Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 16:1-5

Chapter 16:1 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.

Chapter 16:2 and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.

Chapter 16:3 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 his father was a Greek.

Chapter 16:4 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.

Chapter 16:5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith and were increasing in number daily.

This is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible because of the unexpected twists and turns that take place. Paul and Silas had decided to revisit the churches that had been established in the first missionary journey, but God had much more in store for them. I call this the Whirlwind Journey. In the first verse, we see that Paul meets Timothy, who was the son of a Greek Gentile and his mother was a devout Jewish woman named Eunice. Timothy and Paul’s lives remained intertwined from the time of the second missionary journey on. We see that Timothy was well spoken of by the brothers and sisters in Christ who knew him and then we see in verse 3, something that I thought was odd when I first studied this, but now have a greater understanding and much more appreciation. Back in Chapter 15:19, we see that the Jerusalem council made it clear that circumcision was not needed for salvation or to be accepted into the Christian church. Then why in verse 3, does Paul circumcise Timothy? Timothy’s Jewish background made it important in his case, in order to be able to use him in witnessing for the cause of Christ. In Galatians 2:3, we see that Paul insisted that Titus, a Gentile, not be circumcised. I had a difficult time understanding this in the beginning, but God had a purpose for Timothy in order to use him for the cause of Christ, and God used Paul to instruct Timothy in understanding this. Paul also understood this about Titus, and God used him also for His purposes. We see in verse 4, that Paul was delivering these decrees that had arrived in Jerusalem back in Acts 15:23-29 and then in verse 5, we see the tremendous increase in faith and numbers in the church. We will see next time, that God has a different plan for Paul and Silas than what they had originally planned, but they make themselves available. Are you making yourself available today?

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 15:36-41

Chapter 15:36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are.”

Chapter 15:37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark along with them also.

Chapter 15:38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.

Chapter 15:39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

Chapter 15:40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.

Chapter 15:41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Paul and Barnabas were planning the second missionary journey to be one that revisited the churches that had been established on the first journey, but we will see that God had something totally different planned. We see in the next verse, not a problem with doctrine, but a personality difference because of John Mark and his actions on the first missionary journey as described in Acts 13:13. Even though Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways, God brought good out of it, in that two missionary teams went out and that because of Barnabas’ interest in John Mark, he was used by God in a mighty way. The lesson for me is that God wishes to use each one of us if we make ourselves available. He is not interested in our ability but our availibilty

Some Thoughts On Optimism From Anonymous

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see shadows.”

“You can’t have rosy thoughts about the future when your mind is full of the blues about the past.”

“Have you noticed that an optimist is always able to see the bright side of other people’s troubles?”

“An optimist is often as wrong as the pessimist, but he has a lot more fun.”

“An optimist is a fellow who’s happy thinking how unhappy he would be if he weren’t optimistic.”

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 15:30-35

Chapter 15:30 So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.

Chapter 15:31 When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.

Chapter 15:32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.

Chapter 15:33 After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out.

Chapter 15:34 [But it seemed good to Silas to remain there.]

Chapter 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.

Having used wisdom provided by the Holy Spirit, this decision concerning the Gentile believers and Jewish believers for the Gentiles to abstain from any practice that was troubling to the Jewish believers and also socializing between the two groups of believers, made the ties between both groups of believers strong. Notice that this could have been the disintegration of Christianity before it began. I am astounded at the encouragement of Paul and the prophets in lifting up all believers concerned in what could have been a dire situation. The lesson for me here is this: Am I encouraging to others even when my situation is not perfect or am I focused on self? All these involved are showing each one of us the servant’s heart that we should live with. I pray that each reader of this will go tomorrow and each day after and find opportunities where you can serve someone else.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 15:23-29

Chapter 15:23 and they sent this letter by them, “The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.

Chapter 15:24 Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls,

Chapter 15:25 it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

Chapter 15:26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Chapter 15:27 Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth.

Chapter 15:28 For it seem good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:

Chapter 15:29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things you will do well. Farewell.”

This letter is about as simple as it gets for a Christian and it explains what we really have with our relationship with Christ: Freedom!!! God wants us to have a wonderful life and rely on him totally. We cannot live by the Law. In verse 29, the rules are simple. By putting our relationship with God first, everything else will take care of itself. What these verses are telling me is that, quit trying so hard and work on that personal intimate love relationship with Christ. That is what is really important!!!

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 15:19-22

Chapter 15:19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,

Chapter 15:20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled from blood.

Chapter 15:21 “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogue every Sabbath.”

Chapter 15:22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men form among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.

James, as president of the council, states in verse 19 is that the Gentile converts do not need to be circumcised and we see in verse 20 that he emphasizes that the Gentiles refrain from things that have been sacrificed to idols and strangled as well as fornication. This is showing wisdom from James and the Holy Spirit. They are not burdening the Gentiles with rules and regulations. How do we do today in burdening ourselves with things that are outside the scope of our relationship with God? Notice in verse 22, that the council is being very supportive of the new converts in sending these four men to support them and guide them. There is a very important lesson to be learned here in that we should spend a great quantity of time in teaching our new brothers and sisters in Christ. How is your church doing on this?

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 15:12-18

Chapter 15:12 All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

Chapter 15:13 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me.

Chapter 15:14 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me.

Chapter 15:15 “With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,

Chapter 15:16 ‘After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it,

Chapter 15:17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’

Chapter 15:18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.

In these verses we see the discussion continuing as Barnabas and Paul relate to the people everything that God had used them for with the Gentiles. In verse 13, we see James, which was the half-brother of Jesus and was the recognized leader of the Jerusalem church, reiterate what Peter had told the people about how God had instructed him and what God had in mind for the Gentiles.Then in verses 15-17, James uses Amos 9:11-12 from the Old Testament to show the fulfillment of the prophecy. After the return of Christ, the tabernacle of David (in the millennial kingdom) will be established and both Jews and Gentiles will know the Lord. James also expressed to the council that God’s express desire and program had not been abandoned by the coming of the Gentiles into the church.