A Character Analysis of Timothy
Timothy was a believer from Lystra. His mother was a Jewess and a believer and his father was a Greek. When Paul, the Apostle, met Timothy he wanted to take him along on his journey because "the brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him" (Acts 16:2). So Paul had Timothy circumcised, because all the Jews in the area knew that Timothy's father was a Greek, and took him on his journey along with Silas. When they were in Berea, the Jews were stirring up the crowds against Paul. As a result, Paul left for Athens (at the instruction of the brothers) and Timothy and Silas stayed to serve God. Timothy and Silas were to join Paul as soon as possible. Shortly after meeting up again, Paul sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer. Timothy was a fellow worker with Paul (Romans 16:21).
Timothy also had Paul's confidence. To the church of Corinth that was in a state of disarray Paul said, "Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church" (1 Corinthians 4:17-18). Paul had confidence that Timothy was carrying on the work of the Lord just like he was, and he mentioned this to the Corinthians. Paul also instructed them not to refuse Timothy but accept him, and then they should send him on his way in peace because Paul was expecting him (1 Corinthians 16:10-11). Paul's confidence was not placed in Timothy for no reason. Timothy proved himself by serving with Paul in the work of the gospel just like a son would work with his father. Timothy had a genuine concern for the welfare of others (Philippians 2:19-23).
And indeed, Timothy and Paul had a father/son relationship. This is clear when they wrote to the Colossians with one mind and spirit with concerns for all the saints. And in the books of First and Second Timothy Paul encourages Timothy, in a manner like a father instructs his son, to remain faithful to the Lord. Timothy also worked as an extended arm of Paul. What I mean is this: if for some reason the Apostle Paul was unable to go encourage and strengthen someone in the faith, Timothy could go and do what needed to be done as God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ (1 Thessalonians 3:1-3). Paul had no question that Timothy's reports were accurate and true.
Timothy was teachable and also taught others. In Ephesus, at the urging of Paul, he commanded certain men not to teach false doctrines or devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. The book of First Timothy records the instruction Timothy receives from Paul to teach to the Ephesians, to himself, and to others (1 Timothy 3:4-5). He gets instruction in regards to women's roles and attire. responsibilities and qualifications for overseers and deacons, master/slave relationships, dealings with false teachers, widows who are truly in need, and commands for the rich. However, Paul does not leave Timothy without practical application. Timothy is encouraged first of all to pray, make requests, intercede, and give thanks for everyone--"for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:2-4). Timothy is Paul's true son in the faith; yet he is still told to train himself to be godly. He is to command and teach all that Paul wrote to him. Timothy was also encouraged to pursue his gift which was given to him through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on him. This gift may have been preaching and teaching but I am not sure. I am confident that Timothy was teachable and took heed to Paul's instruction and was, therefore, able to be trusted to teach others.
Timothy was also instructed about things specific to him as a young man. He was not to let anyone look down on him because he was young, but he was to set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. Also, Timothy is reminded, "Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Timothy 4:15-16). He was told how to work with others. He was not to rebuke an older man harshly but exhort him as a father. Younger men should be treated like brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters with absolute purity. Timothy is also warned to not listen to an accusation against an elder unless there are two or three witnesses. If someone sins, he is to rebuke him publicly so that others may take heed. Because of Timothy's frequent illnesses and stomach problems, Paul told him to drink a little wine and not just water. He must keep himself pure though. There two other things Paul saw fit to encourage Timothy in as a young man. He is to flee the love and pursuit of money and the unhealthy interest in false knowledge, controversies, and quarrels about words. Instead he is to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. He must also fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of the eternal life to which he was called when he made his good confession in the presence of many witnesses, and keep these commands completely until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
One thing that Timothy was repeatedly told to be cautious of was the issue of meaningless quarrels, false knowledge, and endless genealogies. Why was this so emphasized? I believe it was emphasized because so many professing brothers were involved in meaningless debates and disputes. And the same is true today, if not more so. The debates did not further the work of holiness in a person's life but just led to conflict, division, and strife. These things sprung from the pride and arrogance in their hearts which made them think that they knew more than everyone else did. The devil would love to get every believer in Christ to veer off into meaningless study and knowledge in order to take them away from the sincerity of serving the Lord and wrap them up with the chains of meaningless issues. This is why we must be sure we are not wrangling over words but are speaking things that encourage, strengthen, build-up, and prepare other believers for works of service to God. Therefore, Timothy was instructed in this manner, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:2-5).
From looking at Timothy, what other things does a young man do?
Through God's spirit, a young man does not have a spirit of timidity but of power, of love, and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). He guards the deposit God has given him--guarding it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in him (2 Timothy 1:14). He keeps the principles taught to him by godly men as patterns of sound teaching, and he teaches these to reliable men, qualified to teach others. The young man
also endures hardship willingly like a good soldier of Christ Jesus in order to please God who is his commanding officer. He does not get caught up in the affairs of the world either. But he flees from the evil desires of youth. He is not ashamed because he correctly handles the word of God; warning others not to quarrel about words, staying away from those who have a form of godliness but deny its power, and avoiding foolish arguments are some of his fruits. And he is not quarrelsome or resentful; rather he is able to teach, kind to everyone, and gently instructs those who oppose him so they might repent and be freed from the devil's trap (2 Timothy 2:22-26). The Scriptures bring life to the young man of God, who uses them for rebuking, correcting, teaching, and training in righteousness.