Listen to N.T. Character Study 46, on Timothy (19 mins).

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  • Most biblical figures give us few insights into the heart or the personality. Timothy is one of the persons about whom we know much more, mentioned some 30x in the N.T.
  • He was in the circle of persons trained by the apostle Paul.

ACTS 161Paul 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. 

  • Jewish / Greek. Jewish mother (2 Tim 1—mother Eunice and grandmother Lois)
  • “A disciple”—not a bad phrase for one’s epitaph.
  • But this is early in Timothy’s life, not late. As we will see, he seems to have continued to grow—to be a disciple, a learner.
  • Character is key. That is, we should not chose people as leaders because they are impressive in a worldly way: photogenic, or tall, or powerful, or intellectual.
  • He good character was known in more than one location.

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.

  • Paul averts unnecessary criticism by having Timothy circumcised. This is a strategic decision.
  • Titus he did not circumcise, but then Titus came from a fully Gentile background.

As they traveled 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.

  • Timothy saw Paul at work, not only in Lystra, but in many towns.
  • Paul and Timothy were coworkers.
  • It’s immensely valuable to work with someone who knows how to share their faith, plant a church, deal with problems, preach the Word, etc. I have benefited from his sort of training.
  • He understood unity between Paul & Jerusalem leaders. And he would have understood that this unity, achieved through hard work—sound theology & relational investment—was spiritual & productive

The remainder of Acts

  • Involvement with the Thessalonian ministry. Paul’s “companions” (16:6; 17:1)
  • 17:14—Berea
  • 17:15—Paul wanted him to join him in Athens
  • 18:5—Came with Silas from Macedonia to Corinth. (Rom 16:21 – with Paul in Corinth)
  • Wrote with Paul: 2 Cor, Phil, Col, 1-2 Thess = 5 letters
  • 19:22—Paul dispatched him to Macedonia with Erastus
  • 20:4—Joins Paul and others, traveling through Macedonia to Syria


4:15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

  • Timothy to some extent mirrored Paul’s passion & perspective.
  • Paul found him to be trustworthy.


Phil 219 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 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. 

  • Timothy was Christlike. In Phil 2 Paul highlights: Jesus, Timothy, and Epaphroditus.
  • He had a genuine concern for others It’s not theoretical.
  • Paul and Timothy have a father/son type of relationship.

EPHESUS (1-2 Timothy)

  • 1 Tim 4:11-16 11 Command and teach these things. 12 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. 
    • Command—authority
    • Young: Acts 16: young + 13 years later (time elapsed between Acts 16 and 1 Tim 4), so Timothy was likely in the 30-40 age range.
    • How to prevent them from discounting one's age (v.12)?
      • Speech – sobriety, not silly, not coarse, edifying
      • Conduct – exemplary
      • Love – relationships
      • Faith – alive!
      • Purity – keeping clear of the many defilements of the world.

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

  • Preaching and teaching based on reading (not an assortment of verses to prop up the preacher’s agenda). Integrity in handling the Word!
  • Progress—keep growing
  • Life and doctrine: life (v.12) + doctrine (v.12) = impact on others.
  • For more on Timothy, watch the iFaith video sermon "Last Will & Testament," on 2 Timothy. 

Conclusion: 3 of Timothy’s qualities we can learn from

  • Wisdom in the scriptures (2 Tim 3:14-16): 14Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful …
    • Qualified to teach and preach
    • Is our thinking saturated in Scripture? How much time are we investing on a regular basis?
  • Concern for others. Phil 2 is high praise indeed.
  •  Character
    • It’s what attracted Paul to him in the first place.
    • Humble enough to learn from Paul—such that he mirrors Paul—proven worth.
    • The last piece of news in Hebrews, before short exchange of greetings, is v.23.
      • 23 I want you to know that our brother Timothyhas been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you.
      • Like Paul, he was willing to go the distance, run the race, fight the good fight
    • Do we focus more on external matter, or the heart, the inner life, character?