The Church Increased… Again!


Paul was undeterred in his mission of seeing the gospel extend to the unreached world. In the previous chapter of Acts, he was in a divisive argument that effectively split up the varsity apostolic team of Paul and Barnabas, only to now have two teams of leaders reach more people with the gospel and encourage more churches. Paul delivered to the church in Lystra a message from the Jerusalem Council which further identified them with the gospel of grace and created fertile soil for the Spirit of God to dramatically build the church of Christ.

  • When was the last time you saw the Lord do something big in your life in the midst of pain, conflict, or a trial?


16:1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. The last time Paul was in Lystra he was beaten and left for dead. What does this say about Paul’s resolve and commitment to the gospel?
  2. Context is important to this passage. Paul was currently in Lystra. How do you suppose Timothy became a believer?
  3. Although the church leaders in Jerusalem had just declared it was not necessary for people to be circumcised to be saved, why was it important for Timothy to be circumcised? How did it show mature leadership and wisdom?
  4. Are there things in your life that may be “legal” scripturally but perhaps are not wise for your testimony for Christ?


In the early church, the Jewish and non-Jewish believers had some tension about whether or not they were to follow the Jewish law, or if they were now free from those practices. Paul wanted to remove all hindrances to people receiving the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:19-21). The Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 made it clear that certain things were no longer needed from the Jewish law. However, there were certain behaviors that were wise in order for the church to experience peace. Through all of this transition and wise leadership, the Spirit of God was given clear space to work in their lives, and again, the church increased.

  • Ask the Lord to show you places in your life where certain behaviors and habits are more important to you than Christ himself or spreading the gospel.