Bible Think Tank

This site is designed to help you interact with others about God's Word. I further some thoughts we developed during morning and evening gatherings at church. I have my NT translations from the original Greek to English. Also, I have book reviews and other current events.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cut It Out!


This past Sunday night, we continued a series called Tough Sayings. What difficult sayings does the Bible make, what things seem confusing or contradictory? Let's answer them... that is the point of this series. So here is a seemingly contradictory practice:

In one instance, Paul circumcises a disciple of Jesus (Timothy) in another instance Paul boldly refuses to circumcise another disciple of Jesus (Titus). How can it be okay to do this and at the same time not be okay to do this? If we are no longer under the Law then why would he do this? If we are still under the Law then why would he refuse this?

Paul Circumcises Timothy

Acts 16:1-4

"Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe."

My Comments

Who was Timothy? He was half-Jewish and half-Greek (v1). His dad was a Greek (v3) and so Timothy had never undergone circumcision. His mother and grandmother were OT believers when the Christians came to town with the news of Jesus death and resurrection. They mom and grandmom came to Christ and both raised Timothy in the Scriptures. He became a follower of Jesus too (v1). Paul saw great potential in this young man and wanted him to join Paul's ministry team. Paul's basic strategy was to go into a new town and enter a synagogue to present the Good News of Jesus to the Jews in the town. If and when they reject, then Paul would move on to the Gentiles of the town. This is important because in the text Paul recognizes that there were many Jews in the area nd they all knew that Tim's dad was a Greek and that Timothy would not have been circumcised. Paul's ministry would be hindered among the Jews if they knew of Timothy's faux paux. So to remove the road block to the Gospel, he cut away any distraction (a big fat pun intended).

Paul Refuses to Circumcise Titus

Galatians 2:1-6

"Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me."

My Comments

Here we see something very different. Here are Jewish men who are allegedly followers of Jesus (v4) but Paul asserts that they are not in fact born again. Anyway, they insist that Titus become circumcised and that one is not born again unless they have become a Jew first. But Paul? He does not yield in subjection for even an hour! Why does he refuse now in something he unreservedly did with Timothy? These people would want the distortion of the good news. Paul is concerned that the only thing in the Gospel is the Gospel. Christianity plus anything is not Christianity.

Who Do We Care About?!?

The main point of this dichotomy in Scripture is this: I will do all that I can to remove any distractions from the unbeliever on their path to salvation. I will do all that I can to trip up a Christian who is in error, I cannot allow a Christian to remain ignorant AND arrogant.

You're trying to live for Jesus, you've organized some things in your life that insulate you from unbelievers, are these good boundaries or are they hindrances to their salvation?




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