Acts 16:1 Then came he (Paul) to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus … him would Paul have to go forth with him.
Sometimes we have to read between the lines in order to learn the whole story. The Apostle Paul’s response to Timothy tells us a lot about this young man’s godly character.
To fully appreciate Paul’s reaction, we have to first consider a previous experience. During Paul’s first missionary journey he selected a young man named John Mark to join him. Scripture teaches us that Mark’s parents were very involved in the early church and also a relative of Paul’s companion – Barnabas. Probably everyone had high expectations for John Mark, yet his actions proved that he still needed a lot growth and maturity. Scripture says:
Acts 13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.
Shortly into their missionary journey, John Mark left them and went home. Perhaps he did so because of the spiritual opposition he saw Paul and Barnabas were facing. Perhaps he did so because he was homesick. Whatever the reason, he abruptly abandoned them and returned to Jerusalem. The Bible then tells us-
Acts 15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
Barnabas thought it would be good to give John Mark another chance. Paul however, wasn’t in agreement. The division between the two men became so great that they parted company chose new companions.
It was with this in the back of Paul’s mind that he was first introduced to young Timothy. Perhaps he thought – “Is this just another John Mark? Is this another young teenager whom everyone is praising, but who lacks spiritual commitment?” But the more Paul talked with Timothy, the more he was impressed with the young man’s character. We should note that it wasn’t Timothy or his mother that first suggested that he might join the great apostle. It was Paul himself who approached Timothy and encouraged him to come.
The more I study about Timothy, the more I am impressed not only with him, but with the job his mother did in raising him. Eunice is to be commended for raising such a godly young man who was well respected.