Paul and his company (hoi peri Paulon). Neat Greek idiom as in Plato, Cratylus 440 C hoi peri Herakleiton. On this idiom see Gildersleeve, Syntax, p. 264. It means a man and his followers, “those around Paul.” Now Paul ranks first always in Acts save in Act 14:2; Act 15:12, Act 15:25 for special reasons. Heretofore Saul (Paul) held a secondary position (Act 9:27; Act 11:30; Act 13:1.). “In nothing is the greatness of Barnabas more manifest than in his recognition of the superiority of Paul and acceptance of a secondary position for himself” (Furneaux).
Set sail (anachthentes). First aorist passive participle of anagō. Thirteen times in the Acts and Luk 8:22 which see. They sailed up to sea and came down (katagō, katabainō) to land. So it looks.
Departed from them (apochōrēsas ap' autōn). First aorist active participle of apochōreō, old verb to withdraw, go away from. In the N.T. only here and Mat 7:23; Luk 9:39. He is called John here as in Act 13:5and Mark in Act 15:39, though John Mark in Act 12:12, Act 12:25. This may be accidental or on purpose (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 317). Luke is silent on John’s reasons for leaving Paul and Barnabas. He was the cousin of Barnabas and may not have relished the change in leadership. There may have been change in plans also now that Paul is in command. Barnabas had chosen Cyprus and Paul has led them to Perga in Pamphylia and means to go on into the highlands to Antioch in Pisidia. There were perils of many sorts around them and ahead (2Co 11:26), perils to which John Mark was unwilling to be exposed. Paul will specifically charge him at Antioch with desertion of his post (Act 15:39). It is possible, as Ramsay suggests, that the mosquitoes at Perga gave John malaria. If so, they bit Paul and Barnabas also. He may not have liked Paul’s aggressive attitude towards the heathen. At any rate he went home to Jerusalem instead of to Antioch, zu seiner Mutter (Holtzmann). It was a serious breach in the work, but Paul and Barnabas stuck to the work.