The 2nd Missionary Journey of Paul
After spending some time in ministry at Antioch, Paul proposed to his fellow worker that they set forth on a 2nd missionary journey.
“Let us go again,”
he said to Barnabas,
“and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.”
Both Paul and Barnabas had a tender regard for those who had recently accepted the gospel message under their ministry, and they longed to see them once more. This solicitude Paul never lost.
Even when in distant mission fields, far from the scene of his earlier labours, he continued to bear upon his heart the burden of urging these converts to remain faithful, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:
Constantly he tried to help them to become self-reliant, growing Christians, strong in faith, ardent in zeal, and wholehearted in their consecration to God and to the work of advancing His kingdom.
Barnabas was ready to go with Paul but wished to take with them Mark, who had again decided to devote himself to the ministry.
To this Paul objected. He “thought not good to take … with them” one who during their first missionary journey had left them in a time of need. He was not inclined to excuse Mark’s weakness in deserting the work for the safety and comforts of home.
Paul & Barnabas Separate
He urged that one with so little stamina was unfitted for a work requiring patience, self-denial, bravery, devotion, faith, and a willingness to sacrifice if need be, even life itself. So sharp was the contention that Paul and Barnabas separated, the latter following out his convictions and taking Mark with him. “So Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.”
Paul & Silas Travel to Derbe and Lystra
Journeying through Syria and Cilicia, where they strengthened the church, Paul and Silas at length reached Derbe and Lystra in the province of Lycaonia. It was at Lystra that Paul had been stoned, yet we find him again on the scene of his former danger. He was anxious to see how those who through his labours had accepted the gospel were enduring the test of trial. He was not disappointed, for he found that the Lystrian believers had remained firm in the face of violent opposition.
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Paul met Timothy Again
Here Paul again met Timothy, who had witnessed his sufferings at the close of his first visit to Lystra and upon whose mind the impression then made had deepened with the passing of time until he was convinced that it was his duty to give himself fully to the work of the ministry. His heart was knit with the heart of Paul, and he longed to share the apostle’s labours by assisting as the way might open.
Silas, Paul’s companion in labour, was a tried worker, gifted with the spirit of prophecy; but the work to be done was so great that there was need of training more labourers for active service. In Timothy Paul saw one who appreciated the sacredness of the work of a minister; who was not appalled at the prospect of suffering and persecution; and who was willing to be taught. Yet the apostle did not venture to take the responsibility of giving Timothy, an untried youth, a training in the gospel ministry, without first fully satisfying himself in regard to his character and his past life.
Timothy’s father was a Greek and his mother a Jewess. From a child he had known the Scriptures. The piety that he saw in his home life was sound and sensible. The faith of his mother and his grandmother in the sacred oracles was to him a constant reminder of the blessing in doing God’s will. The word of God was the rule by which these two godly women had guided Timothy. The spiritual power of the lessons that he had received from them kept him pure in speech and unsullied by the evil influences with which he was surrounded. Thus his home instructors had co-operated with God in preparing him to bear burdens.
Paul saw that Timothy was faithful, steadfast, and true, and he chose him as a companion in labour and travel. Those who had taught Timothy in his childhood were rewarded by seeing the son of their care linked in close fellowship with the great apostle. Timothy was a mere youth when he was chosen by God to be a teacher, but his principles had been so established by his early education that he was fitted to take his place as Paul’s helper. And though young, he bore his responsibilities with Christian meekness.
As a precautionary measure, Paul wisely advised Timothy to be circumcised—not that God required it, but in order to remove from the minds of the Jews that which might be an objection to Timothy’s ministration. In his work Paul was to journey from city to city, in many lands, and often he would have opportunity to preach Christ in Jewish synagogues, as well as in other places of assembly. If it should be known that one of his companions in labour was uncircumcised, his work might be greatly hindered by the prejudice and bigotry of the Jews.
Everywhere the apostle met determined opposition and severe persecution. He desired to bring to his Jewish brethren, as well as to the Gentiles, a knowledge of the gospel, and therefore he sought, so far as was consistent with the faith, to remove every pretext for opposition. Yet while he conceded this much to Jewish prejudice, he believed and taught circumcision or uncircumcision to be nothing and the gospel of Christ everything.
His ”Own Son in Faith”
Paul loved Timothy, his “own son in the faith.”
1 Timothy 1:2. The great apostle often drew the younger disciple out, questioning him in regard to Scripture history, and as they travelled from place to place, he carefully taught him how to do successful work. Both Paul and Silas, in all their association with Timothy, sought to deepen the impression that had already been made upon his mind, of the sacred, serious nature of the work of the gospel minister.
In his work, Timothy constantly sought Paul’s advice and instruction. He did not move from impulse, but exercised consideration and calm thought, inquiring at every step, Is this the way of the Lord? The Holy Spirit found in him one who could be moulded and fashioned as a temple for the indwelling of the divine Presence.
As the lessons of the Bible are wrought into daily life, they have a deep and lasting influence upon the character. These lessons Timothy learned and practised. He had no specially brilliant talents, but his work was valuable because he used his God-given abilities in the Master’s service. His knowledge of experimental piety distinguished him from other believers and gave him influence.
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