Companion, Brother, Son, and Right Hand Man
As we have examined various friends of the faith in our Heroes and Heroines post on Friday, we have saved one the most well known and beloved hero of the apostolic age until now. There is ample reason to save this friend of the faith for this late mention in our friends and heroes collection.
Timothy was associated with Paul almost longer than any other individual in the New Testament. Timothy became an associate of the Apostle Paul at a very early stage in Paul’s “second missionary journey.” Timothy remained an associate of Paul until the end of Paul’s life.
Timothy, first hand was able to witness the sufferings of the Apostle Paul. Timothy had also been sent on numerous assignments as the right hand man of Paul in whom Paul trusted the most to carry out his instructions to both the letter and heart. We know that Paul wrote a number of churches letters in which he included Timothy in the greetings and salutations. There are two extant letters to Timothy from the Apostle Paul. These letters are marked by tender references, genuine love, and fervent appreciation for Timothy.
We first are introduced to Timothy by Luke in his historical narrative, The Acts of the Apostles, in Acts 16. In this reference we are told that Timothy is the son of a Jewess who had become a believer. We are told that Timothy’s mother’s name was Eunice and his grandmother’s name was Lois. Even though Timothy’s father was most likely an unbeliever, Timothy had at least two generations of Christian influence on his young life.
Timothy was from a city called Lystra in what we know today as Turkey. Paul meets Timothy in Lystra and is extremely impressed with him. Later Paul will speak of Timothy as “his own son in the faith,” which means that more than likely Paul was involved in Timothy’s conversion. Timothy was very highly thought of by those surrounding him, including those who were Christians.
Why did Paul choose Timothy? What was there about this young man that so impressed the Apostle? Paul was a somewhat hard to please. Do you remember how he rejected John Mark? We don’t have a definitive statement or explanation of what Paul saw in Timothy, but we do have a statement at one point that says, “He was like-minded with Paul.” He and Paul shared the same vision, the same goals, and the same heart. This was so important to Paul.
Listen as Paul recommends Timothy to the Corinthian Community Church, “I have sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.” (I Corinthians 4:17) In another place Paul writes, “If Timotheus comes, see that he may be with you without fear, for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.” (I Corinthians 16:10)
As a companion, trust-worthy associate Timothy was privilege to meet and travel with a great host of other heroes and heroines of the faith. He worked with, traveled with and was acquainted with Aquila and Priscilla, Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Tychicus, Trophimus, Titus, Silvanus, Onesimus, Epaphroditus, even Demas, Luke, and many others. He assisted in founding a number of churches with Paul and was partner in the conversion of untold multitudes of souls.
Paul and Timothy seem to be such an odd pair to be so greatly used in the church of the living God. Timothy had a timid personality. He was often afraid and unsure of himself. Timothy seemed to have a “delicate” constitution. He had stomach problems of some sort that often hindered in his work. Timothy was even neglectful at times since we see Paul at times urging Timothy to be diligent in spiritual duites. At times Timothy was even “despised” by some older people in the church because he was young. On the other hand, if Timothy were like a lamb, Paul was like a lion, fearless and ferocious. Paul was like a rhinoceros charging into the enemy’s territory with great boldness.
The qualities however that Timothy had were qualities that endeared him to Paul and are qualities that we should seek to develop in our own lives. Timothy was faithful, considerate, gentle, able to deal with difficult situations with little or no supervision, dedicated to both Christ and the tasks that were at hand, teachable, and he continually grew in his faith. In all things Timothy was certainly, Paul’s: “μου συνεργος,” “my workfellow.” (Romans 16:21)