Acts 16:1
Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:
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(1) A certain disciple was there, named Timotheus.—We read with a special interest the first mention of the name of one who was afterwards so dear to the Apostle, his “true son in the faith” (1Timothy 1:2). On his probable conversion on St. Paul’s first mission in Lystra, see Notes on Acts 14:6; Acts 14:19. We have to think of him as still young; probably, as his youth is spoken of some twelve years later in 1Timothy 4:12, not more than eighteen or twenty; but in the six years that had passed since St. Paul’s departure he had been conspicuous for his devotion and “unfeigned faith.” He had been trained to know the sacred Books of Israel from his childhood (2Timothy 3:15); and the fact that he had obtained a good report from the brethren at Iconium as well as Lystra shows that he had been already employed in carrying on intercourse between the two churches. The way in which St. Paul writes to him, and of him, implies a constitution naturally not strong, and, in after life, weakened by a rigorous asceticism (1Timothy 5:23), emotional even to tears (2Timothy 1:4), naturally shrinking from hardships and responsibilities, yet facing them in the strength of Christ (1Corinthians 16:10). The name Timotheus was not uncommon. It is found in 2 Maccabees 12:21-24, as belonging to a general defeated by Judas Maccabeus, and appears in early Christian inscriptions in the Vatican Museum. Its meaning (“one who honours God”) made it a suitable name for the child of a proselyte.

The son of a certain woman.—Literally, of a certain woman, a faithful (or believing) Jewess. The adjective is the same as that used by Lydia of herself in Acts 16:15. 2Timothy 1:4, tells us that her name was Eunike, and her mother’s Lois. They were both devout, and had trained the child in the Law (2Timothy 3:15); and this makes it probable that the father was a proselyte of the gate. He naturally thought it sufficient that his child should grow up under the same religious conditions as himself, and they had either thought so, or had yielded to his will.

His father was a Greek.—Literally, of a Greek father. The adjective is used, as in the New Testament generally, to express the fact that he was a heathen. (See Notes on Acts 11:20; Mark 7:26.) It seems, on the whole, probable that he was still living.

Acts 16:1-3. Then — When he had passed through the regions of Syria and Cilicia; came he to Derbe and Lystra — At which places he had preached the gospel in his former progress. And a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus — As Paul (2 Timothy 3:10-11) speaks of Timothy as having been a witness of his sufferings at Lystra, and we read nothing of any remarkable sufferings which he endured in this his second progress through these parts, it is probable that Timothy was converted by him in his former journey, and was a spectator of what he then suffered at Lystra,

(see chap. Acts 14:19-20,) and that Paul then began to have some acquaintance with him. The son of a certain believing Jewess, but his father was a Greek — These circumstances are mentioned as worthy of note, because he afterward became a very considerable person in the church, as well as a faithful and useful friend to the apostle. Who was well reported of, &c. — Was spoken of; by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium — As an eminently serious and devout young man, who had been remarkable for his early piety, having been trained up by his good mother and his grandmother in an acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures from his childhood, 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15. Him would Paul have to go forth with him — As an assistant in his work, being directed herein by the Holy Ghost, 1 Timothy 1:18; and, to qualify him for the office, he conferred on him the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and had him solemnly set apart for the ministry by the presbytery, or eldership, of Lystra, 1 Timothy 4:14. For, in his former journey, he and Barnabas had ordained elders in every city. Withal, designing to employ Timothy in preaching to the Jews, he circumcised him; because he knew the Jews would not have respected him as a teacher, if they had taken him for an uncircumcised Gentile. This is that Timothy, whose teachableness and tears made such an impression on the apostle’s mind, that he never forgot them, 2 Timothy 1:4; who attended Paul in many of his journeys; and who, in respect of his love to Christ, and zeal for the advancement of the gospel, was like-minded with Paul, Php 2:20; so that he was his genuine son; and, as a son serveth with his father, so he served with the apostle in the gospel. On all which accounts, he was of such consideration among the disciples, and also so exceedingly esteemed by Paul for his knowledge and piety, that he allowed him to join him in some of those epistles which he wrote to the churches: while, at the same time, the apostle so greatly honoured him, as to write to him two most excellent letters, found in the canon of Scripture, which bear his name.16:1-5 Well may the church look for much service from youthful ministers who set out in the same spirit as Timothy. But when men will submit in nothing, and oblige in nothing, the first elements of the Christian temper seem to be wanting; and there is great reason to believe that the doctrines and precepts of the gospel will not be successfully taught. The design of the decree being to set aside the ceremonial law, and its carnal ordinances, believers were confirmed in the Christian faith, because it set up a spiritual way of serving God, as suited to the nature both of God and man. Thus the church increased in numbers daily.Then came he - That is, Paul in company with Silas. Luke does not give us the history of Barnabas, but confines his narrative to the journey of Paul.

To Derbe and Lystra - See the notes on Acts 14:6.

And behold, a certain disciple named Timotheus - It was to this disciple that Paul afterward addressed the two epistles which bear his name. It is evident that he was a native of one of these places, but whether of Derbe or Lystra it is impossible to determine.

The son of a certain woman ... - Her name was Eunice, 2 Timothy 1:5.

And believed - And was a Christian. It is stated also that her mother was a woman of distinguished Christian piety, 2 Timothy 1:5. It was not lawful for a Jew to marry a woman of another nation, or to give his daughter in marriage to a Gentile, Ezra 9:12. But it is probable that this law was not regarded very strictly by the Jews who lived in the midst of pagan nations. It is evident that Timothy, at this time, was very young; for when Paul besought him to abide at Ephesus, to take charge of the church there 1 Timothy 1:3, he addressed him then as a young man, 1 Timothy 4:12, "Let no man despise thy youth."

But his father was a Greek - Evidently, a man who had not been circumcised, for had he been Timothy would have been also.



1-5. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra; and, behold, a certain disciple was there—that is, at Lystra (not Derbe, as some conclude from Ac 20:4).

named Timotheus—(See on [2032]Ac 14:20). As Paul styles him "his own son in the faith" (1Ti 1:2), he must have been gained to Christ at the apostle's first visit; and as Paul says he "had fully known his persecutions which came on him at Lystra" (2Ti 3:10, 11), he may have been in that group of disciples that surrounded the apparently lifeless body of the apostle outside the walls of Lystra, and that at a time of life when the mind receives its deepest impressions from the spectacle of innocent suffering and undaunted courage [Howson]. His would be one of "the souls of the disciples confirmed" at the apostle's second visit, "exhorted to continue in the faith, and" warned "that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Ac 14:21, 22).

the son of a certain … Jewess—"The unfeigned faith which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois" descended to "his mother Eunice," and thence it passed to this youth (2Ti 1:5), who "from a child knew the Holy Scriptures" (2Ti 3:15). His gifts and destination to the ministry of Christ had already been attested (1Ti 1:18; 4:14); and though some ten years after this Paul speaks of him as still young (1Ti 4:12), "he was already well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium" (Ac 16:2), and consequently must have been well known through all that quarter.

but his father was a Greek—Such mixed marriages, though little practiced, and disliked by the stricter Jews in Palestine, must have been very frequent among the Jews of the dispersion, especially in remote districts, where but few of the scattered people were settled [Howson].Acts 16:1-8 Paul having circumcised Timothy, and taken him for

his companion, passeth through divers countries,

Acts 16:9-13 and is directed by a vision to go into Macedonia.

Acts 16:14,15 He converteth Lydia,

Acts 16:16-18 and casteth out a spirit of divination.

Acts 16:19-24 He and Silas are whipped and imprisoned.

Acts 16:25-34 The prison doors are thrown open by an earthquake at

midnight: the jailer, prevented by Paul from killing

himself, is converted.

Acts 16:35-40 They are released by the magistrates.

Derbe and Lystra; of these cities see Acts 14:6.

Timotheus; who was known unto Paul from his childhood, 2 Timothy 1:5, and accompanied him in many journeys, 2 Timothy 3:10,11, and is called by him, his work-fellow, Romans 16:21.

A certain woman, called Eunice; being one of them that had believed in Christ in Judea, and had a holy woman to her mother, named Lois.

His father was a Greek: although it was not lawful for a Jew to marry a woman of another nation, yet some think that a Jewess might marry to a stranger, as Esther married to Ahasuerus.

A Greek; of Gentile extraction, and therefore not circumcised; yet he is accounted to have been a proselyte.

Then came he to Derbe and Lystra,.... Which were cities of Lycaonia, Acts 14:6 after Paul had gone through Syria and Cilicia; in the last of these places, he had been stoned, and yet goes thither again; none of these things moved him from the preaching of the Gospel, and from the care of the churches, such zeal, courage, and intrepidity was he possessed of:

and behold a certain disciple was there: a converted person, a believer in Christ, one that had learned to know and deny himself, and understood the way of salvation by Christ, and was a follower of him; whether the apostle was an instrument of his conversion, when he was before in these parts, is not certain, though probable, since he often calls him his son; nor is it so evident whether he was at Derbe or at Lystra, though the latter seems most likely, since a report was given of him by the brethren there, and at Iconium, when no mention is made of Derbe, in the following verse:

named Timotheus; or Timothy, the same person to whom afterwards the apostle wrote two epistles: it is a name much used among the Greeks, and his father was a Greek; one of this name, who was an historian among the Greeks, is frequently mentioned by Laertius (r); and there was another of this name, the son of Conon, an Athenian general (s); and another that was a captain or general of Antiochus,

"Afterward he passed over to the children of Ammon, where he found a mighty power, and much people, with Timotheus their captain.'' (1 Maccabees 5:6)

"Now Timotheus, whom the Jews had overcome before, when he had gathered a great multitude of foreign forces, and horses out of Asia not a few, came as though he would take Jewry by force of arms.'' (2 Maccabees 10:24)

the name signifies one that honoured God, or was honoured by God; both were true in this disciple of Christ:

the son of a certain woman which was a Jewess, and believed; his mother was a Jewish woman, but a believer in Christ, her name was Eunice, 2 Timothy 1:5

but his father was a Greek; a Gentile, an uncircumcised one, and so he seems to have remained, by his sons not being circumcised.

(r) De Vit. Philosoph. l. 3. in Vit. Platon. & l. 4. Vit. Speusippi, & l. 5. Vit. Aristotel. (s) Aelian. Hist. Var. l. 2. c. 10, 18. & l. 3. c. 16, 47.

Then {1} came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a {a} Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

(1) Paul himself does not receive Timothy into the ministry without sufficient testimony, and permission of the brethren.

(a) Paul, in his second epistle to Timothy, commends the godliness of Timothy's mother and grandmother.

Acts 16:1-2. Δέρβ. κ. Λύστρ.] See on Acts 14:6.

ἐκεῖ] does not refer to both cities, as Otto, Pastoralbr. p. 58, strangely assumes, but to the last named, Lystra. Here Timothy, whose conversion by Paul is to be referred to Acts 14:6 f., was at that time residing (ἦν ἐκεῖ); probably it was also his native place,[46] as may be inferred from Acts 16:2 (ἐμαρτυρεῖτο ὑπὸ τῶν ἐν Λύστροις) compared with Acts 16:3 (ᾜΔΕΙΣΑΝ ΓᾺΡ ἍΠΑΝΤΕς Κ.Τ.Λ.). Usually (even by Olshausen and Neander, but not by de Wette and Baumgarten) Timothy is supposed to be a native of Derbe (on account of Acts 20:4; but see remarks on that passage); ἐκεῖ is referred to ΔΈΡΒΗΝ (very arbitrarily), and Acts 16:2 is explained to mean that, besides the (presupposed) good report of his native city, Timothy had also the good report of the neighbouring cities of Lystra and Iconium; a very forced explanation, which Theophilus and the other first readers certainly did not hit upon!

ΓΥΝΑΙΚ. ἸΟΥΔ. ΠΙΣΤ.] The name of this Jewish-Christian was Eunice. See 2 Timothy 1:5. Ἰουδαίας is the adjective (John 3:22), as also ἝΛΛΗΝΟς and ΜΑΚΕΔΏΝ, Acts 16:9. Whether the father was a pure Gentile or a proselyte of the gate, the language employed (see on Acts 11:20) and the lack of other information leave entirely undecided.

ἘΜΑΡΤΥΡ.] as in Acts 6:3.

ἸΚΟΝΊῼ] see on Acts 13:51. What were the peculiar circumstances, which had made Timothy honourably known in Iconium as well as in the place of his birth, we do not know.

[46] With this Köhler also agrees in Herzog’s Encyk. XVI. p. 168; Huther and Wiesinger leave it undecided; but Wieseler, p. 25 f., endeavours to uphold the usual view. But see on Acts 20:4.Acts 16:1. κατήντησε: only in Luke and Paul, nine times in Acts, four times in Paul, Acts 18:19; Acts 18:24, Acts 20:15, Acts 21:7, Acts 25:13, Acts 26:7, Acts 27:12, Acts 28:13, 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Corinthians 14:36, Ephesians 4:13, Php 3:11. But whilst in St. Paul it is used in a figurative sense, it is used eight times by St. Luke of arriving at a place and making some stay there, cf. 2Ma 4:21; 2Ma 4:44. The fact that the verb is thus used frequently in the second part of Acts and not in 1–12 is surely easily accounted for by the subjects of the narrative (Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ, p. 147).—εἰς Δέρβην καὶ Λ.: if we read εἰς before Λ., also (see critical note): “he came also to Derbe and to Lystra”. The purpose was implied in Acts 15:36, but here places mentioned in the inverse order of Acts 14:6 since coming from Cilicia through the “Cilician Gates” St. Paul would visit Derbe first, see Hastings’ B.D., “Derbe” (Ramsay). The two places are grouped together as a region according to the Roman classification (Ramsay, St. Paul, pp. 110, 179). The second εἰς before Λ. marks that while Derbe is mentioned as a place visited, Lystra is the scene of the events in the sequel.—καὶ ἰδού: indicating the surprising fact that a successor to Mark was found at once (so Weiss); whilst Hort still more significantly marks the form of the phrase by pointing out that St. Luke reserves it for sudden and as it were providential interpretations, Ecclesia, p. 179, cf. Acts 1:10, Acts 8:17, Acts 10:17, Acts 11:7 : however disheartening had been the rupture with Barnabas, in Timothy Paul was to find another “son of consolation,” cf. Hort’s comment on 1 Timothy 1:18 in this connection, u. s., pp. 179–185. It must not however be forgotten that there are good reasons for seeing in Timothy not the successor of Barnabas (this was Silas), but of Mark. It could hardly be said of one in the position of Silas that he was like Mark a ὑπηρέτης, on a mere subordinate footing, whereas on the other hand the difference of age between Barnabas and Timothy, and their relative positions to St. Paul would have naturally placed Timothy in a subordinate position from the first.—ἐκεῖ, i.e., at Lystra, most probably. The view that reference is made not to Lystra but to Derbe arises from supposing that in Acts 20:4 the word Δερβαῖος refers to Timothy and not to Gaius, the truth being that Timothy is not described because already well known. Certainly the fact that his character was testified of by those of Lystra, as well as St. Paul’s reference to Lystra in 2 Timothy 3:11, seems to favour Lystra as being at all events the home of Timothy, if not his birthplace. There is no reason why the Gaius mentioned as of Macedonia, Acts 19:29, should be identified with the Gaius of Acts 20:4. Gaius was a very common name, and in the N.T. we have apparently references to four persons bearing the name. Blass however refers Δερβαῖος in Acts 20:4 to Timothy.—υἱὸς γυναικός τ. Ἰουδ. πιστῆς π. δὲ Ε.: such marriages although forbidden by the law, Ezra 10:2, were sanctioned under certain conditions, cf. Acts 24:24 in the case of Drusilla, wife of Aziz, king of Emesa (see also C. and H., p. 203), who became a proselyte and actually accepted circumcision. In the Diaspora such marriages would probably be more or less frequent, especially if the husband became a proselyte. In this case even if he were ranked as one, it could only have been as a “proselyte of the gate,” otherwise Timothy would surely have been circumcised. We cannot argue from the fact that the boy had been trained in the Jewish Scriptures that his father was a proselyte, for the early training of the child was evidently, the work of the mother, 2 Timothy 3:15. But such a duty according to Jewish law rested primarily upon the father, and the fact that the father here is described as a Greek, without any qualifying adjective as in the case of the wife, indicates that he was a heathen, see Weiss, in loco; Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, p. 115. The mother, Eunice (on spelling see Hastings’ B.D.), may conceivably have been a proselyte, as the name is Greek, as also that of Lois, but Ἰουδ. seems to indicate that she was a Jewess by birth. Whether she was a widow or not we cannot say, although there is some evidence, see critical note, which points to the influence of some such tradition. On the picture of a Jewish home, and the influence of a Jewish mother, see Edersheim, u. s.πιστῆς: Lydia uses the same term of herself in Acts 16:15. Both mother and son were probably converted in St. Paul’s former visit, and there is no reason to suppose with Nösgen that the conversion of the latter was a proof of the growth of the Church in the Apostle’s absence.Acts 16:1-12. Paul revisits derbe and lystra, chooses Timothy for a companion in his mission, and circumcises him. They pass through Phrygia and Galatia, and come into Mysia and to Troas. By a vision Paul is called into Macedonia. He crosses the sea and remains some days at Philippi

1. to Derbe and Lystra] Thus beginning the revisiting spoken of in Acts 15:36. See notes on Acts 14:6.

was there] The verb does not make it certain that Lystra, to which ἐκεῖ is most naturally referred, was the birthplace of Timothy, but only his home at the date of Paul’s visit. He must however have resided there a good while to have earned the favourable report of the people both of that place and Iconium.

named Timotheus] The Timothy to whom St Paul addresses two Epistles and who was the companion of his labours in this journey until his return into Proconsular Asia (Acts 20:4). He was the son of a Jewish-Christian mother, and his father was a Greek, whether a proselyte of the gate or not, we are not told. The mother’s name was Eunice (2 Timothy 1:4) and the grandmother’s Lois. Timothy is spoken of as a fellow-worker with St Paul (Romans 16:21). From 1 Corinthians 4:17 we find that he was St Paul’s messenger to that church, and he is joined with that Apostle in the greeting of 2nd Corinthians. He also went to and fro between St Paul and the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:6) and must have been at Rome with St Paul, soon after the Apostle’s arrival there, for he is mentioned in the Epistles to the Philippians (Acts 1:1, Acts 2:19), to the Colossians (Acts 1:1) and to Philemon (Acts 16:1). An imprisonment which he underwent is alluded to (Hebrews 13:23), but we cannot be certain when or where it was. According to tradition (Eus. H. E. iii. 14) he was the first bishop of Ephesus, and is said to have suffered martyrdom at the hands of the populace (Niceph. H. E. iii. 11).

the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed] More strictly and according to the oldest texts, “the son of a Jewess which believed.” (So R. V.) Her earnest education of her son in the holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15) from his early youth marks the character of the woman, and makes it probable that the husband of such a woman was at least a proselyte of the gate. Timothy’s father is so little mentioned that it seems likely he had died early.

a Greek] i.e. a Gentile by birth. The word was used widely of all who were not Jews.Acts 16:1. [Μαθητής τις, a certain disciple) Paul already previously had preached the Gospel in that place.—V. g.]—Ἕλληνος, a Greek) There is not added, a believer.Verse 1. - And he came also for then came he, A.V. and T.R.; to Lystra for Lystra, A.V.; Timothy for Timotheus, A.V.; of a Jewess for of a certain woman which was a Jewess, A.V. and T.R.; which for and, A.V. For Derbe and Lystra, see Acts 14. and notes. This time St. Paul visited Derbe first, whereas before he came from Lystra to Derbe (Acts 14:6, 8, 21). Was there; viz. at Lystra (see 2 Timothy 3:11). A certain disciple; i.e. a Christian (Acts 11:26). From St. Paul's speaking of Timothy as "my own sou in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2), and from his special mention of Timothy's mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5), it is probable that both mother and son were converted by St. Paul at his first visit to Lystra, some years before (Acts 14:7). Timothy. It is a Greek name, meaning "one who honors God" (formed, like Timoleon, Timolaus, Timocrates, etc.). It was a not uncommon name, and occurs repeatedly in the Books of the Maccabees (1 Macc. 5:6; 2 Macc. 8:30, etc.). Another form is Timesitheos. Timothy is uniformly spoken of by St. Paul in terms of eulogy and warm affection (see, besides the passages above quoted, Romans 16:21; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:10; Philippians 2:19-22; and the general tone of the Epistles to Timothy). A Jewess; viz. Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5), also a Greek name (equivalent to Victoria), though borne by a Jewess. A Greek; i.e. a Gentile (see Hark 7:26; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:4; Acts 19:10; Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9; 1 Corinthians 10:32, etc.; Colossians 3:11). Had his father been a proselyte, it would probably have been said that he was (Bengel).
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