Let’s look at the preparation and ministry of Timothy.
Timothy is one of our great examples of a faithful, fruitful disciple. Timothy is most known for his being discipled and sent out by Paul. He was just a teenager, or young adult, when he met Paul. Timothy’s mother and grandmother were faithful Jewish women who raised Timothy in the teachings of the Old Testament scriptures. On his second journey, Paul invited Timothy to travel with him. One of Timothy’s primary roles was to help Paul establish churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. When Paul left Berea to go to Athens, he left Timothy and Silas behind, but later sent word for them to join him. Timothy was also sent to Thessalonica to strengthen the faith of the believers there.
During the three years Paul was in Ephesus teaching them about the amazing power of God, Timothy was there, too. When Paul was imprisoned in Rome for two years, Timothy was right alongside him much of the time unselfishly taking care of Paul’s needs. For over a decade, he watched Paul minister, teach the gospel, and lead the early church. This observational learning was critical for Timothy.
Paul recognized that some men in the church were teaching error about Jesus by saying that Jesus could not have been a man and God at the same time. Paul wanted to go on to visit his friends in Macedonia, but he didn’t want to leave the Ephesian church in turmoil. So, he left Timothy to teach truth to the church there while Paul went on to Macedonia. As Paul’s representative, Timothy was given the authority to order worship and to appoint elders and deacons. Paul thought he’d get back to Ephesus soon, but that didn’t happen. He was concerned about what was going on in Ephesus, so he wrote Timothy the letter called 1 Timothy around AD 64.
In 1 Timothy, we read that Paul was teaching Timothy how to contend with the false teachers, what the qualifications for a pastor/elder were, that many would prove to not endure in the faith, how the church should be organized, and that false teachers were active. This meant Timothy had to fight for the true testimony of Christ, to remember his spiritual heritage that he had learned from his mother and grandmother, to study hard, to know how to teach and rightly discern biblical teachings, to know that in the last days the sinful tendencies of man would increase, to keep preaching the word, and that the word corrects, rebukes and exhorts all believers.
Consider with me the relationship that Paul and Timothy shared. Six of Paul’s epistles include Timothy in the salutations. The most tender and moving of Paul’s letters is his last one to Timothy. He was a prisoner in a Roman dungeon when he wrote 2 Timothy in approximately AD 67. He knew he had a short time to live, so that letter is his spiritual last will and testament—his “dying wish”—to encourage Timothy and to request that Timothy join him during his final days of imprisonment.
Paul says Timothy has a “genuine faith,” the same as that which lived in his mother and grandmother. This means, Timothy didn’t preach one thing and then live another. He is faithful and a good example of one who was prepared to go make disciples. Are you being prepared? Who is discipling you? Who are you discipling? If you are a parent, then you must realize that your influence and opportunity to have a shaping impact on your kids is a tremendous call of God on your life. Just like Timothy’s mother and grandmother, we must be diligent in raising our children in the word of the Lord. The truths Timothy was taught from infancy were able to make him “wise for salvation” and they helped prepare him for the ministry God had for him.
Paul’s investment into, and discipleship of, Timothy proved to have an enormous impact on the early church. Thankfully, Paul took the time to invest in Timothy; and thankfully, Timothy was hungry to listen and learn. Are you hungry to grow in your faith and maturity? Who do you need to get together with and start pouring into? Which mature brother in Christ at your church or chapter can you ask to invest in you so that you can be fully prepared to be the disciple maker God has called us all to be in the great commission?
I leave you today with Paul’s words to Timothy in the opening of his second letter.
2 Timothy 1:13-14 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC