Timothy of Lystra

Timothy (Greek: Timotheos) was born in c. AD 20 (3780–3781 in the Hebrew calendar) in the Roman province of Cappadocia. He was a Christian gentile from the city of Lystra, in the region of Lycaonia. Timothy was the son of a Greek pagan man. However, his mother was a Jewish woman named Eunice who, with her mother Lois, was known for her sincere faith (cf. 2 Tim. 1:5). The Greek name Timotheos (G5095) literally means "honor of God" (timēG5092; Theos, G2316). Timothy knew the Old Testament scriptures very well from an early age, leading him to have salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (cf. 2 Tim. 3:15).

Timothy was close friends with Paul of Tarsus. He appears as Paul's co-author in the following letters: Second Corinthians (cf. 1:1), Philippians (cf. 1:1), Colossians (cf. 1:1), Second Thessalonians (cf. 1:1), and Philemon (cf. 1:1). In his letter to the Philippi church, Paul commended Timothy, "I have no one like him . . . But Timothy's worth you know, how like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel" (Phil. 2:20-22).

In the Honor of God

In AD 52, the Christian faith arrived in Timothy's native Lystra when Paul healed a crippled man, leading many to believe his teaching (cf. Acts 14:8-19). When Paul returned to the city a few years later with Silas, Timothy was already a respected member of the Lystra and Iconium churches. Because his father was a gentile, Timothy had not been circumcised on the eighth day according to the Law of Moses (cf. Lev. 12:2-4). So, Paul had Timothy circumcised to ensure the Jews whom they would be evangelizing would accept him as one of their own (cf. Acts 16:1-3). However, Paul's decision about Timothy did not negate the Council of Jerusalem c. AD 50, when Jesus' brother James ruled that Christian gentiles did not have to be circumcised (cf. Acts 15:1-35). Timothy joined Paul and Silas on their journey to Macedonia in AD 52. He first learned as a disciple, but then graduated quickly to be Paul's co-worker in the gospel. Paul described Timothy as having a timid nature (cf. 1 Cor. 16:10). He was often sick, so Paul encouraged him to drink some wine for his stomach (cf. 1 Tim. 5:23).

Paul wrote his letter to the Romans from Corinth during the winter of AD 57; Timothy was there, too (cf. Rom. 16:21). He then joined Paul in Macedonia around Passover AD 58 before sailing to Troas (cf. Acts 20:3-6). In AD 64, Paul laid hands on Timothy, appointing him to lead the church of Ephesus as its overseer (episkopos; G1985, "bishop;" cf. 1 Tim 1:34:14). That same year, Paul was in prison at Caesarea Maritima, awaiting his trial before the emperor Nero (AD 37–68) in Rome. He called for his faithful co-worker Timothy one last time. Paul's first letter to Timothy was about the roles and responsibilities of church leadership. However, the second letter was Paul's last will and testament:


As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. . . . I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments (2 Tim. 4:6-8; 12-13). 


Incidentally, Timothy himself was jailed at least once, according to the writer of Hebrews (cf. 13:23).


Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the universe, you called your servant Timothy to preach the gospel to the people of Macedonia, Greece, and Asia. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


The Book of Common Prayer. Huntington Beach, CA: Anglican Liturgy Press, 2019. p. 638.  http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BCP2019.pdf.

Britannica, eds. "Nero." Encyclopædia Britannica. London: Britannica, 2021.  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nero-Roman-emperor.

Graves, Dan. "Who Was Timothy in the Bible? How Did He Help Paul?" Christianity.com. Richmond: Salem Web Network, 2012. https://www.christianity.com/bible/people-of-the-bible/st-timothy-pauls-associate-11629587.html.


Houdmann, S. Michael. "Who Was Timothy in the Bible?" Colorado Springs: Got Questions, 2022. https://www.gotquestions.org/life-Timothy.html.

Rutherfurd, John. "Timothy." Eds. James Orr, John Nuelsen, Edgar Mullins, Morris Evans, and Melvin Grove Kyle. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939.  https://www.internationalstandardbible.com/T/timothy.html.

Strong, James. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Updated and Expanded Edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007.