Acts 11.21-26; 13.1-3; Psalm 97; Matthew 5.33-37
Barnabas’ name means ‘son of consolation’ or ‘son of encouragement,’ the ‘son of’ construction an idiom meaning ‘full of.’ He was a Cypriot Jew and a Levite [Acts 4.36], that is, a descendant of the family who had particular rights and duties in the Temple. (They were assistants to the priests, something like choirmen and servers.) St Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, has no hesitation in titling him an apostle [14.14], though he was not one of the Twelve.
Barnabas introduced the newly-converted Saul (Paul) to the Twelve, and together they were sent to Antioch [13.3], the first of Paul’s missionary journeys, beginning from Barnabas’ native Cyprus. [13.4] After establishing the church at Antioch they attended the Council of Jerusalem (around the year 50) and argued for the legitimacy of the mission to the Gentiles. [15.12] After a quarrel between Barnabas and Paul, however, they separated and Barnabas returned to preach in Cyprus. [15.39] Barnabas is celebrated as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church, and tradition holds that he was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus.