by Tammy Phillips
July 13, 2020
And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, – Acts 4:36 NKJV
Kris and I have always had nicknames for each other. On our honeymoon, we called each other Jerome and Sheronda. We have been Moto and Photo; RŌand DŌ. His contact in my phone is currently KrisP (pronounced like crispy).
Nicknames can be a term of endearment or reproach. Every name and nickname have meaning. However, the Bible does not record the interpretation of every name. Luke thought it necessary to give an exposition of Barnabas’ name. I find it very interesting that in Acts 4:35, Joseph was nicknamed Barnabas, Son of Encouragement. Joseph must have been some kind of motivator. What a legacy! I would love to be called Daughter of Encouragement, enCOURAGER, or even DOE. What about you? What nickname would you like to yield?
Jesus says in John 14:26 that the Father God will send the Holy Spirit, also named the Comforter.
But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. – John 14:26 KJV
The Greek noun for Comforter is Parakeltos which is translated: Helper, Aid, Advocate, Intercessor, Assistant, Encourager. It literally means to be called or come to one’s side.
Barnabas simply followed the lead of the Holy Spirit, his Encourager, in encouraging others. The disciples were afraid of Paul when he came to Jerusalem to join them. Barnabas came by Paul’s side and encouraged the disciples to accept Paul as a disciple. Paul in return exhorts us to come along side others and help them.
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV
But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. – Hebrews 3:13 NKJV
Comfort and exhort in the above verses are the same Greek verb, parakaleō. It means call to one’s side; to call near; to comfort; to console; to encourage and strengthen; to instruct.
The Comforter comforts. The Intercessor intercedes. The Encourager encourages. Now, do you see why I would not mind being nicknamed Barnabas? His job was to encourage and so is ours.
I enCOURAGE you to be all God has called you to be. He has given each of us specific gifts to use to further His kingdom. What nickname(s) has He given you? Are you living up to your name? How about living up to the name, Christian?
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given [us] everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NKJV