Paul refers to a prophecy about Timothy

1 Tim 1:18-19 ESV Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.

Which prophecy is he talking about?

3 Answers 3


What prophecy was about Timothy?

Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

Both the Amplified and the Weust translations use the phrase "prophetic intimations" for the word "prophecies" in the KJV. This might mean that what was prophesied about Timothy was not specific.

Since Paul is citing them as a resource to use in bolstering Timothy for the work under difficulty that is before him, we might surmise that these prophesies were at least in general indicating a favorable report of the work Timothy was to do.

We know that Timothy had received a spiritual gift.

1 Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

This may have been the gift of evangelism.

2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Timothy may have been inclined to put off the work to which he was called and in need of encouragement and exhortation.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

It would seem theat the "prophecies" about Timothy were not from the Old Testament but from the milieu of prophetic activity that was to be found in the early church.

1 Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.


Romans 12:6-8 indicates that Paul saw the ability to prophesy as a gift that one may receive, in the same way as, for example, ministry. In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul says one may receive the gift of wisdom, another knowledge, another faith, another healing, another the working of miracles, to another prophecy and to others the discerning of spirits or speaking in tongues.

In 1 Corinthians 14:3, Paul tells us what, to him, prophecy is: speaking to men for edification, exhortation and comfort. It appears that the prophecy being spoken of 1 Timothy 1:18-19 is mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:14:

" Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery."

Paul did not say that 'prophecy' meant being able to foretell the future, so the laying on of the hands (1 Tim 4:14) was not about this, but only about Timothy's "edification, exhortation and comfort" (1 Corinthians 14:3).


1 Timothy 1:3-5 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on a Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Paul prophesied (exhorted) Timothy to stay in Ephesus and speak truth to those who were being led astray. Remembering how those religious leaders were so zealous about what they believed to be true, I am sure that Timothy was going to need the encouragement found in 1 Timothy 1:18-19. Sharing Truth to those who have been lead astray is very hard at times. They have been convinced of a deviated way from the Truth of the Gospel, and must be won back, through love to the Truth that Jesus came to deliver. Some have been called to suffer to win those back for the Kingdom.

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    Welcome! We're glad you are here, but you seem to be making a connection that isn't obvious, between the words "prophesied" and "exhorted." Could you give a source showing that these two things are considered the same by some Christian group, and that this particular exhortation is in view here? I hope you'll take a minute to review how this site is different from others, and better understand how your answer can be supported. Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 19:48

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