|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:36-41 Here we have a private quarrel between two ministers, no less than Paul and Barnabas, yet made to end well. Barnabas wished his nephew John Mark to go with them. We should suspect ourselves of being partial, and guard against this in putting our relations forward. Paul did not think him worthy of the honour, nor fit for the service, who had departed from them without their knowledge, or without their consent: see ch.
Verse 38. - Take with them him for take him with them, A.V.; withdrew for departed, A.V. Withdrew. The Greek word ἀποστάντα (from which comes the substantive apostasy) is a strong one, and denotes decided blame, as does the indication of the opposite course, by way of contrast, which he did not take. "He did not go with them to the work" to which God called them, as he ought to have done. The whole phrase, too, which follows is strongly worded. "Paul thought good," as regards one who had turned back from the work, "not to take that man." The μὴ συμπαραλαβεῖν of ver. 38 is, as Meyer observes, sharply opposed to the συμπαραλαβεῖν of ver. 37. Luke evidently sides strongly with Paul, and almost reproduces the ipsis-sima verba of the "sharp contention." One would infer that this passage was penned by Luke before the reconciliation which appears in 2 Timothy 4:11, and that we have here an indication of the early date of the publication of "The Acts." Perhaps also there is an indication in the narrative, coupled with Mark's subsequent attach-merit to Peter, that Mark rather leant at this time to Judaizing views, and that his previous departure "from the work" was partly owing to a want of complete sympathy with St. Paul's doctrine. St. Paul would have no half-hearted helper in his grand and arduous work.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Paul thought not good to take him with them,.... He did not think him worthy, or a fit and proper person to go with them, as the word used seems to signify, and therefore he refused to take him: the Syriac version renders it, "but Paul would not take him with them"; and, the Ethiopic version is very expressive, though it renders it in softer language, "Paul prayed, or entreated Barnabas that he would leave Mark"; that is, behind them at Antioch: his reasons were as follow:
who departed from them from Pamphylia; see Gill on Acts 13:13; either through the fatigue of the journey, or fear of danger, or weariness in his work, or affection to his mother; or be it what it will, it seems in the apostle's opinion of the matter, he was very blameworthy, and on account of it very undeserving, at least at present, of being a companion of theirs in their travels:
and went not with them to the work; the Arabic version adds, "of preaching"; that is, the Gospel, in the several places whither they went, and to which the Holy Ghost had called them, and for which the church at Antioch had separated, and sent them forth; but in the midst of this John deserted them; and which the apostle resented, he having, as yet, not given any evidence of his sense of his evil, and of his repentance for it, to his satisfaction; though it seems as if he afterwards did, since in Colossians 4:10 he speaks of him with great respect, as one of his fellow workers, and who had been a comfort to him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38. But Paul thought not good to take him with them who departed from them—that is, who had departed; but the word is stronger than this—"who stood aloof" or "turned away" from them.
from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work—the work yet before them. The allusion is to what is recorded in Ac 13:13 (see on Ac 13:13).
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