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June 8

“That is the nature of community. Slices of anger. Splinters of greed. Slivers of spinelessness. Yet mission continues despite squabbles. Generosity grows despite greed. And the church expands in glorious diversity and splendid grace despite a questionable call here or there. That’s why the paragraphs that contain the sharp split between Paul and Barnabas, as well as Timothy’s bemusing circumcision, end on a high note: ‘So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.’”  -Jack Levison

36 Some time later, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit all the brothers and sisters in every city where we preached the Lord’s word. Let’s see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them. 38 Paul insisted that they shouldn’t take him along, since he had deserted them in Pamphylia and hadn’t continued with them in their work. 39 Their argument became so intense that they went their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas and left, entrusted by the brothers and sisters to the Lord’s grace. 41 He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

16, 1 Paul reached Derbe, and then Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy. He was the son of a believing Jewish woman and a Greek father. 2 The brothers and sisters in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take Timothy with him, so he circumcised him. This was because of the Jews who lived in those areas, for they all knew Timothy’s father was Greek. 4 As Paul and his companions traveled through the cities, they instructed Gentile believers to keep the regulations put in place by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and every day their numbers flourished.

-Acts 15:36-16:5 (Common English Bible)

 

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