Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Timothy: of Value to God (Part 3 of 3)

     In the two previous posts, we have considered what we know about Timothy from the biblical record. Seeing that the faithfulness of men and women of God serve as worthy examples to follow (Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:7; 2:1-12; 2 Thess. 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:12; Tit. 2:7; Heb. 11), what can we learn from Timothy that would be relevant to our lives today?

1. Despite a less-than-ideal home life, Timothy was molded by a godly influence from his youth. His Greek father was probably responsible for Timothy not being circumcised, yet his Jewish mother and grandmother ensured that Timothy learned the holy scriptures from childhood (Acts 16:1; 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15).

2. Timothy’s noble character and faithfulness to the Lord were apparent to those who observed him (Acts 16:2; Phil. 2:22).

3. Timothy chose to obey and earnestly serve the Lord, in spite of extreme persecution (Acts 14:19-22; 2 Tim. 3:10-12).

4. In contrast to what often occurs nowadays, there is no indication that Timothy’s mother resisted her son departing for the mission field (Acts 16:1-4).

5. Timothy was willing to become all things to all men that by all means he might save some (cf. 1 Cor. 9:19-22), including circumcision (a painful and dangerous surgery) to more effectively reach others with the gospel (Acts 16:3).

4. Timothy was a traveling missionary (Acts 16:1–18:5), a follow-up worker (Acts 19:22; 1 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 2:19; 1 Thess. 3:2), an inspired writer (2 Cor. 1:1, 13), and a located evangelist (Acts 18:5; 1 Tim. 1:2-3; 2 Tim. 4:5).

5. Timothy appears to have been prone to fear and timidity (1 Cor. 16:10; 2 Tim. 1:7-8), subject to being disregarded because of his temperament and comparative youth (1 Cor. 16:11; 1 Tim. 4:12), and even had health issues (1 Tim. 5:23). Nevertheless, he consistently stepped out in faith, confronted his fears and shortcomings, and did what he was commissioned to do.

6. Timothy endured many afflictions, near-death experiences, and imprisonment in his service to the Lord (2 Cor. 1:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:8; Heb. 13:23).

7. Timothy is called “brother,” as a faithful member of God’s family, “servant,” indicative of a humble work ethic, and “coworker,” laboring together with Paul and other Christians (1 Thess. 3:2; Phil. 2:22).

8. Timothy was genuinely concerned about the welfare of fellow believers; he put the interests of the Lord and of others before his own, offering spiritual strength and encouragement (Phil. 2:19-22; 1 Thess. 3:2).

9. Timothy was a loyal companion and trusted delegate, sharing the same mind and spirit as the apostle Paul (Acts 20:4; Phil. 1:1; 2:19-23).

10. Two NT documents are addressed to Timothy, without which our knowledge of the divine will would be seriously lacking.

     According to a 5th-century tradition (Acts of Timothy), at the age of 80 Timothy publicly preached the gospel in Ephesus as an attempt to interrupt a procession honoring the goddess Diana. As a result, the pagans beat him, dragged him through the streets, and stoned him to death. If there is any truth to this story, apparently the timidity of Timothy’s youth was replaced with boldness in his later years. In any case, the definitive record of scripture is sufficient to establish that Timothy’s name, meaning “of value to God,” is a most fitting description.
--Kevin L. Moore

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