Who Is Your Paul? Who Is Your Timothy?
Timothy was young at the time that he encountered the Apostle Paul (1 Tim. 4:12). Since they themselves had "genuine faith," Eunice, Timothy's mother, and Lois, his grandmother, imparted spiritual truth to Timothy from his childhood (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14, 15). He had a Greek father (Acts 16:1-3) who did not have a decidedly positive spiritual impact on him, if one could boldly ascertain that from both what is said in Scripture and what is not said, especially in contrast to his mom and grandmom.
By the beginning of the second missionary journey, Timothy accompanied Paul and ministered alongside the apostle (see: Acts 16; 2 Timothy 3:14, 15). Later, Timothy represented the apostle to Thessalonica (1 Th. 3:1-2) Corinth (1 Cor. 4:17) and even Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:2-4). As his mentor, Paul took special interest in young Timothy and even wrote two letters to him which we have today as part of the New Testament. The apostle undoubtedly invested a lot of time and energy training Timothy and he gave Timothy his trust to use that training for God’s glory and the good of the churches.
To Paul, Timothy was “a beloved son,” spiritually speaking (2 Tim. 1:2). Yet Timothy was challenged by the apostle to the kind of brave and bold stand for Christ that Paul modeled. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7). The Apostle Paul understood the need to defend the Gospel with the sharpened mind of learning. His was not an intellectually lazy faith but an intelligent one that he sought to pass on to young Timothy. Paul wasn’t ashamed of the Gospel and those who were mentored by him were inspired to the same bold-faced Christianity (2 Tim. 1:8).
I have heard someone say that everyone should have both a Paul in his (her) life and a Timothy. What is meant by that is each of us should be mentored by someone further along than we are and mentoring someone who could use our teaching, modeling and experience for their spiritual development.
Do you have a Paul and a Timothy in your life? If you don't, why not pray that God would give you insight as you journey through life as to who may be of spiritual impact on you and who could use your spiritual direction as well? This is not something to be forced but should flow naturally out of your relationships. If you don't have anyone in your circles who would fit these roles, perhaps it is time to expand beyond them. May God bless you as you seek to grow in Christ with another's help and to develop someone else's faith and maturity.