This bible study examines an interaction between Paul and Timothy at the beginning of the Second Missionary Journey. To add Timothy to his team, Paul got him circumcised despite an existing ruling of the church that circumcision is not necessary for salvation and is not required of Gentile (or non-Jew) believers. He got Timothy circumcised to forestall potential challenges about circumcision during the mission and instead focus energy on preaching the gospel. By so doing he illustrates the principle of choosing to avoid certain battles in order to focus on the war. The bible study also illustrates the value of a healthy
parent-child relationship between churches, based on the Antioch church consulting with the parent church in Jerusalem to resolve an issue regarding circumcision of Gentile believers.
In this bible study, we discuss the end and rebirth of the early church following the martyrdom of Stephen and persecution of the first Jerusalem church (Fellowship of Believers), based on Acts 6–9 and 11. We draw a lesson from the study about management of non-mission activities of an organization to support but not hinder performance of the core mission. An organization typically exists for its core mission but has to manage interactions among employees or members, between them and the organization, and between the organization and external entities such as government or other organizations. The interactions typically center on socio-economic issues relevant to the organization’s existence and, therefore, performance of its core mission.
Therefore, managing the internal and external socio-economic interactions is important to the organization but could impose excessive burden and divert focus from the core mission. This bible study provides an example of an organization (the first Jerusalem church) that confronted excessive burden from management of non-mission socio-economic affairs. The church ended suddenly because of the burden. Although the sudden end resulted in a positive outcome, having triggered a rapid and more widespread growth of Christianity, we emphasize factors that contributed to the end in order to learn lessons important to management of present-day entities.