Girl, Gospel, Go | Day One Answers
By: Megan Gover | To type in your answers to today’s study, click here.
Criticizer to Christian. Pharisee to Preacher. Executioner to prisoner. Man of hate to man of God. All these descriptions fit the life of the Apostle Paul.
On the road to Damascus, Saul’s eyes opened to the reality of his spiritual blindness. This fateful day changed the direction of his life, as well as the Global Church as we know it today.
Though Paul did not have kids of his own, he had many spiritual children he refers to throughout his letters. Towards the end of his life, Paul was imprisoned--wasting away until his death sentence under Emperor Nero. He was down, but definitely not out. This spiritual giant took it upon himself to pen his last legacy--passing on the baton of his life and ministry to his spiritual son, Timothy.
During this prison sentence, Paul released the God-given potential of Timothy--even when Timmy boy didn’t believe it himself. This letter is a passionate, practical, and powerfully encouraging word for young Timothy to live out the Gospel in every way possible. And it compels you--a young believer--to do the same today!
Over the next few weeks, we will be looking deeply at this short, yet spiritually packed letter. We will uncover what it means to live entrusted with the Gospel, and daily live it out. So! Get ready for a holy fire to be lit within you as you fan into flame the gift of God!
Because girl, you were given the Gospel and called to go tell it.
Before we begin this study, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into a greater understanding of who He is as you study Scripture.
We will primarily dive into the second letter Paul penned for Timothy throughout the next two weeks. However, in order to understand the richness of this letter, we need to observe the depth of Timothy’s testimony and relationship with Paul. Let’s get started!
In Acts 15, Paul just finished his first missionary journey with Barnabas. However, how did their trip end? Read Acts 15:36-41 to note what their sharp disagreement revolved around.
Paul and Barnabas parted ways over who to take with them as an intern. Paul was against Mark tagging along on their next journey because he deserted them earlier on their first trip. This missionary duo eventually headed to opposite ends of the earth to teach the Gospel. Barnabas took Mark while Paul and Silas moved towards Derbe and Lystra. It is here where Paul meets Timothy for the first time.
Read Acts 16:1-2. Describe Timothy’s mother and father’s background.
Timothy’s mother was Jewish while Timothy’s dad was Greek.
How do you think these cultural backgrounds influenced Timothy’s faith?
This would have directly impacted Timothy’s spiritual upbringing. We will see an example of how his Greek/Jewish influences clashed later on. It would have the same effect in his time as it would today if your mom was a believer and your dad an atheist. They would see life, love, religion, and faith very differently.
How did the church in Lystra and Iconium speak about Timothy?
According to verse two, Timothy “was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.”
Held with high regard, Paul sees potential in young Timothy. He votes to bring him along on their next missionary journey. Before they left, however, Paul made Timothy do something.
Read Acts 16:3-5. Why did Paul make Timothy undergo circumcision?
According to verse three, Timothy wasn’t circumcised and the Jewish community at Lystra and Iconium knew his father was not a believer.
This situation ultimately was a direct impact of Timothy’s dual upbringing. Circumcision was a Jewish practice. However, it had no meaning or value in Greek culture. Therefore, Timothy’s Greek father was probably against the idea of circumcision as a whole.
Throughout the book of Galatians, Paul makes one thing clear: circumcision is not a sign of a believer, but rather part of the Old Testament law fulfilled by Jesus’ death on the Cross. Therefore, why did Paul urge Timothy to undergo circumcision? What value would it add to their missionary journey?
Paul knew circumcision did not save a Christian man. It was part of the Old Covenant made with Abraham to serve as a sign of the Lord’s people. (See Genesis 17 for more on the purpose of this covenant.) However, once Jesus died on the Cross, he fulfilled all the Old Testament Law—including circumcision.
However, circumcision was a practice still honored by Jews during the days of Jesus, as well as after His death and resurrection. Though it didn’t have any saving qualities, it would bridge a gap between the Jewish culture around Paul. Due to Timothy not having a Jewish father, many Jews would have looked down on him. However, being circumcised would give him street and spiritual cred.
Notice there are two audiences referenced in Acts 16:1-5. What is the difference between a brother (verse two) and the Jews (verse three)?
A brother was someone who believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—Someone who we would call a Christian or believer today. A Jew was someone who was still waiting for the anticipated Messiah to arrive. They either failed to believe Jesus was the true Messiah or had not heard of the fulfillment of the Old Testament with the Gospel.
Timothy was highly thought of by Christian believers in Lystra. These were people who believed Jesus died on the Cross for their sins and resurrected three days later. However, the Jews referenced here are people who did not claim Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.
Therefore, Timothy’s circumcision was an attempt to better relate to the Jews--who still highly practiced the covenant of circumcision.
What does Timothy’s willingness to get circumcised indicate about his character and desire for the Gospel to be known?
Ultimately, Timothy’s willingness to become circumcised shows his heart for unbelievers! The Gospel must have meant everything to him. As a result, he was willing to do whatever it took to build a bridge between gaps with unbelievers.
Before Timothy even comes into contact with Paul, his faith shaped his character, example, and testimony. How has your faith shaped who you are today? What areas does it need to continue to develop?
As you can see, from the moment their lives intersected, Timothy got to witness leadership, discipleship, and growth in the local body of believers from Paul’s example. By Paul’s invitation to join them on their next missionary journey, he jumpstarts Timothy’s potential to live up to his name.
What do you think Timothy’s mom and dad called him? Tim? Timmy? Timbo? I don’t know if nicknames were as common back then as they are now, but I do know there was cultural, deep meaning in a given birth name.
Google the meaning of the name Timothy. What did you find his name to mean?
Timothy means to “honor God.”
Timothy’s Greek name was Timotheos. Does theos sound familiar? What words contain the Greek origin “theo” we use today?
Theology is the study and meaning of God. Theory means a set of principles involving action to arrive at a conclusion. Most words with theo in them include something about the Lord or action—which is what his name means!
Timothy means honoring God. And boy did Timothy do just that! Look up the references below and write a little description about his character and obedience to serve the Lord.
1 Corinthians 4:15-17:
Timothy was described as Paul’s “beloved and faithful child” who was sent to the Corinthians to remind them of Paul’s example in living the Christian walk.
Paul had “no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned” for the Philippians’ welfare. Timothy had proven his worth and his allegiance to Paul while serving the Gospel. Therefore, he could be trusted!
1 Timothy 1:2:
Paul never had kids, but Timothy was a spiritual son to him.
Therefore, Paul had the utmost respect and confidence in Timothy. He spends his last days on earth speaking to Timothy’s potential to live out the Gospel entrusted to him.
What is one thing you need to let go of in your life to live as a disciple like Timothy? What’s one thing you need to add?
End this time praising the Lord for allowing us to be a part of His redemption plan. Pray for the opportunity to tell two people you sit next to in class about the Gospel this week!