Holy Spirit

John Mark








Acts is the history of the development of the first churches and the spread of Christianity. For about the first decade after the death of Jesus, Christianity existed almost exclusively among the Jews. The first part of Acts portrays the meaning of Christianity, how it was shared, and how it was lived out in a closed community of Jews whose common culture was based on the Old Testament.

After about the first decade, Christianity started growing in other people groups and cultures having beliefs and understandings quite different from the Jews. Much of Acts deals with keeping a consistent and complete Gospel message, how it is shared, and how it is lived out in different people groups and cultures. The lessons learned from Acts are applicable to modern Christians and churches, and are also essential when trying to understand Paul’s letters (which comprise much of the New Testament).

A purpose of the Acts Series is to tell some of the information of the book of Acts from different vantage points. Luke said that he made a careful investigation of the facts before writing Luke and Acts. His three primary sources of information probably were: his own experiences, written sources, and talking to people who were personally involved. Acts Series illustrates the stories that he might have heard from a dozen of the characters featured in his book of Acts.


From the beginning, Paul followed the pattern that he had learned as a Jew – the older men needed to train the younger men to take their place. Paul’s first successful trainee was likely Titus, and his second was Timothy. We don’t know how Paul met Titus, but it is likely he met Timothy or his family on the First Missionary Journey.

Timothy was a perfect example of the way Christianity conflicted with other cultures and religions. He was convinced that he wanted to evangelize the Jews, and he knew he could be effective doing that only if he qualified to enter the synagogues. Since his mother was Jewish, Timothy would qualify to do that once he was circumcised.

In the Greek culture, however, it was considered abhorrent to disfigure your body in any way, and circumcision was one of the worst disfigurements a man could have. Timothy’s father was Greek and would not allow his son to be circumcised at birth. Scripture indicates that Timothy’s father was not in the picture, but we don’t know whether he died or lived somewhere else.

Timothy had a choice to make, and the overtones of that choice were much more important than the immense pain he would suffer. If he chose to be circumcised, he could more easily evangelize the Jews, but he would dishonor his father. If he chose to remain uncircumcised, he would honor his father, but would be hampered in his evangelistic efforts. Timothy chose to be circumcised.

As the Second Missionary Journey progressed, Timothy was entrusted several times with helping young churches grow and quickly became like a son to Paul.

Although Timothy has a reputation for being young when he joined Paul and Silas, we do not have a way to know his age definitively. This episode portrays him as a young man with a sensitive stomach, a description derived from 1 Timothy 5:23 where Paul instructs Timothy to stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of his stomach and frequent illnesses. We do not have any guidance on when Timothy began having those health issues.

Primary Scriptures:
Acts 15-18
Story Summary:
Timothy's story
Roman Empire; Galatia, Macedonia, Greece
AD 30 Jesus crucified and resurrected; Pentecost; Holy Spirit arrives AD 46 Paul’s “famine visit” to Jerusalem; First Missionary Journey starts AD 48 Council at Jerusalem; Start of Second Missionary Journey AD 51 End of Second Missionary Journey