Paul – Saul from Tarsus

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After a short stay in Antioch, likely still in AD 50, Paul asked Barnabas to accompany him on a return trip to the churches they had established in Galatia. Barnabas wanted to bring his cousin John Mark along; Paul point-blank refused, remembering too clearly John Mark’s bailout back in Perga (Acts 15:36–38; cf. 13:13).

The Areopagus is a large hill of rough limestone, mostly bare today, rising just west of—and overshadowed by—Athen’s famed Acropolis. (Paul H. Wright)
Image source: © Carta, Jerusalem

After a sharp disagreement, Barnabas and John Mark returned to Cyprus to focus on spreading the Gospel in their homeland, while Paul tapped Silas, a leader of the Jerusalem church and a Roman citizen, instead (Acts 15:22, 32; 16:37).

The two set off overland to Galatia (Acts 15:39–41), picking up a young Timothy in Lystra on the way (Acts 16:1–3). The result: two teams in the field rather than one, a net gain for the early church.