Paul and Barnabas were set aside together into a divinely appointed, godly, spiritually successful partnership. And yet here we see them in intense conflict with each other, despite the fact they are apostles. Apostles are not infallible.
There is no mention in this passage of prayer and fasting, or of the direction of the Holy Spirit. This section gives us a poignant reminder that no matter how well we may feel we are doing, we must always be in submission to God’s purposes. He knows the beginning from the end. His ways are perfect. His direction is infallible.
God’s truth transforms lives and lifts burdens. Should we follow the world’s patterns (e.g. political correctness) or God’s?
The apostles wrote to the gentile converts to clarify the place of the law in their lives. The law, fulfilled by Christ, shows us how to live, but no longer confers righteousness (it never would). Living now under grace, they should not look to live in bondage to every letter of the law; rather they were to live lives that were clean before God, out of love and obedience to him.