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The Power of the Gospel


Adam and Eve, David and Jonathan, James, and John are a few of the famous pairs you will meet in the Bible. In today’s passage, we are introduced to Timothy, who would later become Paul’s protégé in ministry. Paul would later say of Timothy, “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare” (Phil. 2:20).

Timothy joined the ministry team when Paul visited Lystra. Since Timothy was of Jewish descent through his mother but had a Gentile father, Paul arranged for him to be circumcised for the sake of the mission (v. 3). The Holy Spirit guided Paul and his companions during their journey and eventually directed them to enter Macedonia (vv. 6–10). The text doesn’t reveal what means God used to redirect Paul along the way, except for the vision in verse 9. In Philippi, the apostle followed his usual pattern of proclaiming the gospel to the Jews first. Instead of a synagogue, Paul found a group of devout women meeting for prayer. Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, was the first to believe their message. She was a wealthy businesswoman who invited Paul and his companions to stay in her home.

Their next conversion came as a result of what others would have considered a setback, if not a travesty of justice. Paul and Silas were arrested, flogged, and thrown in prison, contrary to Roman law (v. 37). Their misfortune turned into an opportunity for the gospel as the jailer and his household were converted. When the magistrates learned of their mistake, they tried to send the two away quietly. But Paul demanded that the magistrates escort them from the prison, which amounted to a public apology from them.

>> The gospel’s power does not depend on you! What you experience as a setback in your life could be God’s open door for the gospel to move forward. Ask God to help you recognize the difference and to accept and even welcome His working in your life.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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