Acts 11:19-30
[Barnabas] encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord (Acts 11:23).


Read Colossians 4:12 to see how Epaphras encouraged his fellow believers. Read Hebrews 10:25 to see the relationship between church attendance and encouragement.


Who in your world needs your encouragement today? How might your lifestyle and devotion to Jesus affect the people around you?

If you don’t know how to “threethrow,” don’t worry—it’s easy. You hold up your hand and pin down your pinky finger with your thumb. The three remaining fingers represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You can use this gesture to connect with other Christians “when verbal fellowship can’t occur,” says Mark Mitchum, who originated threethrowing. He hopes that this hand signal will “connect [Christians] for a few seconds and allow fellowship and encouragement [to occur].”

The early Christians, like us today, needed to connect in order to support each other. One group of believers in Antioch had the benefit of Barnabas’ encouragement. These Christians, who were religious refugees (Acts 8:1), had shared the gospel with the local Gentiles. By God’s power, many Gentiles accepted Christ. When their fellow believers back in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas (Acts 11:22) to uplift the Antioch congregation. Barnabas’ presence carried an unspoken message: “We support you. You’re not in this alone.”

When Barnabas arrived, “he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord” (Acts 11:23). For the more mature believers who had seen many receive Jesus under their ministry, his message may have helped guard against vices that can creep in after mountaintop experiences—pride, laziness, and spiritual independence. For the spiritual youngsters in the group, his message helped them to avoid falling away from their newfound faith.

Barnabas was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith” (Acts 11:24). Like him, we can strengthen other believers as we encourage them with our words and walk. If you can claim, “I am not ashamed of this good news about Christ” (Romans 1:16), consider connecting with other believers—near or far. Your brothers and sisters might need to hear you say: Hang in there; fight the good fight; stay committed to Christ.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 19:21-41

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6 Responses to “threethrowing”

  1. Gene says:

    I’ve had a Barnabas in my life and it really made a difference for me as a young Christian. Encouraging others is a great calling and something we all can do. ODJ is also a way to reach out and encourage. I’m rejoicing about the great riches and power we have in Christ (Eph 1:7-9).

    • jennifer benson schuldt says:


      Thanks for your comment. I also have had a “Barnabas” in my life for the past nine years. Isn’t it amazing how God can work through the comments and perspectives of other Christians to strengthen us when we need help? : )

  2. josy says:

    Regarding encouragement, we were having a conversation about telemarketers at a dinner recently, with everyone of course giving their (rude) method dealing with them. But it occurs to me that these people are doing an arduous job undoubtedly because they have to and have had ten people be rude to them before they deal with me. Maybe God has noticed this and is sending them to me next so that they can experience a bit of God`s love.
    Wouldn’t it be much nicer to share kindness and love in God’s name with them? “I don`t need what you’re selling, but is there something about which I can pray for you?”
    I won’t feel ashamed when I meet them in heaven!

  3. davidbloomfield says:

    I am a Methodist local preacher and have been preaching the gospel since 1969.

    In recent years I have felt the Lord wants me to also encourage believers in congregations as well as proclaiming the gospel.

    There are also many opportunities to encourage preachers who minister to us with a word of appreciation. We can encourage each other – we all need it.

    • jennifer benson schuldt says:


      The writer of Hebrews supports your efforts to encourage the people in your congregation. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now…” (Heb 10:25).

      Thank you for the reminder about encouraging pastors. They do so much in their role as church leaders (1 Thess 5:12-13). Much of it goes unseen. We can encourage them by letting them know we’re praying for them (2 Corinthians 1:11), by paying them a fair wage (Gal 6:6), and by respecting them (1 Thess. 5:13). Thank you for your service on God’s behalf!

  4. jennifer benson schuldt says:

    Hi josy,

    Oddly, my husband spent some time–early in his working days–making telephone calls. When telemarketers call our home, he models kindness and affirms them in their work. I have learned much from him. I think the “Golden Rule” (Luke 6:31) applies here; we should treat other people the way we want to be treated.

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