Where in the World is Carmen Timothy?

In the late 1980’s into the early 1990’s the term, “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?” was known everywhere.  It started as a set of educational video games, designed to help children learn topics such as geography through playing games.  It eventually morphed into TV series, board games, books, comics, and music albums.  So, the title is catchy, which is why I used it, with slight modification.

This posting is a bit different.  We are going to try and find Timothy in some passages in the book of Acts.  One of the interesting things about the historical scriptures (The Book of Acts is primarily a recording of certain historical events in the early Christian church), is that we assume all the characters are named.  So, we know for example, that it was Paul and Silas who were beaten and thrown into jail, not Paul and Barnabas.  But, what we take for granted, is that Paul and Silas were the only ones thrown in jail, because they are the only ones named.  But, a careful reading reveals there may have been others, they just are not named.

In order to unravel this mystery, we need to go back a ways, and then move forward a ways, and then from the views presented there piece together a possible conclusion.  In other words, this is a scriptural detective story, in which we try to understand the historical record presented in Acts better.

Probably the first question to answer is to try and find out who was traveling with Paul.  Well, we know Silas was there because of his frequent mention by name.  We can also gain some clues about the presence of Luke, the physician.  He is the accepted writer of the Book of Acts, and was an eye-witness to many of the accounts given there.  In the 16th chapter we can see in verse 8 – “And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.” that the evangelistic team arrived in Troas.  Who is in this team?  We cannot know for certain from just the Bible scriptures (there are other texts and documents from the time that give further clues), but it appears that the ‘they’ in this verse refers to Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  What?  Timothy?  Yes, Timothy, because back in verses 1 – 3 of this same chapter Paul intends to take Timothy with them.  Is Luke with them at this time?  We think not, but it appears he may have joined them in Troas.  For, after Paul’s night vision we see in verse 10 this phrase – “…immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia…”.  The ‘they’ has now been replaced with ‘we’, signifying that Luke, the author, was with them as they left Troas.  So, now the evangelistic team consists of Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke.  There were possibly others, also, who may have been with them, but we have little scriptural evidence for this.

So, let’s move foward…

In verse 12 the team lands in Phillipi, where, through a set of events lands Paul and Silas before the magistrates, beaten, and finally, thrown into jail.  Where is Timothy?  Well, we have two strong possibilities:

  1. Timothy is actually beaten and thrown into jail, too, but is not named.
  2. Timothy was not a primary target, since Paul and Silas where older, outspoken, and clearly the leaders of the group.

Evidence supports #2, but there is still the possibility of #1.  It is useful to remember that when this was written it was common to only name the significant leaders, or elders, in any given group or gathering.  In fact, it got worse, women were hardly ever named at all.  When numbering the people who were fed by Jesus, you will notice they only counted the men, and the women and children were not counted at all.  Even with that in account we could probably assume that Timothy was not with Paul and Silas in the jail, but we cannot completely dismiss the possibility, even if it is remote.

We know that Timothy was still part of the group, because as we read further we seem him listed in Acts 17:14.  So, although only Paul and Silas are mentioned frequently by name it is good to remember the party had other members, who are not always mentioned by name.

Is any of this important?  Well, yes, and no.  No, it is not significant by itself, and may give us very little more knowledge than we had before.  But, yes, it is important, if it can stimulate you to read more for yourself, and to study the scriptures to find and uncover hidden truths in God’s Word.

We are at the end of this post, but there are other mysteries in the Book of Acts we might cover in future postings.  For example, were you aware of the fact that when Peter is delivered from certain death and arrives at the house where the disciples were praying, that Paul and Barnabas were there also?  Hmmmmm… maybe for a future post…

One Response to “Where in the World is Carmen Timothy?”

  1. Barbara McGuire Says:

    Very interesting blog! No, I’ve never given any of this any thought but you have given much to ponder through your inspiration! Thanks! Blessings…..

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