Acts 11:30

ESV And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
NIV This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
NASB And they did this, sending it with Barnabas and Saul to the elders.
CSB They did this, sending it to the elders by means of Barnabas and Saul.
NLT This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.
KJV Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

What does Acts 11:30 mean?

Less than fifteen years prior, Jesus commissioned the apostles to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the world (Acts 1:8). For several years, they shared the story of His resurrection and offer of reconciliation with God in Jerusalem. The church grew to several thousand, including many who had come from other nations and stayed to learn more. To feed everyone, those who could gave what they had (Acts 2:42–47). One of these was a man named Barnabas (Acts 4:34–37).

The young church gained some negative attention from the Jewish leaders, but their generosity and the apostles' healing ability made them popular with the people. Tensions rose, however, and eventually Stephen was murdered while Saul, a young Pharisee-in-training, watched (Acts 7:54–60). Saul started a massive persecution of Jesus-followers in Jerusalem and beyond that lasted until Jesus, Himself, confronted him. Saul repented and came to faith in Jesus. In Jerusalem, despite the fear of the apostles, Barnabas stepped up to mentor the young believer (Acts 8:1–3; 9:1–30).

Now, Barnabas and Saul are in Syrian Antioch, 300 miles north of Jerusalem. They are leading a church filled with Jews and Gentiles—a church started by Jesus-followers who fled Saul's persecution in Jerusalem. Prophets have arrived from Jerusalem warning of a coming famine. The believers in Antioch determine to send financial support to those in Jerusalem. It's time for Barnabas and Saul to report to the elders of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 11:1–29).

This is the first time elders are mentioned in the context of church leadership. In Jewish culture, elders were often prominent businessmen who acted as judges among the people; the Sanhedrin included priests, elders, and scribes (see Matthew 16:21). Elders in the church are responsible for governing the church (1 Peter 5:1–4), settling disputes (Acts 15:1–2), praying over the sick (James 5:14), and teaching (1 Timothy 3:2). More qualifications for church elders are given in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5–9.

It's tricky to reconcile the narrative in Luke's book of Acts with the events Paul later mentions in his letters. It's tempting to think the events of Galatians 2:1–10 occurred at this time, but the "fourteen years" of verse 1 is awkward. Josephus records the famine happening in AD 45—48, and Herod Agrippa I's death, recorded in Acts 12:20–23, occurred in AD 44. Jesus ascended in AD 30 or 33, and Paul's conversion occurred some years later. So, Galatians 2:1–10 probably doesn't refer to this trip, although it may refer to the trip Paul and Barnabas made after their first missionary journey (Acts 15:1–35).
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