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The Scriptorium

Timothy

Paul finds a new disciple and colleague. Acts 16.1-5

The Gospel to Europe (1)

Pray Psalm 67.1-3.
God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
Selah
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.

Sing Psalm 67.1-3.
(Solid Rock: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
O bless us, Savior, by Your grace, and shine upon us with Your face,
that we Your way may loud proclaim and tell to all the earth Your fame!
Refrain v. 3
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word,
rejoicing in Your holy Word!

Read and meditate on Acts 16.1-5.

Preparation
1. Who joined Paul in his ministry? Who was he?

2. What did Paul do on this part of his ministry?

Meditation

Paul headed out, letter from the Jerusalem council in hand, to inform the churches he founded on his first missionary journey concerning the council’s directive. So what’s the first thing we find him doing? Circumcising some guy! (v. 3)

Is Paul flouting the council? Has he thrown his lot in with the Judaizers? Not at all. Timothy is the “son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek” (v. 1) And everyone who knew him, knew it. Obviously, his father had not felt the need to circumcise his son, but now this half-Jew would be ministering among Jews and Gentiles alike, and Paul was simply extrapolating the council’s wisdom to make sure Timothy would not be a stumbling-block to either.

Together Paul and Timothy visited the churches founded on that first journey, sharing the directive of the council and strengthening the churches in the faith (v. 4). The result is that the ongoing work of Christ continued, and many people came to the Lord through the strengthened witness of the churches (v. 5). We note, by the way, that in verse 5 two verbs describe the churches: they were strengthened, and they increased in number. The ongoing work of Christ, we recall, was both to make disciples and build His Church, and this is precisely what we see Him doing here.

Often, the best place to train new leaders is during the work of ministry. This is what Jesus did, and Paul did this as well by enlisting Timothy as part of his ministry team.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Poor Timothy. There he was being a disciple of Christ’s, well-spoken of by the brethren, working hard in his own Personal Mission Field. And then, Paul enters the scene and chooses him for a new assignment. Exciting right? But there is one issue that needs attention before they set out. Timothy’s enthusiasm is still peaked because he knows the decree that has been handed down concerning circumcision, so it couldn’t be that. Or could it?

Paul has adopted a way of ministry for himself that he feels certain Timothy will also want to accept. And sure enough, this fine young man agreed this teaching was for the glory of Christ and for the good of the ministry. What was that teaching?

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you” (1 Cor. 9.19-23).

Timothy’s response to Paul’s suggestion is a beautiful example of following Jesus’ command. Timothy set aside his own comfort for the salvation of others, and the glory of God.

And Jesus’ command to all of us is this: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5.16). That we might by all means save some.

For reflection
1. What might it mean for you to set aside some of your comforts for the sake of the Gospel?

2. How did doing the work of ministry fit into Paul’s approach to making disciples? What are the implications of this for you and your Personal Mission Field?

3. What did Paul mean by being “all things to all men, that I might by all means save some”? How should this guide our work in our Personal Mission Field?

“Timothy,” it says, “he wanted as his companion.” It is surprising that he even brought him along. “Because of the Jews,” it says, “that were in those places.” This is the reason for the circumcision. For they would not have endured to hear the Word from one uncircumcised. Nothing could be wiser. John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles 34

Pray Psalm 67.4-7.
Pray that the Gospel will continue to spread to all the nations of the world, that God would bless His people with boldness and zeal for evangelism, and that a great awakening to faith may occur in our generation.

Sing Psalm 67.4-7.
(Solid Rock: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
Let all the nations gladly sing and joyous praise before You bring.
You judge them by Your holy worth and guide the nations of the earth.
Refrain v. 3
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word,
rejoicing in Your holy Word!

The earth in full its bounty yields – the blessed harvest of the fields.
We gather blessings from Your Word that all the earth may fear You, Lord.
Refrain v. 3
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word,
rejoicing in Your holy Word!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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