One of my favorite books of the Bible is Acts. There’s so much contained within Acts for the Believer that it bears reading over and over again. Although Acts isn’t a doctrinal book, it does bring more life to the epistles of Paul. The people and churches visited in Acts are the same people and churches Paul writes to in those epistles. I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts today from the book of Acts. First, though, I’d like to link this video of a word-for-word adaptation of Acts from the NIV. I hope you are blessed by this presentation.

When I think about some of the “great” people of faith in the Bible, I think about the Apostle Paul. While it might have been amazing to hear him talk about God and expound upon the salvation of Christ, I don’t know if I’d have gotten along with him. Hebrews tells us to, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NIV). I know that Paul lived this verse from Hebrews for he tells us, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22 NIV).

I believe Paul expected this same sort of dedication from all of those who served with him. This is evidenced by the circumcision of Timothy. Acts tells us, “Paul wanted to take him [Timothy] along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:3 NIV). When you read this verse, if you only do so within the context of Acts, it might appear that Paul is being hypocritical. We know Jewish Believers from the Pharisees were telling Gentiles they needed to follow the Law of Moses, and be circumcised, else they would not be saved (Acts 15:1). However, Peter, Paul, and others disagreed with this notion and sent out a letter clarifying what people needed to do and not do to be saved.

Therefore, this act of circumcising Timothy, because his father was a Greek, might appear contradictory to what Paul believes about circumcision. However, Paul, and therefore Timothy, knew they would be ministering to Jews, who were as of yet unsaved. Timothy, as a half-Jew, entering into their presence and preaching to them would have been considered an affront to them if he had not been circumcised. Hence, the circumcision of Timothy. Timothy must have believed more in the salvation of God for others than in his own welfare to allow himself to be circumcised for the Gospel. Thus, the circumcision of Timothy was one of faith and not hypocrisy.

In the case of John and Barnabas, however, we see evidence that Paul wasn’t the easiest man to get along with. Paul and Barnabas wanted to revisit those places where they had previously preached.

Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus.

Acts 15:37-39 (NIV)

If you’re like me, you might have missed it when John left Paul and Barnabas previously in Acts 13; “From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem” (Acts 13:13 NIV). We don’t know why John left them, but we know Paul considered it desertion from the work, and Barnabas did not. Although Paul and Barnabas had other issues later on, namely Barnabas being swayed by hypocrisy, we know they made up by the time Paul wrote to the church at Corinth (Galatians 2:13, 1 Corinthians 9:6). Whatever the failing of John, in Paul’s eye’s, he later redeemed himself, and was considered important to Paul’s ministry once again; “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11 NIV).

It’s worth noting that the same John, also called Mark, who “deserted” Paul and Barnabas, is the same Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark. This gives me confidence in God knowing that I might yet fail, somewhere in the ministry He has given me, but as long as I continue in Him, the mission He has for me will be accomplished. I believe the same for you, my brothers and sisters. I believe the same for you.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.