The Heart Behind the Name


Barnabas is a name that is very often found on the lips of believers, and with good reason.

From what we read of him in the New Testament, he was a pretty amazing man. He was one of Paul’s travelling companions and is listed often as one of the faithful brethren. Perhaps, what sets him apart most of all though, is that in the book of Acts he is called the “son of encouragement.” What a wonderful description for this man!

The Bible uses the word “son” to refer to a source or sphere, but when used with the word “of,” it is used to refer to that which identifies a man. This man Barnabas, was known as an encourager, he lived in encouragement to others.

Here is the amazing thing though, the name by which we know him, Barnabas, is not really his name. In Acts 4:36 we are told that his given name was Joseph. The apostles are the ones that called him “Bar–Nabas” – a compound Hebrew word that means “son of encouragement.” In other words, this man Joseph, lived such a life of encouragement to others, that his encouraging life actually became his name. He was such a son of encouragement, that his name became son of encouragement – Barnabas.

Oh if only all of us in the church would seek to live such an encouraging life to other! What would it look like if we all sought to be such encouragers? What if we so lived that the world changed all of our names to Barnabas? Wow! We would really turn the world upside down, wouldn’t we?

Each week, Pastor Frank sends several short, encouraging videos to his circle of friends.
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