Paul, Timothy and their Relationship

            The Reflection

There were tears in his eyes as he said goodby. Paul knew that hardships, conflict, and troublesome people awaited him. Yet Paul knew God would use those in Timothy’s life. Paul was proud of Timothy. Today he was sending him off to the toughest assignment he had ever given him. He was going to Ephesus—a church having subtle heresies and power issues; a church needing the Word of God in a fresh way; a church with social problems, leadership problems, financial problems. But Paul was confident. Timothy would do alright. Because Paul knew his heart. He knew how he had been trained on the job. He knew how Timothy had seen God work on behalf of the team—over and over. Paul’s mind wandered back. He saw himself along the road leading to Derbe. And the past events, the selection of Timothy, his trainin—they all flashed before his eyes. He remembered …


            The First Visit

They had trudged along all day and finally arrived in Derbe. Paul had had much time to think over his split with Barnabas. He and Silas had decided to return and follow-up on the converts in Asia minor. He wondered how Barnabas and Mark were doing in Cyrus. Paul knew that personality conflicts and disagreements were an on-going thing with Jewish people. But somehow he did not feel right about the whole Barnabas and Mark thing. After all Barnabas had been the sponsor who promoted him in Antioch and then stood up and defended his work at the Jerusalem council. He dearly loved Silas and was glad for the opportuhnity to minister with him. But he wished that his dispute with Barnabas had not been so fianl.


After an overnight stay the next morning they went on Lystra. As he neared Lystra Paul remembered how just a few short years ago he and Barnabas had in desperation fled from Iconium–just in front of a mob bent on stoning them. They had some success there including authentication of there ministry by God’s miraculous working. But still a number of Jews had forced them out. It was on that journey, that race away from persecution that had led them to Derbe and Lystra just a few short years ago. And as was often the case after a frightening experience God had affirmed them.


It was at Lystra that Paul had seen God accomplish an amazing healing. Paul remembered it as if it were only yesterday. The man was crippled and sat listening to Paul as he explained the Way and talked about the person Jesus. Paul as he looked at the man suddenly knew within that this man could be healed—there was healing faith there. In a moment’s time Paul looked him directly in the eye and commanded him to stand up on his own two feet. This many, in a moment of time, leaped to his feet. He was healed. All who knew him were instantly amazed. Paul remembered that this man’s healing led everyone immediately to believe that Paul and Barnabas were divine beings—incarnate being representing Hermes and Zeus. Paul had immediately stopped that. A good ministry then followed.


But after some time the Jewis from Antioch and Iconium who had opposed Paul’s ministry earlier came to Lystra to stir up folks agains Paul and Silas. And they did. Paul and Silas left for Derbe to escape the persecution.


However, Paul thought back to the fruit in that town. During their stay Paul was impressed with a number of Jewish people who both demonstrated faith in the living God but also knew their Old Testament Scriptures. He wondered why it was so often the case that women were the more spiritual. And women responded to the Gospel as well, frequently sooner than Jewish men. Eunice and Lois were just such women. These Lystran women knew the Scritpures very well. When Paul began to teach Christ from the Old Testament Scriptures, their background allowed them to enter in quickly to Paul’s explanation. They had opted to become followers of the Way. Paul was looking forward to seeing Eunice and Lois and others who had responded to the Gospel.


Much had happened since their last visit. There was the great Jerusalem council dealing with the essence of the Gospel. There was the controversy with Barnabas which centered on the young disciple, John Mark. That had led to the split. Time had gone by. Paul was anxious to see the growth in the believers at Lystra. He was particularly interested in Lois’ son, Timothy. For he had heard good things about him


The Return Visit To Lystra

Paul knew that to get the Gospel out he would need help. He constantly had his eyes opened for potential leaders. At Iconium the assembly there had spoken about Timothy—the son of Lois. High on their list were two things: his character, he was a person of integrity and sincerety—and his love for the Scriptures. His own mom and grandmom, so alive to the Word, had been teaching Timothy since he was a small lad. Paul would assess Timothy himself. But if all went well Paul was going to ask Timothy to come along with he and Silas.


And so it happened. Paul met Timothy. He invited him to come along. Because he was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother Paul had him circumcised. For there was much Jewish opposition in the area. And so a relationship began—Paul and Timothy.


The Training

Follow along with me. Timothy experienced first hand:

  • The Macedonian happenings,
  • The evangelization efforts at Thessalonica,
  • The particularly word oriented efforts at Berea,
  • The tumultous exits from both those places caused by the opposition and persecution.
  • The ministry with Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth, including the Bible school ministry and all of the tremendous teaching that Paul gave,


and I could go on and on. There is nothing like on-the-job training with a person with a mentoring heart.


Paul captures it well, their relationship,


2 Timothy 3:10-17

10 But you fully know my teaching, my lifestyle, my purpose in life, my faith, my steadfastness, my

love, my endurance.1 11 I was persecuted at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; I endured those persecutions.

Yet the Lord delivered me out of them. 12 And indeed all who will live godly lives—in union with Christ

Jesus— will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will go from bad to worse. They will

deceive others, and they will be deceived themselves.2 14 But, as for you, stay with that which you have

experientially learned. You are confident of it because you know who you have learned it from.315 From

early childhood4 you have known the holy scriptures.5 They have given you the wisdom to accept salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 Every scripture inspired by God is profitable6 for teaching, for reprimand, for correction, for leading one to righteous living.7 17 That a person of God may be equipped, completely ready to do well.

1 This, vs 3:10-17, is one of the great passages on a mentoring relationship. Here you have the mentor, Paul, describing a very personal, open, transparent, vulnerability in his mentoring with Timothy. The mentoring types of teacher, counselor, and contemporary model are reflected in this intense passage, appealing to Timothy.

2 Any leader can be blindsided by self-deception. One of Paul’s antidotes is to recognize good models who have experientially confirmed truth for you (verse 14). When you differ from them you are in danger of self-deception

3 Trustworthy models are needed early on in the life of a developing leader. This is particularly true when transitioning into ministry and/or when facing a new situation. But it is also true that leaders will need various kinds of mentoring all of their lives. comparative case studies have shown that effective leaders will have from 10-25 important mentoring experiences throughout their lifetime.

4 The foundational heritage pattern is referred to here, highlighting one of its advantages (vs 15). Also one who is familiar with the Scriptures, even just the facts of them, has a jump start on learning the Scriptures for use in ministry once the call of God on a life is received.

5 Paul is here referring to the O.T. Scriptures which can be expanded today to include the N.T. Scriptures as well.