Barnabas vs. Paul

To Encourage or Confront?

By C. K. Robertson Published
Paperback image ISBN: 9781630882778 $21.99 Buy
eBook image ISBN: 9781630882785 $21.99 Buy
An encourager most don’t remember and an apostle many don’t likeWho were Barnabas and Paul? Was Paul an angry loner, misogynist, legalist, and curmudgeon, or hero and martyr? Through point and counterpoint, the author unravels Paul's message by looking at his relationship with Barnabas. The result is a fresh portrait of the Paul we only think we know and Barnabas an otherwise unheralded apostle.

When the Church cannot condemn or kill a leader who upsets the status quo, it either canonizes the individual and controls his image (as with Paul) or pushes him off into relative obscurity (as with Barnabas). Paul and Barnabas started out as inseparable, close friends and colleagues until a conflict tore them apart. Barnabas of Cyprus faded into relative obscurity, while Paul of Tarsus became, apart from Jesus himself, the most influential figure in the history of Christianity and, arguably, the most maligned. By exploring their common journey, we can move beyond myths and assumptions. Theirs was a partnership that, quite literally, changed the world.

The book contains study questions for individual or group study. 


"Through a careful and accessible reading of the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s own letters, Canon Robertson helps us see Saint Paul as he was, a liberator who understood that the gospel brings those who are far-off and those who are near closer to one another. We must ever 'read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest' Holy Scripture. This glimpse into the lives and ministries of Paul and Barnabas can help us do that, as we learn from them and stand for the glorious liberation to which God calls us all."

--Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

“Popular perceptions of Barnabas and Paul are often misleading and prejudicial. In his readable and absorbing book, Robertson has restored the truth about these two Christian workers who--in their distinctly separate ways--cleared the way for the growth of the church and the advance of the gospel around the world.”
--Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, USA


"Do you have ears to hear and eyes to see? Leave your preconceptions at the door, and learn who Paul and Barnabas really were and what they actually espoused. Read Robertson’s account of early Christian struggles and see the parallels with your own faith community and its environs. Read and learn to be dangerous and reinvigorated for what you’ve been sent into the world to do and be!"
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Episcopal Church


About the Author

C. K. Robertson

The Rev. Dr. C. K. Robertson is Canon to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Distinguished Visiting Professor at General Theological Seminary in New York City. He received his Ph.D. from Durham University and was named a Fellow of the Episcopal Church Foundation. Having served on several boards, including the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches and the Board of the Anglican Theological Review, Dr. Robertson has written and edited many books and articles, including Jesus and Paul: Global Perspectives, a festschrift in honor of his doctoral supervisor, James D. G. Dunn, and Conversations with Scripture: Acts of the Apostles. He recently was named General Editor of a new book series, “Studies in Episcopal and Anglican