“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother.”
“and Timothy our brother”
Timothy was a vest-pocket edition of the apostle Paul. He was Paul’s companion on many of his travels (2 Cor. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; 2 Thes. 1:1) and his son in the faith (2 Tim 2:1). Timothy had a Gentile father (Acts 16:1) but a Jewess mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5). He learned the Old Testament from a young age from them (2 Tim. 3:15).
Paul hand-picked Timothy to serve with him. Timothy joined Paul on his second missionary journey at Lystra, where he was reported to be effective in ministry (Acts 16:2). Thereafter they were almost inseparable. Wherever Paul went, he took Timothy. Wherever Paul could not go, he sent Timothy. “Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do” (1 Cor. 16:10). Paul personally polished him as a leader. He wrote 1 & 2 Timothy to this young pastor.
Paul had numerous colleagues and friends, but none of them were quite as close as Timothy. Note his view of Timothy in Philippians 2:10-23, “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. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus [but not Timothy]. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.”
Timothy was a spiritual “brother.” He belonged to the family of God. He was not a physical relation to Paul. “Brother” also indicates that he does not share apostleship with Paul. He is a “brother,” not an “apostle.”
God brought these two men together, and they remained together. Their friendship stuck. Their friendship glued together with a divine adhesive. Others forsook Paul. When the going got tough, they quit, “This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Tim. 1:15). Paul knew what it was like to have some bitter disappointments in his friends and co-workers.
What kept Paul and Timothy together? First, they had nothing in common. Paul was much older than Timothy (Philemon 9). In 1 Timothy, Paul said, “Let no man despise your youth.” Usually, people who have a large age gap do not remain together for very long unless they are relatives. Second, these two were poles apart in their family background. Paul was a pure-blood Jew (Phil. 3:5). Timothy was half-Jew, half Gentile. His father was a Gentile (Acts 16:3).
They were poles apart in their education. They were not on the same plane. Paul had a graduate degree. He sat at the feet of Gamaliel. There is no record of any formal training of Timothy.
God breaks down the natural barriers between people.
Even though these men came from radically different backgrounds, they served the Lord side by side. Paul mentored Timothy in action. Everything he learned, he learned from Paul. Timothy was both loyal and faithful. Jesus Christ compensates for the differences in culture, education, financial background. He annihilates the differences that separate.