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STUDIES IN ACTS      Studies in Acts

18. TIMOTHY - a son in the faith

"A disciple named Timothy… whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek" (Acts 18:1).

Timothy came from a godly family, and may have been one of Paul's converts. Two Pastoral Epistles are addressed to him.

Consider the person
The first reference to Timothy introduces his background and character (Acts 16:13). He had a Gentile father and a Jewish-Christian mother and grandmother (2 Tim.1:5). Timothy was grounded in the Scriptures from childhood (2 Tim.3:14-17). His ministerial training began on his mother's knee! This is the potentiality of godly mothers. Godly parents encourage godly people. We assume Timothy was converted under Paul's ministry by the way he is affectionately referred to a "my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord" (1 Cor.4:17). The close relationship of this 'father and son' team is indicated by the way Paul refers to him in his letters (see 2 Cor.1:1; Phil.1:1; Col.1:1; 1 Thess.1:1; 2 Thess.1:1; Phlm.1).

Study the Scriptures
Consider Timothy in Acts 16 – 20. Notice his reliability. He was left with Silas in Macedonia when Paul had to flee from Judaisers. He ministered in Berea (Acts 17:14), and was sent to encourage the Thessalonian church, which had been born in persecution (1 Thess.3:1-9). He ministered at Corinth (Acts 19:22; 1 Cor.16:10,11) and Philippi, where his faithful service and pastoral heart is commended (Phil.2:19-23). Timothy supported Paul in prison (Col.1:1; Phil.1:1; Phlm.1).

Ask questions

1. Paul's relationship with Timothy reminds us that new converts need support, encouragement and challenge. What are your views on one-to-one mentoring? How can models of caring be worked out in a local church?

2. Timothy was one of a group of young men Paul took under his wing and trained for ministry – on the job! Does our fellowship adopt a model of training in mission?

3. How can the older and mature members of your church be involved in a discipleship programme? See Mt.28:19.

4. The Paul-Timothy relationship is a challenge to our personal evangelism. How many Christians can we call our 'sons' and 'daughters'?

Apply some thoughts

1. Bible Colleges have a vital part to play in the training of Christian ministers and workers. Wisely many colleges see the importance of linking their training with local churches.

2. How can your church be involved in Christian training?

3. Pray for the call of God in your church (Mt.9:38).

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Copyright 2008 Vernon Ralphs

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