Paul & Timothy – New Ministry Duo

I tend to be a tosser – when something doesn’t work, I will toss it out, I will buy a replacement. So when the lawn mower stops working, I take it out to the garbage and go buy a new one. But we have a neighbor who is wonderfully skilled in repairing things. So he wil … More

Replacement

In the first few verses of this chapter we find Paul and Silas moving, on foot, around the tip of the Mediterranean, and then westward to Derbe and Lystra (v. 1). This is just the reverse of the first missionary journey (14:6-20). Can you imagine some of Paul’s feelings as he returned to the city where he had been stoned?

Perhaps the best thing that happened at Lystra was the enlistment of Timothy to replace John Mark as Paul’s special assistant. Probably he had been converted under Paul’s ministry, during his first missionary journey, because Paul later refers to him as “my own son in the faith” (I Timothy 1:2).  Timothy was a lad with a great heritage. He had a good mother and a good grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). Often in the days to come he was to be Paul’s messenger (1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 3:2–6). He was at Rome with Paul when the apostle was in prison (Philippians 1:1; 2:19; Colossians 1:1; Philemon 1). Timothy had a very special relationship with Paul. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 4:17) he called him his beloved son. It seems very likely that Paul saw his successor in Timothy when he had to lay down his work. Timothy was of mixed parentage as his mother was Jewish and his father was a Greek. Because of his Greek father he had not been circumcised. Therefore, Paul thought it best to circumcise him so that he would give no offense to the Jews they were trying to reach.

Since the decision at the Jerusalem conference declared that it was not necessary to be circumcised in order to be saved, does this mean that Paul compromised? No, because his concern with Timothy was not his salvation, but his service. The reason was that Timothy was a Jew, and Paul had never said that circumcision was not necessary for Jews. It was the Gentiles who were freed from the ceremonies of the Jewish way of life. This shows us that when we win a strategic battle we are liberated from the necessity of parading the victory before those who were defeated.

Application

I am not bound by the standards set up by fellow Christians, but I am bound by the Word of God.

Acts 16:1-5 (English Standard Version)

Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

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Acts 18:5-11
Opposition Enhances Ministry Results

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