Who is Saint Timothy?
Timothy was a companion of the Apostle Paul and the recipient of the letters of Paul to Timothy. He grew up in Lystra, a town in Lyconia visited twice by Paul. He was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother which made Timothy illegitimate in the eyes of the Jews in Lystra due to the mixed marriage of his parents. During Paul’s first visit to Lystra, he was stoned and left for dead. By Paul’s second visit Timothy, his mother Eunice, and grandmother Lois were already established in the Church.
When we look at Timothy he doesn’t seem like someone we would expect to hoist up to be a Christian paradigm for all the ages. Timothy was a reserved man and was fragile of health; in Pauls’s first letter to Timothy he encouraged him to “no longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23). This did not stop Timothy from accepting God’s calling and following Paul as a disciple. Timothy worked with Paul for fifteen years and was with Paul when he founded the church in Corinth. During this time Timothy became a great and trusted friend of Paul. Paul even addressed his epistles “To Timothy, my beloved child.” Throughout their partnership, Paul entrusted Timothy to assist with his established churches that proved to be more difficult. Paul also trusted Timothy above many others for his pastoral care and tact in dealing with awkward situations. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare” (Philippians 2:19-20).
Later in life, Timothy was appointed the first bishop of Ephesus by Paul and remained for fifteen years. At the end of Paul’s life, he summoned Timothy, his well-beloved friend, to gather his scrolls, books, and cloak that Paul had left with Carpus at Troas (2 Timothy 4:13) for a final goodbye. Timothy also ended his life as a martyr, being beaten and stoned to death by the pagans in Ephesus for opposing and attempting to halt their festival to their idols.