Beyond the Weekend

September 10 | The Challenge of Conflict

September 10, 2019


They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Acts 15:39a

Read: Acts 15:37-41

Listen: Acts 15


Paul and Barnabas argue and go in different ways. This detail isn’t something you would expect to find in the Bible. It’s a sharp disagreement between two key figures, spiritually mature, in the early church that doesn’t get resolved here. Why is Paul so agitated? Paul, Barnabas and John Mark had earlier set off on a trip to spread the Jesus-message. John Mark abandons the traveling party. He packs up and heads home. When Paul and Barnabas decide to take a second journey, Barnabas wants to take John Mark along. Paul doesn’t.

This stuff happened then, and it happens now. Conflicts arise today over things that aren’t necessarily right or wrong. It may be two middle school best friends who decide to play different sports. Perhaps it is business partners who can’t agree to take a risk to expand or play it safe. It might be friends who have different takes on how to raise their kids. Sometimes these disagreements have lasting effects and split up relationships. It can be confusing and painful.

In today’s passage, we see it isn’t just us. It happened to Paul and Barnabas. Some of God’s best and brightest have experienced conflict. We aren’t alone in this. God is with us and wants to bring us through it.


Write down a strained relationship in your journal. Maybe it’s a friend, family member, classmate, mentor or former business partner. Below their name, write the sentence, “God, I give this situation to you.” Ask him to bring reconciliation in his own time.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.

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