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Barnabas and Saul Given a Special Work

13 In the church at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers. They were Barnabas, Simeon (also called Niger), Lucius (from the city of Cyrene), Manaen (who had grown up with King Herod[a]), and Saul. These men were all serving the Lord and fasting when the Holy Spirit said to them, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul to do a special work for me. They are the ones I have chosen to do it.”

So the church fasted and prayed. They laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul and sent them out.

Barnabas and Saul in Cyprus

Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went to the city of Seleucia. Then they sailed from there to the island of Cyprus. When Barnabas and Saul came to the city of Salamis, they told the message of God in the Jewish synagogues. John Mark was with them to help.

They went across the whole island to the city of Paphos. There they met a Jewish man named Barjesus who did magic. He was a false prophet. He always stayed close to Sergius Paulus, who was the governor and a very smart man. He invited Barnabas and Saul to come visit him, because he wanted to hear the message of God. But the magician Elymas (as Barjesus was called in Greek) spoke against them, trying to stop the governor from believing in Jesus. But Saul (also known as Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, looked hard at Elymas 10 and said, “You son of the devil, full of lies and all kinds of evil tricks! You are an enemy of everything that is right. Will you never stop trying to change the Lord’s truths into lies? 11 Now the Lord will touch you and you will be blind. For a time you will not be able to see anything—not even the light from the sun.”

Then everything became dark for Elymas. He walked around lost. He was trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the governor saw this, he believed. He was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas Go to Antioch in Pisidia

13 Paul and the people with him sailed away from Paphos. They came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia. There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 They continued their trip from Perga and went to Antioch, a city near Pisidia.

On the Sabbath day they went into the Jewish synagogue and sat down. 15 The Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets were read. Then the leaders of the synagogue sent a message to Paul and Barnabas: “Brothers, if you have something to say that will help the people here, please speak.”

16 Paul stood up, raised his hand to get their attention, and said, “People of Israel and all you others who worship the true God, please listen to me! 17 The God of Israel chose our ancestors. And during the time our people lived in Egypt as foreigners, he made them great. Then he brought them out of that country with great power. 18 And he was patient with them for 40 years in the desert. 19 God destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave their land to his people. 20 All this happened in about 450 years.

“After this, God gave our people judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people asked for a king. God gave them Saul, the son of Kish. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. He was king for 40 years. 22 After God took Saul away, God made David their king. This is what God said about David: ‘David, the son of Jesse, is the kind of person who does what pleases me. He will do everything I want him to do.’

23 “As he promised, God has brought one of David’s descendants to Israel to be their Savior. That descendant is Jesus. 24 Before he came, John told all the people of Israel what they should do. He told them to be baptized to show they wanted to change their lives. 25 When John was finishing his work, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the Messiah.[b] He is coming later, and I am not worthy to be the slave who unties his sandals.’

26 “My brothers, sons in the family of Abraham, and you other people who also worship the true God, listen! The news about this salvation has been sent to us. 27 The Jews living in Jerusalem and their leaders did not realize that Jesus was the Savior. The words the prophets wrote about him were read every Sabbath day, but they did not understand. They condemned Jesus. When they did this, they made the words of the prophets come true. 28 They could not find any real reason why Jesus should die, but they asked Pilate to kill him.

29 “These Jews did all the bad things that the Scriptures said would happen to Jesus. Then they took Jesus down from the cross and put him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him up from death! 31 After this, for many days, those who had gone with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem saw him. They are now his witnesses to our people.

32 “We tell you the Good News about the promise God made to our ancestors. 33 We are their descendants, and God has made this promise come true for us. God did this by raising Jesus from death. We also read about this in Psalm 2:

‘You are my Son.
    Today I have become your Father.’ (A)

34 God raised Jesus from death. Jesus will never go back to the grave and become dust. So God said,

‘I will give you the true and holy promises
    that I made to David.’ (B)

35 But in another Psalm it says,

‘You will not let your Holy One rot in the grave.’ (C)

36 “David did God’s will during the time he lived. Then he died and was buried like all his ancestors. And his body did rot in the grave! 37 But the one God raised from death did not rot in the grave. 38-39 Brothers, understand what we are telling you. You can have forgiveness of your sins through this Jesus. The Law of Moses could not free you from your sins. But you can be made right with God if you believe in Jesus. 40 So be careful! Don’t let what the prophets said happen to you:

41 ‘Listen, you people who doubt!
    You can wonder, but then go away and die;
because during your time,
    I will do something that you will not believe.
You will not believe it,
    even if someone explains it to you!’” (D)

42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people asked them to come again on the next Sabbath day and tell them more about these things. 43 After the meeting, many of the people followed Paul and Barnabas, including many Jews and people who had changed their religion to be like Jews and worship the true God. Paul and Barnabas encouraged them to continue trusting in God’s grace.

44 On the next Sabbath day, almost all the people in the city came together to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews there saw all these people, they became very jealous. Shouting insults, they argued against everything Paul said. 46 But Paul and Barnabas spoke very boldly. They said, “We had to tell God’s message to you Jews first, but you refuse to listen. You have made it clear that you are not worthy of having eternal life. So we will now go to those who are not Jews. 47 This is what the Lord told us to do:

‘I have made you a light for the other nations,
    to show people all over the world the way to be saved.’” (E)

48 When the non-Jewish people heard Paul say this, they were happy. They gave honor to the message of the Lord, and many of them believed it. These were the ones chosen to have eternal life.

49 And so the message of the Lord was being told throughout the whole country. 50 But the Jews there caused some of the important religious women and the leaders of the city to be angry and turn against Paul and Barnabas and throw them out of town. 51 So Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet.[c] Then they went to the city of Iconium. 52 But the Lord’s followers in Antioch were happy and filled with the Holy Spirit.


  1. Acts 13:1 King Herod Literally, “Herod the tetrarch.” See “ Herod Agrippa I” in the Word List.
  2. Acts 13:25 the Messiah Literally, “I” (that is, “he” or “the one”), meaning the chosen one sent by God. Compare Jn. 1:20. See “ Messiah” in the Word List.
  3. Acts 13:51 shook the dust off their feet A warning. It showed they were finished talking to these people.

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