[NOTE: In my articles on the Pastoral epistles, I use each one to relay a theme: 1 Timothy emphasizes the life of Timothy; Titus emphasizes Paul’s ecclesiology; 2 Timothy emphasizes the end of Paul’s life.]
He was a young man with a past and because of this letter, many were now aware of his past. It was not a sordid life he had lived—but it was unusual. He stood out from the crowd, not in a loud or brash manner, but in a quiet and calm manner. He was not like the rest.
Coming from a mixed marriage in fluctuating times, he was amazingly focused and steady on his path. He was a loyal friend and companion which also caused him to stand out from the rest. Humility and gentle quietness enhanced his image as he stood at the right hand of the great apostle.
His Jewish mother Eunice gave him the name Timothy—“honoring God”—because she had high hopes for her young son, as did his grandmother Lois (2 Tim 1:5). We know nothing about his father other than Scripture says we was a Greek, implying that he had died. It also leads us to conclude that was not a believer (Acts 16:1).
But the two women in Timothy’s life taught him by word and example, passing the sincere faith on to this third generation (2 Tim 3:14-15). A son born to a Greek father and Jewish mother was Jewish by birth—he had learned the sacred Jewish scriptures from childhood.
One day a Jewish rabbi appeared in his city of Lystra (in modern day Turkey) preaching about the promised Jewish Messiah, the same Messiah Timothy had heard about in the scriptures (Acts 14:5-7).
It seems apparent that the young teenager Timothy listened intently to the Apostle Paul, and believed—especially after seeing the man lame from birth miraculously healed in the center of town (Acts 15:8-10). Even though young, he made a momentous decision and joined the small group who believed in Jesus.
Several years later Paul returned to Lystra and found that young Timothy had made quite an impression and was very well spoken of—he stood out from the crowd. Paul chose him to join him in his apostolic travels (Acts 16:1-3) and Paul became a father to him, a father in the faith (1 Tim 1:2).
Timothy was circumcised (Acts 16:3), ordained by the laying on of hands (1 Tim 4:14) and from that point on he was Paul’s most loyal and ever-present companion, even suffering persecution and prison for the name of Christ and for his loyalty to Paul.
His legacy is forever sealed in the New Testament since two of Paul’s letters were addressed to Timothy—and something most people don’t realize, Paul includes Timothy as co-author of six of his epistles.
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