Doctrine of Timothy

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Doctrine of Timothy

  1. Timothyís early life (up to about AD 50).

1.1.        Timothy was from Lystra, a city in Galatia (Acts 16:1).

1.2.        Timothy had a good reputation where he lived (Acts 16:2).

1.3.        Timothyís father was a Greek (Acts 16:1).  We do not know anything about him.  The implication is that he was not a believer or if he was he was not living the Christian way of life (CWL).  His mother was a Jew (Acts 16:1) named Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5).  His grandmother was named Lois (2 Timothy 1:5).

1.4.        His spiritual heritage came through his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).  They taught him Scripture from the time that he was a child (2 Timothy 3:15).

  1. Timothyís early training under Paul (about AD 50-64).

2.1.        It appears that Paul was instrumental in leading Timothy to faith in Christ (during the first missionary trip).  Paul then taught, trained, and encouraged Timothy in the CWL (1 Timothy 1:2; 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2:1-3; 4:2).

2.2.        Paul wanted Timothy on his team (Acts 16:3) so he circumcised him and ordained him (Acts 16:3;
1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:5).  Circumcision itself was religiously indifferent.  The problems came when it was performed as a legal religious obligation to gain salvation or to be spiritual as in Galatians 2:1-5; and 5:1-6.  This was not the issue with Timothy.  Paul circumcised Timothy in order to remove a false issue from Jews to whom they would witness.  Paul refused to circumcise Titus (Galatians 2:1-5), a Greek, because salvation, spirituality, and service by grace was already an issue.

2.3.        Paul was Timothyís pastor/teacher and seminary professor.  He taught Timothy the Word of God.  This was a continuing priority for both men.  Bible doctrine was the instruction for Timothyís thinking and acting
(1 Timothy 3:14-15; 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2:2; 3:14-17).
 Paul also delegated, supported, and served with Timothy (1 Timothy 1:3-4; 4:11; 2 Timothy 1:13-14, 18; 2:2, 14-15; 4:2-5).

  1. Timothyís life as a member of Paulís missionary team (about AD 50-68).

3.1.        Timothy traveled with Paul on the second missionary trip (Acts 16:1-4; 17:14-15; 18:5) and on the third missionary trip (Acts 19:21-22; 20:1-6).  He was not with Paul all the time on these trips.  For example, he stayed in Berea with Silas for a short time while Paul went on to Athens
(Acts 17:13-16).

3.2.        Paul, during his travels and imprisonment, sent Timothy on missions to different churches.  In this capacity Timothy carried messages, gathered information on the health of the church, and encouraged believers in the CWL (1 Timothy 3:1-6; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10;
Philippians 2:19, 23).

3.3.        Timothy spent time with Paul during the first Roman imprisonment.  Note that Timothy is included in the greeting of three of the four prison epistles, and is clearly said to be with Paul (Philippians 1:1; 2:19-22; Colossians 1:1; Philemon 1:1).  Timothy was also included in the greetings of other epistles by Paul: Romans 16:21,
2 Corinthians 1:1, Philippians 1:1, Colossians 1:1,
1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:1, Philemon 1.

3.4.        During part of the time between Paulís first and second roman imprisonment he left Timothy at Ephesus.  The geographical church at Ephesus was experiencing turbulence.  Paul went on to Macedonia while Timothy stayed in Ephesus to teach, organize, correct, and challenge the Ephesian churches (1Timothy, especially 1:2-3).

3.5.        Timothy became a good assistant to Paul.

3.5.1.         Timothy was teachable.  Paul taught him day after day.  Bible doctrine was the springboard for his life so Timothyís thoughts and actions were directed by God through His Word
(1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2:2; 3:14-17).

3.5.2.         Timothy served Paul (diakoneuo, to serve, aid, help, support, Acts 19:22), (douleuo, to serve under obligation, to serve his master, like a child his father, Philippians 2:22).

3.5.3.         Timothy accepted tasks and responsibilities from Paul (Acts 17:10-15; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:1-11; Philippians 2:19-23).

3.5.4.         Timothy gained the characteristics of a good assistant.  He became humble, teachable, authority oriented, supportive, responsible, dependable, a team player, a servant, proven, interested in the churches without interfering, occupied with Christ while some were occupied with the details of life, accepted delegated tasks, kept the purpose and goals of the leader before himself, and was a kindred spirit (isopsuchos) with Paul (Philippians 2:19-23).

3.6.        Paul loved Timothy as another believer and because they had personal ministry rapport (Galatians 5:22; Romans 13:8; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 2:19-23; 2 Timothy 1:3-4).

  1. Timothyís personality, struggles, and growth in the Christian way of life.

4.1.        Timothy had tests, areas of weakness, and failures just like all believers.  For example, he was a timid young man and needed to learn to stand firm against problem people.  Paul supported him (1 Corinthians 16:10-11;
2 Timothy 1:6-8).

4.2.        A study of Timothy reveals that when he was a young man he traveled with Paul (Acts 16:3-4).  Soon he carried messages, gathered reports, taught the Word, and took other responsibility (1 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10; Acts 19:22).  Timothy was sent on important assignments for Paul (Philippians 2:19, 23).  He was dependable and loyal to Paul (1 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 2:20-22; 2 Timothy 3:10-11).  Later Timothy was placed in charge of the Ephesian churches with the authority and responsibility that was part of that assignment (1 Timothy 1:3-5, 18; 3:15; 4:6; 6:20; and others).  Paul, in the later part of his life, entrusted Timothy with greater authority and responsibility.  He expected much from Timothy (2 Timothy 1:13-14, 2:1-3, 14-15; 3:14; 4:1-5, 9).


4.3.        Timothy, like Paul, was arrested.  He spent time in prison, then was released (Hebrews 13:23).  This probably occurred about the time of Paulís execution.

  1. Some general principles from this study.

5.1.        Personal (Timothy demonstrated);

5.1.1.         The pattern for the believerís life is illustrated by Timothy.  He must begin with a desire to know and follow the Lord and His Word (fear of the Lord/occupation with Christ).  This is the beginning of humility.  Humility makes a person teachable and therefore able to grow and serve.

5.1.2.         The believer starts wherever he is and steadily advances by learning, by confidence in God and His doctrine, by application of the learned doctrine.  This will bring about genuine humility, confidence, spiritual growth, usefulness, and sense of mission.

5.1.3.         There will be tests, setbacks, failures.  Overcome and benefit from these.  Do not quit.

5.1.4.         It takes time to grow up spiritually, to be able to properly use authority and responsibility, to have important tasks delegated to you.

5.1.5.         Spiritual growth will guard against natural timidness or bravado.

5.1.6.         If you are an assistant under authority be the best for the Lord and the leader.

5.2.        Organizational (Timothy was in Paulís seminary and ministry organization):

5.2.1.         Define the organizationís purpose, authority, doctrine, and policy. A Biblical organization needs recognized authority, doctrine, sense of mission, operational policy and procedure, and resources.

5.2.2.         The people must be in agreement with the purpose, authority, doctrine, and policy.  They must be willing to work within this framework to accomplish the purpose.

5.2.3.         People in an organization must be teachable (humility) and loyal to the leader.

5.2.4.         There needs to be initiative and the freedom to work within the organization, and opportunities to serve and achieve right goals.