Acts 16:1-3 tells us, “Then came he (Paul) to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and CIRCUMCISED HIM BECAUSE OF THE JEWS which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.”

Timothy was a young man with a Jewish mother and a Gentile (Greek) father.  At one point, Paul referred to Timothy as “my own son in the faith.” (1 Timothy 1:2).  This would indicate that Timothy was a true believer on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul did not lead Timothy to the Lord.  That was done by Timothy’s mother and grandmother as we read in 2 Timothy 1:5, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”  Timothy became a companion of Paul and a trusted servant of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Thessalonians 3:2, Philippians 2:19, etc.)

Acts 16:3 tells us that Paul circumcised Timothy “because of the Jews.”  Obviously, Timothy had not been circumcised on the eighth day according to Jewish law. (Read Leviticus 12:1-3).  All the people in that area realized that Timothy’s father was a Gentile, so they might be watching Timothy to see if he had abandoned the Jewish practice of circumcision.  It seems logical that Paul circumcised Timothy to help in his acceptance by the Jews and give him access to the synagogues he would be visiting with Paul.  If Timothy had not been circumcised, many of the Jews would not receive him or his message. 

Paul was adamant in teaching that if anyone was circumcised as a means of being accepted by God, he had set aside the value of the cross.  Paul wrote in Galatians 5:2-4, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”  For one to try to follow the principles of the Law to earn salvation literally disregards the sacrificial work of Christ on Calvary.  However, we see that Timothy’s circumcision was done for the sake of the gospel, so that it would not be a distraction or an issue with the Jews, during their mission to the Jews.

Let’s consider the attitude of Paul the apostle in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I MIGHT BY ALL MEANS SAVE SOME.”  Without ever compromising the truth, Paul went to great lengths to reach precious souls and lead them to Christ. 

What about you, my friend?  Have you ever realized your sinfulness and your need of a savior?  Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  You can be saved!  There is a savior who loves you and wants to save you…the Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 10:9 is very clear, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED.”  (CC)  (538.2)