Open Your Bible
Acts 16:1-5, 2 Timothy 1:1-5, 1 Corinthians 4:17, Philippians 2:19-24, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-6, Psalm 133:1-3
Around the age of eighteen, I remember praying for a mentor. I had no idea where to look for one, so soliciting God’s help felt like the right thing to do. Fast forward a few years, and I still hadn’t found one—at least not the formal, “let’s grab coffee every week and come with questions prepared” kind of relationship.
A few weeks after visiting a new church, a lady who always gave out hugs and smelled like flower blossoms befriended me. She led the women’s ministry and loved hosting people around her dining table for prayer, Bible study, and honest conversations about wrestling through everyday life. Often, I would linger after everyone else went home, as we kept talking or laughing or drinking tea. There was nothing weird or formal about it—just normal time spent with someone who was genuinely interested in my life and relationship with Jesus.
We all need mutually life-giving spiritual friendships, and the apostle Paul was no exception. One reason why Paul hand-picked Timothy to be his companion was because of his top-notch reputation in the community. The young man was also a third-generation believer, resulting from a lineage of not one but two God-fearing female figures—a mother and grandmother (2Timothy 1:5). Having a mother who was Jewish positioned him well for ministry in a multicultural region of both Jews and Gentiles.
I’m sure the legacy of Timothy’s faith was an advantage to being chosen as a companion, but it wasn’t enough simply for him to be familiar with Scripture (2Timothy 3:15); he needed to own his faith for himself. Later on in their partnership, Paul saw firsthand how the man had been personally transformed, and said, “I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also” (2Timothy 1:5).
For being just one man, his influence on Christianity and the canon of Scripture is pretty astounding. Being so interconnected to Paul’s ministry, Timothy either co-wrote or co-labored with his friend during the experiences captured within Paul’s letters. Ultimately, it was Timothy’s proven, trustworthy character and unmatched integrity that led Paul to trust him enough to lead and teach in his place (Philippians 2:22). They supported and helped each other grow, just as they did for the Church. This is why Paul referred to him as his “dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord” (1Corinthians 4:17).
Timothy is a vibrant example of what it looks like to be mentored in the faith. The companionship we see modeled by these two men inspires us to seek out our own fellow sojourners in the faith, and in turn ask ourselves, Who am I investing in spiritually? Who am I allowing myself to be mentored by? How might God use my relationships for the flourishing of His Church? Spiritual mentorships don’t have to be rigid or classified as anything formal. They just have to draw us closer to Jesus and to one other.