Acts 15:39

A sharp contention (paroxusmo). Our very word paroxysm in English. Old word though only twice in the N.T. (here and Hebrews 10:24 ), from paroxunw, to sharpen (para, oxu) as of a blade and of the spirit ( Acts 17:16 ; 1 Corinthians 13:5 ). This "son of consolation" loses his temper in a dispute over his cousin and Paul uses sharp words towards his benefactor and friend. It is often so that the little irritations of life give occasion to violent explosions. If the incident in Galatians 2:11-21 had already taken place, there was a sore place already that could be easily rubbed. And if Mark also joined with Peter and Barnabas on that occasion, Paul had fresh ground for irritation about him. But there is no way to settle differences about men and we can only agree to disagree as Paul and Barnabas did. So that they parted asunder from one another (wste apocwrisqhnai autou ap allhlwn). Actual result here stated by wste and the first aorist passive infinitive of apocwrizw, old verb to sever, to separate, here only and Revelation 6:4 in the N.T. The accusative of general reference (autou) is normal. For construction with wste see Robertson, Grammar, pp. 999f. And Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus (ton te Barnaban paralabonta ton Markon ekpleusai ei Kupron). Second infinitival clause ekpleusai after wste connected by te. The same participle is used here minus sun, paralabonta (second aorist active). Barnabas and Mark sailed out (ekpleusai from ekplew) from the harbour of Antioch. This is the last glimpse that Luke gives us of Barnabas, one of the noblest figures in the New Testament. Paul has a kindly reference to him in 1 Corinthians 9:6 . No one can rightly blame Barnabas for giving his cousin John Mark a second chance nor Paul for fearing to risk him again. One's judgment may go with Paul, but one's heart goes with Barnabas. And Mark made good with Barnabas, with Peter ( 1 Peter 5:13 ) and finally with Paul ( Colossians 4:10 ; 2 Timothy 4:11 ). See my little book on John Mark (Making Good in the Ministry). Paul and Barnabas parted in anger and both in sorrow. Paul owed more to Barnabas than to any other man. Barnabas was leaving the greatest spirit of the time and of all times.