Having taken a breather from Paul's travels and reflected on Galatians, we need now to take up the story again. Paul was very upset at the time of writing Galatians, upset by what was happening to 'his' churches in Galatia, and upset by what he saw as betrayal by Peter and even Barnabas. But then the Jerusalem Council was convened, as Acts 15 records, and its decisions brilliantly accommodated the differing concerns of Paul and Peter and Barnabas.
Acts says that Paul and Barnabas then returned to Antioch, with two additional delegates from the Jerusalem church, Judas and Silas, 'who said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers' (15.32). It is not difficult to imagine that such encouragement might have been needed after what had happened, and it may be significant that Acts then tells us that they were sent back to Jerusalem 'with peace' (15.33). They had helped to bring peace, and were sent off in peace.
But things did not remain entirely harmonious: Acts describes another argument between Paul and Barnabas, which arose when Paul wanted to take to the road again and to revisit the churches of Galatia. This time the argument was over John Mark: Barnabas wished to take him with them, but Paul, recalling how Mark had given up last time in Pamphylia, was unwilling to take someone he saw as unreliable. The result was a 'sharp disagreement' and a parting of the ways, Barnabas taking Mark to revisit Cyprus and Paul taking Silas and going overland this time to Syria, Cilicia (the Tarsus area) and Galatia (15.36–41).
This all makes good historical sense. The author of Acts, for whom both Barnabas and Paul were heroes, would hardly have invented this clash. And, although Paul's letters do not speak of the clash, Galatians shows that there had been tensions between Paul and Barnabas, and Paul's letters to the Thessalonians confirm that the next stage of his ministry was in collaboration with Silas (or