Introducing the Character of Timothy.

Our theme for the year is Living Worship-Filled Lives. Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us to present our whole selves to God as a logical act of worship. This includes times of corporate worship and personal worship in prayer and reading God’s Word. But we also worship as we go about our lives, showing the fruit of what we’ve learned. The integrity of our lives should mirror how we worship on the Lord’s Day.

As we prepare to study the Pastoral Epistles, we’ll begin by learning about Timothy, to whom Paul wrote two letters. Understanding Timothy’s character helps us understand the content of the letters written to him.

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Lystra

We first learn of Timothy’s background in Paul’s first missionary journey. In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas come to Lystra, their second-to-last stop on this journey. When a lame man is enabled to walk by a miracle of faith, the crowds try to worship Paul and Barnabas.

But their enthusiastic reception quickly turns hostile. Paul’s enemies, who believed that salvation came through works, win the crowds over. They stone Paul, but he miraculously survives.

Between journeys, Paul participated in the Jerusalem Council. The church leaders made an important clarification at this meeting – that we are saved by Jesus alone (Acts 15).

Transformed Character

Paul would later choose Timothy to accompany him on another missionary trip. This shows evidence of a transformed character. His mother and grandmother were among the disciples that Paul spoke to in Acts 14:22. Timothy learned his faith from them.

Embracing Christian Affliction

In Acts 14 and 16, we can see seven virtues in Timothy’s character. The first is one his mother and grandmother learned from Paul and passed down to him. In Acts 14:22, Paul shared the pledge of allegiance of the Christian life: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” This was Paul’s last statement to the church on that visit.

Timothy was willing to embrace a Christianity where affliction and difficulty were the norm. This is very contrary to what many churches preach today! Since the 1970s, the Christian sub-culture has been dominated by church growth models and human methods. Yet the Bible is sufficient to tell us how the church should function and how God grows His church. Persevering through trials is the reality of the Christian life.

Growth and joy and stability and affliction all co-exist in the Christian’s life. Only God’s grace can help us enjoy this mix. Christians must be attached to the right people to help each other persevere and grow.

If this is the Christian reality, then what’s the incentive to trust Christ? Affliction in this life is still not comparable to the agony of living without Jesus, bound by sin, and facing a Christ-less eternity.

Application Points

  • How is your daily worship? We have no true Gospel unless it changes the way we think and live. Do others see a unique difference in your life? Do you go about your day with a joyful holiness?
  • Do you embrace affliction and hardship as part of the Christian life? If you find this difficult, avail yourself of God’s grace to help you face this reality. Find others who can help strengthen and encourage you.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • 2 Timothy 3:13-15 – Where Timothy learned his faith.
A Hymn to Encourage: “Come Thou Fount”

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.