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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Acts 16:1-5 – Timothy joins the team

Paul and Silas reach Lystra. There they recruit Timothy to join them. Luke does not say when Timothy or his mother became believers in Jesus. Perhaps it was during Paul’s previous visit there a few years previously. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul seems to indicate that the first person in the family to become a believer was Timothy’s grandmother. The effect of her conversion was that her daughter and grandson were converted.

Whenever he was converted, Timothy had developed to such a degree spiritually that Paul wanted to make him part of the team of travelling preachers. He did not do so without knowing the estimation local Christians had of Timothy. After all, they would know him best. 

Timothy continued to grow spiritually and several years later Paul wrote about him: ‘I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon’ (Phil. 2:19-24).

Paul did not want there to be unnecessary barriers to the progress of the gospel. Although he was conveying to local churches the decision made in Jerusalem about Gentile membership, Paul saw no reason why circumcision should not be done if it would help spread the gospel. Timothy, too, must have been willing for people to know publicly that he had been circumcised. After all, when curious people asked him why it had taken place, he would have an opportunity to witness to Jews as well as Gentiles.

The decision made by the assembly in Jerusalem was having the desired effect as many Gentiles joined the churches. Timothy’s faith in his Saviour would have increased as he saw so many come to faith. And he would be glad that his own personal circumstances were not now a hindrance to evangelising Jews as well.

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