Acts 12:25

ESV And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
NIV When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.
NASB And Barnabas and Saul returned when they had fulfilled their mission to Jerusalem, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.
CSB After they had completed their relief mission, Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem, taking along John who was called Mark.
NLT When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission to Jerusalem, they returned, taking John Mark with them.
KJV And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

What does Acts 12:25 mean?

Scholars believe the events of Acts 12:1–24 occurred at the same time as Acts 11:29, with verse 30 being the end of Agabus' story. That would mean Barnabas and Paul didn't go to Jerusalem until after King Agrippa I was dead. John Mark lived in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) and would have been present for many of the events in chapter 12 as Peter came to his mother's house.

There is some debate about the direction of Barnabas and Paul. Some interpretations describe the action "from Jerusalem" and others "to Jerusalem," as the Greek preposition eis is sometimes hard to translate. If Barnabas and Paul are going to Jerusalem, their "service" was to collect funds for the church in Jerusalem. If they are leaving Jerusalem, the task is to deliver those funds (Acts 11:27–30). Either way, they collect the funds in Syrian Antioch, take them to Jerusalem, and return to Antioch with John Mark. For Paul and Barnabas, this is the transition from Acts 11:30 to Acts 13:1. For Mark, it's the transition from Acts 12:12 to Acts 13:4.

This verse is like a door's hinge, connecting yet distinguishing two parts of the book of Acts. Very little is said hereafter about the apostles. They are mentioned in chapter 15, but in a meeting necessitated by questions Barnabas and Paul have about Gentile believers. James, the half-brother of Jesus, and other church leaders meet Paul in Acts 21:17–26, before his arrest. But this verse marks the end of the emphasis on the apostles and Jerusalem and the transition to Paul and his ministry to the Gentiles.

After Barnabas and Paul return to Syrian Antioch, the Holy Spirit will choose them to spread Jesus' story to the Gentiles of the northern Mediterranean (Acts 13:1–3). They will take Barnabas' cousin John Mark on their first missionary journey, but he will barely start before he returns home (Acts 13:13). In their journey, they will visit the island of Cyprus and modern-day Asia Minor, from the south-central coast up into the heart of the peninsula before they return to Syrian Antioch. Acts 14:27 gives the summary of their trip: "And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles."
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