Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 14, 1963
NUMBER 44, PAGE 7,11b

Paul And Timothy

Robert C. Welch

Timothy was a partner with Paul in labor in some of the letters to churches which are a part of the inspired New Testament. He is so included in the salvation to the saints at Philippi. Though the body of the letter uses the first person singular, as if Paul were the only spokesman, we need not exclude Timothy from his partnership in the letter, at least in sentiment if not in actual utterance. Actual utterance does not have to be denied him, for he was endowed with a gift which came by the laying on of an apostle's hands. (2 Tim. 1:5; Acts 8:17, 18; 19:6)

Companionship in labor of the proclamation of the gospel is almost a thing of the past. When the Lord sent out the seventy he sent them two and two. (Luke 10:1) Seldom were the apostles and earliest disciples alone in their travels and work. Not that it is necessary for preachers to work in pairs or companies, for Philip was alone at the first in Samaria, but there must be something good about having companionship in such labor. Many advantages might be cited from human observation and experience, but such is unnecessary; the Lord and his emissaries approved of it, and that is enough.

Paul was not designated an apostle at the same time of the appointment of the twelve, so he can speak of his appointment as compared to a child born out of due season. (1 Cor. 15:8, 9) Judas fell, but there is nothing in the Scriptures to indicate that Paul took his place. It is only in the imagination of some who presume that there must be twelve and only twelve apostles. He does not assert his apostleship in this letter, however, as he does in others. Apparently there is no need for such assertion, the saints at Philippi recognize and accept it already.

Timothy was but a very young man when Paul first invited him to be companion with him in travel and evangelizing. (Acts 16:1-3) In fact, his youth was so evident that even in much later years Paul wrote to him about his youth. (1 Tim. 4:12) On other occasions he served as a messenger for Paul's letters and for bringing him support from the churches. (Acts 18:5; 2 Cor. 11:9; Acts 19:22) He was to serve in the capacity of messenger between Paul and the Philippians. (Phil. 2:19) Commentators who are enmeshed in the denominational systems where one man is made a bishop of a church, city or territory, have said that Timothy was such a bishop, perhaps at Ephesus. There is nothing in the New Testament or in secular writings of that day to indicate that Timothy was such a bishop or that anyone else held such a position as characterizes the modern denominations.

Why is it that we find so few cases of long-lived companionship of preachers of the gospel today? Of all people who should have crucified such impulses, preachers show as much, if not more, of envy, jealousy, pride, and reaching after worldly praise and attainments. Such fleshly features and ambitions will kill the closest of friendships and the most fraternal fellowship. There is too much of biting and devouring one another (Gal. 5:15); and too little of encouraging one another and building each other up. (1 Thess. 5:11)

The existence of such fleshly appetites and the resultant lack of true fellowship may be present because we have not learned the lesson that we are servants. Paul and Timothy were "servants of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:1) This is not the word which in other places is also translated minister, signifying an honorable, official position. It is the word doulos', signifying a bond-servant or slave. When one realizes that he is bound to another as a slave there is little encouragement for pride or for envy of another in the same condition. Maybe too many preachers consider themselves as leaders of the people rather than as slaves of Christ Jesus. A realization of this principle will automatically kill all these big promotional schemes and programs which ambitious brethren have started.

Sunrise and sunset complement each other; so do the youth and the elderly. Timothy needed Paul, not only for his inspired apostleship, but also for his experience and sage counsel as an older man. Paul could well use Timothy with his zest, vigor and stamina of youth. The best preacher-school a young man can attend is to be associated with a tried and true veteran of the cross, in the battlefield, who can exemplify the power of the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), and can warn him first hand of the wiles of error. (Eph. 4:14)

Every son and daughter needs the companionship of parents so that they can express their confidences. The girl who cannot talk with her mother about her affairs and problems is indeed unfortunate. No mother should build such a barrier. The idea of the father's being a pal with his son is not exactly the essential; instead, he must be that respected understanding person with whom the son can with assurance confide.

This modern idea of a young folk church is not good; neither is a church composed entirely of elderly people the happiest situation. We are all brethren, servants of Christ Jesus, and we need to worship and work together. The young need the steadying influence of the older; the older need the vigor and fervor of the younger. And above all, all need the Lord. (Phil. 1:2; 4:13)

— 1932 S. Weller, Springfield, Mo.