Sts. Timothy and Titus — A Comparison of Two Holy Biblical Men

The feast of Sts. Timothy and Titus is Jan. 26

Icons of St. Timothy (l) and St. Titus
Wikimedia Commons
Icons of St. Timothy (l) and St. Titus Wikimedia Commons (photo: Public Domain)

Sts. Timothy and Titus share a feast day (Jan. 26) and their letters from Paul are placed right next to each other in the Bible. These details might lead people to believe that their lives were rather interlinked. Although they were both helpful in establishing the early Church, their biblical narratives are quite separate. Timothy 4:10 is the best clue that they knew each other, for Paul explained to Timothy that Titus had gone to Dalmatia (a region now in Croatia and Montenegro). Whether or not they actually ever met in person is simply not recorded. Some of their unique biblical narratives, however, are worth comparing:


St. Timothy

1)  Timothy met Paul in Lystra (modern Turkey), in the midst of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey. Timothy was highly praised before Paul, who then desired that he join him on his journey (Acts 16:1-3).

2)  Titus underwent circumcision — possibly to appease those who pressed for a strict following of the Mosaic Law before becoming a true Christian (Acts 16:3).

3)  Timothy traveled with Paul for the remainder of his Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:1-18:22), and then joined him for the Third Missionary Journey (Acts 18:23-21:16) as well — visiting and evangelizing in many cities. 

4)  After various travel narratives, Timothy is mentioned many more times within Pauls’ letters: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon; some of these letters suggest that Timothy was at times possibly in prison with Paul, or nearby. A true friend indeed! 

5)  Timothy is typically considered to have been the first bishop of Ephesus. While bishop, Timothy received two letters from St. Paul offering great advice and intriguing clues on what the early Church was like (1 and 2 Timothy).

6)  Timothy had stomach problems (perhaps prompting his patronage of stomach issues) and Paul encouraged him to drink more wine to ease his symptoms (1 Timothy 5:23)!

7)  Timothy’s mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5) was Jewish, and his father was Greek.

 

St. Titus

1)  Titus’ name can be found scattered throughout Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, giving us several glimpses into Titus’ activities.

2)  We know that Paul felt disappointment when he did not find Titus during a trip to Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12-13), but later felt encouragement when he did see Titus in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 7:5-7).

3)  Titus had a joyful, encouraging, and respectful relationship with the congregation in Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:13-15).

4)  Titus had once joined Paul and Barnabas at a council in Jerusalem — possibly the Council of Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-3).

5)  Titus also became a bishop; he was the bishop of Crete (Titus 1:5) — an island about 200 miles from Ephesus — the location of Timothy’s bishopric. 

6)  While the Bishop of Crete, Titus received a letter of inspiration and guidance from Paul (Letter to Titus).

7)  Within Paul’s Letter to Titus, Paul requested that Titus visit him in Nicopolis — now ruins in Greece (Titus 3:12).

Find further study on these two early church saints, please see St. Timothy and St. Titus.

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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