They had heard only - As a persecutor of the Church of Christ, I was well known; and as a convert to Christ I was not less so. The fame of both was great, even where I was personally unknown.
But they had heard only - They had not seen me; but the remarkable fact of my conversion had been reported to them. It was a fact that could hardly be concealed; see the note at Acts 26:26.
The gospel was publicly taught in Antioch by certain disciples from Cyprus and Cyrene, who came “preaching the Lord Jesus.” “The hand of the Lord was with them,” and their earnest labors were productive of fruit. “A great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.” AA 156.1
“Tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.” Upon arrival in his new field of labor, Barnabas saw the work that had already been accomplished by divine grace, and he “was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.” AA 156.2
The labors of Barnabas in Antioch were richly blessed, and many were added to the number of believers there. As the work developed, Barnabas felt the need of suitable help in order to advance in the opening providences of God, and he went to Tarsus to seek for Paul, who, after his departure from Jerusalem some time before, had been laboring in “the regions of Syria and Cilicia,” proclaiming “the faith which once he destroyed.” Galatians 1:21, 23. Barnabas was successful in finding Paul and in persuading him to return with him as a companion in ministry. AA 156.3Read in context »