With Bill Mounce on a break for the summer, I thought this would be a good opportunity to highlight some of the best posts from his series "Monday with Mounce". Today's post was number 17 (he's at 108 now), and in it Mounce suggests we may have developed an inaccurate picture of Timothy.
The normal picture people have of Timothy was that he was timid, a picture largely centered on 2 Tim 1:7 — "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self–discipline" (TNIV). When combined with the fact that he was young and evidently sick much of the time (1 Tim 5:23), many have a constructed an image of Timothy that would hardly be emulated.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Timothy was one of Paul’s right-hand men. When Paul had difficult situations, fraught with danger and conflict, he shows no hesitation in sending Timothy into the fray. Ephesus was an established church full of entrenched, sinful management. Paul sends Timothy. The persecutions in Thessalonica were intense. So who did Paul send? Timothy. Of no one else does Paul say, "For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare" (Phil 2:20).
This should alert us to a problem. Perhaps "timid" has been misunderstood.