8 June. Acts 15:36-16:5

8 June. Paul sets out on his 'second' missionary journey

"After some time, Paul said to Barnabas, 'We should go back to all those towns where we preached the message of the Lord. Let's visit the believers and see how they are doing.'"

"Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, but he had left them at Pamphylia; he did not continue with them in the work. So Paul did not think it was a good idea to take him. Paul and Barnabas had such a serious argument about this that they separated and went different ways."

"Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left. The believers in Antioch [in Syria] put Paul into the Lord's care, and he went through Syria and Cilicia, giving strength to the churches."

"Paul came to Derbe and Lystra, where a follower named Timothy lived. Timothy's mother was Jewish and a believer [in Jesus], but his father was a Greek [a non-Jew]. The believers in Lystra respected Timothy and said good things about him."

"Paul wanted Timothy to travel with him, but all the Jews living in that area knew that Timothy's father was Greek. So Paul circumcised Timothy to please the Jews."

"Paul and those with him travelled from town to town and gave the decision [on Jewish rituals, including circumcision] made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches became stronger in the faith and grew larger every day

          (Acts 15:36 - 16:5)



Some time later on in 50AD, Paul suggested that he and Barnabas should leave Antioch and return to the towns in Galatia and Pisidia that they visited on their previous journey. They had an argument about whether to take John Mark with them again, and agreed to go their separate ways.

Barnabas also disagreed with Paul, around this time, about whether Gentile believers should be circumcised and whether Jewish believers should eat with Gentiles (see Galatians 2:13). This may be the reason why Barnabas decided to re-visit the Jewish believers in Cyprus, while Paul re-visited the Gentile believers in Galatia.

So Barnabas set sail for Salamis with his young nephew, John Mark, and revisited the Jewish believers they’d visited with Paul in Cyprus (where Barnabas was born – see Colossians 4:10 & Acts 4:36).

Meanwhile, Paul was joined by Silas (‘Silvanus’ in Latin – see 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:19 & 1 Peter 5:12). Silas was a Greek-speaking Jew from the Jerusalem Christian community (see Acts 15:22-35). They travelled through Syria and Cilicia encouraging the new believers there.

To reach Galatia from the Mediterranean coastal plain near Tarsus, they travelled through the 'Cilician Gates', a steep-sided gorge that forms a pass through the eastern block of the Taurus Mountains - and which is still followed by today's travellers on the motorway (see the photo).

Paul and Silas passed through Derbe and went on to Lystra – where Paul had been stoned by the Jews and left for dead on his first visit (see Acts 14:19).

At Lystra, Paul wanted Timothy to join them, but didn’t wish to upset the local Jews a second time. Timothy was Jewish by birth (as his mother was Jewish), but he hadn't been circumcised according to Jewish custom as his father was Greek (a Gentile). As the advantages enjoyed by Paul were only open to a Jewish companion (such as preaching in the Jewish synagogues and entering the inner courts of the Temple in Jerusalem) Paul circumcised Timothy (as a Jewish believer in Jesus Christ).

This in no way contradicted Paul’s strongly held belief that Gentile believers did not need to be circumcised.

The photo shows the 'Cilician Gates' - the route inland through a gap in the Taurus Mountains north of Tarsus.

You can see a map of Paul's 'second' missionary journey @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/paul-starts-his-2nd-miss…/.

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