If I were Timothy #4: yes, I can carry on

Who Was Timothy?

Timothy is a Greek name which means ‘honouring God’ or ‘honoured by God’.

Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek.  Acts 16:1

After Paul had visited Lystra, Timothy became his companion and co-worker along with Silas. Timothy then travelled around with Paul, who became his mentor. Paul trusted him to carry out important work.

But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. Philippians 2:22


If I were Timothy, I would be blown away to receive this letter from Paul. After all, I’d been at his side as he’d written the letters to Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians. But these letters were addressed to groups of believers and not an individual like myself. I’d be even more amazed to discover that two letters addressed to me would end up in this collection of books people would come to know as the Bible!

Yes, Paul and I were close. He was like a father to me. But I didn’t do anything anyone else wouldn’t do. I served God in the best way I could. That’s it. It wasn’t easy at times, but I looked to Paul for guidance and support – and what a man Paul is!


Passage From The Letter

Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. 1 Timothy 1:18-20

If I were Timothy, this is how I would reply to this section of the the letter…

Paul, I can see what you’re doing here but yes, you’re right, it’s good to be reminded of how all this started out. You must have seen something in me, I guess, to allow me to travel with you and learn from you. You then entrusted me with the work that needed to be done. And it was God at work in all of that: God who called me and equipped me.

I’m so caught up in all that is going on around here, it’s easy to lose sight of all of that. Every moment of every day feels like a battle right now. All I can say is that I am holding on to the faith to which I have been called; I am doing my best; I will not give up.

It’s so heart-wrenching to see those who started out so well in the faith falling away. I don’t understand how you can have a glimpse of how your life can be miraculously transformed by the one true God and then turn away, back to the way things were, back to the way you were. And some of those are the ones who reject the teaching most aggressively now – like they feel they need to defend their choice to reject the good news by proving it to be untrue and crazy…

What you don’t say here, Paul, but I couldn’t go on without believing, is this: there is always a way back. I have such a strong affection for these people and need to live in the hope that they will come back to the truth. I will keep doing what I am doing so that I am here when they change their minds. For nothing is impossible with God: that’s what you keep telling me and that’s what gets me out of bed each morning.

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