Was Timothy a Pastor?

Guest Author: Britton Smith

Timothy is Called an Apostle, Not a Pastor

It is often assumed Timothy was a pastor.  But that title is never used of him that I can find.  He is called:

  • Romans 16:21   21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.
  • 1 Corinthians 4:17  17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:2   2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith,

In my humble opinion, which is just that…an opinion….I think the best way to describe Timothy was an apostle/missionary.  He is referred to directly as an apostle:

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:6   6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
    • I think the “we” here is the writers of the letter – 1 Thessalonians 1:1  Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
    • This appears to directly refer to Timothy as an apostle.

Timothy Functions Like an Apostle

  • He follows up on churches that have been established – often after Paul – to correct, encourage, and teach.  Then he moves on to the next place.  This is apostolic work.  He doesn’t settle down long term to pastor.  That’s the job of the elders in a city.
  • He is sent to tend to Paul’s planting missionary work in a variety of cities:
  • Berea and Athens – Acts 17:14-15   14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there.  15 Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.
  • Macedonia – Acts 18:5   5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
  • Macedonia – Acts 19:22   22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
  • Corinth – 1 Corinthians 4:17   17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
  • Philippi – Philippians 2:19-20  19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you.  20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.
  • Thessalonica – 1 Thessalonians 3:2   2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith,
  • Thessalonica – 1 Thessalonians 3:6   6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you-
  • Ephesus – 1 Timothy 1:3   3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,

One thought on “Was Timothy a Pastor?

  1. I’ve actually thought and taught this for a very long time. Though the 12 were very special apostles just like Moses was a very special judge and prophet that did not preclude others from holding that anointing. So it is with apostles which really means one who is called and sent out. Many Missionaries even today are actually apostles as well. So Timothy should be included most definitely in this position.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s