Acts 11:25
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
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(25) Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus.—The act is every way significant. It indicates the assurance that Saul would approve of the work which had been going on at Antioch, and the confident belief that he was the right person to direct and organise it. It probably implies also some intercourse with the Apostle, by letter or message, since his departure from Jerusalem. In the absence of any direct record, we can only infer that Saul had remained at Tarsus, carrying on his occupation as a tent-maker (Acts 18:3), and preaching the gospel there and in the neighbouring cities of Cilicia (see Note on Acts 15:41) “to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.” It is clear that he must have heard of the grace of God that had been manifested at Antioch with great joy, and accepted the invitation to join in the work there with a ready gladness.

Acts 11:25-26. Then departed Barnabas — Namely, after some abode at Antioch, perceiving, probably, that he wanted an assistant in his labours; to Tarsus, to seek Saul — Whose departure thither was mentioned, chap. Acts 9:30. And finding him there — According to his expectation, he gave him, it seems, such an account of the state of things at Antioch, and such a view of the extensive usefulness which appeared to present itself there, that he prevailed with him to accompany him at his return to that populous and celebrated city. Probably he judged, that since he was by country a Greek, though by descent a Hebrew of the Hebrews, he would be peculiarly fit to assist him in his great work, especially considering, on the one hand, his accomplishments as a scholar, and, on the other, his extraordinary conversion and eminent piety and zeal. And, continuing there a whole year, they taught much people — Instructed them in the doctrines, privileges, and duties of Christianity. And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch — A title that was really an honour to them, and by which, from this time, they were generally denominated, being before termed Nazarenes and Galileans.

11:25-30 Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ's precepts and example. Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian to whom it does not rightly belong. But the name without the reality will only add to our guilt. While the bare profession will bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of it will give both the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget other names and distinctions, and love one another as the followers of Christ ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethren under afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to the praise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians, how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earth would be like one large family, every member of which would strive to be dutiful and kind.Then departed ... - Why Barnabas sought Saul is not known. It is probable, however, that it was owing to the remarkable success which he had in Antioch. There was a great revival of religion, and there was need of additional labor. In such times the ministers of the gospel need additional help, as men in harvest-time need the aid of others. Saul was in this vicinity Acts 9:30, and he was eminently suited to assist in this work. With him Barnabas was well acquainted Acts 9:27, and probably there was no other one in that vicinity whose help he could obtain.

To Tarsus - See the notes on Acts 9:11.

Ac 11:25, 26. Barnabas, Finding the Work in Antioch Too Much for Him, Goes to Tarsus for Saul—They Labor There Together for a Whole Year with Much Success, and Antioch Becomes the Honored Birthplace of the Term Christian.

25. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus for to seek Saul—Of course, this was after the hasty despatch of Saul to Tarsus, no doubt by Barnabas himself among others, to escape the fury of the Jews at Jerusalem. And as Barnabas was the first to take the converted persecutor by the hand and procure his recognition as a disciple by the brethren at Jerusalem (Ac 9:27), so he alone seems at that early period to have discerned in him those peculiar endowments by virtue of which he was afterwards to eclipse all others. Accordingly, instead of returning to Jerusalem, to which, no doubt, he sent accounts of his proceedings from time to time, finding that the mine in Antioch was rich in promise and required an additional and powerful hand to work, he leaves it for a time, takes a journey to Tarsus, "finds Saul" (seemingly implying—not that he lay hid [Bengel], but that he was engaged at the time in some preaching circuit—see on [1996]Ac 15:23), and returns with him to Antioch. Nor were his hopes disappointed. As co-pastors, for the time being, of the Church there, they so labored that the Gospel, even in that great and many-sided community, achieved for itself a name which will live and be gloried in as long as this world lasts, as the symbol of all that is most precious to the fallen family of man:—"The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." This name originated not within, but without, the Church; not with their Jewish enemies, by whom they were styled "Nazarenes" (Ac 24:5), but with the heathen in Antioch, and (as the form of the word shows) with the Romans, not the Greeks there [Olshausen]. It was not at first used in a good sense (as Ac 26:28; 1Pe 4:16 show), though hardly framed out of contempt (as De Wette, Baumgarten, &c.); but as it was a noble testimony to the light in which the Church regarded Christ—honoring Him as their only Lord and Saviour, dwelling continually on His name, and glorying in it—so it was felt to be too apposite and beautiful to be allowed to die.

Saul, or Paul, being Barnabas’s friend and acquaintance, whom Barnabas had brought to the knowledge of the apostles, Acts 9:27; he goes now to seek him, that they might advise and strengthen one another in the work of the Lord.

Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus,.... "In Cilicia" to seek Saul; who had been sent thither by the brethren that he might escape the rage of the Grecians, who sought to slay him, Acts 9:29. {6} Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

(6) There was no contention amongst the apostles, either with regard to usurping, or with regard to holding places of degree.

Acts 11:25. Luke gives no reason why Barnabas goes to seek Saul, but Barnabas who had already vouched for Saul’s sincerity before the Church of Jerusalem, Acts 9:27, could scarcely be ignorant that the sphere of his friend’s future work was to be the Gentile world. In Acts 9:30 Saul was sent away to Tarsus, and now Barnabas goes to Tarsus to seek him; each statement is the complement of the other, and a long period intervenes not marked by any critical event in Saul’s history. So also Paul’s own statement, Galatians 1:21-22, marks the same period, and the two writers complete each other. Ramsay, St. Paul, pp. 45, 46, on Luke’s style and reading in [244] above.—ἀναζητὴσαι, cf. Luke 2:44-45, nowhere else in N.T., a word therefore not only common to, but peculiar to Luke’s writings.—ἀνά: giving idea of thoroughness; it was not known at what precise spot Saul was prosecuting his work, so the word implies effort or thoroughness in the search; εὑρὼν implies the same uncertainty. In LXX, cf. Job 3:4; Job 10:6, 2Ma 13:21. Calvin comments on the fresh proof of the “simplicitas” of Barnabas; he might have retained the chief place at Antioch, but he goes for Paul: “videmus ergo ut sui oblitus nihil aliud spectat, nisi ut emineat unus Christus”.

[244] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

25. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus] The oldest MSS. omit “Barnabas.” Read, “And he went forth to Tarsus.”

for to seek Saul] that he, to whom the Lord had appeared, and who had been marked as a “chosen vessel” (Acts 9:15) to bear the name of Christ before the Gentiles, might come with him to share in this new work of preaching to the Gentiles at Antioch.

Verse 25. - And he went forth for then departed Barnabas, A.V. and T.R.; to seek for, for for to seek, A.V. Observe the remarkable providence which had made use of the violence of the Hellenist Jews at Jerusalem to drive Saul to Tarsus, where he would be close at hand to take up the work so unexpectedly prepared for him at Antioch. "It was in the spring of the year A.D. , or just ten years after the Crucifixion, that Barnabas proceeded to Tarsus, found Saul, and brought him to Antioch" (Lewin, 1:96). From Seleucia to the port of Tarsus would be about a twelve hours' sail; or, by land, a journey of about eighty miles would bring him to Tarsus from Antioch. Acts 11:25To seek (ἀναζητῆσαι)

Strictly, like our "hunt up" (ἀνά).

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