News of this [Jews and Gentiles following Jesus in Antioch] reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Do we know why Barnabas brought Paul to Antioch?
My theory that I want to test here is: Barnabas saw this as an opportunity for both Paul and the church in Antioch to grow. Consider:
- Barnabas was known for encouraging Acts 4:36-37 which meant that he was able to recognise Paul's gifts.
- Being in Antioch was clearly a pivotal experience for Barnabas and Paul (see eg Acts 13:2 and 14:26).
- Paul (and Barnabas) went on to spread the Gospel all over the known world.
Did then Barnabas deliberately invite Paul to Antioch to help him to grow? If so, in which gifts? Teaching? (See Acts 13:1) Leadership?