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April 28 , 2010

Barnabas vs. Paul

To Encourage or Confront?


Who were Barnabas and Paul? Was Paul an angry loner, misogynist, legalist, and curmudgeon, or hero and martyr? Through point and counterpoint, the author unravels Paul's message by looking at his relationship with Barnabas. The result is a fresh portrait of the Paul we only think we know and Barnabas an otherwise unheralded apostle.

When the Church cannot condemn or kill a leader who upsets the status quo, it either canonizes the individual and controls his image (as with Paul) or pushes him off into relative obscurity (as with Barnabas). Paul and Barnabas started out as inseparable, close friends and colleagues until a conflict tore them apart. Barnabas of Cyprus faded into relative obscurity, while Paul of Tarsus became, apart from Jesus himself, the most influential figure in the history of Christianity and, arguably, the most maligned. By exploring their common journey, we can move beyond myths and assumptions. Theirs was a partnership that, quite literally, changed the world.

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Biblical authors seized imagery drawn from everyday life and redeployed it in the service of divine revelation. But today’s readers are not familiar with many of these once-common illustrations. The distance in time, place, and culture between the Bible’s first recipients and people today often mutes the rhetorical impact of such images. Students…

The book contains study questions for individual or group study. 

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