Is it hypocritical for Sha’ul(Paul) to circumcise Timothy in Act 16:1-3? Bc in Galatians 5:2 Sha’ul said,
“Mark my words! I, Sha’ul, Tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, HAMASHIACH will be of no value to you at all”.
Find below the account in Acts of the Apostles 16: 1 -3, where Sha’ul circumcised Timothy before taking him as a companion to preach to the Jews.
“Sha’ul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Sha’ul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek”.
The answer is perhaps best given in 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 (emphasis added):
To the Jews, I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law, I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law, I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of YAH but under the law of HAMASHIACH) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak, I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people that by all means, I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Sha’ul understood, as did Kepha(Peter) (See Acts 10 and Cornelius), that they were no longer allowed to reject the gentiles since they too can attain salvation if they repent and keep the teachings of YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH. Peter saw that he should no longer call unclean what YAH considered clean.
So, before YAH, Timothy did not need to be circumcised. However, if your target audience involves Jews, to whom the “uncircumcised” were deplorable, then it is appropriate to be circumcised for the sake of the hearers. Sha’ul said that he became as Jew to win the Jews. He became weak to win the weak, etc.
Hudson Taylor followed this example as a missionary in China as he donned the clothing and hair style of the Chinese, thereby identifying with them culturally.
So, again, it is appropriate to not offend those with whom you wish to share the Gospel so that what is unimportant does not become an unnecessary stumbling block to your hearers. But do not partake in unholy or idolatrous rituals in trying to please them. There is always a red line.
There is a great need for us to apply our wisdom and always put salvation above every law and tradition. Let the RUACH HAQODESH(Holy Spirit of YAHUAH) be your guide and teacher.