Acts 11:25

ESV So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
NIV Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
NASB And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul;
CSB Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul,
NLT Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul.
KJV Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

What does Acts 11:25 mean?

When Jesus-followers from the island of Cyprus fled persecution in Jerusalem, some of them traveled north to Syrian Antioch. There, they shared the message of Jesus with other Jews. Some, however, also shared the truth about Jesus with pagan Gentiles. When the news reached Jerusalem, the church leaders knew they needed to determine what, exactly, was going on (Acts 11:19–22). They also knew who to send: Barnabas, the great encourager who happens to be from Cyprus (Acts 4:36–37).

Barnabas is qualified in several ways. He is from Cyprus, he has a welcoming heart, he is courageous, and he has great discernment. He proves this with his interactions with Saul. Saul had been a young Pharisee-in-training when he became aware of the "heretical" Jewish sect that taught a teacher from Galilee was the Jewish Messiah and had raised from the dead. Saul viciously persecuted the church, driving members from Jerusalem. When Saul traveled to Damascus to arrest what Jesus-followers he could find there, he met Jesus, instead, and repented of his violence (Acts 9:1–25). But when he returned to Jerusalem to meet the apostles, only Barnabas had the courage to meet with him and discern that his conversion was genuine (Acts 9:26–27).

Saul gained a Savior but didn't lose his zealous nature. He debated so fervently that Jesus is the Messiah that the foreign-born Jews in Jerusalem started planning to kill him. The apostles realized he was in danger and sent him home to Tarsus (Acts 9:28–30).

Tarsus is quite close to Antioch. So, when Barnabas finds he needs help guiding the new church in Antioch, he goes looking for the man whose persecution inadvertently led to its creation.
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