Timothy Joins Paul- Acts 16

The Sacrifice at Lystra

The Sacrifice at Lystra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After arriving again at Lystra, Paul wanted a disciple there named Timothy to come with him. Some wonder why Paul chose to circumcise Timothy, but clearly states in Galatians 2:3 that Titus was not circumcised. The answer is that Timothy, before becoming a Christian, was raised by a Jewish mother (though his father was Greek). So, as verse 3 says, it was because of the Jews in those places. Having an uncircumcised Jew with him could pose a distraction by having some focus on that fact rather than the important teaching of Jesus Christ.
As they went along, the brethren at various places were encouraged by the relating of the events of the Jerusalem Conference. In verse 6, as they passed through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, it says that they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. This is not a reference to the continent of Asia, but to a Roman province in what was called Asia Minor – Ephesus being the capital. For whatever reason, the people there were not ready to receive the word yet. The same was true of Bithynia in verse 7, as they went through Mysia to Troas. Then Paul had a vision of a man telling him to come to Macedonia to help them.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

A Noble Task – (1 Timothy)

As is the case with most of his epistles, Paul’s first letter to Timothy is the subject of much speculation and some disagreement. Some scholars believe that Paul wrote this letter toward the end of the Rome imprisonment that occurred in the final chapters of the Book of Acts. Others are convinced that Paul was released after two years there, and that this first letter to Timothy was written after that release and before a second, final imprisonment in Rome.

English: Ananias restoring the sight of Saint Paul

English: Ananias restoring the sight of Saint Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is some secular evidence to support a fourth missionary journey, including writings by Clement of Rome, who some say was a friend to the apostle. None of this comes from inspired scripture, of course. But in 1 Timothy 1:3, Paul tells his young friend “as I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…” Of course, Paul could be talking about a previous trip to Macedonia, but it seems more likely that he is speaking of a fairly recent occurrence. Either way, the date of the letter is generally accepted as from 62-64 A.D. (almost certainly no later than 65 A.D.).

Paul covers several points with Timothy in this letter. Foremost of course is the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He also addresses the problem of false doctrine, and the urgency of teaching others the right way to both worship and to serve God. Paul recognized the importance of the local body of the church at each location being unified and caring for one another. But in chapter two, he wants Timothy to instill in them a different attitude toward the rest of the world, urging “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified.”

English: Head-piece to the second epistle of P...

English: Head-piece to the second epistle of Paul the apostle to Timothy, vignette with an altar and incense burner (2 Timothy 3:5); letterpress in two columns below and on verso. 1800. Inscriptions: Lettered below image with production detail: “P J de Loutherbourg del”, “J Heath direx.” and publication line: “Pubd. by T Macklin, Fleet Street London”. Print made by James Heath. Dimensions: height: 490 millimetres (sheet); width: 390 millimetres (sheet). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul also recognizes the fact that Timothy’s youthfulness may sometimes be an impediment to being taken as seriously as he needs to be. But he advises him to overcome that with godly living, abstaining from youthful passions and irreverent speech, and just generally being a prime example of a child of God. He also outlines how the church should care for its widows, as well as limits for such responsibility.

One of the most important matters that Paul instructs Timothy about is the qualifications for, and expectations of, overseers (or elders), as well as those of deacons (1 Timothy 3). All over the world today, this chapter is used as a blueprint for choosing men among the local church that will “shepherd the flock” among them. As he says, “if anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.”

Young men of every congregation today need to be constantly reminded (yes, and taught and trained) on the importance of these areas of their lives. There is nothing so vital to the future of the Lord’s church as the nurturing and grooming of godly men to assume those roles when they are ready. It is an awesome responsibility that such a man takes on and, more often than not, it is a thankless job. But we know how important it is to God because of Jesus’ words to Peter in John 21:17 before he ascended – “Feed my sheep.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Nailed To the Cross – Epistle To Colossae

Paul’s letter to the Colossians is one of the four “prison epistles” (he also wrote letters to the Ephesians, the Philippians, and to Philemon while in prison).  The date of writing is generally thought to be about 62 A.D., which assumes that he wrote it from prison in Rome after his fateful voyage in Acts 27-28.

English: Saint Epaphroditus Русский: Ап. Епафр...

English: Saint Epaphroditus Русский: Ап. Епафродит. Миниатюра из греко-груз. рукописи. XV в. (РНБ. О. I.58. Л. 114 об.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some scholars believe that Paul did not have a hand in establishing the church at Colossae personally. This is partially due to the reference in verse 7 to them having learned the truth from Epaphras. But if one reads verse 6 along with it, the mention of Epaphras appears to be an additional source of preaching of the gospel to the brethren there. It is likely that he at least had a hand in it, and we find it difficult to believe (as some have stated) that he never even visited them – especially being at Ephesus for three years during his third missionary journey. Regardless, Paul’s letter to them demonstrates no small measure of familiarity, and it should be noted that Philemon, to whom another prison epistle was written, was himself a Colossian. And Timothy, who apparently acted as Paul’s secretary for this letter (verse 1), was likely no stranger to them either.

Some parts of this letter appear to be addressing a problem with false teachers, possibly rising from within the ranks of the brethren, just as he warned the Ephesian elders about in Acts 20:28-30. One passage that particularly seems to allude to this is in Colossians 4:18, which says “let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind…”

But the overriding message to the brethren at Colossae (and to us) is about the gift of life given to us by Jesus. It is summarily contained in great detail in chapter 2:8-15. There, Paul speaks of Jesus Christ as deity and “the head of all rule and authority,” with whom we have been buried in baptism. And we, who were dead in our sins, have had our debts paid for us by Him and they were “nailed to the cross.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Philippians 2 – Have This In Mind

In this chapter, we learn that the church at Philippi had sent one of their members, Epaphroditus, to minister to Paul’s needs while he was in prison ( verses 25-30). But Epaphroditus became gravely ill (with what, we do not know) and had not returned to them. Furthermore, it has been long enough that word had gotten back to the brethren at Philippi of their brother’s illness. So Paul is sending him back (probably with this letter).

Philippi forum

Philippi forum

He also lets them know that he plans to send Timothy to see them. They would be familiar with Timothy, as he was with Paul and Silas when they first arrived in Philippi a decade or so before. We know from Philippians 1:1 that Timothy assisted Paul in writing this letter – likely acting as Paul’s “secretary.”

In the first chapter of this letter, Paul wrote to them about some brethren who (in light of his imprisonment) were preaching the gospel out of envy, rivalry, and selfish ambition. Now he urges the Philippian brethren to do nothing from selfish ambition, but to “count others more significant than yourselves.” It is in this context that he then wrote what is in verses 5-8 – a passage familiar to many of us:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

Philippi Basilica A

Philippi Basilica A

So what did Paul mean when he told them to “have this in mind…?” The same thing that Jesus meant when he gave his disciples an important lesson before the Passover Feast in John 13:1-17. Washing their feet, he told them that, as servants and as messengers of the one who sent them, they are not “greater” than He. They must learn to serve others as he has done.

Jesus gave up everything to come here as a man to die for a purpose. We must keep that in mind in our daily lives, living life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ – knowing that our purpose is to serve others, edifying our brethren, and bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to those outside the gospel.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Acts 16 – The Philippian Jailer Converted

After arriving again at Lystra, Paul wanted a disciple there named Timothy to come with him.  Some wonder why Paul chose to circumcise Timothy, but clearly states in Galatians 2:3 that Titus was not circumcised.   The answer is that Timothy, before becoming a Christian, was raised by a Jewish mother (though his father was Greek).  So, as verse 3 says, it was because of the Jews in those places.  Having an uncircumcised Jew with him could pose a distraction by having some focus on that fact rather than the important teaching of Jesus Christ.

Paul and Silas set out on a second missionary journey to visit the cities Paul had preached in earlier. This time they set out by land rather than sea, traveling the Roman road through Cilicia and the Cilician Gatesa gorge through the Taurus Mountains, then northwest toward Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium. The Spirit told them not to go into Asia, so they turned northward toward Bithynia. Again the Spirit said no, so they turned west through Mysia to the harbor city of Troas.

As they went along, the brethren at various places were encouraged by the relating of the events of the Jerusalem Conference.  In verse 6, as they passed through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, it says that they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.  This is not a reference to the continent of Asia, but to a Roman province in what was called Asia Minor – Ephesus being the capital.  For whatever reason, the people there were not ready to receive the word yet.  The same was true of Bithynia in verse 7, as they went through Mysia to Troas.  Then Paul had a vision of a man telling him to come to Macedonia to help them.

In verse 10, Luke speaks for the first time in the first person plural – “we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them”  – from which we can conclude that Luke had been preaching the gospel for a while already, as he includes himself with Paul, Silas and Timothy.  So they set sail to Philippi, a leading city in Macedonia.  There was no synagogue there, so on the Sabbath they found women gathered for prayer by the river.  One was “Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods.”  These goods would have been made from an expensive dye made from the murex shell.  Note that Luke says that God opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul said, and she was baptized.

Traditional site of Paul’s prison at Philippi

After Paul drove the demon from the slave girl in verses 16-18, her owners drug Paul and Silas before the magistrates with false accusations.  In verses 20-22, they were beaten with rods and put in jail.  Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns while the other prisoners listened until an earthquake shook the prison, opening the doors and freeing the bonds.  The jailer, readied to kill himself as he supposed they had escaped.  But Paul stopped him, and he and his family were all baptized. The magistrates sent the police the next day, telling the jailer to let them go, but Paul declared his Roman citizenship, and practically demanded an apology  – which he ended up getting, as the magistrates were then afraid.   They were asked to leave the city, though, so they visited and encouraged Lydia and the brothers before leaving.

Side note: This article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog has a unique photo and a bit of information about Philippi.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.