Barnabas was a Levite from Cyprus. His birth name was Joseph, but the apostles called him Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.” The nickname fit his personality well. Following Paul’s conversion, the Christians in Jerusalem were initially afraid of their former persecutor. Barnabas, however, befriended Paul and introduced him to the apostles. He brought Paul to Antioch to help build a church there (11:25–26), and became Paul’s companion on his first missionary journey. The two men eventually had a sharp disagreement over John Mark, who had left Paul and Barnabas before the end of the first journey. As a result of the disagreement, Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways. While Paul chose Silas as his companion for his second journey, Barnabas took Mark on a separate mission back to Cyprus to strengthen the church there. (Acts 11:22–26)