Timothy stalwart for early church

Apostle Paul’s helper particularly influential in Ephesus

Having been a key assistant to the strong-willed and sometimes abrasive Apostle Paul, Timothy had a long career as an evangelist and helped carry Christianity from Judaism to the Gentile world.

The Revs. David Chisham and Mike Atkins say Timothy’s ability to work with Paul during Paul’s second and third missionary journeys prepared him to become a leader after the apostle was martyred between 64 and 67 A.D. in Rome.

“Timothy gets thrown into the deep end as a representative of the second generation of Christianity,” said the Rev. Chisham, pastor of the First Christian Church in Midland. “With a Jewish mother and a Greek or Roman father, he is a bridge to second generation Jewish and Gentile Christianity.”

Noting that Paul wrote the New Testament books of First and Second Timothy to his advise his assistant about Timothy’s ministry in Ephesus, Chisham said, “I wish we had more of a story about him.

“I assume he was a very good companion for Paul. He must have felt pulled between the two different directions as he worked farther and farther out from the base of Jerusalem, but he still managed to find a way through. Paul circumcised him and I wonder how he felt about being asked to go through that particular surgery.

“Judging from what Paul had to say about him in First and Second Timothy and what was written about him in the Book of Acts, I think he was a good leader who was very committed to spreading the Gospel,” Chisham said. “He had a long career and was one of Paul’s most important workers along with Titus, Luke, Silas and Barnabas.”

The Bible doesn’t say what happened to Timothy in later life, but some scholars believe he was serving as the 80-year-old bishop of Ephesus when he tried to stop a procession in which an idol was being worshipped and that he was stoned in 97 A.D. Ephesus was a major city in ancient Greece whose ruins are near the western Turkish town of Selcuk.

Paul’s second missionary journey with Timothy and other helpers was to Derbe, Lystra, Phrygia, Galatia, Troas, Macedonia, Phillipi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Cenchrea, Caesarea and Syrian Antioch. Their third was to Galatia, Phrygia, Ephesus, Macedonia, Troas, Miletus, Caesarea, Jerusalem, Miletus and Tyre.

The Rev. Atkins, pastor of Kingston Avenue Baptist Church, said Paul “trusted Timothy to locate Christian believers in the places where he went.

“Looking through the scriptures, we see that he was a humble man, soft-spoken but true to the Lord and true to the scriptures as well,” Atkins said. “We know Timothy had no role in writing Paul’s letters because church history tells us that Paul had a secretary with him who wrote everything down.

“Having a Greek father and a Jewish mother gave him avenues to speak to different people on their levels.”

Atkins said Timothy “went with Paul to a lot of the places he traveled and accomplished a lot for the kingdom.

“Paul left him with several groups at certain times, including three years when he was pastor of the church at Ephesus,” the minister said. “Paul encouraged him because he was afraid that Timothy would walk away. He was devoted to Jesus, but like all of us he needed encouragement.”