Barnabas was a native of the island of Cyprus. His birthplace makes him a Jew of
the Diaspora, the dispersion of Jews outside Palestine or modern Israel. He was originally
named Joseph but the apostles called him Barnabas, he probably acquired this name
because of his ability as a preacher. The name Barnabas was understood by Luke to mean
'Son of Encouragement' (Acts 4:36). Barnabas was an apostle of the secondary group,
companion of Paul on his mission to Cyprus and the Pisidian mainland.
Barnabas first appears in Luke's account of communal living in the Jerusalem
church, as a man of some means who gave to the church the proceeds from the sale of a
piece land, 'Barnabas sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the
apostles' feet' (Acts 4:36-37).
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