Acts 15:30-41 | When Christians Disagree

by | Mar 15, 2021

READ Acts 15:30-41

[Paul and Barnabas] had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended by the brothers and sisters to the grace of the Lord. (Acts 15:39-40)

There are times that even the best Christians do not always agree. This is true in this story of Paul and Barnabas, which results in them parting ways on separate missions. They had disagreed about the wisdom of taking Mark on a long journey, who had previously been shown to be unreliable. Paul and Barnabas then left on two different missions with different partners. There are a lot of details from this story we do not know about. During the “sharp disagreement,” did either of them express anger? Did Luke believe one of them was right? We just don’t know.

Although this does not make for a pleasant reading, we discover God is still working good. Out of this disagreement came a doubling of labor. Paul would go Syria and Cilicia; Barnabas would go on to strengthen churches in Cyprus. More people hear the gospel because of this. Through this, Mark will show himself to be reliable as he does ministry with Barnabas, and near the end of Paul’s life, Paul calls upon Mark for help.

Knowing that Christians as solid as Paul and Barnabas may have strong disagreements, we should also learn to commend ourselves to the grace of the Lord. What does that mean? As Paul traveled with Silas, they entrusted themselves to God’s grace, and as they did, they strengthened churches (15:40). We cannot see the full picture, but the Lord does, and He is gracious. Let’s be like Paul and trust that the Lord’s grace is sovereign over our disagreements. Let’s entrust ourselves to Him who works good through it.

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