Acts 14:28

ESV And they remained no little time with the disciples.
NIV And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
NASB And they spent a long time with the disciples.
CSB And they spent a considerable time with the disciples.
NLT And they stayed there with the believers for a long time.
KJV And there they abode long time with the disciples.

What does Acts 14:28 mean?

Syrian Antioch is home to the first church with a significant number of Gentile believers who did not come to faith through Judaism (Acts 11:19–26). Paul and Barnabas have the privilege of serving there. After the elders of that church prayed and fasted, they determined the Holy Spirit wanted to spread Jesus' offer of salvation. The two left their home base and traveled to Cyprus and then the territory of Galatia in the center of modern-day Asia Minor (Acts 13:1–3).

In and near Galatia, they established churches in Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. In Pisidian Antioch, synagogue and city leaders ran them out of town. In Iconium, they fled after learning the townspeople had decided to stone them. In Lystra, the locals first wanted to honor Barnabas as Zeus and Paul as Hermes, but quickly turned against them when Jewish leaders from Antioch and Iconium convinced them to stone Paul (Acts 13—14).

For now, Paul and Barnabas can rest, catching up with their friends. Before too long, however, they will find their journey provides essential information for the church leadership in Jerusalem. When legalistic Jewish Jesus-followers from Judea arrive and try to convince the Gentiles of Syrian Antioch they must be circumcised, Paul and Barnabas return to Jerusalem. They give their eye-witness report to the apostles and James, Jesus' half-brother who is the pastor of the Jerusalem church. In their extensive travels, Paul and Barnabas never had to circumcise the Gentiles before the Holy Spirit came upon them. Peter affirms their testimony with a reminder of his experience with the centurion Cornelius (see Acts 10).

The Jerusalem leaders determine that Gentiles must not be forced to obey the Mosaic law per se. However, to maintain unity with their Jewish brothers and sisters (Romans 14:21), they should refrain from blood and food sacrificed to idols, as well as sexual immorality. James writes a letter to this effect (Acts 15:1–35).

When Paul and Barnabas prepare to revisit the churches in Galatia, they disagree over whether to take Barnabas' cousin, John Mark, who had abandoned them early on in their first journey. They will split, Paul taking James' message back to the Galatian churches while Barnabas takes Mark back to Cyprus (Acts 15:36–41). This trip from Jerusalem back to Syrian Antioch is likely the last time Paul and Barnabas travel together. Although Paul mentions Barnabas in his letters (1 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:1, 9, 13; Colossians 4:10), the "Son of Encouragement" (Acts 4:36) does not appear in the book of Acts again.
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