23: Paul and Timothy

Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014
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Martha's thorough and definitive series on one of the most pivotal spiritual issues, and one of the most misunderstood: Authority.


Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.
They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.
Heb. 13:17 NIV

Timothy was to Paul, a “true son in the faith” (I Tim. 1:2).  He was not a pawn of Paul’s ambition, nor a stooge of his errands.

The purpose of authority is to promote the spiritual success
of the one under its mantle.

The one-in-authority is assigned the eternal task of watching for the soul of the one-under.  The mantle of authority is an assignment of “parenting” as a representative of the One Father and the one who is called to it answers irrevocably for the job to the Brooding Parent in Heaven.  It is an eternal responsibility that will be weighed by the Father of All in the Day of Final Accounting.

Paul, in his humanity, made himself lower than Timothy by the admission of his sinful past.  He never hid his unworthiness behind a superior posturing.  He never linked his apostleship to his merit.  His salvation, his authority were grace.  Pure grace . . . exuberant and lavish . . . poured upon Paul, and by that reminder to Timothy, he was laying the foundation of all else.

Grace to you (1 Timothy 1).
Grace gave all things through the Cross.
Grace gave titles.
The Boundless Grace of God, always Paul’s focus.

Paul, in his position as “mentor/leader,” watched over every detail of Timothy’s walk, from his work to his health.  Not for control, not for himself, but for Love’s sake . . . a mandate of Christ’s love for Timothy shared with Paul as its vessel.

Their bond was love.  By loving Christ Jesus, they were bound in a love for each other in the Lord’s assignment of divine order.

Love (for Christ) made discipline palatable;
Love (in Christ) made obedience natural.
Love placed on Paul the very soul of Timothy.

By the love in their foundation, and by the goal of serving Christ, they were kindred spirits, helping one another into Destiny.  Timothy served in Corinth so that Paul was free to preach (Acts 17).  Timothy served Paul, yes.  But the two letters left to us are Paul’s tender solicitation by careful thought and prayer, of his son’s life in God and its responsibilities.

Timothy stayed in Ephesus to keep that Church in the order of Paul’s apostleship (1 Timothy 1).  They moved together and they served apart.  The goal was serving Christ, not self-pumping advancement, and that purpose kept them cemented together in their one centrality: God’s will for Christ’s glory.  To that hub they were utterly flexible and completely linked to each other.

Discipleship is the way of authority, but it is a gift of loving liberty, of sanctified safety.  It is not a spiritual excuse for tyranny.

Copyright © 2000 Martha Kilpatrick, Our God Reigns

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