Acts 16:1-5; 2 Timothy 1:3-7; 3:14-15; 1 Thessalonians 3:2
We can be like Timothy and begin to learn about God from an early age.
From infancy and throughout his life Timothy studied the Scriptures and learned about God. His father was an unbelieving Greek but his mother and grandmother were Jewish followers of Jesus and taught him well. As a young man Timothy joined the Apostle Paul on missionary journeys and then continued to serve God in many ways over his lifetime. He was like a son to Paul and one of his most trusted co-workers.
As teachers and influencers of children it is inspiring to consider Timothy and how he learned the Scripture from the time he was an infant. Investing bible study in children can greatly influence their choices and what they do throughout their lives.
Not all children are blessed with a household where both parents are Christians. Timothy is also a good reminder that the influence of one believing parent or grandparent can help them develop a strong faith.
One of the reasons Timothy was such a tremendous help to Paul was because, coming from a religiously mixed household, he would have had an intimate understanding of both the Jewish and Gentile perspectives.
Timothy likely witnessed his Greek father living and working in a culture immersed in the Greek false gods. To get an idea of what life was like in Timothy’s hometown of Lystra we can read about Paul and Barnabas’ emotionally charged reception there on Paul’s First Missionary Journey. The people of Lystra first tried to sacrifice to them as if they were gods and then got so angry with them that they even tried to kill Paul. It is possible that Timothy’s mother, Eunice and grandmother, Lois might have even been among the disciples that gathered around Paul outside the city of Lystra after he was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20). It was on Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey that Timothy joined him in his travels.
In addition to being familiar with Gentile life Timothy also knew the Scripture and understood from his mother’s Jewish background what it meant to live under the Jewish laws. Although it is not a requirement for Christians to be circumcised Paul instructed Timothy to meet this Jewish requirement (Acts 16:3). By showing the Jews that he respected the Law Timothy could then, like Paul, move freely among both Jews and Greeks to teach them about Jesus.
Even at a young age Timothy was respected by the Christians in his hometown area of Lystra and Iconium. Paul had great fatherly affection for him and trusted him very much. Paul said of Timothy that “I have none like him” (Philippians 2:19-20).
Paul’s last recorded letter in the Bible is 2 Timothy. In that letter Paul gives Timothy advice for ministry but he also has a personal request for him. Others have deserted Paul but he asks his trusted friend, Timothy to bring him his books and parchments. Winter was approaching so Paul also asks Timothy to bring his cloak (2 Timothy 4:9-13, 21).
Other references to Timothy give good indication that he was a man that young people can look to as an example in how to live a faithful Christian life.
Acts 16:1-5; 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:14-15
Ministry and Personal Advice Paul Gave Timothy:
1 Timothy 1:1-4, 18; 1 Timothy 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; 2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 2:22; 2 Timothy 4:2-5
Paul’s Respect and Affection for Timothy:
2 Timothy 1:1-5; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 2:19-24; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:9-13, 21
Mentions of Timothy Writing Letters With Paul:
1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; Philemon 1:1
Timothy’s life is a wonderful example of a child who learned from God’s Word and grew up to be strong and faithful. Timothy’s example should give us, as bible class teachers, great encouragement to make sure that our class preparation is good and that everything stays focused on the Word.
Children do not have to wait until they are “older” to learn about God and His Word. Timothy was not just “baby-sat” during infancy—-he studied the word of God. Don’t ever lose sight of the importance of teaching children!
Way to Introduce the Story:
Invite a young talkative child (younger than the children in your class) to class today. Ask the child to tell the class what they know about God. You might ask them questions like “Suzy, do you love God? Who made the elephants? Do you like to say prayers? Can you sing Jesus Loves Me etc? Ask one or two of the older children in your class to very carefully escort the child back to their bible class. “Class, do you remember when you were that little? Did you learn about God when you were younger? What was one of the first things you remember learning? Who were your teachers? In today’s story we are going to learn about someone who started learning from the word of God when he was a little boy. His mother and his grandmother helped him learn.”
Timothy was a man who followed God and taught many people about Jesus. But Timothy’s story begins long before he began preaching about Jesus. As you might guess, the story of Timothy’s life begins when he was a baby.
Timothy was born to a family that lived in the town of Lystra. His father was a Greek. Greeks did not usually recognise the one true God but worshipped many false gods instead. From an early age Timothy understood that not everyone followed God.
Even though Timothy’s father did not recognise God, his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, did. They were both Jews who had become followers of Jesus. So, from an early age Timothy understood what it meant to love God and love Jesus.
From the time Timothy was a baby his mother and grandmother taught him from the Scriptures. Timothy listened to what they were teaching and he learned to read them himself. The Scriptures helped him learn to be wise and make good choices in his life. He learned how to be a good boy.
As Timothy grew into a young man he continued to study the Scriptures. When the people in his town worshipped idols and false gods Timothy knew the Scripture taught that there was only one true God. Timothy followed the Scriptures and believed in the one true God.
The Scriptures also taught about a Saviour that would save the world from sin. Timothy knew that the Saviour was Jesus. Timothy obeyed the Scriptures and followed Jesus like his mother and grandmother did.
Timothy showed concern for people. The Jesus followers in Timothy’s town respected him and said many good things about him.
Paul, the missionary, had come to Timothy’s town of Lystra before but Timothy and others who believed in Jesus were so happy that Paul was returning for another visit. Many people in Lystra did not believe in Jesus so now they would have the opportunity to hear Paul preach. This would have made Timothy happy.
When Paul arrived in Lystra he heard about Timothy. The Jesus followers told Paul how Timothy had studied the Scriptures from when he was a little child. Paul knew Timothy’s mother and grandmother had taught him well.
Paul was a missionary who travelled around telling people about Jesus. Once he got to know Timothy and heard everyone speak so well of him Paul invited Timothy to join him on his missionary journeys.
What an amazing opportunity for Timothy! He would be able to see for himself all of the good things that Paul was doing. Paul could show him how to teach and preach. Timothy wanted to help Paul and be part of this great missionary journey.
Throughout the following years Timothy accompanied Paul on many adventures. They not only worked together they became good friends. Paul loved Timothy like a father loves a son.
Paul helped Timothy learn how to be a good preacher and worker for churches. Paul trusted Timothy so much that he would sometimes send Timothy to churches to help them. Timothy continued to care for people and help them learn to follow Jesus.
Many times Timothy had helped Paul write letters to churches but in the last few years of Paul’s life, Timothy was the one who received letters. You might recognise the name of the letters in your New Testament. They are called First and Second Timothy.
Paul wrote the second letter from prison. He felt alone and he asked Timothy to please come and join him. Winter was coming so he asked Timothy to bring his coat to him. In the letter Paul also asked Timothy to bring his books and papers. Paul knew his good friend Timothy would travel a great distance to come to see him when he asked for help.
Even though Timothy was an adult Paul did not want him to ever forget how important it was that he learned to read the Scriptures at an early age. Here is what Paul wrote to Timothy in his last letter:
“I remember your true faith. That kind of faith first belonged to your grandmother Lois and to your mother Eunice. And I know that you now have that same faith.” 2 Timothy 1:5 ICB
“But you should continue following the teachings that you learned. You know that these teachings are true. And you know you can trust those who taught you. You have known the Holy Scriptures since you were a child. The Scriptures are able to make you wise. And that wisdom leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15 ICB
So now you know more about the life of Timothy. And what about your life? Are you learning from the Bible like Timothy did?
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
Click here to download the slideshow or click here to download the pictures to print.
Be selective. Each teacher is unique so only use the illustrations that best relate to the way YOU are telling the story in THIS lesson. Too many illustrations can be confusing so eliminate any that cover other stories or details you do not wish to emphasise in this lesson.
- What was the name of the young man who started learning about God when he was very little? Timothy
- Who taught Timothy about the word of God when he was little? His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois.
- What missionary did Timothy help? Paul
- Crayon Song
- He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands Song
- Oh Be Careful Song
- Books of the New Testament
- I Can Be a Missionary
- Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World SongJesus the Little Children
- Refer to the Song Page on this website for more options.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Show the class some of the material used to teach children younger than them. They will notice that the material seems babyish. Let them enjoy the fact that they have “matured in the Lord” since that time.
- Arrange to have the children visit a class of younger children and observe their class.
- Talk to a teacher of a younger class and ask if there is a visual aid or room decoration that your class could make for that class (Make sure to arrange this before the day of your class!).
- Make a “family scrapbook” for Timothy’s family. Draw pictures of his mother, grandmother, father, and then Paul and some of the events of Timothy’s life (reading bible scrolls when a child, helping Paul write letters first preaching job in Ephesus, etc.)
- Make a scroll. Click here for instructions. Have children write out the words of
2 Timothy 3:16 on the scroll.
Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
Other Online Resources:
- Simple flip chart for younger children at freebibleimages.org
- Colouring page (raisingourkids.com)
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets- when Timothy joined Paul on his 2nd missionary journey (Calvary Curriculum)
- Wordsearch of Books of New Testament (christiananswers.net)