Playing a Supportive Role

Key Verse: “Timothy’s worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.”
—Philippians 2:22, Revised Standard Version

Selected Scriptures:
Acts 16:1-5;
Philippians 2:19-24;
I Timothy 1:1-3;
II Timothy 1:1-5

AFTER PAUL AND BARNABAS separated because of their differences concerning John Mark, Paul and Silas went to Syria and Cilicia (Paul’s home territory) confirming the churches there. They continued this second missionary journey by stopping at Derbe and Lystra. These were the churches of Paul’s farthest penetration on his first journey in the province of Galatia. Paul had been stoned and left for dead in Lystra, after which he went to Derbe to recover from his wounds. Although the Scriptures do not tell us in whose home in Derbe he recuperated, it may have been the home of Timothy’s family. Timothy was a young teenager then, but as Paul later wrote to him, he said, “Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch [of Pisidia], at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”—II Tim. 3:10,11

On this second journey, when Paul and Silas came to Derbe, they found that Timothy had matured. As a young man he was now a consecrated disciple of the new Christian faith and very active with a good report from the brethren at Lystra and Iconium and no doubt in his home ecclesia, in Derbe. He was the son of Eunice, a Jewish believer, and grandson of Lois, another Jewish believer. (II Tim. 1:5) Paul saw in Timothy the ideal young man he needed as his assistant. Since Paul always started his preaching by going to the synagogues of the Jews, he had Timothy circumcised because, his father being a Greek, he had not been circumcised. Timothy became a most valuable assistant, acceptable to Jews and Gentiles. He was entrusted with tasks such as delivering Paul’s special messages to churches that he couldn’t visit directly.

The burden of doing God’s work does not rest upon the shoulders of a single individual. The Apostle Paul was blessed with special knowledge and revelations given him to assist the early church and us in a clearer understanding of God’s plan. (Gal. 1:15-17; II Cor. 12:1-7) It never made him proud, because he first ran in the wrong direction and recognized that he was “less than the least of all saints” (Eph. 3:8) because he “persecuted the church of God.” (I Cor. 15:9) The great work that the humble Apostle Paul accomplished was shared by his faithful colaborers and helpers. He freely acknowledges these, such as Aquila and Priscilla (Rom. 16:3,4), and the many others in Romans 16:1-16. The preaching work he did was shared by Silas and Timothy as his helpers.—II Cor. 1:19

Throughout Paul’s epistles we find reference to Timothy sharing the greetings and the work done by Paul in the early church. Paul wrote to the Philippians that he was going to send Timothy. He was in prison in Rome and wrote, “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.”—Phil. 2:20, New International Version

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |