Publication Date: 1976-1977
Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.
He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International and served as assistant to the president.
Paul’s Second Itinerary
Now, after the Jerusalem council, Paul and Barnabas have returned to Antioch in Syria which is the second headquarters of the church. Silas and Judas went back with them but Judas returned to Jerusalem and Silas stayed there with Paul and Barnabas and there are a number of other people there too. Titus had gone down to Jerusalem with them. We had read that in Galatians. I imagine he came back and some of the others.
Acts 15:35-36: Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
“the word” – that phrase is so strange to so many people. Have you ever run into this when you talk to people? “The word; what do you mean the word? Oh, you’re talking about the Bible?” Look at how many times it’s used in here. It’s maybe only once or twice referred to as a biblos. For the most part it calls it the Word; the word of the Lord, the word of God. Twice now we’ve read it in these verses.
Acts 15:37: And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
Do you remember John Mark? It was his mother’s house that they had been praying in when Peter was in prison. John Mark was the one who had accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the first leg of their first itinerary but when they got to Perga, he went the other way. When they got there, he went to Jerusalem. He split off instead of staying with his commitment that he had made. He decided, “Well, I’m going to go back to mother’s house.” I don’t know why. Maybe he couldn’t stand the pressure. Maybe something else looked too good back in Jerusalem. I don’t know but he copped out on his commitment while he was out there and went back to Jerusalem.
Acts 15:38: But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
Paul reasoned, “Well, that’s not such a good idea because John Mark copped out on his commitment. And if he copped out on his commitment, how do I know he won’t cop out again?” That’s what Paul was thinking. Barnabas says, “Well, let’s give him another
chance. Anybody can make one mistake.” Paul says, “Well, look he hasn’t proved himself again.”
That’s a tremendous principle. When somebody cops out on a commitment and really cops out, they’ve got to re-prove themselves so to speak before you give them any extensive authority or responsibility. Tremendous principle; Paul was right-on. John mark had copped out and he hadn’t re-proved himself. He hadn’t proved himself again. Reprove means to prove it again. How do you reprove somebody? With the Word. How do you prove what’s good and acceptable and perfect will of God? By renewing you mind to the Word. John Mark had copped out but he hadn’t gotten back to the place where he had proved himself again in these matters.
As leaders, sometimes you have to make decisions like that. You can’t let the tenderness of your heart get in the way. Sometimes we’re too tender in situations, like Barnabas wanted to be. It wasn’t really a tenderness, it was just being too soft. Yet being too soft sometimes is better than being too hard. I’d rather be accused of being too soft than be accused of being too hard. But when you can see the principles in the Word and you know what’s right in the situation, you don’t give in on the principle but you take a stand. It may look hard senses-wise but it will produce more results in the long run.
Acts 15:39: And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
Where was Barnabas from? He was from Cyprus.
Acts 4:36: And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
Colossians 4:10: Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
John Mark was Barnabas’ nephew. He was close to him blood-wise. And when they departed, they went to Barnabas’ home country, Cyprus. Barnabas was sort of familiar with Cyprus on that first itinerary. That’s where he heads back to with John Mark. Just because Barnabas and Paul had a split here, that doesn’t mean that was it for Barnabas, because he is mentioned again in I Corinthians 9.
I Corinthians 9:6-7: Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
He includes Barnabas here even though Corinthians was written about four chapters later than this record in Acts 15. It may be 3 or fours years later. I forget the exact time. Just because he made the wrong decision there doesn’t mean he left the ministry completely. He is mentioned later. Same way with John Mark; just because John Mark went with Barnabas doesn’t mean the two of them went off and did their own little trip. Maybe they did that time but by the grace of God, they got back involved in things. There’s not much said about Barnabas but John Mark, there’s a few more things said.
In I Peter chapter five it’s toward the end of Peter’s life which is quite a few years later.
I Peter 5:12-13: By Silvanus [Silas], a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.
The church that is at Babylon [not near Rome at all. Peter was never at Rome], elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
If that’s Mark, then he was way over there in Babylon working with Peter which is a strong possibility. II Timothy chapter four is toward the end of Paul’s ministry which is after the close of the book of Acts.
II Timothy 4:11: Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
Quite a change from, “We can’t take him with us, Barnabas.” Here Paul says, “He is profitable for the ministry.” He had developed in the Word. He had proved himself. You’ve got to give people a chance, but you don’t give them a “kingdom” to rule. You let them develop. You give them responsibility as they grow. If this is the same John Mark, then he’s the one that wrote the Gospel of Mark. There’s no distinction made in the name Mark that’s mentioned in here. It would be kind of interesting if it is the same. There’s a lot of leadership principle involved when you study John Mark.
Acts 15:40-41: And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
Silas had been one of the two that had come up from Jerusalem with the apostles.
Really chapter 16 I suppose ought to start with 15:36. This is really the beginning of the second itinerary. It starts with the discussion of who’s going to go along on the itinerary.
Acts 15:40: And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
“recommended” – paradidōmi – para means “beside” – didōmi means “to give” – to give beside; to give over. It’s many times translated; to give up or; to give over; to hand over; to deliver up. It’s translated “to betray” where Judas betrayed Jesus. Paul and Silas were not delivered up to prison. They were delivered up to the grace of God by the brothers.
Acts 15:26: Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“that have hazarded” – paradidōmi - They’ve delivered their lives up for the Lord Jesus Christ. They’ve become living sacrifices.
Acts 14:26: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
“recommended” – paradidōmi - They were delivered up to the grace of God at Antioch. That’s where they were commissioned; sent forth.
Acts 3:13: The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
“delivered up” – paradidōmi – delivered over. Here it’s used in the negative sense.
This word’s used a lot more times than that but that gives you some idea of the meaning of it. It’s used in the negative way meaning to deliver someone over to prison or to soldiers. It’s used in the positive way meaning to commit yourself or to be recommended to or to deliver yourself to the grace of God, to the ministry. Barnabas took off on his own. Paul was delivered up to the grace of God by the brothers.
Acts 15:41-42: And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
Then came he 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:
Derbe was on the last leg of his first itinerary. This region around Lystra and Iconium and Derbe is called Galatia.
This is the section that later he’ll write his epistle to the Galatians. It was written to correct doctrinal error that had crept in through the miss-use of the revelation given in the book of Romans. That doesn’t mean that they had Romans to read. They were into doctrine that was contrary to the revelation that was later put in that book. They had the revelation that was in the book of Romans but they didn’t have the book of Romans. Time-wise I believe Galatians was written before the book of Romans but they still had the revelation that was given in Romans.
Did they know that they were justified by grace? They sure did. Did they know that they were not justified by the law? Did they know that they had to renew their minds? Yes. They knew basically everything that’s recorded in the book of Romans only they didn’t have it in writing yet, at least not in that particular epistle. They had the information and when they started practicing error that was contrary to that revelation then they were into practical error. But when that practical error became doctrine then they had doctrinal error and that’s why Galatians had to be written to the people in Galatia later. Now they’re travelling up through this area. They’re not into doctrinal error.
Acts 16:1: Then came he 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:
Timothy’s mother was a believing Jewess; the kind that nothing can stop them. They’re strong. They know the Word, at least what was available; the Old Testament. She knew it and she was strong in it. Her name was Eunice. Her mother’s name was Lois.
II Timothy 1:5: When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith [believing] that is in thee [Timothy], which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Timothy had quite a heritage. Notice Paul went back to his grandmother? But he also happened to see it in Timothy’s mother.
His father was a Greek; not a Greek speaking Jew. He was a Greek; an uncircumcised Gentile but he had a good reputation.
Acts 16:2: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
They said, “Tim’s dad, sure I know him. I can tell you a lot of things about Tim’s dad. If Paul went to Derbe and then to Lystra and his dad was well known at Lystra and Iconium, where do you think they were from then? Lystra, they’re from Lystra. If Timothy and his Jewish in background mother and Gentile in background father are from Lystra, then what were Timothy and his family well aware of?
The stoning of Paul, that happened at Lystra. That’s where the lame man was healed. That’s where they were going to do sacrifice; the temple of Jupiter. That was Timothy’s background; the city that he lived in. It was a wild community that he came from.
He had seen or heard about that temple business; how they were going to sacrifice to Paul and Banabas and how they had stopped them with a few words. He had heard about that lame man or maybe he had been standing on the street corner when it happened; when the lame man was healed. Maybe he just heard about it. And when they dragged Paul out and stoned him and said he’s dead and the believers came and stood around him and he got up and came back into the city and stays there till the next day. Timothy knew about it. He was right in the midst of that. If his mother and grandmother had that great believing potential, just think about his genes. Paul says, “We’ll take him along Silas.”
Acts 16:3: 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.
If Timothy’s going to travel with these guys and “I’ve got to become all things to all people,” then Paul says, “Look, these Jews know that Timothy has a Greek dad and they’re going to be watching his robes. They’re going to be wondering. So we’ll just stop the wondering.” They just finished the Jerusalem council. The decision was; “You don’t need to be circumcised. All you got to do is believe.”
Titus went down there. Did Titus have to be circumcised? He was Greek. Was he circumcised? No, we read in Galatians, “Neither did Titus have to be circumcised.” Now he turns right around just a short time later and he circumcised Timothy. That doesn’t make good logical sense. Sure it does because Timothy was getting involved in a responsible position when he went with Paul and Paul just knew how much greater the outreach would be if he didn’t have to fight that all the time. And Timothy was willing.
It’s like, you go into some areas and you’ve got a beard and it’d be better to shave it off to reach people. Some areas you might go into and you don’t have a beard, it might be better to grow one. It’s not law. You become all things to all people but yet you become the sharpest in your field. Sometimes people read that thing, becoming all things to all
people like, you go into an area where fornication is the thing, so you ought to get involved. That’s not it. You become the best example of the Word. You may become certain things to meet the needs of those people but you certainly wouldn’t do that which is contrary to the Word.
So Paul just had him circumcised. It’s grace. Does the Word say you can’t get circumcised? No.
Acts 16:4: And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
“the decrees for to keep” – what decrees? – from the Jerusalem council: no blood, things strangled, meat offered to idols, fornication – that stuff – otherwise just love one another.
Acts 16:5: And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
“established” – stereoō – from which we get “stereo.” When they were returning from the trip in chapter 14 you had the related word where they confirmed the souls of the disciples. This was the root of it. Here they go back through that same area of Galatia. The churches were established; they were made the same “stereo.”
“increased in number daily” – a twig that’s not growing is dead. Either a twig is growing or it’s dead. To increase in number daily you’ve got to have at least one everyday. If a twig is just sitting there then it’s not like a twig on a tree. What’d Jesus do to that tree that didn’t have any nubbins on it? He cursed it and it dried up backwards.
Whenever you have increase in number, you’ve got to have increase in the individual’s life. And whenever you have increase in the individual’s growth, his life, then you’re going to have increase in numbers and when you have increase in numbers, you’re going to have increase in the individual’s growth life. And when you have increase in the individual’s growth life, you’re going to have increase in what? Numbers. And when you have increase in numbers you’re going to have what? The two go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.
Let’s say four are in a twig and they’re growing as individuals and at the same time you’ll have growth in numbers or you have growth in numbers, you’re also going to have growth in the individuals. You can’t slack off in one area and expect the other to really move. If you want outreach, you’ve also got to have the Word living in the individual. That’s why you can’t say, “Let go hog-wild on outreach. Man, let’s go witnessing every night. Forget about the Word, we’ll just witness every night.” On the
other hand you can’t say, “Well, let’s just stay home and study the Word and never go witnessing.” You’ve got to have both.
Whenever Paul and them went back into a community, they revisited (now they’re revisiting this area of Galatia), they always “stereo-ed” them. They made them established. They confirmed them; made them stronger; really built commitment in them. Then the individuals could really grow in the Word and the outreach could increase.
Acts 16:6: Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia [establishing them in the Word], and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
“Asia” – you mean that place that heard the Word for two years and three months later on in Acts chapter 19? The place where all of Asia heard the Word, at this time God told them, “You can’t teach it here.”? Never ask God why; just do it. That takes renewed mind sometimes; to not teach it when you’re all hot and really going. Most people have trouble renewing their mind to get hot and really going.
Acts 16:7-8: After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered [allowed] them not.
And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
God said don’t go into Asia and don’t go into Bithynia, so they just kept going till they got way over by the sea to Troas.
Acts 16:9: And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
That’s where Paul got what we call the Macedonian call. In a vision, God told him to go to Macedonia because people were crying for the help of God’s Word there