Yesterday we focused on the Apostle Paul choosing Timothy, a young believer from Lystra, to join his missionary team. We shared about the importance of mentoring and you can pray that I won’t just teach my students in the classroom, but that we will actually share life. But in talking about mentoring, I didn’t mention what could be considered a contradiction in Acts.
When we were studying the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, the big deal was not to circumcise Gentile believers. Paul championed that salvation was by grace and faith alone, and that circumcision wasn’t necessary. But look at what he does when he wants Timothy to join his missionary team.
“And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A follower of Jesus was there in Lystra. His name was Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium, and Paul wanted him to come with them as part of his missionary team. He took Timothy and circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in the area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As Paul and Silas and Timothy then traveled from town to town, they challenged the believers to observe the decisions made by the apostles and elders of Jerusalem. Therefore, the churches were strengthened in faith and grew daily in numbers.” Acts 16:1-5
Isn’t the Apostle Paul hypocritical and inconsistent? He makes a big deal that circumcision is not necessary, but now he circumcises Timothy. Is this a contradiction and if not, why do you think Paul had Timothy circumcised and what can we learn about how we should handle cultural issues that could either close or open doors to sharing Jesus? What do you think? Tomorrow I’ll share my thoughts about what Paul is doing with Timothy and why.
LORD, as I teach this week to a student body of Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Koreans, and Americans, break down any cultural barriers that could hinder them from internalizing the wisdom presented in Proverbs. Guide my Truth Encounter family as they wrestle with this question—to circumcise or not to circumcise.
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