Why Paul Circumcised Timothy, But Not Titus, Before Taking Them on a Missions Trip?

Derek stopped reading my posts because he didn’t like my one-word titles. I admitted I made one-word titles because I didn’t want to edit my slug, (or permalink title). Yeah, blogging gets technical. Anyway…

…My reading today came to a screeching halt when I read this verse!

Acts 16:3, “Paul wanted him to travel with him. So 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.” Modern English Version

Why did he circumcise Timothy? Didn’t we just read circumcision was not necessary?

Acts 15:24-29 talked about some who required circumcision and keeping the law for the Gentiles who accepted Christ as their savior. The council in Jerusalem concluded it was not necessary but to abstain from food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from strangled animals, and from eating blood, v. 29.

He circumcised him. As a matter of expediency so that his work among the Jews might be more effective. This was different from Titus’s case (see Galatians 2:3), where circumcision was refused because some were demanding it as necessary for salvation.” New International Version Study Bible Notes on Acts 16:3

I’ll never forget when my friend Christy returned from a missions trip to Africa. They showed a video clip of her giving her testimony – in a turban!

She explained, “They would not listen to a woman who spoke with her head uncovered. We were willing to cover our heads in order for them to receive our message.”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself servant to all, that I might win even more.

To the Jews, I became as a Jew, that I might win the Jews; to those under the law, as under the law;

to those outside the law, as outside the law (being not without God’s law, but under Christ’s law) that I might win those who are outside the 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.

This I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might partake of it with you.” Modern English Version

Paul was taking Timothy to preach to Jews. Timothy was well spoken of by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium, see Acts 16:2. They knew his father was a Greek, see Acts 16:1. Had he remained uncircumcised, the Jews would have rejected his message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Titus was a Greek, (see Galatians 2:3), and he was preaching to the Gentiles, (see Galatians 2:2). He was not trying to convert the Gentiles to Judaism but to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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