Barnabas and Saul – Barnabas Chief Preacher
In the Bible, we read a lot about Paul and Barnabas, but they didn’t begin with the former being the main speaker of the team. In the beginning, it describes them as Barnabas and Saul. How did they end up as such?
How and why did Saul become Paul? And why later, the Lord refers to them as Paul and Barnabas making the former the chief speaker?
Barnabas, having preached to the Gentiles at Antioch, but now he is on a quest to find Saul of Tarsus.
“Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul,” (Acts 11:25).
Later, he found Saul and brought him to Antioch. There they lived for a whole year teaching the people the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Which Name Describes Barnabas and Saul First in Antioch?
Note what Barnabas and Saul did. They assembled with members of the assembly of Christians in Antioch.
Have you ever observed that whenever certain Christians visit any new city or town, one of the first things they desire to learn is the location of the nearest branch of the local church that they attend?
Whether it is a Seventh-Day Adventist, Church of God, or Baptist but they always want to know the location of their local church.
Barnabas and Saul did a similar thing. They “assembled themselves with the church” in Antioch Acts 11:26.
When Barnabas “found [Saul], he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught [many] people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch,” (Acts 11:26).
Additionally, wherever the disciples of Jesus go they would teach. Barnabas was at Antioch and he taught.
Apostle Philip went down to Samaria and he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Samaritans. Many believed and received salvation.
Wherever the Apostles of Jesus Went they Would do This
Peter came to Joppa and he taught, and now Barnabas and Saul were in Antioch teaching.
Isn’t it interesting that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch during the time both Saul and Barnabas were there teaching?
“And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch,” (Acts 11:27).
Why was Antioch becoming the hub of religion in those days? To the extent that prophets left Jerusalem and traveled to Antioch.
What is the importance of the following verse?
“And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar,” (Acts 11:28).
How to Identify a Prophet of the Lord God?
If the words of a prophet don’t come to pass, he spoke on his own volition. The Lord God didn’t instruct him to speak, (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
But, Agabus’ words came true. Therefore, with reference to Saul (Paul), his prophesy about him will come to pass. Therefore, we know that the Lord had spoken to Him.
Is this Agabus the same prophet discussed in Acts 21:10?
Why was there a need to send “relief” to the “brethren” of “Judaea”? Did something happen? What happened? Or was this “relief” for the poor saints living in Judaea?
“Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea,” (Acts 11:29).
This was a free-will offering to them. These brethren decided on the extent of their gifts. Why?
The Barnabas and Saul Two-Man Team
However, all the relief was delivered by Barnabas and Saul. Was this money? Or was it cash and kind?
Observe too the first usage of the pair: Barnabas and Saul. Note how the Scripture placed Barnabas before Saul.
This is important because Barnabas, at this time, is the senior Believer. Not that he is older than Saul that’s not what I’m talking about.
He’s a more experienced Christian, for he has been a follower of Jesus Christ for much longer than Saul.
“Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul,” (Acts 11:30).
Consequently, from this point onwards, in Scriptures, Barnabas will appear most times before Saul when the Bible mentions both together.
However, soon we will observe a change in status. The Bible places Saul before Barnabas after the Lord promotes the former.
Nevertheless, there is no explicit narrative that informs us of this. Consequently, it’s easy to miss and many Christians have missed it for years.
The next time the Bible mentions them is in Acts 12:25. This is the last Scripture before the Lord calls, separates (consecrates), promotes, and sends them into His ministry.
First, He makes them aware of their celestial calling.
He says: “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them,” (Acts 13:2).
What Does a Name-Change for Saul Signify?
Next, the Lord consecrates or separates them exclusively for His ministry. Then, the Lord sends them to fulfill their calling.
However, we shall soon realize that Saul, like many before him, also experienced a change of name. Now, his new name is Paul.
“Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,” (Acts 13:9).
The Lord promotes him after he consecrates him but, we weren’t aware of it then until now.
Nevertheless, this is not a new notion or practice with the Lord. He did it before. Before he promoted Abram to “father of many nations” he changed his name to Abraham (Genesis 17:5).
Saul got a Name-Change and a Promotion from the Lord
Similarly, the Lord renamed Jacob from Supplanter or Trickster to Israel, then He promoted him, (Genesis 32:25-28).
Finally, before the Lord promotes Saul he changed his name. He upgrades him from persecutor to apostle.
So, Saul got a name change and a promotion from the Lord. As a result, he was no longer Saul of Tarsus, or Saul the Persecutor of the Church, but Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ.
This latter tile, he will utilize in many of his epistles to the church.
Consequently, he starts most of his letters to the Church expressing this. Therefore, to the Christian, Roman, Church he begins thus, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,” (Romans 1:1).
Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ
To the Corinthians, to the Galatians: “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ ….” (Galatians 1:1).
Finally, to the Ephesians Church: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 1:1).
Paul knew that the Lord God had promoted him from persecutor to apostle and he embraced his promotion.
Finally, we know that the Lord God promoted Paul over Barnabas because now the Scripture puts Paul before Barnabas from this point on. He became the main preacher in their two-man team.
Therefore, we read: “And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker,” (Acts 14:12).
In closing, Jesus has changed your name and status. And he has promoted you. You were without God and Christ in the world. An uncircumcised Gentile! Now you’re a son of God by His Spirit.
But Jesus Christ died for your sins. He has made you a son so now you can say Abba; father. Now act like one. Speak like a son of God. Live like as a son of God. Allow your lifestyle to glorify and honor the holy name, Jesus.