Some of the Jews wanted the Gentile believers to follow the law of Moses and be circumcised. Others believed that because God had given them the Holy Spirit, they were already accepted by the Lord and didn’t need to follow that requirement.
So a big meeting was held with the apostles — it was decided that circumcision was not required for these Gentile believers.
The very next chapter tells the brief story of Timothy, whose mother was a Jew but whose father was a Greek. Timothy was a believer, and Paul wanted to take him with him on his travels…but first he circumcised him.
Why? Did they not just decide that it wasn’t necessary? Or was his half-Jewish parentage the reason? Or did Paul not completely agree with Peter’s decision? He did have a dispute with Barnabas and went separate ways…it is important to remember that the apostles were people, too, and as such they made mistakes…
There are so many cultural references here that I am sure I’m missing.
But for now my mind is tired…and I acknowledge that I do not have to have all the answers. As this account shows, the road to sharing Christ is not always clearly marked. It is heartening to see that even the apostles didn’t always agree — when you get right down to it, the only thing that matters is the truth that sets us free.