Paul and Timothy

Have you ever wondered who this Timothy chap really was (to whom 1st and 2nd Timothy were written)? 

Last Sunday we started our walk through the books of 1st and 2nd Timothy, if you missed the message you can listen to audio or podcast here.

Map of Points of Interest from Acts 14:8-21

So here is what we know about Timothy: 

  • Timothy is from Lystra, which is in modern day Turkey.
  • His father was Greek (Gentile/non-Jew) and his mother, Eunice was Jewish.
  • It appears that Timothy’s grandmother, Lois and his mother both gave their lives to Jesus when Paul took his first missionary journey through their city (Acts 14).
    It is probable that they witnessed the healing of a crippled man, then saw Paul stoned to death – and resurrected back to life. 
  • Timothy was raised with a knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures (2 Ti. 3:14-15) and may have come to Christ during Paul’s visit. Paul sees Timothy as a spiritual son. 
  • Timothy was not as young as you may imagine. When Paul encounters Timothy the first time, Paul is 48 and Timothy is 33 years old.  Certainly he is younger in the faith than Paul, but not a fresh faced teenager.
  • When Paul came through Lystra on his 2nd missionary journey with Silas, he drafts Timothy to join their traveling missionary team (Acts 16).
  • As a part of joining the team, Paul has Timothy circumcised. This is done because remaining uncircumcised would be a potential controversy in Jewish circles that would take away from the message of Jesus.  It was customary to take on the rites of your mother’s faith.  Jews were commanded to circumcise their sons as a physical sign of the covenant.  Note:  Paul doesn’t do this with Titus, another younger pastor, because neither of his parents are Jewish. 
  • On Paul’s 2nd missionary journey, Timothy ministered in at least five New Testament churches: Thessalonica, Corinth, Philippi, Berea and Ephesus. 
  • Timothy travels back to Jerusalem with Paul.
  • When Paul is imprisoned in Rome (around 61 AD) at the end of the his 4th missionary journey (Acts 28), he mentions Timothy being with him in the letters of Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.
  • Along the way Timothy is left in Ephesus to help lead the church and correct false teaching that was skewing the true gospel of Jesus Christ. (1st Timothy)
  • At the end of Paul’s 5th and final journey, while in a Roman prison a second time, he sends a letter to Timothy that we call “2nd Timothy” to release Timothy from serving in Ephesus, and calling him to come to Rome.

As we go through the letters to Timothy this Fall...

we will see the words of a father to a son, advising and helping him to have a strong faith, a pure heart and a clear conscience.

I encourage you, if you missed last Sunday watch the videocast where the Apostle Paul in the first person dictates these two letters to his son Timothy.  It is a dramatic and illustrated sermon with the words of Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the New Testament, the Message.  

I’m praying that the words of these two letters will help you avoid your faith being shipwrecked! 

Join us this Sunday and was continue our study of who Timothy was.

Andrew Burchett

Written by Andrew Burchett

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