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,

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;

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

Acts 15:39 Parallel
Clarke'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

the contention.

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.

and sailed.

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.

The Breaking Out of Discord
'And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles:
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

A Message from the Crowned Christ
(Revelation, Chapters ii and iii) "The glory of love is brightest when the glory of self is dim, And they have the most compelled me who most have pointed to Him. They have held me, stirred me, swayed me,--I have hung on their every word, Till I fain would arise and follow, not them, not them,--but their Lord!"[64] Patmos Spells Patience. Patience is strength at its strongest, using all its strength in holding back from doing something. Patience is love at flood pleading with strength to hold steady
by S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation

The Figurative Language of Scripture.
1. When the psalmist says: "The Lord God is a sun and shield" (Psa. 84:11), he means that God is to all his creatures the source of life and blessedness, and their almighty protector; but this meaning he conveys under the figure of a sun and a shield. When, again, the apostle James says that Moses is read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day (Acts 15:21), he signifies the writings of Moses under the figure of his name. In these examples the figure lies in particular words. But it may be embodied
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Council at Jerusalem.
(Comp. § 34, pp. 835 sqq. and 346 sq.) The most complete outward representation of the apostolic church as a teaching and legislative body was the council convened at Jerusalem in the year 50, to decide as to the authority of the law of Moses, and adjust the difference between Jewish and Gentile Christianity. [743] We notice it here simply in its connection with the organization of the church. It consisted not of the apostles alone, but of apostles, elders, and brethren. We know that Peter,
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

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.

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