Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman…
This young man was so closely associated with the Apostle Paul, and with such complete sympathy shared his thoughts and his work, that he deserves a careful study, and his character will be found to have points of interest from which important practical lessons may be drawn. He is introduced to us in this passage, but we must assume the fuller knowledge of him that is conveyed by historical references in the Acts and Epistles, and by the letters of counsel addressed by St. Paul to him personally. Of him Canon Farrar says, "He was, in fact, more than any other, the alter ego of the apostle. Their knowledge of each other was mutual; and one whose yearning and often lacerated heart had such deep need of a kindred spirit on which to lean for sympathy, and whose distressing infirmities rendered necessary to him the personal services of some affectionate companion, must have regarded the devoted tenderness of Timothy as a special gift of God to save him from being crushed by overmuch sorrow." Timothy was brought to Christ by St. Paul's preaching, and the way in which the apostle reminds Timothy of his sufferings at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (1 Timothy 3:10, 11), suggests that Timothy was an actual "witness of St. Paul's injurious treatment; and this at a time of life when the mind receives its deepest impressions from the spectacle of innocent suffering and undaunted courage. And it is far from impossible that the generous and warm-hearted youth was standing in that group of disciples who surrounded the apparently lifeless body of the apostle at the outside of the wails of Lystra."
I. THE ADVANTAGES OF TIMOTHY IN A GODLY ANCESTRY. It is certain that he was of a naturally amiable and affectionate disposition, and had this advantage from his birth. His mother, and her mother before her, were amiable and pious women, and transmitted their natural grace to this young man. It is often observed that children bear the disposition of their mothers; and just such a gentle tone of character as Timothy showed has often been traceable to such a godly ancestry as he had. It may seem as if women had but little work to do; but what a noble mission is theirs if their patient culture of natural disposition gives their children the vantage-ground of amiable and attractive character! Few blessings resting on our life surpass that of the hereditary influence of good and godly ancestors.
II. THE ADVANTAGE OF A WISE AND CAREFUL EARLY TRAINING. "Of a child he had known the Scriptures." Show how this involved
(1) an early awakening of the intelligence;
(2) a guardianship of his youth and young manhood from folly and temptation;
(3) a preparedness for the fuller light and truth brought to him by the apostle;
(4) a fitness for the Christian ministry to which he subsequently became devoted. It may also be shown he was the influence of his early teachers tended to encourage
(1) a studious habit;
(2) a cultivation of the passive graces almost to the disadvantage of the active. No more beautiful characters are found on earth than those who are naturally amiable, and whose amiability is sanctified by Divine grace.
III. THE CHARACTERISTIC EXCELLENCES OF HIS SANCTIFIED MANHOOD. From the Epistles written by St. Paul to him we gather what were the leading features of his character.
1. Great affectionateness of disposition, which made him cleave closely to any one he loved, and enabled him to make cheerful sacrifices for them.
2. Great steadfastness and trustworthiness, so that St. Paul found he could always rely on him. He acted from principle, not mere impulse; and had a strong sense of duty.
3. A studious habit of mind, which, no doubt, made him valuable to St. Paul for his writing work, but became a snare to him, as unfitting him, to some extent, for public ministerial duties. Out of this, and the consequent frailty of his health, came a shyness and timidity which St. Paul urges him to overcome. It has been well said that Timothy is a beautiful example for young men, as "one of those simple, faithful natures which combine the glow of courage with the bloom of modesty." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: