Mentoring in the New Testament (1 of 5) – Barnabas and Paul – Part 1


Recently, I wrote a series of posts about Mentoring in the Old Testament.  The next series of five posts will cover some examples of mentoring in the New Testament.  The first example is that of Barnabas and Paul.

1. Barnabas was the ideal mentor because he was an encourager.

He was part of the multitude of believers who were of on heart and of one soul (Acts 4:32-35).  There was a spirit of sharing among them, but Barnabas was especially noted for his generosity (Acts 4:36-37).

His name was Joses, but he was nicknamed “Barnabas” which means “son of consolation.”  Consolation means “the act of emboldening another in believe or course of action, encouragement, exhortation.”

Barnabas did something the embolden others to act in a similar manner.   He did something that was an encouragement, a help, an example to the other Christians.The apostles were amazed by his spirit and his example and called him the basically “the encourager.”

From Barnabas, we learn that if we are going to mentor others, we must be willing to:

  • Encourage others to and motivate them to serve the Lord especially with the Word of God.  Hebrews 13:22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. 
  • Set a good example for others to follow. 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 
  • Give generously of what we have to help others. 2 Corinthians 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

2. Barnabas sought out and believed in Saul when others did not.

Saul was not trusted by the disciples at Jerusalem (Acts 9:23-26).  Running for his life from the Jews at Damascus, He came to Jerusalem.  But the church there would not let him join them because they were afraid of him and did not believe he was a true disciple.

Barnabas reached out to Saul when no one else would (Acts 9:27-31).  He took a risk and brought Saul to the apostles.  He told them how he had seen the Lord in the way, how the Lord had spoken to him, and how he had boldly preached at Damascus in the name of Jesus.  The apostles accepted the word of Barnabas, and Saul was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

From Barnabas, we learn about believing in people.

  • Mentors are willing to trust when others won’t.
  • Mentors are willing to take risks when others are afraid.
  • Mentors believe when others doubt.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 
  • If we are going to mentor and disciple leaders, we must be willing to help those that no one else will help, believe in those that others won’t believe in, and take risks on people.