Somewhere around the end of Acts chapter 15 and the beginning of Acts chapter 16 the apostle Paul meets Timothy for the first time. This would be the same Timothy for whom the 2 books later in the Bible would be named.
I was listening to a podcast that read through that particular passage when something struck me as funny (not funny - haha, but funny - huh?). These two meet each other and Paul decides he'd like to bring Timothy along on his journeys. The fact is stated that Timothy is Greek on his father's side. A later verse said Paul had Timothy circumcised, since the locals new that his father was Greek.
Some brief context of that day and age:
- Jews got circumcised as a requirement of their laws passed down from God. Greeks did not.
- Jews did not fraternize w/ non-Jews (aka gentiles) since they were considered spiritually unclean. It was in their laws.
- In order for a Gentile to fully convert to Judaism and be accepted as company among Jews (you guessed it), they had to be circumcised.
So here's the setup and question:
Everyone involved knew Timothy to be a gentile. In order for him to be accepted among Jews, Paul felt he had to have him circumcised. Does this assume that no one would take their word for it? Would he be CHECKED?
"You were circumcised, eh? Well, you best flip up that toga and give a look-see!"
Crazy, I know.
Admittedly, that comment presumes one might fake the circumcision. Why put a guy's business under the knife if you can get away with lying about it?
Further postulation led me to think they were way too devout to lie about it. We ARE talking about one of the greatest apostles and most devout Jews of their day, after all. The apostle Paul would never lie about such things. He probably wouldn't lie about anything. He was a Jew among Jews (..thou shalt not bear false witness) and one of the most prominent apostles of Christ. Besides that, Jewish law demanded 3 testimonies to consider an assertion like that. That would necessitate bringing in a third accomplice. What's worse than telling a lie? Making someone else tell the lie for you. So lying is out.
"Hey Tim, I want you to join me on my apostolic missions. Um... how to put this... you're gonna need to lose that foreskin."
"Huh? Um, can we talk about this? You've become like a father to me and all, but... really? Can't we fa-"
"No, no way. No faking it. We'll need witnesses, too. It's that or flash the evidence whenever someone questions you. That kind of thing doesn't go over well among the Jews, either. Just read up on Noah's sons."
"Well, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, right? If it's for Christ's sake."
"It's for Christ's sake."