This was the beginning of a great adventure and also of a lifelong friendship. The lifestyle of Timothy, who earned the love and confidence of Paul, from that time onwards, was that of a perfect practical man. The first charge that Paul gave to Timothy was to comfort and encourage the young church at Thessalonica, which was going through persecutions (1 Thess. 3.1-2). Timothy then went to Berea and Athens. Without much delay Timothy and Silas joined Paul in Corinth. From there they went to Thessalonica with the letter Paul wrote to them. Timothy who came back had to return with a second letter. His name was synonymous with peace, cooperation, humility, obedience, etc. But he was also a little timid (2 Tim. 1.7-8). At the same time Paul had only heart-felt and beautiful words to say about him. While he was in the house-prison in Rome, Paul wrote to his beloved Church in Philippi: “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But you know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he has served with me in the gospel” (Phil. 2.19-22). This like-mindedness of Timothy should stir up young minds today to sit up and take notice. There was an age difference of 25 – 30 years between Paul and Timothy. While generation gap is characteristic of the youth of today, the life and behaviour of Timothy should be a lesson to all of us. In Paul’s epistles Timothy is a co-writer. This speaks of their fellowship in the ministry. We should not think that Timothy managed to live an exemplary life because everything was favorable. It is not so. Like Paul he ministered in spite of oppositions and sufferings. He had had setbacks in trying to solve the problems in Corinth. They mocked him and ridiculed him. Timothy had the spiritual maturity to forgive and suffer these things.
There was also a physical problem that troubled him - infirmities of the stomach. His travel and ministry was with this physical sickness. In this context Paul advises him: drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities” (1 Tim. 5.23). Up to now Timothy had not taken wine even for medicine. He was a complete teetotaler. Did the stories of Daniel and his friends that his grand mother told him become instrumental to his present life style? If so, it was not a loss. Timothy also shines as a man of God beloved to God like Daniel (1 Tim. 6.11).
Timothy had many spiritual gifts. He fulfilled his Christian calling by stirring up those gifts and ministering with them. He had plenty of Paul’s prayers, encouragement, and teaching. Two such letters that Timothy received in this connection give direction to believers, especially the young ones.
The personal relationship that Paul had with Timothy was hearty. Paul remembered Timothy in prayers day and night without ceasing. Paul could not forget Timothy’s tears (2 Tim. 1.3-4). When they were praying together and part from one another this young man used to shed tears. When Paul comes to the end of his life this emotional bond reaches its fullness. “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me” (2 Tim. 4.9). Paul’s words were: “no man stood with me; all men forsook me. Only Luke is with me.” The absence of his beloved son brings sorrow to him. Even though for a short time, his cloak, books and parchments, should be brought from the house of Carpus at Troas. Timothy who was in Ephesus would have started immediately after he received the letter. But were they able to meet? Or did the chiefest of the apostle reach heaven before that? The answer would be found only in eternity. But there is no doubt, Timothy must have shed many tears.
Timothy received the torch that Paul gave him and ran and finished the race. If tradition is right during the time of Emperor Domitian, Timothy became a martyr in Ephesus itself.
Timothy finished his ministry presenting a challenge to the present day young believers. In the Assemblies the numbers of Hymenaeus and Alexanders are increasing and the numbers of Timothys are decreasing. Let the believers take Timothy as their model. Paul’s exhortation will be of help to those who desire to be so.
1. Stir up the gift of God (2 Tim.1.6).
2. Be strong in the grace (2 Tim. 2.11).
3. Teach the truth you know who is faithful to teach (2 Tim. 2.2).
4. Endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ (2 Tim. 2.3).
5. Do not entangle in the affairs of life (2 Tim. 2.4).
6. Receive knowledge and understanding from God (2 Tim. 2.7).
7. Be a worker that need not be ashamed (2 Tim. 2.15).
8. Teach the word of truth (2 Tim. 215).
9. Do not love the world (2 Tim. 4.20).
The need of the hour is for more Pauls and Timothys. Let us pray for this.
(Translated by Dr. Silas C. Nair, Ernakulam,