Timotheus, Timothy [Tīmō'theŭs, Tĭm'o thy̆]—honored of god, worshiping god or valued of god. A young man of Lystra, son of Eunice, a Jewess, by a Greek father who was probably dead when Paul first visited the home (Acts 16:1).
As Paul contributes a full portrait of his spiritual son, many years his junior, let us string together the salient features of Timothy.
I. He was the child of godly heritage (2 Tim. 1:5). His mother was a Christian Jewess and the daughter of another devout Jewess, Lois. His Greek father’s name is unknown. It may be that Eunice became a Christian when Paul visited Lystra, a town not far from Paul’s birthplace, Tarsus.
II. He was a youthful reader of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:15). From a “babe” he had had knowledge of the Truth. How blessed children are if cradled in the things of God!
III. He was Paul’s child in the faith (1 Cor. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2). Probably Paul, a visitor of Timothy’s house, led the young lad to Christ during his ministry in Iconium and Lystra since he refers to his persecutions there, which Timothy himself knew about (2 Tim. 3:10, 11). One writer suggests that when Paul recovered from his stoning at Lystra it was in Timothy’s home he found shelter and succor.
IV. He was ordained as a minister of the Gospel (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6, 7). Conscious of Timothy’s unique gifts, especially of evangelism (Rom. 16:21; 2 Tim. 4:5), it was fitting that Paul should choose him as a companion and fellow-worker. Faithfully he served Paul “as a son with his father,” in the furtherance of the Gospel (Phil. 2:22). How indispensable he became to the apostle (Acts 17:14, 15; 18:5; 20:4)! Paul had no other companion so “like-minded” as Timothy, who enjoyed Paul’s constant instruction (2 Tim. 2:3; 3:14).
V. He was an ambassador charged with difficult tasks. The responsible and delicate mission of restoring a backsliding church required both gift and grace (1 Cor. 14:17), as did the comfort of believers in the midst of tribulation (1 Thess. 3:2).
VI. He was co-sufferer with Paul in the afflictions of the Gospel (2 Tim. 1:8). Tradition says that Timothy died as a martyr for his faithfulness as a bishop in the reign of Domitian or Nerva. While attempting to stop an indecent heathen procession during the Festival of Diana, this God-honoring minister sealed his testimony with his blood. The two epistles Paul addressed to Timothy are rich in their pastoral counsel.