Sunday: Back in Lystra

Luke’s selective choice of events brings Paul almost straight to Derbe and Lystra. About Syria and Cilicia, the only thing he says is that Paul went through those regions confirming the churches (Acts 15:41).

Read Acts 16:1-13. What does Paul’s action here teach us about how sensitive he was in seeking to reach others?


Image © Lifeway Coll.

Though Timothy’s father was a Gentile, his mother was a Jewish Christian; her name was Eunice. Despite being uncircumcised, Timothy knew the Scriptures from childhood (2 Tim. 3:15), implying he was also a pious person. As a Christian, he had already earned the respect and the admiration of all the local believers.

Because the Jews reckoned Jewishness through the mother’s line rather than the father’s, Timothy was a Jew. He had not been circumcised on the eighth day after birth, perhaps because his father, a Greek, viewed circumcision as barbaric.

Wishing to have Timothy as a co-worker and knowing that, as an uncircumcised Jew, he would be forbidden to enter the Jewish synagogues under the charge of apostasy, Paul had him circumcised. Paul’s motivation for doing so, therefore, was entirely practical and should not be seen as a contradiction to the gospel he preached.

After revisiting the places that he had been in his first journey, Paul decided to go southwest, possibly to Ephesus, in the province of Asia, but the Holy Spirit prevented him from doing so. He then moved north, trying to go to Bithynia, but again in some undisclosed way the Spirit prevented him from going there. Because he was already passing through Mysia, Paul’s only option was to go westward to the seaport of Troas, from where he could sail in a number of directions.

In a night vision, however, God showed him he should sail across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia. When his companions learned about the vision, they concluded that God had indeed called them to share the gospel with the Macedonians.

Think about why Paul circumcised Timothy. What should this teach us about being willing to do certain things that we might not always agree with or deem necessary, but that will serve a greater cause?

1 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Maurice Ashton:

    25 Aug 2018
    The church had decided that circumcision was not a requirement for Christian and yet here we find Paul circumcising Timothy. This seem to contradict the very message that Paul was currently tking to the Gentile converts Why then did he do it? We should consider two points:

    A) While it was not required, it was not prevented either.

    B) In the case of Timothy, he was of Greek and Jewish heritage. I think that Paul remembered that they would be doing a lot of their preaching in Synagogues and Paul did not want circumcision overshadowing his preaching of the Gospel. Jewish listeners would have made quite a distracting argument about it.

    Was it a compromise, or a Spirit-inspired strategy? 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 probably provides the explanation.

    There is another issue that is almost overlooked in today’s lesson. The Holy Spirit guided Paul and Silas not to preach in certain cities. We often focus on the Holy Spirit advising us to do something. Here the Holy Spirit is advising Paul not to do something.

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons