Gal 2:1 Ἔπειτα διὰ δεκατεσσάρων ἐτῶν πάλιν ἀνέβην εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα μετὰ Βαρναβᾶ, συμπαραλαβὼν καὶΤίτον: 2:2 ἀνέβην δὲ κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν: καὶ ἀνεθέμην αὐτοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ κηρύσσω ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, κατ'ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς δοκοῦσιν, μή πως εἰς κενὸν τρέχω ἢ ἔδραμον. 2:3 ἀλλ' οὐδὲ Τίτος ὁ σὺν ἐμοί, Ελλην ὤν, ἠναγκάσθη περιτμηθῆναι: 2:4 διὰ δὲ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους, οἵτινες παρεισῆλθον κατασκοπῆσαι τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡμῶνἣν ἔχομεν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλώσουσιν: 2:5 οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ, ἵνα ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διαμείνῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.
Gal 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2:2 I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running or had not run, in vain. 2:3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 2:4 But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us - 2:5 we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you.
Acts 16:1 Κατήντησεν δὲ [καὶ] εἰς Δέρβην καὶ εἰς Λύστραν. καὶ ἰδοὺ μαθητής τις ἦν ἐκεῖ ὀνόματι Τιμόθεος, υἱὸς γυναικὸς Ἰουδαίας πιστῆς πατρὸς δὲ Ελληνος,16:2 ὃς ἐμαρτυρεῖτο ὑπὸ τῶν ἐν Λύστροις καὶ Ἰκονίῳ ἀδελφῶν.16:3 τοῦτον ἠθέλησεν ὁ Παῦλος σὺν αὐτῷ ἐξελθεῖν, καὶ λαβὼν περιέτεμεν αὐτὸν διὰ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους τοὺς ὄντας ἐν τοῖς τόποις ἐκείνοις, ᾔδεισαν γὰρ ἅπαντες ὅτι Ελλην ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ὑπῆρχεν.
Acts 16:1 Paul went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. 16:2 He was well spoken of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium. 16:3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
Cohen, ‘Was Timothy Jewish (Acts 16:1-3)? Patristic Exegesis, Rabbinic Law, and
Matrilineal Descent’, JBL 105/2 (1986), pp. 251-68.
4. Both were probably known to the Galatians. Titus is mentioned without introduction in Gal 2:1, which suggests that he, like Timothy, was known to the Galatians.
5. At first sight it appears that Timothy was from Lyrsta, in contrast to Titus, who was from Antioch. However, a closer inspection shows that both were probably from Antioch.
There will have been few Jews, if any, among the believers in Lystra. Acts mentions no synagogue in Lystra and Paul's letter to the (south) Galatians seems to be written exclusively to Gentiles. In Antioch, on the other hand, there were many Jews, for Josephus tells us that Jews were "particularly numerous in Syria", and, ‘it was at Antioch that they specially congregated’ (BJ 7.45). There were many Jews in the church there (Acts 13:1; Gal 2:13), so it is there, not in Lystra, that we should look for Timothy's mother.
The Jews of south Galatia were strict about maintaining their ethnic boundary, for they required the circumcision of Timothy. It is therefore unlikely that many of them would have married Greeks. In Antioch, however, mixed marriages will have been common, for Josephus says of the Jews of Antioch that "they were constantly attracting to their religious ceremonies multitudes of Greeks, and these they had in some measure incorporated with themselves" (BJ 7.45) (consider also Nicolaos, This also suggests that Timothy's mother was from Antioch, not Lystra.
Timothy was a fellow missionary of Paul (2 Cor 1:19), and Paul even calls him "God's co-worker" (1 Thess 3:2). He must have been a prominent fellow-worker of Paul at the time of Acts 16:1-3, otherwise his circumcision would not have been required. However, if Timothy was from Lystra, it is hard to see how he could have been qualified for the task. A Lystran Timothy would have been a relatively new believer, who had had little contact with Paul, and was from a rustic village, spoke mainly Lycaonian (Acts 14:11), and probably had no synagogue. It is hard to imagine Paul choosing one of the "foolish Galatians" to be an important member of his missionary team.
Paul circumcised Timothy, but told the Galatians in the strongest terms not to be circumcised. This is consistent if Timothy was very different from the Galatians in some key respect(s), such as being qualified to preach to Jews or having been brought up with Jewish traditions. This confirms that Timothy was not a Galatian.
I have already argued that Luke was from Antioch. We have no evidence that Paul recruited new converts as fellow-missionaries. I will argue in a future post that Paul had probably sent Titus-Timothy to south Galatia to organize a collection for Jerusalem. In any case, Timothy's role as Paul's envoy explains why we read that the believers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him: the believers reported that Timothy had represented Paul well, so Paul chose him to be part of his team to function as an envoy on future occasions.
6. The 'not even' (οὐδὲ) in Gal 2:3 works well if Titus was Timothy, who was perhaps the most likely person to require circumcision. The sense would then be, "not even Titus (who you know has a Jewish mother and is my closes co-worker), ... was compelled to be circumcised".
7. Gal 2:4-5 appears to refer to the events of Acts 16:1-3. Gal 2:4-5 as it stands, with its broken grammar, is hopelessly ambiguous. If, however, it refers to events well known to the south Galatians, such as the events surrounding the circumcision of Timothy, the text need not have been ambiguous to the intended audience.
Paul's purpose for yielding (or not yielding) was that "the truth of the gospel might continue with you". "you" here refers to the Galatians, suggesting that Paul's response to the false brothers was for the benefit of the Galatians in particular. It is unnecessary to suppose that "you" here refers to all Gentile believers. The 'you' here connects the events of Gal 2:4-5 with south Galatia, and this works well if Titus was Timothy. While Gal 2:3-5 on its own does not tell us whether Titus was eventually circumcised, we can say that the circumcision or otherwise of Titus, like that of Timothy, is of importance to the south Galatians. This is surely no coincidence.
Gal 2:4-5 and Acts 16:1-3 combine nicely. Here is a possible scenario. The false brothers discovered through their spying (whether in Jerusalem or in south Galatia) that Titus-Timothy's father was a Greek. They then revealed this fact to the south Galatians Jews, who then required that Titus-Timothy be circumcised. Gal 2:5 is still ambiguous (to me). Perhaps Paul denies that he gave way for more than the few minutes required for the circumcision of Timothy, or perhaps he is saying that the circumcision of Timothy was in no way a yielding of the principle.
For further discussion see my "Was Titus Timothy?", JSNT 81 (2001).
In summary, Gal 2:1-5 when combined with Acts 16:1-3 provides significant points of agreement between "Titus" and "Timothy". This confirms what we have already seen from the Corinthian correspondence - Timothy was Titus renamed.