Acts 15:39
Parallel Verses
New International Version
They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,

New Living Translation
Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus.

English Standard Version
And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,

New American Standard Bible
And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

King James Bible
And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
There was such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus.

International Standard Version
The disagreement was so sharp that they parted ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus,

NET Bible
They had a sharp disagreement, so that they parted company. Barnabas took along Mark and sailed away to Cyprus,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Because of this dispute, they separated one from another. BarNaba took Marqus and traveled by sea and went to Cyprus.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Paul and Barnabas disagreed so sharply that they parted ways. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed to the island of Cyprus.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the contention was so sharp between them that they departed asunder one from the other, and so Barnabas took Mark and sailed unto Cyprus;

King James 2000 Bible
And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

American King James Version
And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed to Cyprus;

American Standard Version
And there arose a sharp contention, so that they parted asunder one from the other, and Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away unto Cyprus;

Douay-Rheims Bible
And there arose a dissension, so that they departed one from another; and Barnabas indeed taking Mark, sailed to Cyprus.

Darby Bible Translation
There arose therefore very warm feeling, so that they separated from one another; and Barnabas taking Mark sailed away to Cyprus;

English Revised Version
And there arose a sharp contention, so that they parted asunder one from the other, and Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away unto Cyprus;

Webster's Bible Translation
And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed, separating one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed to Cyprus.

Weymouth New Testament
So there arose a serious disagreement between them, which resulted in their parting from one another, Barnabas taking Mark and setting sail for Cyprus.

World English Bible
Then the contention grew so sharp that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away to Cyprus,

Young's Literal Translation
there came, therefore, a sharp contention, so that they were parted from one another, and Barnabas having taken Mark, did sail to Cyprus,
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 39. - There arose a sharp contention for the contention was so sharp between them, A.V. and T.R.; parted for departed, A.V.; so that for so sharp... that, A.V.; and Barnabas for and so Barnabas, A.V.; took Mark with him for took Mark, A.V.; sailed away for sailed, A.V. There arose a sharp contention, etc. The sense "between them" must be supplied, if the English word "contention" is used. The word παροξυσμός only occurs twice in the New Testament: once in Hebrews 10:24, in a good sense, "To provoke" (for a provocation) - " stimulate or excite" - " unto love and good works," which is its common classical sense; the other time in this passage, where the sense is attributed to it in which it is used in the LXX., as in Deuteronomy 29:28, Ἐν θυμῷ καὶ ὀργῇ καὶ παροξυσμῷ μεγάλῳ σφόδρα, "in great indignation;" and in Jeremiah 32:37 (39. 37, LXX.), coupled with the same words, ἐν παροξυσμῷ μεγάλῳ, "in great wrath;" answering to קֶצפin Hebrew. But it is more probable that St. Luke uses the word here in its common medical sense. In medical writers - Galen, Hippocrates, etc. - the παροξυσμός is equivalent to what we call an access, from the Latin aecessio, used by Celsus, when a disease of some standing takes a turn for the worse, comes to a height, and breaks out into its severest form. This is the sense in which our English word "paroxysm" is used. The meaning of the passage will then be that, after a good deal of uncomfortable feeling and discussion, the difference between Paul and Barnabas, instead of cooling down, broke out into such an acute form that Barnabas went off to Cyprus with Mark, leaving St. Paul to do what he pleased by himself. And Barnabas, etc. The R.V. is much more accurate. The consequence of the quarrel is said by St. Luke to have been that Barnabas took Mark off with him to Cyprus. The statement that Paul chose Silas is a separate and independent statement, as appears by Παῦλος (in the nominative) and ἐξῆλθε in the indicative mood. St. Luke's narrative quite sides with St. Paul, and throws the blame of the quarrel, or at least of the separation, upon Barnabas. Renan ('St. Paul,' p. 119) thinks St. Paul was too severe upon John Mark, and that it was ungrateful of him to break with one to whom he owed so much as he did to Barnabas for any cause of secondary importance. He also thinks that the real root of the quarrel lay in the constantly changing relations between the two apostles, aggravated by a domineering spirit in St. Paul. But the force of this censure turns upon the question whether it was a cause of secondary importance. If St. Paul had a single eye to the success of his mission, and judged that Mark would be a hindrance to it, it was a question of primary importance to "the work," and St. Paul was right. Renan also remarks upon the extinction of the fame of Barnabas consequent upon this separation from his more illustrious companion. "While Paul kept advancing to the heights of his glory, Barnabas, separated from the companion who had shed a portion of his own luster upon him, pursued his solitary course in obscurity." Sailed away. Cyprus was Barnabas's native country (Acts 4:36), and the scene of the earliest mission (Acts 11:19), and of Paul and Barnabas's first joint evangelistic labors (Acts 13:4). Barnabas would have many friends there, and could form plans at his leisure for his future action. The friendly mention of him in 1 Corinthians 9:6 shows both that he continued his disinterested labors as an apostle and that the estrangement between him and St. Paul had passed away. The paroxysm had yielded to the gentle treatment of charity.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And the contention was so sharp between them,.... About this matter; Barnabas insisting on it, that John Mark should go with them, he being a relation of his; and in whose favour it might be urged, that his mother Mary was an excellent good woman, who had received the saints into her house, in a time of persecution; and that it should be considered, that this her son was but a young man, and could not be thought to have that courage, resolution, constancy, and solidity, as older professors and ministers; and that his crime was not very heinous, and should be overlooked. Paul, on the other hand, opposing his going with them, as a very unworthy person, because he had behaved so cowardly, and had shown such a coldness and indifference to the work of the ministry, and had so shamefully left them; and thus they disputed the point till there was a paroxysm between them, as is the word used: they were irritated and provoked by one another, and were so warmed and heated on both sides,

that they departed asunder one from another; thus as soon almost as peace was made in the church, a difference arises among the ministers of the word, who are men of like passions with others; and though it is not easy to say which was to blame most in this contention; perhaps there were faults on both sides, for the best men are not without their failings; yet this affair was overruled by the providence of God, for the spread of his Gospel, and the enlargement of his interest; for when these two great and good men parted from one another, they went to different places, preaching the word of God:

and so Barnabas took Mark and sailed unto Cyprus;

See Gill on Acts 13:4.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

39. And the contention was so sharp between them—such was the "irritation," or "exacerbation."

that they departed asunder one from the other—Said they not truly to the Lystrians that they were "men of like passions with them"; (Ac 14:15). But who was to blame? (1) That John Mark had either tired of the work or shrunk from the dangers and fatigues that yet lay before them, was undeniable; and Paul concluded that what he had done he might, and probably would, do again. Was he wrong in this? (See Pr 25:19). But (2) To this Barnabas might reply that no rule was without exception; that one failure, in a young Christian, was not enough to condemn him for life; that if near relationship might be thought to warp his judgment, it also gave him opportunities of knowing the man better than others; and that as he was himself anxious to be allowed another trial (and the result makes this next to certain), in order that he might wipe out the effect of his former failure and show what "hardness he could now endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ," his petition ought not to be rejected. Now, since John Mark did retrieve his character in these respects, and a reconciliation took place between Paul and him, so cordial that the apostle expresses more than once the confidence he had in him and the value he set upon his services (Col 4:10, 11; 2Ti 4:11), it may seem that events showed Barnabas to be in the right, and Paul too harsh and hasty in his judgment. But, in behalf of Paul, it may well be answered, that not being able to see into the future he had only the unfavorable past to judge by; that the gentleness of Barnabas (Ac 4:36; 11:24) had already laid him open to imposition (see on [2028]Ga 2:13), to which near relationship would in this case make him more liable; and that in refusing to take John Mark on this missionary journey he was not judging his Christian character nor pronouncing on his fitness for future service, but merely providing in the meantime against being again put to serious inconvenience and having their hands weakened by a possible second desertion. On the whole, then, it seems clear that each of these great servants of—Christ had something to say for himself, in defense of the position which they respectively took up; that while Barnabas was quite able to appreciate the grounds on which Paul proceeded, Paul was not so competent to judge of the considerations which Barnabas probably urged; that while Paul had but one object in view, to see that the companion of their arduous work was one of thoroughly congenial spirit and sufficient nerve, Barnabas, over and above the same desire, might not unreasonably be afraid for the soul of his nephew, lest the refusal to allow him to accompany them on their journey might injure his Christian character and deprive the Church of a true servant of Jesus Christ; and that while both sought only the glory of their common Master, each looked at the question at issue, to some extent, through the medium of his own temperament, which grace sanctifies and refines, but does not destroy—Paul, through the medium of absolute devotion to the cause and kingdom of Christ, which, warm and womanly as his affections were, gave a tinge of lofty sternness to his resolves where that seemed to be affected; Barnabas, through the medium of the same singleness of heart in Christ's service, though probably not in equal strength (Ga 2:13), but also of a certain natural gentleness which, where a Christian relative was concerned, led him to attach more weight to what seemed for his spiritual good than Paul could be supposed to do. In these circumstances, it seems quite possible that they might have amicably "agreed to differ," each taking his own companion, as they actually did. But the "paroxysm" (as the word is), the "exacerbation" which is expressly given as the cause of their parting, shows but too plainly, that human infirmity amidst the great labors of the Church at Antioch at length sundered those who had sweetly and lovingly borne together the heat and burden of the day during a protracted tour in the service of Christ. "Therefore let no man glory in men" (1Co 3:21). As for John Mark, although through his uncle's warm advocacy of his cause he was put in a condition to dissipate the cloud that hung over him, how bitter to him must have ever afterwards been the reflection that it was his culpable conduct which gave occasion to whatever was sinful in the strife between Paul and Barnabas, and to a separation in action, though no doubt with a mutual Christian regard, between those who had till then wrought nobly together! How watchful does all this teach Christians, and especially Christian ministers and missionaries, to be against giving way to rash judgment and hot temper towards each other, especially where on both sides the glory of Christ is the ground of difference! How possible is it that in such cases both parties may, on the question at issue, be more or less in the right! How difficult is it even for the most faithful and devoted servants of Christ, differing as they do in their natural temperament even under the commanding influence of grace, to see even important questions precisely in the same light! And if, with every disposition to yield what is unimportant, they still feel it a duty each to stand to his own point, how careful should they be to do it lovingly, each pursuing his own course without disparagement of his Christian brother! And how affectingly does the Lord overrule such difference of judgment and such manifestations of human infirmity, by making them "turn out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel"; as in this case is eminently seen in the two missionary parties instead of one, not travelling over the same ground and carrying their dispute over all the regions of their former loving labors, but dividing the field between them!

and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas—(See on [2029]Ac 15:34)—going two and two, as the Twelve and the Seventy (Mr 6:7; Lu 10:1).

Acts 15:39 Additional Commentaries
Context
Paul's Second Missionary Journey
38But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.…
Cross References
Acts 4:36
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means "son of encouragement"),

Acts 12:12
When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.

Acts 15:37
Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,

Colossians 4:10
My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)

1 Peter 5:13
She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.
Treasury of Scripture

And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed to Cyprus;

the contention.

Acts 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation …

Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, …

Psalm 106:33 Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips.

Psalm 119:96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but your commandment is exceeding broad.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth, that does good, and sins not.

Romans 7:18-21 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: …

James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, …

and sailed.

Acts 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, …

Acts 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they …

Acts 13:4-12 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed to Seleucia; …

Acts 27:4 And when we had launched from there, we sailed under Cyprus, because …

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