or them, and once calls them apostles. In fact, if one reads only Luke’s record of the Iconium evangelistic effort without knowing what occurred before or afterward, the team would be anonymous. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Gospel, Paul First Missionary Journey


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Jewish Missionaries and God-Fearers

It may surprise some today to learn that the Jews exercised an impressive missionary effort among the gentiles of the first century CE. Hillel is considered to be one of the most beloved Pharisees of ancient Judaism, and he advocated that the Jews would “love your fellow-creatures, and draw them near to the Torah” [Babylonian Talmud: Seder – Nezikin: Avoth, chapter 1, Mishna 12]. Jesus himself accused the Pharisees of proselytizing the world to find one single disciple and then made him twice the son of hell as themselves (Matthew 23:15). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Paul First Missionary Journey


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Paul Preaches in Pisidian Antioch

It was probably during the Passover of 44CE that Paul and Barnabas were invited to speak to the people in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch. Paul rose up to speak, as he appears to have been spearheading the team’s evangelistic effort there. This city was the chosen home of Sergius Paulus and his family. The Roman governor of Cyprus was astonished with the power of the word of God, expressed through Paul (Acts 13:12) and no doubt had given him letters of introduction, to be presented to the Jewish elders of the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. This was the very synagogue where he worshiped before he was appointed governor of Cyprus, and it was where his family presently worshiped. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Gospel, Paul First Missionary Journey


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