Timothy (Paul's Disciple)
by John Lowe
Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman…
This young man was so closely associated with the Apostle Paul that they shared his thoughts and work. He is introduced to us in Acts 16:1. However, we must assume the more profound knowledge of him conveyed by historical references in the Acts and Epistles and by the letters of counsel addressed by St. Paul to him personally. Timothy was brought to Christ by St. Paul's preaching, and how the apostle reminds Timothy of his sufferings at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (1 Timothy 3:10, 11 ), suggests that Timothy was an actual "witness of St. Paul's injurious treatment; and this at a time of life when the mind receives its deepest impressions from the spectacle of innocent suffering and undaunted courage. Furthermore, it is far from impossible that the generous and warm-hearted youth was standing in that group of disciples who surrounded the lifeless body of the apostle at the outside of the wails of Lystra."
I. THE ADVANTAGES OF TIMOTHY IN A GODLY ATMOSPHERE.
He certainly had a naturally amiable and affectionate disposition from his birth. His mother, and her mother before her, were amiable and pious women and transmitted their natural grace to this young man. It is often observed that children bear their mother's disposition, and just such a gentle tone of character as Timothy showed has often been traceable to such a godly ancestry as he had. It may seem as if women had little work to do, but what a noble mission they have if their enduring culture of natural disposition gives their children the vantage-ground of amiable and attractive character! Few blessings resting on our lives surpass the hereditary influence of good and godly ancestors.
II. THE ADVANTAGE OF A WISE AND CAREFUL EARLY TRAINING.
"It was reported of Timothy that he had known the Scriptures since he was a child." The knowledge of Scriptures involved several slices of his early life, such as:
(1) an early awakening of the intelligence;
(2) a guardianship of his youth and young manhood from folly and temptation;
(3) preparedness for the fuller light and truth brought to him by the apostle;
(4) fitness for the Christian ministry to which he subsequently became devoted.
It may also be shown he was the influence which his early teachers tended to encourage:
(1) a studious habit;
(2) cultivation of the passive graces almost to the disadvantage of the active.
No more beautiful characters are found on earth than those naturally amiable and whose amiability is sanctified by Divine grace. (Timothy was one.)
III. THE CHARACTERISTIC EXCELLENCES OF HIS SANCTIFIED MANHOOD.
From the Epistles written by St. Paul to him, we gather the leading features of his character:
1. His disposition was great affectionateness, which made him draw faithfully to anyone he loved and made cheerful sacrifices for them.
2. Great steadfastness and trustworthiness so that St. Paul found he could always rely on him. He acted from principle, not a mere impulse, and had a strong sense of duty.
3. A studious habit of mind, which, no doubt, made him valuable to St. Paul for his writing work but became a snare to him, as unfitting for him, to some extent, for public ministerial duties. Out of this, and the consequent frailty of his health came a shyness and timidity which St. Paul urges him to overcome. It has been well said that Timothy is a beautiful example for young men, as "one of those simple, faithful natures which combine the glow of courage with the bloom of modesty."
IV. WHICH IS IT? TIMOTHY OR TIMOTHY OF EPHESUS?
(Greek: Τιμόθεος; Timótheos, meaning "honoring God" or "honored by God") was an early Christian evangelist and the first Christian bishop of Ephesus, who tradition relates died around the year A.D. 97.
Timothy was from the Lycaonian city of Lystra or Derbe in Asia Minor, born of a Jewish mother who had become a Christian believer and a Greek father. The Apostle Paul met him during his second missionary journey, and he became Paul's companion and missionary partner along with Silas. The New Testament indicates that Timothy traveled with Paul the Apostle, his mentor. He is addressed as the recipient of Timothy's First and Second Epistles. While included in the Pauline epistles of the New Testament, First and Second Timothy are considered by many biblical scholars to be pseudepigraphical and not written by Paul.