Barnabas, Ananias, and Sapphira

Barnabas sold a field and gave the proceeds to the community.  On the other hand, Ananias and Sapphira kept some of the proceeds.  Peter then spoke to Ananias.  He told him that he had lied to God.  Thus, Ananias died and was buried.  The wife of Ananias came to Peter, so that Peter asked her “What did you sell the land for?”  She gave the same response as her husband.  Peter said that she was about to die also.  She then died, so that great fear spread among this emerging Christian community.

Barnabas (Acts 4:36)

“There was a Levite,

A native of Cyprus,


To whom the apostles

Gave the name


Which means,

Son of encouragement.”

Ἰωσὴφ δὲ ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς Βαρνάβας ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Υἱὸς παρακλήσεως, Λευείτης, Κύπριος τῷ γένει,

The author of Acts indicated that there was a Levite (Λευείτης), a native of Cyprus by birth (Κύπριος τῷ γένει), Joseph (Ἰωσὴφ), to whom the apostles (ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων) gave the name or called Barnabas (δὲ ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς Βαρνάβας), that translates or means (ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον), “Son of encouragement (Υἱὸς παρακλήσεως).”  Barnabas would become a missionary and companion of the apostle Paul.  Obviously, he was one of the first missionaries to his native Cyprus, and probably its first bishop, an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  Although from Cyprus, he was part of the priestly tribe of Levi here in Jerusalem.  He was known as the son of encouragement. Do you encourage people?


The Gospel according to Mark

τὸ κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον,

What is a gospel?  Who is Mark?  The musical play “Godspell” that opened on Broadway in 1971, was based on the Old English ‘godspel.’  Like the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, this Germanic based word gospel means good news or good tidings.  This term originally meant the Christian message itself.  However, in the second century, it came to be used for the books where this message was set out.  Thus, the gospels became known as the written accounts of the life, actions, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  This Gospel of Mark is anonymous since there is no explicit mention of a named author within the text itself.  This title (Τὸ κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον), however was added some time in the second century, perhaps by Papias of Hierapolis (60–130 CE), an early bishop and apostolic father.  Traditionally, this work has been ascribed to John Mark, the companion of the apostle Peter, who may have transcribed the teachings of Simon Peter.  This John Mark was the son of a widow named Mary as indicated in Acts, chapter 12:12.  He also accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys, since he was also the cousin of Barnabas, as indicated in Colossians, chapter 4:10.  However, he  left Paul and Barnabas for some unknown reasons in Acts, chapter 13:13.  Today, most scholars agree that his anonymous Gospel of Mark was the first written gospel, probably written between 66–70 CE, during Emperor Nero’s persecution of the Christians in Rome or the Jewish revolt.  Thus, the authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark with a second document called the Q source.  This short Gospel of Mark was written for a gentile audience in a simple Greek style that is often called “street Greek.”  This Greek style is thus vivid and concrete showing a very active Jesus with less teaching or preaching.  Mark explained Jewish traditions and translated Aramaic terms for his Greek-speaking Christian audience who would not have understood them.  Some suggest Rome as the origin of this gospel since there are some Latin terms.  Others have suggested Antioch, the 3rd largest city in the Roman Empire.  This author may have been influenced by Greco-Roman writings, but all his references are from the Jewish Greek version of the Septuagint Bible or the Old Testament.