Tag Archives: Books

Who was Judas Barsabbas?

[We’re sorry that we’ve not been getting posts up as regular as you might like, but we hope that the quality of the content is worth the delay]

Today, we continue our special ongoing gift of a book we’re working on, tentatively titled “Who Were the Apostles?”  And this one is yet another of the “Non-apostle Apostles,” men who were not of the 12 chosen by Jesus, but were still called “apostles” in the Scripture.

Judas Barsabbas


When the apostles and elders in Jerusalem needed two men to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, they chose one man whose name is familiar to Bible students (Silas), and another one whose name is usually forgotten.  Judas Barsabbas*[1] was a prominent member of the church of Christ in Jerusalem.*[2]  The first thing the Bible says about him is found in Acts 15:22:

Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; specifically Judas, surnamed Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren.

Judas, or Judah, was a common Jewish name.  His surname, Barsabbas, is given to distinguish him from the four other Judas’s that appear in the book of Acts.*[3]  It is also possible that this man is the brother of the man who was not selected to replace Judas, Joseph Barsabbas (Acts 1:23).*[4]

Going by the text of Acts 15, it appears the church was excited to have Judas as their representative in taking the letter to Antioch.  The fact that this letter was about accepting the Gentiles into the church as Gentiles (and not as proselyte Jews) also shows us something about his character: he was not judgmental against the Gentiles like many of the Jews were.  He was happy to accept them as his brethren in Christ.  It is in Acts 15:27 that we see Judas Barsabbas was an apostle of the church in Jerusalem.*[5]

His mission, as given by the apostles and elders, was twofold: (1) to deliver the letter to the Gentile Christians in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, and (2) to verbally vouch for the truthfulness of the letter (Acts 15:27).[6]*  This, Judas accomplished, and the brethren in Antioch “let [him] go in peace…to the apostles” (Acts 15:33).*[7]  Most likely, Judas returned to Jerusalem and gave a report to the apostles and elders there about how the letter was received.*[8]  This report probably included that Silas decided to stay behind in Antioch for a while.*[9]

Judas Barsabbas was a Christian, baptized in order to have his sins forgiven, but he was also a preacher and an encourager.  Luke records for us that he “exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them” (Acts 15:32).*[10]  He is also a man upon whom the apostles laid their hands—he is called a “prophet,” which means he had the miraculous ability to speak messages given to him by the Holy Spirit.*[11]

Judas Barabbas was an apostle of the church in Jerusalem, the twelve apostles, and the elders there (Acts 15:23, 27).  He finished his mission and disappears from the biblical record.  There are untold thousands of Christians about whom little-to-nothing is known.  But, like Judas, there were certainly many who served the Lord in loving their brethren, and whose desire was to encourage each other in order to make sure that they would all be in heaven someday.  What a joyous thought!

-Bradley Cobb

[1] *The King James Version spells the name “Barsabas,” but the Greek has a double b in the final syllable, thus the correct spelling is “Barsabbas.”

[2] *The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia suggests that Judas Barsabbas (along with Silas) may have been an elder of the church in Jerusalem.

[3] *Judas, one of the twelve apostles (Acts 1:13), Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:16-19), Judas of Galilee who apparently claimed to be the Messiah (Acts 5:37), and Judas in whose house Saul of Tarsus was staying in Damascus (Acts 9:10-11).

[4] *This identification seems unlikely, since Luke specifically says Joseph’s surname was “Justus,” and that he was just “called Barsabbas.”  It seems that for Joseph, “Barsabbas” was more of a nickname, like “Barnabas” (Acts 4:36).

[5] *The Greek word translated “sent” is the verb form of “apostle.”

[6] *Judas and Silas were sent because “by the mouth of two or three witnesses” everything was to be established (Matthew 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1).

[7] *The same thing is spoke of about Silas, but Silas decided to stay in Antioch instead of returning to Jerusalem.

[8] *The text does not explicitly state that Judas returned home, but it seems to be implied, since Luke records only that Silas decided to stay in Antioch.  Some Greek manuscripts add the words “and Judas alone proceeded,” but that phrase does not appear in any notable English translations.  In other manuscripts, the entire verse is missing, and many English translations omit it completely or include it in brackets.

[9] *Acts 15:34.

[10] *The word translated “exhort” can mean “to encourage,” and is frequently translated “comfort” in the New Testament.

[11] *The only way that miraculous abilities were passed on to other Christians was by the laying on of the hands of an apostle.  This truth can be seen clearly in Acts 8:12-18 and 19:6; it is also referenced in Romans 1:11 and 2 Corinthians 12:12.

Now for something totally different

Back in 2010, I wrote a short story for our three little girls, who at the time were 5, 6, and 8 years old.  Little did I realize how much they would enjoy that home-made book.  Here we are, five years later, and they still read it and reference it quite frequently.

It’s a story called “The Princess of Goodweather.”

Yep, there it is.  I’ve said it.  I wrote a story about a princess.  But at the same time, it’s also a story about what’s truly important in choosing a spouse (my girls didn’t ever realize I had some ulterior motives…).  It’s a story that shows it is what is inside that counts, and not what is outside.

There’s humor, there’s a sword fight, there’s a clumsy king who keeps getting hurt (who seems far too much like me…), and there’s a truly egotistical bad guy named Heese Vane.

As a surprise for our children, this book is now published professionally!  (and the cover art was done by them)

Princess of Goodweather (FRONT)

But there’s more!

This year (also as a surprise to our children), I wrote a sequel!  Shhh…don’t tell our kids.  They don’t know yet.

It’s called “Return to Goodweather.”

It’s a story that contains action (more sword-fighting!), intrigue, mystery, redemption, and humor.  It’s also a story that shows the need to put principles into practice.  You get to see love, hospitality, and forgiveness all put into practice.

Plus you get to read about the preacher’s “Killer” beef stew, the use of a frog to remove skunk-stink, and two men who have returned to Goodweather to “make things right.”

These books are fun little reads (Book one is 32 pages, Book two is 104 pages) which we think you’d enjoy.  If you’re looking for some good, clean reading material for your children (or grandchildren), we think these would fit the bill.  They are both written where a third or fourth grader could easily read it, but they’re also quite enjoyable for adults (especially if they’re reading them to children).

These books are now available on our website, or you can purchase them at Amazon.com.


Any orders placed this week will be delivered in time for Christmas

The Pentateuch: Its Origin and Authorship

This week’s additions to the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary all have to do with defending the Bible against the skeptics who make claims that it is uninspired and/or severely corrupted.

Back in the late 1800s, it was popular for atheists to go around making claims that the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) was full of mistakes and corruptions, and wasn’t even written until many years after Moses was dead.  By this, they tried to prove that it (1) wasn’t from God and that (2) it wasn’t written when/by whom it was claimed.

In response to these speeches, several responses were written by different men from different church backgrounds.  One such response is today’s free offering.  Written by H.L. Hastings, editor of “The Christian” newspaper and the “Anti-Infidel Library,” this booklet contains several solid lines of evidence showing the divine origin of Genesis through Deuteronomy, and also spends a lengthy chapter showing that the claims of mistakes and corruptions are overblown.

Originally printed in April of 1894 as part of the “Anti-Infidel Library,” we present to you

The Pentateuch: Its Origin and Authorship.


  • The Pentateuch: Its Origin and Authorship
  • Changes in Style and Language
  • Testing the Higher Critics on Shakespeare
  • The German Critics Tested
  • Time Notes and Foot Notes
  • One Independent Witness to the Authenticity and Great Antiquity of the Pentateuch.

As always, if you want to read this book online, just click the link below.  Or you can download it for later reading on your personal electronic device (Kindle, tablet, computer, iPhone, smart phone, etc…)


The Pentateuch: Its Origin and Authorship (H.L. Hastings)

The Corruptions of the New Testament

H.L. Hastings was a prolific writer in the late 1800s, with literally millions of his booklets being published.  Most of them dealt with the topic of the reliability and inspiration of the Bible.  He put out a regular publication called “The Christian,” and a series of booklets called “The Anti-Infidel Library.”  Several of these booklets are on list to add to the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary in the coming weeks.

But for now, we’d like to present to you his book called “The Corruptions of the New Testament.”  It shows that the claims of the skeptics are completely overblown when it comes to supposed “corruptions” of the New Testament text.


  • How Old Is The English Bible?.
  • Old Bibles In Other Languages.
  • Uncial And Cursive Manuscripts.
  • Various Readings.
  • The Most Ancient Manuscripts.
  • The Variations In Different Editions.
  • Various Readings In The Sermon On The Mount.
  • The Preservation Of The Manuscripts.
  • No Record Of Apostles’ Death.
  • What, Then, Are Our Conclusions?.
  • Genuine And Spurious Books.
  • Eusebius On The Sacred Canon,
  • The Testimony Of Origen On The Canon.
  • The Muratorian Fragment On The Canon.
  • The Earliest List Of The New Testament Books.
  • The Disputed New Testament Books.
  • The Epistle To The Hebrews.
  • The Conclusion Of The Matter.
  • The Fountain Head.

To read this book, simply click the link below, or you can download it to save for later reading.  Enjoy!

The Corruptions of the New Testament (H.L. Hasting)

The Divinity of Jesus Christ

The newest book in the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary is by Edward Scribner Ames, and was originally published in 1911.  It is a series of sermons all about Jesus Christ.

Special thanks goes to Stephen Scaggs who volunteered to proofread this one and took the time to find each Bible quotation and list the verse references (which are now included as footnotes).  Originally, the references weren’t given.

The sermons are as follows:

  1. The Divinity of Christ
  2. The Empirical View of Jesus
  3. Why I am Not a Unitarian
  4. The Friendship of Jesus
  5. The Reincarnation of Jesus
  6. Two or Three and Christ

As always, just click the link below to read this book online, or right-click it to download to your computer for later use.

The Divinity of Christ (Edward Scribner Ames)

Thank you!

The Oliphant-Smith Debate

In 1929, in Shawnee, Oklahoma (just 10 miles from The Cobb Six Headquarters), there was a debate held between W.L. Oliphant (Christian) and Charles Smith (atheist).  The propositions were:

  1. “There is a Supreme Being (God, Creator).”
  • Affirmative: W. L. OLIPHANT.
  • Negative: CHARLES SMITH.


  1. “Atheism is Beneficial to the Race, and is most conductive to Morality of any Theory Known to Man.”
  • Affirmative: CHARLES SMITH.
  • Negative: W. L. OLIPHANT.


  1. “All Things Exist as the Result of Evolution, Directed by no Intelligence.”
  • Affirmative: CHARLES SMITH.
  • Negative: W. L. OLIPHANT.

This book is available in print from us or from Amazon, but it is also being made freely available in a digital form as part of the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary.

To read the book online, just click the link below.  Or, if you want to download it to your computer/tablet/smartphone/whatever for later reading, simply right-click on the link below and “save target as…”

Oliphant-Smith Debate (1929)

Why I Left …

In 1949, a series of sermons were preached by different gospel preachers, all of whom had left something (usually a denomination) to become part of the church of the Bible.  This series was all about the topic: “Why I Left…”  After each lecture is a biographical sketch of the speaker.

  1. Why I Left the Christian Church (Floyd A. Decker)
  2. Why I Left The Presbyterian Church (Horace W. Busby)
  3. Why I Left The Baptist Church (Grover Stevens)
  4. Why I Left The Methodist Church (Claude B. Holcomb)
  5. Why I Left the Nazarene Church (Waymon D. Miller)
  6. Why I Left The Lutheran Church (Claude A. Guild)
  7. Why I Left the World (Luther Blackmon)
  8. Why I Left the Catholic Church (Joe Malone)
  9. Why I Left The Anti-Class Position (L.W. Hayhurst)

This is the latest addition to the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary

To read this book online, simply click the link below.  Or, if you want to save it to your computer, just right-click on the link and “save target as.”

Why I Left

A Baptist Biography of Alexander Campbell

For those interested in the Restoration Movement, here’s a unique read that you’ve probably never seen.

In 1892, a Baptist “pastor” from Denver, CO, gave a series of sermons about “Seven Great Lights.”  That is, about seven religious figures in history that he thought were worthy of emulating.

Surprisingly, one of the men he chose was Alexander Campbell.

This is a short bio (just ten pages), but it’s interesting to see how he was viewed by at least one Baptist preacher.

We hope you enjoy it!

To read, simply click the link below (or right-click and save it for later reading).

Seven Great Lights (Campbell Bio)

The Eldership

One of the important parts of the early church, according to the Bible, was having trustworthy, godly men to serve as shepherds, overseers, bishops, elders.  All these names refer to the same office in the church.

The apostle Paul, along with Barnabas, made sure to ordain elders in each congregation that they had established and built up.  Timothy was given instructions on what to look for in a man who desired to be an elder.  Titus was left in Crete to ordain elders in each congregation.  Peter himself was even an elder in the church.

Suffice it to say, the eldership is an important biblical topic.

And that’s why today’s “THANK YOU” post contains another free book–this time on the subject of elders.

The Eldership, by M.M. Davis, was originally published in 1912, and was reprinted a few times after that.  Even though it is over a hundred years old, it is still full of plain Bible teaching on this subject.  And it’s not really all that long, either, so don’t think you’re going to have to trudge through some extended dissertation on this, that, or the other.

It has been completely reformatted and proofread (special thanks to Jerry Sturgill for his assistance in those areas), so it looks really pretty on your PC, tablet, iPad, or whatever other device you have.

Enjoy!  Just click on the link below to download it.

Davis. MM – The Eldership

Book Review – The Life of the Apostle Paul (by Barbara Dowell)

Who was the apostle Paul?  What was there about his hometown that made him perfectly suited to be the great apostle to the Gentiles?  These questions and many more are answered throughout the brand-new book, The Life of the Apostle Paul.


Packed with background information on the people and places that Paul interacted with, this book helps you to see Paul’s life and travels with a much better focus.  From the background of cities like Tyre, Jerusalem, and Rome to understanding the character of men like Felix, Festus, and Agrippa, The Life of the Apostle Paul helps you to know them like the Christians of the first century would have known them.

The author, Barbara Dowell, has been a dedicated Christian, a diligent Bible student, and an enthusiastic Bible teacher for over five decades.  Her husband, Jerry, is an elder in the church of Christ that meets in McLoud, OK.

This book is the culmination of years of studying, and was used to teach a ladies’ Bible class, though the information is useful for personal study as well.

We highly recommend this 156-page book, which is available exclusively on Amazon.com for just $9.99 (or $2.99 on Kindle).  Click here to get your own copy!

Here is the first customer review on Amazon:

This book puts the life of Paul (as shown in the Bible) in chronological order, and fills in the details with historical backgrounds of the places he visited and the people he interacted with. Several historical details were included in this book that I was not aware of, and which makes it much easier to identify with the great apostle’s life. This book is an excellent addition to my library.