Was Barnabus an Apostle?

Does Acts 14:14 say Barnabas was an apostle? If not way is apostles plural?

Acts 14:14 (ESV) “But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out,”

Cheers and blessings,


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I believe the short answer is yes. I have added a link here to a more detailed answer. I would be interested in your thoughts.


Jimmy, thanks for the reply! It’s an interesting explanation. This is the first I’ve heard of it and observed it in scripture so I will need to check it out further. Thank you so much for you reply!

Cheers and blessings,



Please share your findings. I have to admit that I never gave much thought to that verse but I have thought about what was/is meant in the broadest terms by apostle then and now. Looking forward to thoughts.

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So far I have confirmed it on blue letter Bible.

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That’s great. Here is another really good resource to add to your study guides.

Never mind the reference to Matthew it happens to be home page in this view but you can change that to suit your needs.

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Thank you Jimmy!

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I ran up on this verse this morning. I thought that it might be of interest and it is relevant to your topic. It is from 2 Peter 1:1.

Simeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith equal in value to ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

In this verse “equal valve” could be read “equal standing” and if we are equal in standing is it a stretch to assume that all believers are in so sense apostles? We are brothers and sisters to the King.

The apostles were the 12 men chosen by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Their names are listed in Acts 1:13. Also see Acts 1:21-26, that tells about the choosing of Matthias as a replacement for Judas. It seems important that there needed to be 12 apostles - not sure why. I have wondered whether the original 12 might have had something to do with their having been 12 tribes of Israel, as they appear to have ministered only to the Jews. Barnabas shows up in the account starting in Acts 11, when Gentiles began responding to the gospel and he began working with Saul (later Paul). Their ministry was to the Gentiles. I know that Paul later referred to himself as an apostle (he saw Jesus after His resurrection, on the Damascus Road). But I have found nothing that indicates that anyone else was ever called to be an apostle. The key thing seems to be that an apostle had to be an eye-witness of the resurrected Christ. And maybe Paul was the only apostle to the Gentiles because??? I don’t know why… As for the “s” in Chapter 14, that’s an interesting question. Have you looked at Blue Letter Bible to see if it is plural in the original language of the text?

Hi, Sharon. If you haven’t read the resource Jimmy posted, I think that would be helpful for you. The term apostle, as well as the function and role which it describes, as the source mentions, does not just refer to the 12. Indeed, the twelve do have special authority as eyewitnesses and Jesus’ disciples, but the term and all that goes with it is not limited to just those.

In the grammar of the text in any language, it would not make sense to have the singular form of ‘apostles’ in this passage, because the term clearly describes two persons because the names are joined by the conjunction “and.” Blue Letter Bible has its uses and is . However, in my studies, I have found there are times its information is occasionally off. In this case, it does show the term to be singular, but anyone who knows grammar knows that has to be incorrect because of the structure of the sentence. Bible hub, however, correctly shows the term to be plural. In my husband’s linear Bible, which shows the original language, my husband (who learned the Greek) says the term is plural as well. Bible Gateway’s translations of the original Greek (they have five) all confirm the plural. There really isn’t a lot of guess work in the Greek most of the time concerning plural and singular, because plural nouns normally end in “oi” while “os” is for singular. https://biblehub.com/interlinear/acts/14-14.htm

In speaking of the different roles in which God puts people for the benefit of the church, Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11-16 that God gave some to be apostles right along with listing prophets and pastors and teachers, so the role and function of apostle did not stop at the twelve. Other apostles, however, as I’ve already noted, do not carry the same authority as the twelve.

Thank you so much for your response and insight. It caused me to do some further research, which has been helpful. I learned that the word “apostle” Literally means “one sent out.” More specifically, it refers to those sent out by Christ Himself after His resurrection. However, as Barnabas was “sent out” by the Church to learn about the Gentiles coming to salvation, he could be called an “apostle” in a more “generic” sense - but distinguished from the 12 and Paul, as you mentioned, in authority and power. It is interesting to me that when Paul and Barnabas are spoken of in Acts, it is Paul who is the chief speaker and Paul who was stoned.

I do believe, however, that it is best to reserve the term “apostle” for reference to the days when the foundations were being laid for the early church, and then only to the 12 and Paul. This is because there is confusion among some about there being apostles in today’s church with the same authority as the original 12 and Paul. The Bible clearly warns about this.

Sharon Miller