Timothy, a native of Lystra, was reared well, and both his mother and grandmother taught him the Scriptures from his infancy. Thus Timothy’s open heart was ready to accept the gospel of Christ when Paul came through Lystra on his first or second missionary journey. And it may well be that Timothy knew first-hand the great courage Paul showed when a stoning almost killed him at Lystra.
In any case, Timothy developed an undying respect for Paul and became a trusted friend and fellow minister. In fact, Paul once wrote that there was no other fellow minister with whom he was so like-minded as Timothy. Paul had such trust in the man that he felt no need to accompany him to difficult churches. He sent Timothy with full confidence that the young minister would unravel the complex problems in a church and set things right.
Timothy went with Paul to Europe and helped establish the new church in Berea as Paul went on to Athens. Timothy also labored in the Corinthian church and, most extensively, in the Ephesian church.
Paul wrote Timothy two letters which are included in the New Testament. Judging from a comment in the first letter, Timothy must have suffered from poor health which undoubtedly made his ministry more difficult. Another perplexing obstacle in Timothy’s work is that false teachings and teachers abounded. Probably the most frustrating were those who taught that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough to completely save an individual. According to these Jews, circumcision, dietary laws, and many other Judaistic rules must also be followed by the Christian. Timothy had to constantly stand firm against a religion which in effect belittled salvation by grace through faith.
Shortly before his martyrdom, a lonely, aged Paul asked Timothy, whom he loved like a son, to come to him in Rome. One senses a deep intimacy between the two that Paul had with few others: “My dearly beloved son… when you come, bring the cloak I left at Troas with Carpus. And bring the books, especially the parchments. Only Luke is with me now. Try diligently to come to me before winter.”
What can we learn from Timothy?
Within today’s churches age groups are often strictly segregated. Younger Christians do not often have friendships with older saints. Yet, as Timothy benefited enormously from his relationship with Paul, the younger can learn from the mature wisdom and calm joy of the seniors. And older believers can be enlivened and encouraged by the energetic affection of the young.
Bible Verses about Timothy?
Acts 16:1-3, 17:14, 19:22, 20:4; Romans 16:21; 1 Cor. 4:17, 16:10; 2 Cor. 1:1, 19; Phil. 1:1, 19; Col. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1, 3:2; 2 Thess. 1:1; 1, 2 Timothy; Heb. 13:23
What questions does this help to answer?
- Who was Timothy in the Bible?
- What was the relationship between Paul and Timothy?
- How to encourage younger Christians in their faith?