Acts 15:36-41
Acts 15:36 (KJB)
And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
After a considerable amount of time, could have been up to a year, Paul wanted to revisit all the churches they had help set up on his first missionary journey. Paul knew the false teachings which had tried to penetrate the church in Antioch and now he wanted to visit all the churches in Galatia, Lyaconia, and other areas they went to see how they are progressing, especially since these churches were founded among much persecution. All throughout his ministry, Paul had a burning love for all the churches and wanted to see them grow in the Lord. Even when he was in prison, he wrote four epistles to various churches.
Acts 15:37 (KJB)
And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
Determined - Intended
Barnabas had desired to visit the churches along with Paul but Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them. John was the cousin of Barnabas. If you recall in Acts 13:13, John had left the group and returned to Jerusalem. (Acts 13:13 KJV) Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. John must have had a change of heart since he had left them in Pamphylia. He must have returned to the church in Antioch where the Apostles were staying and asked once again to be a part of their company. Maybe Barnabas saw in him a change of heart.
Acts 15:38 (KJB)
But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
Paul did not agree with Barnabas because John had abandoned them while they were in Pampyhila and Paul did not want to risk another abandonment since every one was needed on these missionary journeys and Paul did not want to contend with someone who may leave them again. Since Mark left them, Paul no doubt, had considered John Mark unworthy or untrustworthy for ministry. (1 Cor 4:2 KJV) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Acts 15:39 (KJB)
And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
Contention - Irritation or exasperation
Departed asunder - Apart or separated
They could not come to agreement concerning John Mark, so they had such a sharp contention or quarrel that they had separated one from the other. So instead of this contention causing a rift or a stoppage in the work of the Lord, they had come to agreement they would split up for the time being. Barnabas and John Mark then sailed on to Cyprus. This was a wise decision on their part because John Mark was familiar with Cyprus plus while he was there he was a faithful worker and this present trip might get him back into the mode of being a faithful worker once again. The second chance that Barnabas gave John Mark turned out to be a wise move and good investment because it was the catalyst for him becoming a faithful worker from that point on.
Acts 15:40 (KJB)
And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
Paul had chosen Silas as his partner since he was a more mature Christian. Barnabas would have the opportunity to help John Mark learn and gain maturity instead of experiencing constant bickering in the group. So with the recommending of the brethren to the grace of God, they had departed from Antioch. The word “recommend” carries with it the meaning of “giving something away.” In essence, the church at Antioch had given Paul and Silas to the other Christians they had planned on visiting. Whenever a church dispatches a missionary, they are giving of their flock to another.
Acts 15:41 (KJB)
And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
Confirming - Strengthening or further support
Paul and Silas had gone through the churches in Syria and also in Cilicia where Tarsus was located which was the hometown of Paul. It was for the purpose of establishing and giving them further support to see them become strong churches for the Lord and thus good testimonies whereby they could send out their own missionaries and further the Gospel.