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Read Introduction to 1 Thessalonians


“…and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith…“


our brother

First, Paul calls Timothy “brother.” “Brother” is one who has entered the family of God. “Brother” seems to indicate equivalence in ministry with Paul. Elsewhere Paul calls Timothy his “son” because he was younger than Paul. Paul honors Timothy for ministry purposes. Respect is important in ministry, so Paul recommends him for ministry.

“And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).

Paul and Timothy were poles apart in age, educational background, and nationality (Timothy was half-Gentile and half-Jew). Paul had extensive formal training while there is no evidence that Timothy had any. Yet, God united these men in ministry.

and minister of God,

Secondly, Timothy is God’s minister. He is not primarily Paul’s associate minister. Paul does not claim Timothy as exclusively his. Timothy represents not Paul, but God.

“Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:15-16).

“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and generations, but now has been revealed to His saints” (Colossians 1: 24-26).

and our fellow laborer

Thirdly, Paul calls Timothy a “fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ.” A “fellow laborer” works together with someone else (Romans 16:3,9,21; Philippians 2:25; 4:3; Philemon 1,24). It takes co-operation to advance the cause of Christ. Timothy was a team player. He was no prima donna who sought the limelight. He sought no privileged treatment for himself. He served on the evangelistic gospel team with a great sense of teamwork.

“Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you” (Romans 16:21).

“…and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me” (Colossians 4:11).


God needs brothers, ministers, and laborers for His kingdom.


The church of Jesus Christ needs workers. This seems to be a forbidden concept these days. Thank God, some are willing to give themselves to advance the cause of Christ throughout the world. If more people would get under the load, the job would be lighter. Will you allow Jesus Christ to harness you for His work?