Paul and Barnabas in Antioch

Open Your Bible

Acts 13:1-52, Isaiah 49:6, Galatians 3:10-14

I was sitting in a circle of women discussing the topic: why is it important to read our Bible? There were a variety of answers like “knowing God more” and “having consistent disciplines.” But one gal responded: “I feel like I am not a good friend if I have not spent time in God’s Word. If a friend needs a wise word of advice, how am I going to serve her well if I cannot speak God’s Truth over her? If a friend is going through a tough time, how can I encourage her without being familiar with the Word of God? I want to be someone who is so fully-immersed in the Bible that speaking the gospel over my friends is providing exactly what they need in the situation.” 

This response really stuck with me. Not only was I convicted, but I wondered how I could serve others better if I rehearsed the gospel more often. 

Paul is a master at rehearsing the story of salvation and sharing it with large crowds of people. He is able to recount the history of God’s people, recite Old Testament scriptures from memory and clearly communicate the message of salvation in Jesus. So, when Paul and Barnabas are called on to speak a “word of encouragement” (Acts 13:15) to the people in Antioch, they are prepared. 

Our encouragement should come from the story of God and our salvation in Jesus. God’s saving power is what gives us reason to rejoice just as the people of Antioch rejoiced that day: “They rejoiced and honored the Word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed” (v.48). Yet, this picture of Paul and Barnabas bringing the gospel to the people of Antioch feels so far from my personal experience. My level of “gospel fluency” (a term coined by author Jeff Vanderstelt) is severely lacking. Like becoming fluent in a foreign language, to be “gospel fluent” is to be able to interpret all of life through this new lens. 

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44 thoughts on "Paul and Barnabas in Antioch"

  1. Lindsey Jo Bolin says:

    I want to be able to encourage my brothers and sisters at any moment! Confident that the Gosple is enough for us in any moment!

  2. Portia Denise Strange says:

    I don’t want to be spiritually lazy (not read & study The Word), while relying on the Spirit to give me words to say.

    And I don’t want to read & study, while relying solely on my knowledge & wisdom when speaking Truth to myself & others.

    Holy Spirit help me to find the happy, holy medium between reading & studying The Word daily. To rely on the Spirit’s Power in having the desire, as well as the discipline/self-control to do so. To also rely on the Spirit’s Power in speaking Truth over myself & others.

  3. Sarah Morrison says:


  4. Lexi B says:

    Taylor- I so relate to your comment! I do wake up early, but I feel like I rush through it as a task to be done instead of letting it soak in. I need to be more intentional about my time with God, not just something to mark off my todo list.

  5. Mary Snyder says:

    18 ¶ “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

    God called Israel to not only read the Word of God and to know the Word of God, but to treasure it. In the same way, we should love God’s word and miss it when we are separated from the Word of God. We should call it to mind with longing, having laid it up in our heart and soul.

  6. Sky Hilton says:

    @ Michelle, I am praying for you!

    I am seeking to be converted to Catholicism soon.. both my mom and sister struggle with faith. Both of them have doubted God before. They don’t really fully believe like I do, and my mom has doubted if God even exists. Its hard to be the only one of faith sometimes in the family to be honest… sometimes we just wish to get someone to believe in a moment.. but it is not our duty to get someone to believe. We have to leave that up to God. All we can do is pray, and trust that God IS working!! Everything will be alright in time! Don’t give up!

  7. Sky Hilton says:

    This section of Acts really spoke to me. It made me really sad to see Elymas trying to turn the deputy from the faith. It reminds me of American culture today. It turns so many people away from the faith, and so many people who do turn away for life miss out on a beautiful relationship with Jesus. Religion should be more respected, and our amazing savior deserves respect as well. However, it turned out to be a happy ending, as the deputy encountered the power of the Lord, and turned back and believed! When you encounter God like this, you have to believe! I pray for more people to encounter God in their own way, and turn back!

    It was amazing to see Paul and Barnabas never giving up on preaching the word of God after they were kicked out of the coasts. I wish so many people had that level of perseverance.. so many people are ready to give up on faith forever at the slightest inconvenience.. but everyone should be reminded that God is with them!

    So if someone is trying to turn you from the faith- or if life is just treating you badly, turn to Jesus and cling to Him, no matter how hard it is!

  8. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I want to be a part of spreading God’s good news to the ends of the earth. I pray that I would become more gospel fluent, so that I can share Jesus whenever I have the opportunity. Have a great Friday ladies!!

  9. Traci Gendron says:

    Thank you Michelle for your continued prayers. ❤️ Sharon thank you too!! ❤️

  10. Foster Mama says:

    Prayer request: I am struggling a bit re: how to still be a “nice girl” but, not a doormat (I’m getting tired)…and to discern when / how to act and when to (as ERB said) “get out of the way and LET God do His thing!”

    I am loving and going through all the comments from yesterday and today. More comments to come…

  11. Traci Gendron says:

    I was raised Catholic and didn’t really understand God’s word until I went to BSF. It was an intense study, but I loved it. I’m so thankful for SRT. It has helped me to stay in His Word daily. I still feel like an immature christian. I have trouble with memorization. But Bailey’s words spoke volumes to me. I want to be so fully-immersed in the Bible that speaking the gospel over my friends is providing exactly what they need in the situation. I need to be more diligent. I get up look at my emails, social media, then finally onto SRT. I’m not a morning person and my excuse has been that I need to “wake up”. I want to give to God first. I just need the discipline. Like Taylor, I wish to get up early and dive into His word. Then I want to have it lead me through my day. All the comments were so good today! Thank you

  12. Michelle Patire says:

    Michelle Hart- praying you trust the Lord’s leading and have confirmations of where He is sending you next. He is making a path in the wilderness ❤️

    Traci -Continued prayers for Tanner to have a renewed Spirit, this weekend. May he see the Lord ever before him.

    Praying today for my youngest sister, Bernadette. I trust God will save her, but it breaks my heart to hear her unbelief. She’s 18. She says she wants to seek faith for herself, but I don’t see the seeking. I know I don’t see her heart, like God does. I know He is so patient. Like He was with me, at that age. My sister is a lot like me, I think, which frightens me but also, she seems to have more discernment and guidance than I did at that age.
    I pray she understands the true gospel, not a gospel of works. We grew up Catholic and I’ve seen some of my family struggle with works vs faith. I pray that my sister knows God as her loving father and Savior. That God’s love is so much more than any young man could ever give her. That is merely a shadow of God’s love. Lord, please touch her heart and help her know you care for a deep relationship with her.

  13. Victoria E says:

    Amen Arina !

  14. Victoria E says:

    SarahJoy your words really stood out to me this morning. I am guilty of speaking in an unkind way to myself all the time. I’ve heard from a secular therapist that self love and talking gently to yourself can be a huge agent of change and now I wonder if we don’t have something better in the love of Jesus! I’m going to practice telling myself about it for the next week. Thanks

  15. Victoria E says:

    Brooke P I thought the same thing! So many memory verses from the pat few months were in this section of Acts today. Those words felt so familiar and stood out from the page so to speak. I pray I will spend even more time reading the Word and memorizing it, as it really is life giving. Brooke P I am still praying for you and for other requests mentioned here.

  16. Dorothy says:

    I need to work on my “gospel fluency” because I am unable to confidently and with out hesitation tell of my Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I love Him and I know about Him and have asked Him to be my One and Only Savoir. Yes, I have received the Holy Spirit but that doesn’t mean I’m “gospel fluent”.
    Lord help me to dive deep into Your Word and become “gospel fluent” so I can spread the Great News of Christ’s Salvation and the Holy Spirit. Remind how important it is to be in Your Word daily. Amen.
    Sisters, dive in to the Word, spread the Great News and be blessed.

  17. Cindy Hanna says:

    Thank you Rhonda J. So glad your father is now at home.

  18. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    I also feel that my “gospel fluency” is greatly lacking. I was raised in the church, accepted Christ when I was 13, rededicated my life when I was 21, and have now been in ministry with my husband for 28 years – yet, I feel that I lack greatly in my gospel fluency. I want to have Christ on my mind and heart every day, throughout the day and that it would be so natural to speak the truth of the gospel to others.

    I am also a licensed hairdresser and have been cutting this elderly woman’s hair for a year or two now. She was raised Catholic, is 94, blind in one eye and lives alone. During my prayer time that morning, before going to cut her hair, I asked God to give me the courage to share the gospel with her. All through the hair cut I wondered how to bring it up to her. By the time I was done I had still not brought it up, so asking God to give me boldness, I asked her if anyone had ever shared the gospel of salvation with her – no one had so I asked her if I could share it. She willingly obliged. I explained and she listened, at the end of it all she said, “thank you you said that very well, that’s very nice.” I explained that she could pray anytime, anywhere and ask Jesus to be her Lord and Savior…Please pray with me for Ida, that she will receive Christ before it is to late, and that God would help me to become fluent in the gospel.

    @Rhonda – praise God for answered prayer and that your dad is home from the hospital!
    @Traci – praying for Tanner that God would renew his spirit and that by some miracle he will be able to get the stem cell transplant…I have a son the same age – my heart aches for you.
    @Nanak – praying you have relief from your pain and able to endure the flight and to be able to enjoy the time with your family.
    @Taylor – continuing to pray for you – may God give you the strength to get up early enough to regularly spend time alone with Him.

    Blessings to all my SRT sisters – have a wonderful weekend!

  19. Mari V says:

    I am still not good at having scripture in my memory bank. I try my best to hide His Word in my heart in hopes when I need to speak that I’m ready. I guess it’s a good thing for smart phones so when I don’t remember something, I look it up. BUT it’s so much better when it’s already in my heart.

  20. ERB says:

    KATHY A, I am still learning, growing, and understanding these things… I think we only become fully immersed when we make God our first priority. When He is first in our lives, our actions, our thoughts, our words etc… then the Holy Spirit tends to overflow & spill out from us, without us even realizing it!! And I think how we accomplish that is by letting go, and letting God.. all He asks of us is that we love, know & submit to Him, He does the rest!! We just need to be willing (like David, who was a man after God’s own heart) Does that make sense? I hope it does…like I said, I’m still learning, growing & understanding too! Bless you sister!! ❤️

  21. Maura says:

    So so good the Word of God. Love all your comments add to this message. The power of prayer, the Holy Spirit our help, the call of God to spend time with Him to know Him better, and the loving others with that which He has given and daily gives to us. Traci G praying for Tanner’s Spirit, per your beautiful request. Anna Kuhn praying for you and your little one. Julia Brown, praying for your daughter, peace like a river for your heart. Taylor, you know His heart for you, Praying that stirring od the Holy Spirit to awaken you when you need to. Sarah Joy and ERB love your words this morning, what depth of wealth we have in God’s word. Pray with me for the Refugees out there Sisters, God make us aware, of others their pain, isolation, need to be seen, loved. Thank you Lord God for the treasure you have for us daily, give us our daily bread Jesus, and the life, light, love we need this day. To you God Almighty, be all glory and honor and power Amen.

  22. Marilyn Jones says:

    That’s the way I am. I didn’t really start this study until this week. I’ve been trying to catch up. So that means I’m rushing it. I really should slow down and let God’s word soak into me. Then when asked a question, I would be more likely to answer it.

  23. Angie says:

    Worship-prayer-fasting-Holy Spirit guidance-prayer of commisioning-service in obedience.
    Off they go in – presenting the gospel; sort of in the form of a history lesson the listener would have known to be Truth.
    At first acceptance, then jealousy causes some to contradict and insult them.
    The gift of God was presented, then rejected. (Reminds me of the parable of the seeds sown in different soils, but I digress.)
    The Jews rejection made way for Gentiles acceptance.
    I wondered if Paul and Barnabas had thought in their own minds that the way it would work is they would go out and preach the gospel to the Jews, and many would come to Christ. I wonder if in their wildest dreams they considered that the Jews would reject it and that they would bring the message to the Gentiles? OR, were they so in-tune to the Holy Spirit that they didn’t question, just simply obeyed? As they left they shook it off (the dust on their feet a visual of what they did in their spirits) and left the rejection there and continued on, in obedience filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
    How I long to live in that kind of strength of the Holy Spirit, complete faith, and joy – not because of circumstances but because my God, Savior and King, means that much to me and is worth it, in every moment. Could you imagine the difference we would make in the world for Him? No one really seeing us but hungry for a relationship with Jesus.
    I close quoting Acts 13:26 “Brothers and SISTERS (all caps my addition), children of Abraham’s race, and those among you who fear God, it is to us that the word of this salvation has been sent.” Praise God! Hallelujah! May we rejoice and live for Him!

  24. Rhonda J. says:

    So many thoughts this morning after Acts 13! But first, a praise that my dad is home from the hospital! Thank you for the prayers! I have to admit this feels truly miraculous because his health has been so poor for a long time now.

    I wanted to point out the last couple of sentences of Acts that we read because it is pretty big! After stirring up some anger in the leaders, they dusted off their feet and moved on! In other words, they don’t quit, they keep on going when faced with persecution. And definitely, we can apply so same line of thinking that the more we know the Word of God and are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can have an assurance to preach it, and move on and preach some more! Never quitting in the consequences, it may not always feel rewarding and that we are getting through to people, but that’s ok Know you are speaking the truth, maybe it’s seeds that will come to fruition later for them. I love Lauren Daigle’s new song “Tremble” and was listening to a preacher today read a verse from the bible that says I will tremble at your Word, or something to that affect, and thought oh, now I get that song more! lol. We must know our bible, it is God’s Word to us. Isn’t that amazing that we still have the bible after all these hundreds of years??! And to think some places ban the bible from being available and people yearn for it, and would even die just to have it. And here in America, they collect dust, and even half of Christian don’t even read their bibles!!! Crazy. Yet I am one of those. I grew up in church but didn’t read the bible daily until 7 years ago after my mom passed. We have to want to read our Bibles and make time to read our bibles. Fill up our cup in the morning with the voice of God straight to us, our lifeline, wow. SRT and your comments are also so valuable to putting the Word into context for us to understand and apply!
    The podcast is very inspiring as well!
    I hope you ladies have an amazing day! -R

  25. Kathy A says:

    I completely agree Jessi and Sarahjoy, SRT has absolutely made me consistent in getting into the word, I am so delighted to be in God’s word daily through the last year (I started last year at Advent), as I see the books pile up I can’t hardly believe it, but I am so grateful! I feel like I am growing in knowledge and connecting the Old and the New testaments, which is building my faith, but I am challenged ERB by your thoughts, how do I be so “fully immersed in the Word of God, being so familiar to and with God (& His ways) that it overflows & spills on those who need & want it”?
    Woah that’s the goal isn’t it? But how? Have a restful weekend friends ❤️

  26. Nicole Macias says:

    I loved the opening statement after the reading. I have felt like I needed a mentor for work, yes they are important but knowing God’s word will be much more helpful! Loved the reminder that we are called to be a light for this world.

  27. Erica Chiarelli says:

    I’ve been reading the Bible basically my whole life, so I cant help but feel convicted in this. Could I bring the Gospel to anyone, as they need it, without overthinking it. However I’m also encouraged because the Holy Spirit does promise to give us the Word we need..dont worry what we will speak, because He will give us what we need. So many times it says “they opened their mouths”, meaning to me, that they trusted God would give them what needed to be said. But it’s important to read, study, memorize & know. You can’t give what you dont have!

  28. Nancy Singleton says:

    Excellent guidance from God’s word today! I love the thought that I can be a better friend (wife, mother, grandmother) by first spending time as a daughter of the King!!

  29. ERB says:

    SARAHJOY, really appreciate what you posted!! Thank you!! ❤️

  30. ERB says:

    Loved what Bailey Hurley wrote this morning… being fully immersed in the Word of God, being so familiar to and with God (& His ways) that it overflows & spills on those who need & want it. What an awesome picture!! I also loved the metaphor of fluency in a foreign language and seeing things with a new lens. Very deep and SOOO Good!!! I will be reflecting on that for a bit!!

    Acts 13.. Wow! I practically highlighted the entire chapter!!!! Loved how when the disciples were worshipping they heard the Holy Spirit CLEARLY “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” ..and that it was only AFTER they had “fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them” that they sent them off!! …SUCH an incredible example…not only of the power of worship, but of the power of prayer & UNIFIED fellowship!!! Definitely made me stop and think..
    how much of my life is lived in worship? Am I unified with Christ & the body, in my ways of thinking, acting & doing? Hmm..
    LOVED how Saul told the gospel story, and how he recognized the Holy Spirit moving through him and gave Him all power & authority!!! I think specifically of the proconsul (which is basically a governor) and the sorcerer… Saul’s willingness changed not only their lives but also everyone else’s lives out there!!! God WINS, always!!! SO thankful for that!! Also loved the reminder that all we have to do is get out of the way and LET God do His thing!! All Glory and Honor be to Him always!!!
    Also found it interesting & significant how when persecution was “stirred up” against them that “Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet against THEM and went”. Very significant!! I also loved that despite this “the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” …ALL things to take NOTE of!!!

    Isaiah 49:6 “l will also make you a light for the nations, to be my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
    Galatians 3:10-14 “Law & Promise” Such a GREAT reminder!!!

    Lots to sink-in & reflect on… here’s to letting God do His thing!! Amen.

  31. Gina Cano says:

    Before reading with She Reads Truth, I had only memorized one verse in Sunday school. It’s still something that doesn’t come easy for me, but today’s reading and reflection really encourages me to keep working at it to have God’s word to guide me through each day but also to point others to his goodness and redemption. Have a blessed weekend friends!

  32. Jessi says:


  33. Jessi says:

    As someone who grew up attending church and Sunday School, but is reading the Bible only now for the first time, I can relate to today’s devotional. Since I started reading consistently, so many pieces have fallen into place and I feel much closer to God. I am so grateful for SRT and this group.

  34. Linda J says:


  35. Ruth Long says:

    Good morning everyone!
    I appreciate the gospel fluency reference. I want to be really familiar with the good news so that I actually understand how it affects my every day life. I am a bit afraid to fail though. It was very freeing to read Galatians 3:10-14, and I am reminded God loves me even if I mess up. I am no longer justified by works but by grace and faith. Thank you, Jesus.

  36. Aimee D-R says:

    Holy Spirit draw me closer to God’s Word. In Jesus name. AMEN

  37. Taylor says:

    Today’s devotion spoke to me as I shared last week that I’m in a season where it feels hard to wake up and do my devotions, and when I do I feel like I’m rushing to get it over with rather than letting the Scripture soak into my heart. I need the gospel each and every day, and I feel so much more centered when I am spending time in the Word. Lord please give me the energy to wake up early enough because I long to spend time with You. I hope everyone has a blessed weekend <3

  38. SarahJoy says:

    Good reminders of why we need to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that [we] have.” I Peter 3:15

    Gospel carriers.
    Holy Spirit vessels.
    Light of the world.

    If the gospel and the truth of God’s word don’t have residence in my heart and mind, how will they overflow out into the world? SRT has been a huge help to keeping my reading consistent.

    One last thought: if I don’t speak the gospel to my own heart and allow it to penetrate me, how can I offer it to others? What words do I hear in my heart as I go throughout my day? Self-condemnation? “You always do that! Why don’t you figure your stuff out?” Or do I hear grace? “I am covered by the blood of Jesus. He is making me new.”

  39. Kelly says:

    Paul invited the Jews to REMEMBER and RETURN to God so that they could RECEIVE eternal life.

    God’s faithfulness to Israel was a witness to those outside of the covenant. Just like Rahab, the Gibionites, and Ruth (and others), the Gentiles were drawn to new life with God.

    RHONDA J – praying for your dad

    NANAK – praying for your healing

  40. Kristen says:

    The Gospel is Good News! It is the best news for all of us! We could never save ourselves. Here is a link to an article that talks about sharing the Gospel. Some will find the Cross as an offense, but we should still share the whole Truth. The article references many chapters that we have been reading in the book of Acts. II found this article to be truthful and one worth reading.
    I pray that in God’s mercy and by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit that all would be open and understand that this is the best news of all, repent, and than rejoice that because of Jesus’s sacrifice, they can be saved. May all come to Him and salvation Amen.

  41. Blessed Beth says:

    Amen Poppy, amen

  42. Arina says:

    “Everyone who believes is justified through Him from everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses.” (v.39) Everything. Every time I’ve broken the law. Every sin, big or small. He came to forgive it all!

  43. Poppy Waskett says:

    Such an amazing sermon that Paul gives. I am encouraged to prepare a good rehearsal of the gospel message. I’m struck by the way the gentiles were good when they heard the message that they too were invited into salvation and through faith they can receive eternal life. How many people are we timid to share the gospel with and the good news that God loves them and Jesus died for them, they too are honoured and precious. I pray we would have boldness to lean into the holt spirit and proclaom