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So, is Paul acting against the judgment of the council?

Acts (14)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

This week’s video is presentation 14 in our study of Acts, and completes the introduction to disciple-making from presentation 13. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 14).

Read and meditate on Acts 16.1-5.
OK, so Paul heads out, letter from the Jerusalem council in hand, to inform the churches he founded on his first missionary journey, of the council’s directive. So what’s the first thing we find him doing? Circumcising some guy!

For reflection
1.  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.” And everyone who knew him, knew it. Obviously, his father had not felt the compulsion 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 in order to make sure Timothy would not be a stumbling-block either to Gentiles or Jews. Meditate on 1 Corinthians 9.19-23. How can you see this principle at work here?

2.  Together Paul and Timothy visited the churches founded on that first journey, distributing the directive of the council and strengthening the churches in the faith. What does a church look like that’s being strengthened in the faith?

3.  The result is that the work of the Gospel continued and many people came to the Lord through the strengthened witness of the churches. Is it natural to expect that strong churches should be used of God to lead many people to faith in Christ? Why or why not?

4.  I’m thinking Paul must have fumed a bit as he set off from Antioch, a little put out with Barnabas. Before long, however, he must have realized the wisdom of his old mentor. Paul had Silas with him – who apparently stayed on in Antioch when Judas returned to Jerusalem (as reported by at least one ancient but not reliable manuscript, v. 34) – but he saw an opportunity with young Timothy. Silas was already a seasoned preacher and disciple-maker. He probably gained nothing from being with Paul. But Timothy would be to Paul what John Mark was to Barnabas, as we now see Paul taking on the work he’d learned from his mentor. He must have smiled to himself, thinking about Barnabas and Mark on Cyprus. How can you see Paul’s teaching of 2 Timothy 2.2 at work in this situation?

5.  Often, the best place to train new leaders is in the midst of the work of ministry. This is what Jesus did, and now we see this is what Paul and Barnabas did as well. How should such a template shape the work of leadership development in a local church?

The ongoing work of Christ continues as Paul and Barnabas separate to take up the work they’d begun in the cities of the Roman world. All churches need continual strengthening, and it is the responsibility of church leaders both to understand where their churches need to grow, and to lead them into growth. How do your church leaders assess your church to determine areas where growth is needed?

Closing Prayer
Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts;
Look down from heaven and see,
And visit this vine
And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted,
And the branch that You made strong for Yourself.
It is burned with fire, it is cut down;
They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand,
Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
Then we will not turn back from You;
Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!

Psalm 80.14-19

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book,
The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

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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