27. Timothy, Quite A Character


By Wayne Gerber

Have you ever been lied to by someone? It does not feel very good. Many relationships have been destroyed because of lies that have been told.

Has anyone ever lied to you about what you are capable of doing or achieving? How does that feel?

‘There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.’ Proverbs 6:16-19

The writer of the book of Proverbs tells us that God hates a lying tongue. That is very strong language, there aren’t many places in God’s Word that speak of something that God hates. Satan is the father of lies because there is no truth in him, John 8:44.

‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.’ 1 Timothy 4:12-13

Timothy may have been a victim of such lies coming from Satan. Paul had to encourage him to not allow people to look down on him because of his youth. Timothy was a young man when Paul met him, and Satan was obviously using this as a way to discourage Timothy.

What is Satan using in your life to discourage you from doing the Lord’s work?

Who was Timothy?

Timothy is first mentioned in Acts 16:1-5, where Paul meets him and asks him to join him on his journey. Both Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, were faithful Christians. His father was a Greek man and the Bible does not tell us of his faith, but we do know that Timothy was raised as a believer.

Timothy’s name was included in the salutations of 3 of the 4 Prison Epistles (Philippians, Colossians and Philemon) as well as the second epistle to the Corinthians and finally in both letters to the Thessalonians. He obviously played an important role in Paul’s missionary work.

Questions for Discussion

‘Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So, the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.’ Acts 16:1-5

1. Paul met Timothy when he was still a young man and wanted Timothy to join him on his missionary journeys.

Knowing Paul’s passion for sharing the gospel, what do you think Paul saw in Timothy that made him choose him?

Do you see any hints in this passage that may give us the answer?

‘I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.’ Philippians 2:19-24

2. Paul pays Timothy one of the highest compliments in any of his writings by saying he has no one else like him.

What was that defining characteristic of Timothy that made him such a standout in Paul’s mind?

Timothy preached the Gospel beside Paul. In fact, Paul seems to have someone with him for most of his missionary journeys.

Do you think we would benefit from taking a similar approach today in discipleship?

Do you have Christians around you who can encourage you as Paul encouraged Timothy?

‘But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Timothy 6:11-14

3. Paul is very clear in this short passage about what he wants Timothy to continue to do.

What does it look like for us today, as Christians, to fight the good fight for the true faith?

Can you share some practical examples of things you are doing or maybe should be doing to fight the good fight?

‘Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.’ 2 Timothy 4:2

4. Throughout the 2nd epistle of Timothy, Paul is encouraging Timothy to stand strong, not be ashamed, preach the word, etc. Here Paul tells Timothy to be prepared, whether the time is favourable or not.

When is the time favourable? When is it not?

What do we need to do to be prepared?