Young Pastor Timothy
Harbour Street, Ephesus Photo: © Lightstock.com
A Godly Upbringing
Timothy (Greek Timotheos = God-fearer) was a spiritual son of Paul (1 CORINTHIANS 4:17; 1 TIMOTHY 1:2; 2 TIMOTHY 1:2), but he already had a godly heritage long before Paul met him and led him to Christ. His father was an unnamed Greek, who seems to have played little part in Timothy's life, judging from the lack of any mention of him. We know much more about his mother's side of the family.
His mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were both Jewesses who had become Christians. But because his father was a Greek, he had not been initiated into Judaism at birth through the rite of circumcision or barmitzvahed at the age of twelve or thirteen like all Jewish males. Because this might have caused a problem in his ministry later, Paul circumcised him before taking him on his missionary journeys to prevent any Jewish fundamentalists' objections (ACTS 16:1-3)
Paul probably led Timothy to Christ during his missionary visits to Iconium and Lystra and discipled him before appointing him pastor of the flourishing church in Ephesus.
The Worship Of The Roman Goddess Diana In Ephesus
Ephesus was the centre of the worship of the Roman goddess Diana (Greek: Artemis), whose temple and shrine were among the largest in the Roman empire and did a roaring trade in silver idols of the goddess.
Paul's early evangelistic activities provoked a riot because the silversmiths were losing some of their lucrative trade. Paul's friends Gaius and Aristarchus were dragged into the theatre (above) and threatened with death at the hands of wild animals (ACTS 19:23-41).
Timothy's Ministry & Martyrdom In Ephesus
Paul left the young Timothy to pastor a thriving fellowship of Christians in Ephesus. He also had to deal with persecution and the pressures to conform to the demands of the cult of the Roman Emperor (1 THESSALONIANS 3:2-5) as well as the worship of Diana. (See photo of statue right)
Church tradition says Timothy died a martyr's death during the reign of the Emperor Domitian or the Emperor Nerva as he attempted to stop a pagan procession bound for the Temple of Diana.
Q1 Did you grow up in a Christian family?
Was there ever a time when you did not know about God and Jesus?
Q2 In what ways have you benefitted from having a godly heritage?
If you did not grow up in a Christian family, what difference has it made?
Q3 How can we encourage our children and grandchildren as Christian parents and grandparents?