EVERYONE NEEDS A PAUL (Timothy 1)
(A few weeks I spoke to pastors and church leaders in India on Zoom. We studied the book of 1 Timothy. The next series of blogs will be taken from those notes.)
When God calls a person to serve Him, He also equips that person. He gifts them and puts others in their lives who can train and guide them. As they grow and mature, He then leads them to younger believers into whom they can build. Barnabas discipled Paul, then Paul trained Timothy.
Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, were godly Jews. His father was not a Jew. He allowed his son to be named “Timothy,” which means “honored of God.” Timothy was taught the Old Testament growing up (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). Evidently, his family was well-to-do for they were able to offer hospitality to Paul when he was in Lystra on his first missionary journey. Perhaps Paul recovered there from being stoned (Acts 14:19).
Paul developed a close relationship with the family, especially Timothy. He led Timothy to salvation (Acts 15:6-19) and became his spiritual father and mentor (Philippians 2:22). Timothy was young, probably a teenager. He was shy and insecure, the opposite of Paul.
Paul returned to see him on his second missionary journey. He discovered that Timothy had been following and serving Jesus. He had a good reputation among the Christians there (Acts 16:2). When Paul left, Timothy traveled with him. Paul mentored and trained him.
Timothy traveled with Paul for the next 15 years. He assisted in starting churches and helping them grow (2 Timothy 4:5). Most of the time he ministered in Ephesus. Ephesus was a very important city and the center of the early church. Paul spent more time there than any other one place. It was an evil city under Satan’s power. God did miracles through Paul to show His power was greater than Satan’s power (Acts 19).
Many important events happened in Ephesus. It is where Apollos came to the knowledge of salvation. John and Mary lived there and trained many important church leaders. Mark wrote his gospel in Ephesus. John wrote 3 epistles from there as well. The church in Ephesus was very important and it was a great responsibility for Timothy to be assigned by Paul to serve there. Paul had been training Timothy for just such a responsibility. Everyone needs a mentor.
Paul was Timothy’s mentor and Timothy was Paul’s student. Every church leader needs to have someone to mentor them, like Timothy had Paul. Paul had Barnabas and Luke as his mentors. Each leader needs to have someone to help them grow. As they mature in the faith, they need to find someone to train, like Paul trained Timothy. We all must be building into younger leaders to prepare them for their future roles in church leadership. You need someone to help guide you as well as someone you can be training.
Paul had someone more mature in the faith to mentor him (Barnabas and Luke) and someone younger into whom he could build (Timothy). Paul also had someone of equal standing in life and maturity, a friend to share burdens with. Silas was such a man in his life. We, too, need a close ministry friend with whom we can share burdens and find encouragement.
2 Timothy 2:2 The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
Who is your mentor? Who are you mentoring? Who are your close ministry friends with whom you share your troubles and triumphs? Every pastor and leader should have some in each of these categories. If you don’t, ask God to show you who can fill those roles in your life.