|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:19-24 The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution; thus what was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God. What should the ministers of Christ preach, but Christ? Christ, and him crucified? Christ, and him glorified? And their preaching was accompanied with the Divine power. The hand of the Lord was with them, to bring that home to the hearts and consciences of men, which they could but speak to the outward ear. They believed; they were convinced of the truth of the gospel. They turned from a careless, carnal way of living, to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life. They turned from worshipping God in show and ceremony, to worship him in the Spirit and in truth. They turned to the Lord Jesus, and he became all in all with them. This was the work of conversion wrought upon them, and it must be wrought upon every one of us. It was the fruit of their faith; all who sincerely believe, will turn to the Lord, When the Lord Jesus is preached in simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, he will give success; and when sinners are thus brought to the Lord, really good men, who are full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, will admire and rejoice in the grace of God bestowed on them. Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.
Verse 24. - A good man. The predominant idea in ἀγαθός is simply "goodness," moral excellence. So in Matthew 19:16, "Good Master." To which our Lord answers, "There is none good but One." In Luke 23:50 Joseph of Arimathaea is ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς καὶ δίκαιος, "a good man and a righteous." In Matthew 5:45 πονηροὶ καὶ ἀγαθοί, "the evil and the good," are contrasted. In classical Greek the common phrase, καλὸς κἀγαθός, describes an honorable and good man. It is pleasing to read this testimony from Luke, Paul's companion and friend, Full of the Holy Ghost and of faith. So Stephen is described (Acts 6:5) as "full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit is spoken of in both places as a Spirit of power and demonstration in preaching the Word. No reason is apparent why the R.T., having altered Ghost to Spirit in Acts 6:5, retains Ghost here. Much people, etc.; the direct consequence of the energy of the Holy Ghost in Barnabas's ministry.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For he was a good man,.... He had the grace of God wrought in his soul, and did good works; he was very kind, and generous, and charitable; he sold what land he had, and gave the money to the apostles, for the use of the community, Acts 4:37
and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith; he was full of the several graces of the Spirit, and particularly of faith; and he was full of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and of the faith of miracles; he was full of the doctrine of faith, and of spiritual gifts for the preaching of it: the same character is given of Stephen, Acts 6:5
and much people was added unto the Lord; by the means of Barnabas, through his ministry, and the exercise of those gifts he was full of; so the Arabic version, "and he drew a large multitude to the Lord".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. For he was a good man—The sense of "good" here is plainly "large-hearted," "liberal-minded," rising above narrow Jewish sectarianism, and that because, as the historian adds, he was "full of the Holy Ghost and of faith."
and much people were added unto the Lord—This proceeding of Barnabas, so full of wisdom, love, and zeal, was blessed to the great increase of the Christian community in that important city.
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