v30 They sent the men off on their journey and the men went to Antioch. They gathered the members of the church there together. Then, they gave the letter to the members. v31 The people read it. And they were happy because the message encouraged them. v32 Judas and Silas were prophets. And they said many things that encouraged the believers. What they said made the believers’ faith strong. v33 Judas and Silas stayed in Antioch for some time. Then the believers there sent the men off on their journey in peace. They blessed the men. The men intended to return to the people who had sent them. v34 [But Silas decided to stay in Antioch.] v35 Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. There, they and many other men taught the Lord’s message and they preached it.
Verses 30-33 The members of the church in Antioch were very happy. They were happy because they did not have to become Jews. And this meant that they did not need to receive circumcision. They accepted the 4 rules. They did not argue about them. Perhaps already they were not doing those things that they should not do.
Judas and Silas also encouraged the believers. That is what real prophets do for the church. They speak words from God that make the believers stronger in faith.
When Judas and Silas left, the believers prayed for them. The believers prayed that Judas and Silas would have peace. (Peace means freedom from mental or spiritual troubles.) So, then Judas and Silas would have a safe journey.
Verse 34 may not have been in the original account. Perhaps someone added it later. In verse 40, we can see that Silas was in Antioch. Verse 34 shows why he was still there.
Verse 35 However, Paul and Barnabas stayed and they taught the believers. They continued to tell the good news to people who did not yet believe.
Paul and Barnabas separate, 15:36-41
v36 Sometime later, Paul said this to Barnabas: ‘Let us return to those towns where we preached the Lord’s message. We could visit the believers there. And we could see how they are. We could see what they are doing.’ v37 Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them. v38 But John Mark had left them in Pamphylia. He had not stayed with them until they finished their work. So, Paul did not want to take him. v39 Paul and Barnabas argued. Then they separated. Barnabas took Mark and they sailed to Cyprus. v40 But Paul chose Silas. The believers placed them in God’s care. Then Paul left, with Silas. v41 Paul traveled through Syria and Cilicia. He encouraged the Christians and he made them stronger in faith.
Verses 36-38 ‘Sometime later’ probably means several months later. Perhaps when spring came, Paul and Barnabas could travel again. Paul suggested that they should visit the churches that they had started. They had started those churches on their first journey as missionaries. Barnabas agreed with that.
But then there was a problem. Barnabas wanted his cousin, John Mark (also called Mark), to come with them. So, then Mark could help them again. Perhaps Barnabas wanted to give him a second chance because, on their first journey, John Mark had left them. He had given up and they had to finish the work without him (Acts 13:13). But Paul did not trust John Mark. He thought that Mark might do the same thing again. Paul would not give him a second chance.
Verses 39-41 Paul and Barnabas could not agree about John Mark. So, Paul and Barnabas decided to part. And they went in different directions. Barnabas took Mark with him and they went to Cyprus. That was the country where Barnabas was born. Paul chose Silas to help him.
We know that Paul and Barnabas became friends again later. In two letters, Paul wrote good things about Barnabas (1 Corinthians 9:6 and Colossians 4:10). Paul also became friends with John Mark again. Later, he wrote that Mark had helped him (2 Timothy 4:11 and Philemon 24). Also, when Paul’s life was ending, he wanted Mark to be near him (2 Timothy 4:11).