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Kids Lesson: Barnabas in Antioch (Acts 11)

Unit 31 - Session 2 BSP

Barnabas in Antioch (Acts 11)

Even though some people tried to stop it, the gospel spread throughout the earth—not only to Jews but also to Gentiles. The good news about Jesus is for everyone. God calls us to celebrate when others believe and help them know and love Jesus more.


The Lord Reigns

Come Ye Sinners

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Key Passage

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” - 1 Chronicles 16:31

Bible Story - Barnabas in Antioch

Bible Story Video

Bible Story

God had called Peter to tell everyone the good news about Jesus, no matter who they were or where they came from. So Peter shared the gospel not only with Jews, but with Gentiles. The Gentiles in Caesarea heard Peter’s message and believed. God gave His Holy Spirit to these new believers, and they were baptized. Before long, the apostles and other believers throughout Judea heard that Gentiles had believed the good news about Jesus. They were surprised, so Peter shared about the vision God had given to him of the sheet of clean and unclean animals and his encounter with Cornelius. Peter explained that the gospel is for all people. Then the believers praised God and understood that Jesus had come for the Gentiles too! At the same time, believers who scattered after Stephen’s murder had traveled to places like Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. In those places, the believers only shared the gospel with the Jews. But some believers from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and preached the gospel to the Greeks, too. God was with them, and a large number of the Greeks believed the good news. The church at Jerusalem heard about these new believers, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch. Barnabas was a good man. He loved God and was full of faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. When Barnabas arrived, he saw that God was gracious to these believers. He was glad and encouraged them to keep following God. Even more people trusted in Jesus. Then Barnabas left Antioch and went to Tarsus to look for Paul. He found Paul and brought him back to Antioch. They stayed with the church in Antioch for a year, teaching large crowds of people. Jesus’ followers were first called Christians at Antioch.

Christ Connection: Even though some people tried to stop it, the gospel spread throughout the earth—not only to Jews but also to Gentiles. The good news about Jesus is for everyone. God calls us to celebrate when others believe and help them know and love Jesus more.

Bible Story Summary

  • More and more Gentiles heard and believed the good news about Jesus.

  • The gospel continued to spread.

  • The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to visit and encourage the new believers in Antioch.

Discussion Starters

  • How does the gospel spread?

  • Can anything stop the gospel from spreading? Why or why not?

  • How should we respond when people put their trust in Jesus?

Family Activity

  • Arrange dominoes in such a way that when one is pushed over, all the others follow. Talk about how the gospel goes from person to person in a similar way.

Additional Resources

Coloring/Activity Pages

Download PDF (Lessons for March 7 - April 4)

Preschool Activity

Help children count the people in each row and write the number in each box. Challenge older preschoolers to count the total number of people on the page.

A family tree is a way of showing how a family grows. It starts with one set of parents, then you draw lines to all of their kids. And when those kids grow up and have kids, you draw more lines and people. God’s family grows through people too. In this picture, one man tells two others the gospel, then each of those two tell two more people the gospel, and it keeps going until more and more people join God’s family.

Elementary Discussion Questions

Help your kids find Acts 11. Ask the following questions:

  • How did the Jewish believers react after Peter explained what happened with Cornelius? (They glorified God and understood that Gentiles could be saved by faith too, Acts 11:18)

  • Who did the scattered believers share the gospel with? (only the Jews, Acts 11:19)

  • In what city were believers first called Christians? (Antioch of Syria, Acts 11:26)

  • Who can we share the gospel with? Direct kids to see that God’s plan all along has been for people of all nations and tribes to come to faith. As a result, we can be sure that God wants us to share the gospel with everyone we meet.

  • How do you feel when you think about sharing the gospel with someone? Help kids think through the common emotions they might experience. Remind them that it is normal to feel nervous, afraid, or uncertain. Help them understand that the Bible teaches us the Holy Spirit will empower us and help to give us the words we need to share the gospel. Remind them that even a negative reaction from the person listening doesn’t mean we should stop sharing the gospel.

  • How can you encourage other believers? Guide kids to think practically. Remind them that telling someone you care or thanking them for the ways they help you love Jesus are great ways to encourage others. Sometimes, even just listening to others’ problems is all it takes. Barnabas went to Antioch to encourage believers. The gospel spread and the church grew. We can encourage others and spread the gospel too, which in turn can grow the church.