Paul's Second Journey Lystra, Again

Antioch in Syria



Hills near Antioch

Paul returned to Antioch to report that the council in Jerusalem agreed that gentile Christians did not need to be circumcised. Paul asked Barnabas to join him in visiting the cities where he had spoken the word before. Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark, but Paul refused, since John Mark had abandoned them during the previous journey. Therefore, Barnabas and Paul parted ways. Barnabas and John Mark returned to Cyprus, while Paul and Silas departed for Asia.

Antioch was the congregation that had been most instrumental in outreach to gentiles. The agreement that gentiles did not need to be circumcised helped their effort. Although Acts 15:30-31 suggests that Paul brought a letter indicating that gentile Christians should keep some Jewish food laws, it is not clear that this was the case. Acts 21:25 indicates that Paul learned of this letter only later. Paul himself did not feel constrained to keep kosher. The disagreement between Paul and Barnabas occurred because John Mark previously left the missionary effort at Perga for some unknown reason and Paul considered him unreliable. Barnabas returned to Cyprus, perhaps because that was where he was from (Acts 4:36).

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