Daily Devotional Details


Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. Acts 16:3 (NIV)

This incident got Paul into a lot of trouble. Paul was passionate in insisting that circumcision could not be added to the gospel. Some people were teaching that, “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). Paul and Barnabas took a strong stand on this issue. If you add any condition to the gospel, you undermine the gospel.

Now you find Paul circumcising Timothy before taking him on as his apprentice. That led some people to accuse Paul of being inconsistent. So why did he do that? He refused to change the gospel for the culture, but he insisted on removing barriers to communicating the gospel in the culture.
Paul’s ministry was to Jews as well as Gentiles, and he didn’t want a debate about circumcision to hinder the usefulness of Timothy’s ministry.

It’s important to grasp the principle here: never change the gospel for the sake of the culture; always be ready for change that will advance the gospel in the culture. These are the two dimensions of faithfulness to the gospel.

The fact that Timothy was ready to submit to this for the sake of the gospel tells us a great deal about his character. Talk about moving outside your comfort zone! Here is a twenty-year-old who is serious about doing whatever it takes for the advance of the gospel. Not only did Timothy have a good reputation, but also, he had a ready spirit.

In your own words, why wasn’t Paul being inconsistent when he circumcised Timothy? What is one step you can take now that will help you to become the kind of person who is ready to make changes when called upon for the sake of the gospel?