Robertson: Timothy (Timotheos). Apparently a native of Lystra (“there,” ekei), his Hebrew mother named Eunice and grandmother Lois (2Timothy 1:5) and his Greek father’s name not known. He may have been a proselyte, but not necessarily so as Timothy was taught the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother (2Timothy 3:15), and, if a proselyte, he would have had Timothy circumcised. It is idle to ask if Paul came on purpose to get Timothy to take Mark’s place. Probably Timothy was about eighteen years of age, a convert of Paul’s former visit a few years before (1Timothy 1:2) and still young twelve years later (1Timothy 4:12). Paul loved him devotedly (1Timothy 1:3; 1Timothy 5:23; 2Timothy 3:15; Philippians 2:19.). It is a glorious discovery to find a real young preacher for Christ’s work.
Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. (Acts 16:1 NKJV)
when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. (2 Timothy 1:5 NKJV)
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:14-15 NKJV)
What do we know of Timothy, Paul’s young companion?
Timothy was a God-follower, perhaps a Jew first and then a Christian, who had a believing mother and a pagan father. He was taught from childhood the Holy Scriptures, and it was a faith that accompanied him throughout childhood and was strong enough to garner the attention of the Apostle Paul who essentially adopted him as his own son. Paul no doubt knew enough of Timothy’s testimony to trust him (and it) to send the young man to Corinth to deliver Paul’s message and no doubt counsel the congregation there.
I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:14-17 NKJV)
Paul later sent Timothy to the congregation at Philippi because he was like-souled,
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. (Philippians 2:19-20 NKJV)
Further, Timothy was sent to the congregation at Thessaloníki (1st Thessalonians 3.2) before settling into his own role as overseer.
What does this tell us of Timothy? First, he kept the Faith from his childhood, and found no stumbling block in it. Most likely, his youth was difficult. He was of mixed blood, with a Jewish mother and a Greek father. This would exclude the young boy a lot of things. Then his mother at some point converted to Christianity, further excluding him from another community. He might have had very little friends, being very lonely in the prejudice of the day (even our day). Instead of letting down his standards, he must have had enough some the presence of the Lord about him that Paul made him a missionary partner.
Perhaps it came from his grandmother, or his mother (more women giving strength and longevity to the Church), or perhaps it came from an intense desire to remain separate from this world to be united with God – it is more likely that his intense desire, self-respect perhaps, came from those saintly women. No matter, he must have had an impressive testimony.
I pray my own children will stand the test without wavering.