What does Acts 11:24 mean?
ESV: for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
NIV: He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
NASB: for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and faith. And considerable numbers were added to the Lord.
CSB: for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers of people were added to the Lord.
NLT: Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.
KJV: For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
NKJV: For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
Verse Commentary:
When the Jewish Jesus-followers fled Jerusalem in the face of extreme persecution, they spread the news about Jesus to Jews all over the eastern Mediterranean (Acts 8:1–4). Some from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Syrian Antioch and spoke to pagan Gentiles, as well. When the church in Jerusalem hear that Gentiles were coming to faith in Christ by the witness of lay-leaders, they send Barnabas to investigate (Acts 11:19–23).

We are first introduced to Barnabas in Jerusalem, in the very early years of the church. Jews from all over the Roman Empire tried to travel to Jerusalem whenever they could, often for feast days or so they could die in the City of David. Barnabas was a Levite from the island of Cyprus, which carries the same name today, south of modern-day Asia Minor. At some point, he came to Jerusalem and accepted Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and his personal savior.

Like many of the new foreign-born Jesus-followers, Barnabas stayed in Jerusalem to learn more from the apostles. And, like many others, he sold property to help support the church members. Barnabas quickly gained a reputation for his encouraging nature—so much so that the apostles called him "Barnabas" or "son of encouragement" rather than his given name of Joseph (Acts 4:36–37).

Barnabas has a significant influence on the spread of the news about Jesus to the Gentiles. When Saul came to Christ and tried to meet with the apostles in Jerusalem, only Barnabas had the courage to meet with him and determine if his conversion was real (Acts 9:26–27).

For now, Barnabas is in Syrian Antioch, encouraging the church and the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. Soon, he will realize the job is far too big for him. He will bring Saul to Antioch to help grow the church (Acts 11:25–26). Then the two of them will set off on a missionary trip to modern-day Asia Minor (Acts 13—14). In their first stop, in Barnabas' home of Cyprus, the "son of encouragement" will let the former church-persecutor take the lead and rescue a proconsul from the clutches of a magician. "Saul" will take on the Greek version of his name, "Paul," and Barnabas will watch his protégé become the most significant evangelist in history.
Verse Context:
Acts 11:19–26 continues the inauguration of the international church. While Peter is in Caesarea Maritima leading a houseful of Gentiles to faith in Jesus (Acts 10) and then in Jerusalem explaining that Jesus has come to the Gentiles (Acts 11:1–18), the church has already spread far north to Syrian Antioch. The Jesus-followers who fled Saul's persecution in Jerusalem took Jesus' story with them (Acts 8:1–4). Some, from Cyprus and Cyrene, taught Gentiles. If they, Jews who lived within the Greco/Roman culture, could worship Jesus, why couldn't their Gentile friends? This is exactly what Jesus intended in Acts 1:8.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 11 accelerates the journey of the message of Jesus into the Gentile world. Peter returns to Jerusalem and explains to the church leaders how the Holy Spirit has fallen on a group of Gentiles in Caesarea Maritima (Acts 11:1–18). Then the church hears how Gentiles are coming to faith far north in Syrian Antioch; they send Barnabas to investigate and Barnabas brings in Saul (Acts 11:19–26). Finally, prophets travel from Jerusalem to Antioch to request aid for the Jerusalem church (Acts 11:27–30). The scene is almost set for Paul's extensive evangelism career to begin.
Chapter Context:
Until the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:54–60), the story of Jesus' followers remained mostly in Jerusalem. Saul started persecuting the church and the members fled, taking Jesus' story with them. This included Philip who shared Jesus' story with Samaritans and an Ethiopian official (Acts 8). Saul's persecution even led to his own conversion (Acts 9). And Peter brought the gospel to a group of Gentiles (Acts 10). After one more story about Peter and rising persecution by the Roman government, the book of Acts will turn to Saul, who will use the Greek variation of his name, Paul, and his missionary journeys to southeast Europe.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/24/2024 9:31:09 PM
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