Acts 15:36-38 Some time later in 50AD, Paul suggests that he and Barnabas leave Antioch and return to the towns in Galatia and Pisidia that they visited on their previous journey (see Map 23). They have an argument about whether to take John Mark with them again, and agree to go their separate ways. Barnabas also disagrees with Paul, around this time, about whether Gentile believers should be circumcised and whether Jewish believers should eat with Gentiles (see Galatians 2:13). This may be the reason why Barnabas decides to re-visit the Jewish believers in Cyprus, while Paul re-visits the Gentile believers in Galatia.
Acts 15:39 Barnabas sets sail for Salamis (see 1 on Map 24) with his young nephew, John Mark, and revisits the Jewish believers they’d visited with Paul in Cyprus (where Barnabas was born – see Colossians 4:10 & Acts 4:36).
Map 24 Paul's Second Missionary Journey
Acts 15:40-41 Paul is joined by Silas (‘Silvanus’ in Latin – see 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:19 & 1 Peter 5:12). Silas is from the Jerusalem Christian community (see Acts 15:22-35). They travel through Syria and Cilicia encouraging the new believers there (see 2 on Map 24). To reach Galatia from the Mediterranean coastal plain near Tarsus, they travel through the 'Cilician Gates', a steep-sided gorge that forms a pass through the eastern block of the Taurus Mountains - and which is still followed by today's travellers on the motorway.
Paul travelled through the 'Cilician Gates' (Acts 15:41)
Acts 16:1-5 Paul and Silas pass through Derbe and go on to Lystra – where Paul had been stoned by the Jews and left for dead on his first visit (see Acts 14:19).
At Lystra, Paul wants Timothy to join them, but doesn’t wish to upset the local Jews a second time. Timothy is Jewish by birth (as his mother is Jewish), but he has not been circumcised according to Jewish custom as his father is Greek (a Gentile). As the advantages enjoyed by Paul are only open to a Jewish companion (such as preaching in the Jewish synagogues and entering the inner courts of the Temple in Jerusalem) Paul circumcises Timothy (as a Jewish believer in Jesus Christ).
This in no way contradicts Paul’s strongly held belief that Gentile believers do not need to be circumcised.