Timothy: A Challenge to the
Believers of Today
Bro. K.A. Philip, Mylapra
Timothy is a young character who, along with Paul the Apostle, stands out in the limelight of history. Timothy had a mother (Eunice) and a grandmother (Lois) who were possessors of unfeigned faith and deep-rooted devotion to the Lord. This young man stands before the believers of the Twenty First century as one who inherited the ancient legacy and became the possessor of immense spirituality. As generations come and go it is possible for spirituality and faith to wane. But here stands a man of God who has multiplied those values in his own life. The Brethren have played a definite role in the re-statement of the New Testament truths. The third and fourth generations of believers among them should study Timothy in subjecting themselves to a spiritual examination and correction.
Timothy had a Jewish pilgrim family. They were away from Palestine and living in a foreign land. We do not know either the time or the circumstances by which this family came to stay in Lystra, of Galatia, (a part of the present day Turkey) a province of the Roman Empire. From the time of Babylonian captivity a vast majority of Jews were those who were staying away from Palestine. In such scattered families there were some who did not compromise with the heathen. Timothy is from one such family. Since no mention is made about Timothy’s grandfather it is possible that he has passed away. Since the only mention about his father was that he was a Greek (Acts. 16.1-3) we consider him also as dead. If so, little Timothy lived with two widows.
We have only a little clue about the childhood of Timothy. But that little is sufficient to understand the spiritual atmosphere in which he grew, and the influence it exerted in the young life. “Continue thou in the things which thou has learned and has been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them; and that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3.14-15). That house in Lystra was said to be a Bible School! How many such homes we have in the Twenty First century? How many parents do we have to teach the children? How many Timothys are there to learn? Even if they learn, how many are there to use and multiply such spiritual wisdom (in Him are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge Col. 2.3) to know and experience Jesus Christ (Phil. 2.10-11)? Today our children are going far way from the Scriptures because of our undue and misplaced affection in them, and also because of the programs that are structured towards material abundance and prosperity. We may say that as Timothy grew up he was becoming another prophet Samuel! His model was not the young men of that gentile city. On the contrary he adopted the good models he found in the Scriptures.
There came a good diversion in the life of Timothy. His meeting Paul, the chief apostle was the cause for this. During his first missionary journey Paul had visited Antioch of Pisidia, Icconnium, Lystra, etc. In these places this young man not only heard Paul preaching but also saw the persecutions and afflictions Paul endured (2 Tim. 3.11). As a result, Timothy understood that the Messiah he knew in the Scriptures was the same Jesus of Nazareth whom Paul preached as one who died and rose again, and he believed in Him. Timothy also saw Paul being stoned at Lystra and very near to death because of the gospel. But Paul did not die. The next day this bold apostle went to Derbe together with Barnabas. They preached the gospel there also and made many disciples and returned to Lystra. On that occasion Paul taught Timothy, his spiritual son, many lessons of true discipleship. This was much fruitful. Shortly Timothy became a disciple well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium (Acts. 16.1,2).
We would tarry a while here. Or rather come to the Twenty First century. Our young men today have much more opportunities to study the word. These are facilities that Timothy could not even dream. Local churches, group ministries and Bible Schools provide ample opportunities for study and work.. Information technology has opened up before us limitless opportunities, and many more! But what are we occupied with? Will these opportunities and facilities remain as things of shame when we stand before the Judgment seat of Christ?
Paul reached Lystra again. This was during the second missionary journey. Now his companion was Silas and not Barnabas. Paul again saw Timothy, his spiritual son and disciple. Now he has become a strong believer and a tireless worker. Therefore Paul desired that he should accompany him (Acts. 16.3). He gave a bit of his mind to Tomothy. For Timothy it was a time of decision. Should he adopt a life of poverty and hard work and persecutions and afflictions forsaking the peaceful atmosphere of home and opportunities to ministries in his own hometown. He decided in its favour. Those mothers surrendered their beloved child to the Lord. The Assembly which had the same spiritual vision did the same.
To be continued.......