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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary


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Most of the Bible’s references to Timothy arise out of his close connection with Paul. The relationship between the two was such that Paul called Timothy his son, and spoke often of his love for Timothy and Timothy’s devotion to him (1 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 2:19-20; 1 Timothy 1:18).

Fitted for service

Timothy was born of a Greek father and a Jewish mother, and was brought up to know God. This was largely because his mother and grandmother taught him the Bible (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:14-15). He apparently first came in contact with Paul when Paul moved through the Galatian towns of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe on his first missionary journey (2 Timothy 3:10-11; cf. Acts 13:14-52; Acts 14; Acts 15:1-22). At that time Timothy was probably only a teenager.

By the time Paul passed through the Galatian towns again three years later, Timothy had so grown in his Christian life that Paul decided to take him as his assistant (Acts 16:1-3). In this he had the backing of Timothy’s home churches, whose leaders publicly acknowledged Timothy’s spiritual gifts (1 Timothy 4:14). At this time Paul had Timothy circumcised, in the hope that this would gain acceptance for Timothy in the Jewish communities they wanted to reach with the gospel (Acts 16:3).

Timothy was not of naturally bold or forceful character. For this reason Paul repeatedly urged him to be more confident. Often Paul gave him tasks that would develop courage and win him greater respect throughout the churches (1 Corinthians 16:10-11; 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 1:6-8; 2 Timothy 4:1-2).

Missionary travels

After travelling with Paul through Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea to Athens, Timothy was entrusted with his first individual mission. Paul sent him back to Thessalonica to help the young church. The report that Timothy brought to Paul provided the basis for Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (Acts 17:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 3:6). By this time Paul was in Corinth, and Timothy helped in the preaching there (2 Corinthians 1:19).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Timothy'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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