By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Early Church Workers

  • Timothy was a native of either Derbe or Lystra.
  • His mother’s name was Eunice. She was a Jewess.
  • His grandmother’s name was Lois.
  • His father was Greek, but apparently sympathetic to Judaism, since Timothy was well-versed in the Scriptures.
  • Timothy met Paul in Lystra, possibly in 51 or 52CE.
  • It is unknown how old Timothy was at that time, but most scholars think he was a young man.
  • Timothy already was a “disciple” when Paul met him.
  • In fact he was recommended to Paul by the Christians in Lystra and Iconium.
  • Paul had been through this area on his first missionary journey and obviously had founded a church there.
  • Some of Timothy’s good qualities include: his youth, his acquaintance with scripture, the “prophecies” that went before him, and his reputation.
  • Timothy became Paul’s traveling companion after the rift between Barnabas and Paul.
  • To satisfy any misconceptions that the Jews might have had, Paul had Timothy circumcised.
  • He was ordained by the laying on of hands.
  • Timothy joined Paul and Silas, traveling with them to the churches of Phrygia and Galatia.
  • Timothy was with Paul when they were prevented from continuing on to Bithynia, a province of Asia-Minor.
  • Instead, Paul and Timothy went along to Macedonia and preached the gospel at Philippi.
  • Though Paul and Silas were imprisoned at Philippi, nothing is said about Timothy. Nonetheless, he is with them at the beginning of the journey and is also mentioned in the town (Berea) that followed.
  • When Paul went to Athens, he told Timothy to visit the church at Thessalonica.
  • Timothy later rejoined Paul at Corinth (and from there Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians).
  • Since Paul remained in Corinth for 18 months, it is likely that Timothy stayed with him the whole time.
  • Timothy next showed up at Ephesus. (He might have gone with Paul and Aquila and Priscilla, but the text does not say that. He is mentioned when Paul returned to Ephesus following a journey to Caesarea and Antioch.)
  • From Ephesus, Timothy and Erastus went to Macedonia, and along the way he stopped at Corinth (See I Cor 4:17) and gave them some instructions. (Scholars think this happened before the incident in Ephesus involving Paul and Demetrius.)
  • History is incomplete after this point. Paul stayed in Ephesus approximately three years, but Timothy’s whereabouts are speculative.
  • According to Acts 20:5, Timothy was among those waiting for Paul at Troas on his way to Jerusalem. It is possible that Paul might have left Timothy behind in Ephesus.
  • Scholars do not think Timothy was with Paul while he was imprisoned in Caesarea, nor on the voyage to Rome.
  • Timothy is with Paul in Rome, at least according to those who believe Philippians was written from Rome.
  • Hebrews tells us that at one point Timothy had been imprisoned. (See Heb 13:23)
  • Paul told Timothy to drink wine to help his stomach and multiple ailments!
  • Most events of the latter part of Timothy’s life are rather unreliable.
  • Tradition has it that he was a “bishop” of Ephesus.
  • Supposedly, Timothy died and was buried in Ephesus.
  • Ultimately, his body was removed to Constantinople. · There is, however, no real historical basis for any of this.
  • Scholars do know that he was a close companion of Paul and is often talked about with great affection.
  • At various points Paul refers to him as “my own son” (1Cor 4:17) or a “beloved son” (2 Tim 1:2).
  • Clearly, Paul and Timothy had a very loyal and endearing relationship.

Bible Characters