Monday, August 16, 2010

Acts Chapter Sixteen

Acts Chapter Sixteen (NIV)
Acts Chapter Sixteen (NASB)


Verses 1-5: Timothy joins Paul and Silas.

Verses 6-10: Through a vision, God calls Paul to Macedonia.

Verses 11-15: Lydia becomes a Christian.

Verses 16-24: Paul and Silas are beaten and jailed.

Verses 25-40: The Philippian jailer becomes a Christian (along with his family).


(A) Acts 16:3--"Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek." Paul always resisted the claim that circumcision was necessary for salvation. But he also refused to put stumbling blocks in people's way when he preached. Since Paul typically entered Jewish synagogues to preach, and since Timothy would have been considered Jewish (because his mother was Jewish), Paul circumcised Timothy so that Timothy could work with him effectively among the Jews.

(B) Acts 16:10--"And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." Notice that the pronoun shifts to "we" here. This must have been when Luke joined Paul's group.

(C) Acts 16:25--"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." The most common argument against Theism is the "Argument from Evil." If God exists, why is there so much suffering? Why doesn't He protect us? It's interesting to see how different the reaction to suffering was in the first century. Paul was routinely beaten, abused, and tortured, yet it never occurred to Paul to say, "Wait a minute! I believe in God. Surely a powerful and loving God would make sure that I don't suffer. Thus, since I'm suffering, God must not exist." For Paul, and for most others in the ancient world, pain and pleasure weren't at the top of the list of priorities. In today's world, well . . .

(D) Acts 16:36-37--"And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” Paul demands public acknowledgement that his civil rights were violated. Interesting.


Tizita said...

Hay glade we finally reached this chapter.

This has always confused me. Did Paul litterley circumcise Timothy or is that supposed to be a figure-of-speech. b/c if he really did...........Never mind, u don't really want to know whats going through my head. b/c in my culture they circumcise baby boys, but adults like Timothy........Ummmmm, not really.

Also, why did Paul circumcise Timothy after all didn't Paul say there was no need to keep the Law of Moses? If u can answer me those two that would be great!

If anyone also would like to answer feel free to do so. Thanks in advance!

P.S. Im not new to this blog, i just changed my name from Kate to the current name i have.

Cammie Novara said...

"Paul always resisted the claim that circumcision was necessary for salvation." I agree fully. There's a really fascinating debate that I thought would be of interest on evolution vs. intelligent design going on at

David Wood said...

Hi Tizita,

You're right, Paul didn't believe that keeping the Law of Moses was required for salvation. In fact, he condemns that view repeatedly in Galatians, and the issue had already been resolved at a church council in Acts 15. However, Paul also sought to remove obstacles while witnessing. In Romans 8:13-15 Paul says,

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died."

So here Paul says that even though all food is clean, he won't eat certain foods around certain people, because it is offensive to them. As a modern example, suppose you decide to witness to Muslims. It would be a good idea to refrain from eating pork, since that is offensive to Muslims.

The idea is that stumbling blocks should be removed whenever possible.

Timothy wanted to minister to Jews. The fact that he wasn't circumcised would have been a tremendous obstacle. Thus, Paul circumcised him (yes, literally), not as a requirement of salvation, but as a requirement for entering the Temple, etc.