It seems that immediately after the Church leaders made it plain that a Gentile did not have to be circumcised in order to be considered a believer, Paul had Timothy circumcised. Paul had been strongly against the circumcision requirement. So was he being hypocritical when he insisted Timothy be circumcised? What gives?
Well, first off, Timothy was already a believer. He had already accepted the saving work of Jesus by faith. His circumcision was not a step toward salvation. He was already saved.
So why on earth would he go through that painful surgery if he didn’t have to?
Timothy wasn’t circumcised for his own benefit. He did it for the benefit of the Jews who needed to hear the Gospel, and he knew the Jews would not easily accept the word of an uncircumcised man.
Paul and Timothy were picking their battles. It was the Gospel they wanted to preach, not the value or uselessness of circumcision.
Sometimes we get so caught up in little details and opinions that the Gospel isn’t heard. What is more important: what the preacher wears on Sunday morning (and I’m talking to you who prefer suit and tie AND you who prefer jeans and t-shirts), or is it what he says from the pulpit that matters?
Is it more important to hear drums or an organ accompanying the singing, or is the preaching of the Gospel more important? King James, NIV, or the Gospel being explained through the text?
Timothy was willing to go as far as having that surgery to clear the way for the Gospel. How far are you willing to go?