Barnabas the apostle.
Companion of Paul and cousin of John Mark.
Epistle of Barnabas
Epistle to the Hebrews
Barnabas in the Online Encyclopedia.
Barnabas in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Barnabas appears frequently in the Acts of the Apostles. In Acts 4.36 he is a Levite of
Cyprian birth, also called Joseph. He meets Paul in Acts 9.27, and he and Paul are both associated
with the church at Antioch in Acts 11.22, 30; 12.25. He
accompanies Paul on his first missionary journey in Acts 13.1-14.28
and attends the conference in Jerusalem, afterward returning to
Antioch, in Acts 15.1-35. Paul and Barnabas part ways in Acts
15.36-41. Paul mentions Barnabas several times in his extant
epistles. He mentions him in passing in 1 Corinthians 9.6 and in
narrative in Galatians 2.1, 9, 13. According to Colossians 4.10
Barnabas was the cousin of Mark.
Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies
But how we say that the energies of the devil and
the unclean spirits sow seed into the soul of the sinner needs no more words
from me, adducing as witness the apostolic man Barnabas, and he was one of
the seventy and a fellow worker of Paul, and he speaks in the following
words: Before we believed in God, the housing of our heart was also sickly,
truly a temple built with hands, since it was full of idolatry, and it was
a house of demons on account of doing as many things as were against God.*
* Refer to Barnabas 16.7.
Eusebius, History of the Church
2.1.4, writing of Clement of Alexandria:
And the same man in the
seventh book of the same work* says also these things concerning him:
The Lord after the resurrection delivered knowledge to James the just
and to John and to Peter, and they delivered it to the rest of the
apostles, and the rest of the apostles to the seventy, of whom
Barnabas was one.
* From context, the
Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies
And, exegeting the word of the prophet1,
Barnabas notes: Though there are many gates open, the one in justice, that
is the one in Christ, in which blessed are all who have gone in.2
1 From context, Psalm 118.19 (LXX 117.19).
2 Refer to 1 Clement 48.4; here Clement of Alexandria
evidently confuses Barnabas with Clement of Rome.
Tertullian, On Modesty 20.1-5 (Latin
text modified from that of Munier; English translation modified from
that of Thelwall):
Disciplina igitur apostolorum proprie quidem
instruit ac determinat principaliter sanctitatis omnis erga templum dei
sacramentum et ubique de ecclesia eradicat omne sacrilegium impudicitiae sine
ulla restitutionis mentione. volo tamen ex redundanti alicuius etiam comitis
apostolorum testimonium superducere, idoneum confirmandi de proximo iure
disciplinam magistrorum. extat enim et Barnabae titulus ad Hebraeos, a deo
satis auctorati viri, ut quem Paulus iuxta se constituerit in abstinentiae
tenore: Aut ego solus et Barnabas non habemus operandi potestatem? et utique
receptior apud ecclesias epistola Barnabae illo apocrypho pastore moechorum.
monens itaque discipulos omissis omnibus initiis ad perfectionem magis tendere
nec rursus fundamenta paenitentiae iacere ab operibus mortuorum: Impossibile
est enim, inquit, eos qui semel inluminati sunt et donum caeleste gustaverunt
et participaverunt spiritum sanctum et verbum dei dulce gustaverunt, occidente
iam aevo cum exciderint, rursus revocari in paenitentiam, refigentes cruci
in semetipsos filium dei et dedecorantes. terra enim quae bibit saepius
deuenientem in se humorem et peperit herbam aptam his propter quos et
colitur, benedictionem dei consequitur; proferens autem spinas reproba
et maledictioni proxima, cuius finis in exustionem. hoc qui ab apostolis
didicit et cum apostolis docuit, numquam moecho et fornicatori secundam
paenitentiam promissam ab apostolis norat. optime enim legem interpretabatur
et figuras eius iam in ipsa veritate seruabat.
The discipline, therefore, of the apostles properly
[so called], indeed, instructs and determinately directs, as a principal point,
the overseer of all sanctity as regards the temple of God to the universal
eradication of every sacrilegious outrage upon modesty, without any mention of
restoration. I wish, however, redundantly to superadd the testimony likewise of
one particular comrade of the apostles, aptly suited for confirming, by most
proximate right, the discipline of his masters. For there is extant an epistle
to the Hebrews under the name of Barnabas, a man sufficiently accredited by God,
as being one whom Paul has stationed next to himself in the uninterrupted
observance of abstinence: Or else, I alone and Barnabas, have not we the power
of working? And of course the epistle of Barnabas is more generally received
among the churches than that apocryphal Shepherd
of the adulterers. Warning the disciples, accordingly, to omit all first
principles and to strive rather after perfection, and not lay again the
foundations of repentance from the works of the dead, he says: For impossible
it is that they should be again recalled unto repentance who have once been
illuminated and tasted the heavenly gift, and who have participated in the holy
spirit and tasted the word of God and found it sweet, when they shall have
fallen away, their age already setting, since they crucify again for themselves
the son of God and dishonor him. For the earth, which has drunk the rain often
descending upon it and has borne grass apt for those on whose account it is
tilled, attains the blessing of God; but, if it should bring forth thorns,
it is reprobate and nigh to cursing, whose end is unto utter burning. He who
learned this from apostles and taught it with apostles never knew of any
second repentance promised by apostles to the adulterer and fornicator.
For excellently was he wont to interpret the law and keep its figures even
in the truth itself.
Origen, Against Celsus 1.63:
Now it is written in the catholic epistle
of Barnabas, whence perhaps Celsus took the saying that the apostles
were infamous and most evil men, that Jesus elected his own
apostles as men who were guiltier beyond all lawlessness.*
* Refer to Barnabas 5.9.
Eusebius, History of
the Church 6.14.1-4:
And in the Hypotyposeis, to speak briefly, [Clement] has made concise
accounts of every testamental scripture, not even leaving out the disputed
ones, that of Jude, I say, and the rest of the catholic epistles, and that
of Barnabas as well as that called the apocalypse of Peter.
And he says that the epistle toward the Hebrews is also
of Paul, but it was written to Hebrews in a Hebrew voice, and Luke honorably
translated it and published it for the Greeks, for which reason the same style
is found, because of this translation, both in the epistle and in the
But [he says that] the words: Paul an apostle, were
not prefixed, and that customarily, for, he says, in writing an epistle to
Hebrews who had formed a prejudice against him and were suspicious of him,
he very cleverly did not drive them away at the beginning by placing his
Then under that he says further: But already, as the
blessed elder used to say, since the Lord, being an apostle of the almighty,
was sent toward Hebrews, Paul through modesty, as one sent to the gentiles,
does not inscribe himself as apostle of Hebrews, both through honor toward
the Lord and on account that he wrote the epistle to the Hebrews from his
abundance, being a preacher and apostle of gentiles.
Jerome, On Famous Men 6:
Barnabas Cyprius, qui et Ioseph Levites,
cum Paulo gentium apostolus ordinatus, unam ad aedificationem
ecclesiae pertinentem epistolam composuit, quae inter apocryphas
scripturas legitur. hic postea propter Ioannem discipulum, qui et
Marcus vocabatur, separatus a Paulo, nihilominus evangelicae
praedicationis iniunctum sibi opus exercuit.
Barnabas the Cyprian, who is also Joseph the
Levite, ordained as an apostle to the gentiles with Paul,
wrote one epistle, valuable for the edification of the church,
which is reckoned among the apocryphal writings. He afterwards
separated from Paul on account of the disciple John, who was also
called Mark, but nonetheless exercised the work enjoined upon him of
preaching the gospel.