Timothy: What Sort of Guy?

What kind of fellow was Timothy? (the two Epistles, Acts chapters 16 and 17, Romans 16, 2 Corinthians 1). Resident of the Turkish city of Lystra. Son of a Jewish woman converted to Christianity and an avid student of scripture. Her mother the same. The Father was a Greek.

Somewhat young to be called into missions as Paul’s assistant, and somewhat sensitive about the fact. Suffering from a fragile nervous constitution. Having a solid grip on Christian doctrine and Paul’s testimonies of encounters with the risen Christ.

Let me pause at this point. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4 to hold tightly to his assurance of scripture and the doctrine so ably taught to him by friends and relatives. Do you note in today’s church a conscious turning away from doctrine as something ‘awkward and divisive’? ‘The simple Gospel story, yeah, that’ll be enough.’

Well, Paul speaks entirely to the contrary:

12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

With such equipment Timothy is considered well able to be sent to Ephesus to oversee the church and the establishment of leadership and its qualifications; to attend to stern church discipline; to consider the needs of dependent widows and to monitor the use of all available resources (remember the 6th chapter and the exhortation to rich and faithful believers to be rich unto good works?)

In the course of Paul’s final incarceration under the wicked Nero, Timothy is entrusted to bring to his old friend the desired items of comfort before his fast-approaching departure (the cloak, the books and parchments). Paul reminds him:

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (Second Epistle)

We are now in the same shoes as Timothy. Paul would say the same to us.


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