Section 10: Paul’s Witness to Priesthood Leaders

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 369–401


Lessons

  1. 45

    “I Have Fought a Good Fight, I Have Finished My Course, I Have Kept the Faith” (2 Timothy)

  2. 46.

    “Let Us Go On unto Perfection” (Hebrews 1–7)

  3. 47.

    “By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified” (Hebrews 8–10)

  4. 48.

    Faith: Evidence of Things Not Seen (Hebrews 11–13)

Biographies

Paul’s Faithfulness

“… in Paul’s last letter to Timothy, which was written just previous to his death,—he says: ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.’ No one who believes the account, will doubt for a moment this assertion of Paul which was made, as he knew, just before he was to take his leave of this world. Though he once, according to his own word, persecuted the Church of God and wasted it, yet after embracing the faith, his labors were unceasing to spread the glorious news: and like a faithful soldier, when called to give his life in the cause which he had espoused, he laid it down, as he says, with an assurance of an eternal crown. Follow the labors of this Apostle from the time of his conversion to the time of his death, and you will have a fair sample of industry and patience in promulgating the Gospel of Christ. Derided, whipped, and stoned, the moment he escaped the hands of his persecutors he as zealously as ever proclaimed the doctrine of the Savior. And all may know that he did not embrace the faith for honor in this life, nor for the gain of earthly goods. What, then, could have induced him to undergo all this toil? It was, as he said, that he might obtain the crown of righteousness from the hand of God. No one, we presume, will doubt the faithfulness of Paul to the end. None will say that he did not keep the faith, that he did not fight the good fight, that he did not preach and persuade to the last. And what was he to receive? A crown of righteousness. And what shall others receive who do not labor faithfully, and continue to the end? We leave such to search out their own promises if any they have; and if they have any they are welcome to them, on our part, for the Lord says that every man is to receive according to his works. Reflect for a moment, brethren, and enquire, whether you would consider yourselves worthy [of] a seat at the marriage feast with Paul and others like him, if you had been unfaithful? Had you not fought the good fight, and kept the faith, could you expect to receive? Have you a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness from the hand of the Lord, with the Church of the Firstborn? Here then, we understand, that Paul rested his hope in Christ, because he had kept the faith, and loved His appearing and from His hand he had a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness.” (Smith, Teachings, pp. 63–64.)

Timothy was born of a Greek father and a devoutly Jewish mother, Eunice (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5). He lived at either Lystra or Derbe where he was converted by Paul during the first missionary journey. While completing the second missionary journey, Paul took Timothy to be his secretary and companion (Acts 16:1–4; 1 Thessalonians 3:2) after ordaining and circumcising him to please the Jews (2 Timothy 1:6; Acts 16:3).

Timothy remained with Silas in Berea after Paul was forced to flee the city (Acts 17:14). Not long afterwards, he joined Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:1, 5).

At a later time, Timothy was sent back to Corinth to deal with disorders in the church, and there he may have labored until Titus took his place (1 Thessalonians 3:6; Acts 19:22; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 7:6, 13; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18).

After helping to organize a collection for the Jerusalem church, he accompanied Paul as far as Troas, though it isn’t certain whether he continued to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4–6). Nor is there indication that he was with Paul in Rome during the first imprisonment. What is known is that Timothy was with Paul when Philippians, 2 Corinthians, Colossians, and Philemon were written. No other information about the travels of Timothy is available.

Referred to as a young man (1 Timothy 1:3), Timothy is considered by Paul to be a capable and beloved soldier of Christ. In Paul’s letters to Timothy, the apostle bolsters, encourages, and challenges Timothy to remain firm in the faith in spite of opposition from Judaizers, licentious members, and heathen nonmembers. The last reference to Timothy in the New Testament tells of his release from a Roman prison wherein he may have languished during the final days of Paul’s life (Hebrews 13:23).

Titus, a Greek convert of Paul’s (Titus 1:4) and whose parents were probably gentiles (Galatians 2:3), was one of Paul’s foremost companions in the work of the ministry (2 Corinthians 8:23). Titus accompanied Paul from Antioch to Jerusalem where Judaizers desired to have him circumcised and where the leaders of the church determined not to require him to submit to that Mosaic ritual (Acts 15:2, 23–29; Galatians 2:1, 3). When Titus was sent to Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10), his conciliatory measures were successful and peace was restored (2 Corinthians 7:5–15). Later, no doubt because of his influence among the Corinthian saints, Titus was again asked by Paul to visit Corinth to complete a collection for the members at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:6–16). Several years later, he was assigned to labor in Crete until he was called to meet with Paul (Titus 1:4, 5). Tradition holds that he was the church leader in Crete and that he performed missionary labors in Dalmatia, which is now part of Yugoslavia (2 Timothy 4:10). It is thought by some that he was in Rome during Paul’s final imprisonment.

Map concerning Timothy Chp. 44