Watch Live Now

Chapter Sixteen — Part One: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 04/24/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 16:1-5

1. Timothy.
a. Acts 16:1 NKJV — Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.
b. He is called both Timotheus and Timothy and is mentioned 28 times in the scriptures.
c. His name means “honoring God”.
d. Timothy’s mother was Jewish, and his father was Greek.
e. He would have been considered a Jew, by the Jewish community, and bound to follow the Law.
f. He, and his family, were converted during Paul’s first trip to Lystra and Derbe.
g. Timothy was uncircumcised but was raised from childhood in the Word and the fear of the Lord, by his mother and grandmother.
h. 2 Timothy 1:5 NKJV — …I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
i. Paul mentions Timothy’s familiarity with the Holy Scriptures.
j. 2 Timothy 3:14-15 NKJV — But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
k. Acts 16:2 NKJV — He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.
l. He was a clearly a remarkable young man—at a young age already having a reputation in the region as a good Christian and person of exemplary character.
m. He had the gifts of the Spirit (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6).
n. 1 Timothy 4:14 NKJV — Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.
o. He was a student of the Word and Paul encouraged him to continue in it.
p. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV — Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
q. He was called to preach, and ministered and worked miracles, like Paul.
r. 1 Corinthians 16:10 AMPC — When Timothy arrives, see to it that [you put him at ease, so that] he may be fearless among you, for he is [devotedly] doing the Lord’s work, just as I am.

2. Fellow Laborer.
a. Acts 16:3a NKJV — Paul wanted to have him go on with him.
b. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, to assist him, to receive instruction from him, and to join him in the work of the Gospel.
c. He became Paul’s coworker and fellow laborer from here on.
d. (Acts 16:1-3; 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Rom. 16:21; 1 Cor. 4:17; Php. 2:19)
e. He was a good pupil, and grew very close to Paul, who took him under his wing, adopting him as a son.
f. Paul refers to him as a dearly beloved son, a brother, and a fellow laborer.
g. (2 Cor. 1:1; 1 Tim. 1:2,18; 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:2; Phm. 1:1; Heb. 13:23).

3. Circumcision.
a. Acts 16:3b NKJV — And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.
b. Paul circumcised Timothy so that the Jews would have no excuse to not receive his ministry or fraternize with him.
c. Under the circumstances, it was wisdom to remove any impediment to the preaching of the Gospel to the Jews.
d. Since it was not a rejection of the Gospel, for Timothy to be circumcised, it neither saved nor condemned him.
e. Later, Paul rightly refused to circumcise Titus, a Greek (Gal. 2:3-5).
f. Galatians 2:3-5 NKJV — Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
g. Paul did his best to win the Jews, as well as the Gentiles         (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
h. 1 Corinthians 9:20 NKJV — …and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law.
i. He drew the line at compromising the Gospel and teaching that the Law was necessary for salvation (Gal. 2:1-21).

4. Preaching to the Jews.
a. Generally, in new territories, Paul would preach first to the Jews and proselytes, and then branch out to the Gentiles.
b. Both Jews and Gentiles needed to hear the Gospel preached and have the opportunity to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
c. As a practical matter, since the converted Jews were already schooled in the Scriptures, they had a foundation on which to build.
d. After accepting Jesus as Messiah, and embracing the New Covenant, they would be able to grasp the message of the Gospel more fully, at first, than the converted Gentiles.
e. Therefore, it would be advantageous for the brand-new churches, to have them take the lead initially as pastors and teachers of the Word.

5. Strengthening the Church.
a. Acts 16:4 NKJV — And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.
b. The decrees were those which were decided by the Church elders in Jerusalem—that they abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood (Acts 15:20).
c. Acts 16:5 NKJV — So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
d. With the harmful controversy behind them, the churches settled down and were established in the faith, resulting great increase.
e. Without the impediments of unprofitable legalism, everyone, both Jews and Gentiles, felt welcomed into the family of God.
f. And therefore, the churches continued to grow and add converts daily.