Paul has already mentioned Timothy in his letter to Corinth (4:17). Timothy was a young man who helped Paul. Often, Paul sent Timothy to places where Paul could not go at once.
It seems that Paul had already sent Timothy into Macedonia, ahead of Paulís own visit there (Acts 19:22; 1 Corinthians 16:5). After Macedonia, Paul wanted to return to Corinth. So Paul had asked Timothy to go to Corinth too, ahead of Paul. After Timothy had prepared for Paulís visits to both places, he would return to Paul in Ephesus. Then Paul would begin his own journey to Macedonia and Corinth. That was their plan, unless God guided them elsewhere.
In this passage, as in some other passages about Timothy, Paul shows a desire to protect Timothy. We may ask ourselves why. Timothy was a brave young man who had freely chosen to serve God in difficult situations. When he suffered from frequent illnesses (1 Timothy 5:23), he continued to do Godís work. He was able to deal firmly with people (1 Timothy 5:20-21). Of course Paul cared about Timothy. But clearly, Timothy was ready to do Godís work whatever happened.
Paul urged that Timothy should be able to work without fear of anyone. All the Christians in Corinth should respect Timothy. Timothy was doing the same work as Paul, and therefore, Timothy was a servant of God.
Perhaps Paul was not trying to protect Timothy, but to make sure that Timothyís work was successful. Timothy would have a difficult task in Corinth. He had to deal with the problems in that church. Because he was so young, people may not respect him (1 Timothy 4:12). So Paul insisted that all the Christians should respect Timothyís authority. Timothy was carrying out Godís work in Corinth, and that was an important reason to respect him.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.