St. Timothy was St. Paul’s “True Child in Faith”

St. Timothy’s feast day is Jan. 26, and he is the patron of people suffering from stomach disorders.

St. Timothy, Minology of Basil II in the Vatican Library
St. Timothy, Minology of Basil II in the Vatican Library (photo: Wikimedia Commons)
He [Paul] reached [also] Derbe and Lystra where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him, and Paul wanted him to come along with him. ―Acts 16:1–3a
 
Paul’s first missionary visits to Lystra (located in present-day Turkey) must have struck its resident Timothy in a formidable way, because by the time Paul returned to Lystra during his second missionary journey, Timothy was known as an inspiring person within the Christian community there. Paul requested that Timothy join him for his missionary travels; Timothy then became one of Paul’s closest disciples and a truly gifted missionary worker.
 
It is clear from several mentions throughout the Epistles that Timothy spent much time with Paul, helping to spread the way of Christ. Paul’s references to Timothy are full of respect and warmth; for example, he wrote: “My beloved and faithful son in the Lord,” “I have no one comparable to him,” and “My true child in faith.”
 
Timothy’s mother was Jewish and his father a Gentile, and not all Jewish customs were followed during his childhood. Timothy made great efforts to work with Judaizers―Jewish Christians who insisted that all converts to Christianity (Gentiles included) embrace the multitude of demanding and difficult Jewish laws. Timothy even underwent circumcision to appease these people.
 
In the midst of their varied missionary travels, Timothy ultimately stayed in Ephesus, where he became a bishop—probably the first bishop there.  While developing the Christian community in Ephesus, Timothy received two letters from Paul; they are now known as 1 and 2 Timothy in the Bible. These letters offered sound advice, encouragement, and inspiration. Along with the Epistle to Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy are often referred to as “pastoral letters” because they give wonderful guidance on how to pastor a church. These letters combined with Timothy’s own enthusiastic spirit gave Ephesus a strong boost as one of the earliest Christian communities.
 
Although historical accounts are not clear, it is believed that Timothy spent the rest of his life in Ephesus and was ultimately stoned to death during a pagan festival near the year AD 97.  St. Timothy’s feast day is Jan. 26, and he is the patron of people suffering from stomach disorders.
 
 
Nine Days with St. Timothy
 
Consider spending a bit of time each day for nine days (a bit like a novena!) contemplating some St. Timothy-relevant passages:
  • Acts 16:1–5
  • 1 Corinthians 4:17
  • 1 Corinthians 16:10–11
  • Philemon 2:19–24
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:1–8
  • 1 Timothy 1:18–20
  • 1 Timothy 5:23
  • 2 Timothy 1:1–5
  • 2 Timothy 4:9-13, 21
Pope Francis waves to pilgrims during his Angelus address August 30, 2020.

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