Paul and Timothy had a special bond that Paul considered a father and son relationship. It can be asserted quite convincingly that Paul discipled Timothy, and they had that relationship to very end of Paul’s life. We will see that Paul trained Timothy and gave him ample opportunities to minister the gospel of Christ and that the young Timothy became a pastor by the time of Paul’s impending death. A reading of Paul’s last letter, 2 Timothy, reveals the very personal nature of their relationship. If we all could find a Paul in our life who can pour into us the principles of the Christian life, modeled before us, we will do very well as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe. So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily. (Acts 16:1-5, NASB)
We are introduced in Scripture to Timothy as a disciple who was half Jewish and half Greek. The passage tells us that Timothy was well spoken of by the brethren. Timothy, as a disciple of Christ, possessed good Christian character because he was well spoken of – they could say nothing was flawed in his character. Paul wanted this man to go with him. Timothy, as a disciple, was useful for the ministry and Paul wanted to bring Timothy along with him to disciple him in the ministry. Timothy was called out by Paul to come along side of him and learn the ropes of ministering – this is purposeful discipleship. We should stick with this model presented to us in Scripture and have somebody more mature discipling us in ministry, and we should at some point be discipling someone less mature in ministry. Timothy’s ministry was fruitful for we are told that the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
Timothy, my fellow worker, wishes to be remembered to you, as do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my tribal kinsman. (Romans 16:21, Amplified)
We read in Romans that Timothy was still ministering alongside Paul when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Their relationship was lifelong and fruitful, which we would be blessed if we develop these relationships in our lives.
Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:16-17, NASB)
The call to imitate is a call to discipleship. The Corinthians were called to imitate Paul, and Timothy was sent to help them because Timothy was discipled by Paul. Discipleship is both received and given as we see in this passage. Paul discipled Timothy, and because of that Timothy can help Paul disciple the Corinthian church.
And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren. (1 Corinthians 16:10-11, NKJV)
Timothy became very useful in the ministry and Paul considered Timothy’s ministry to be on par with his own. Timothy became like Paul because that is what discipleship accomplishes; it replicates the discipler in the disciple. Paul desired Timothy to work alongside him and was waiting for him to join the ministry team – again we see the fruit of discipleship.
And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in spreading the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, to strengthen and establish and to exhort and comfort and encourage you in your faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:2, Amplified)
We see that Timothy the disciple was an important member of Paul’s ministry team. Paul’s discipling of Timothy paid dividends for the kingdom. Timothy the disciple was involved in the ministry of discipleship.
To Timothy, my true son in the faith. (1 Timothy 1:2, Amplified)
To Timothy, [my] beloved child. (2 Timothy 1:2, Amplified)
We see Paul’s true feelings for the young disciple when we read the Epistles addressed to him as his own son and child born to him through their relationship built upon the ministry of the Holy Spirit towards discipleship. The Epistles themselves, along with the Epistle of Titus, are a manual on discipleship.
Find a Paul to have in your life to disciple you in ministry. This person can be the same or different person that you have as your mentor in Christian living.