there came, therefore, a sharp contention, so that they were parted from one another, and Barnabas having taken Mark, did sail to Cyprus,
Acts 15:39 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The contention was so sharp between them - For all this sentence, there is only in the Greek text εγενετο ουν παροξυσμος; there was therefore a paroxysm, an incitement, a stirring up, from παροξυνω, compounded of παρα, intensive, and οξυνω, to whet, or sharpen: there was a sharp contention. But does this imply anger or ill-will on either side? Certainly not. Here, these two apostles differed, and were strenuous, each in support of the part he had adopted. "Paul," as an ancient Greek commentator has it, "being influenced only with the love of righteousness; Barnabas being actuated by love to his relative." John Mark had been tried in trying circumstances, and he failed; Paul, therefore, would not trust him again. The affection of Barnabas led him to hope the best, and was therefore desirous to give him another trial. Barnabas would not give up: Paul would not agree. They therefore agreed to depart from each other, and take different parts of the work: each had an attendant and companion at hand; so Barnabas took John Mark, and sailed to Cyprus: Paul took Silas, and went into Syria. John Mark proved faithful to his uncle Barnabas; and Silas proved faithful to his master Paul. To all human appearance it was best that they separated; as the Churches were more speedily visited, and the work of God more widely and more rapidly spread. And why is it that most men attach blame to this difference between Paul and Barnabas? And why is it that this is brought in as a proof of the sinful imperfection of these holy apostles? Because those who thus treat the subject can never differ with another without feeling wrong tempers; and then, as destitute of good breeding as they are of humility, they attribute to others the angry, proud, and wrathful dispositions which they feel in themselves; and, because they cannot be angry and sin not, they suppose that even apostles themselves cannot. Thus, in fact, we are always bringing our own moral or immoral qualifications to be a standard, by which we are to judge of the characters and moral feelings of men who were actuated by zeal for God's glory, brotherly kindness, and charity. Should any man say there was sin in this contention between Paul and Barnabas, I answer, there is no evidence of this in the text. Should he say, the word παροξυσμος, paroxysm, denotes this, I answer, it does not. And the verb παροξυνομαι is often used in a good sense. So Isocrates ad Demosth. cap. xx. μαλιϚα δ' αν παροξυνθειης ορεχθηναι των καλων εργων· "But thou wilt be the more stirred up to the love of good works." And such persons forget that this is the very form used by the apostle himself, Hebrews 10:24 : και κατανοωμεν αλληλους εις παροξυσμον αγαπης και καλων εργων· which, these objectors would be highly displeased with me, were I to translate, Let us consider one another to an angry contention of love and good works. From these examples, it appears that the word is used to signify incitement of any kind; and, if taken in a medical sense, to express the burning fit of an ague: it is also taken to express a strong excitement to the love of God and man, and to the fruits by which such love can be best proved; and, in the case before us, there was certainly nothing contrary to this pure principle in either of those heavenly men. See also Kypke on Hebrews 10:24.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Acts 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas...
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews...
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: for to will is present with me...
James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Acts 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite...
Acts 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spoke to the Grecians, preaching the LORD Jesus.
Acts 13:4-12 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus...
Acts 27:4 And when we had launched from there, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
Acts 15:39 Parallel CommentariesArgument Asunder Barnabas Company Contention Cyprus Departed Disagreement Grew Mark Occurred Parted Parting Resulted Sail Sailed Separated Separating Serious Setting Sharp Ship WarmArgument Asunder Barnabas Company Contention Cyprus Departed Disagreement Grew Mark Occurred Parted Parting Resulted Sail Sailed Separated Separating Serious Setting Sharp Ship WarmTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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