It would be well to look at the Apostle Paul as a spiritual father.

* 1 Timothy 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto TIMOTHY, MY OWN SON IN THE FAITH: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”

* Titus 1:1-4, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; To TITUS, MINE OWN SON AFTER THE COMMON FAITH: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.”

Both Timothy and Titus were traveling companions of Paul at times. Often, a person’s spiritual father is thought of as the one who led that person to the Lord. That is not the case with Timothy. We read of Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:15, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” He had known the scriptures since he was a child. Where did he hear God’s Word? In 2 Timothy 1:4-5 Paul says to Timothy, “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” It was through the testimony of Timothy’s mother and grandmother that he came to know the Lord Jesus as savior. However, it was Paul who helped Timothy learn and grow by teaching him God’s Word. Paul tells him in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Paul had mentored Timothy and now he exhorts Timothy to teach and mentor others.

Paul speaks glowingly of Titus, also. He calls Titus “my brother” (2 Corinthians 2:13), and “my partner and fellowhelper” (2 Corinthians 8:23). He also refers to Titus as his son. Both Timothy and Titus were called sons in relation to their spiritual lives.

A spiritual father can be anyone who has gone before you in the faith, has learned and gained experience, and takes the time to share that with you. It doesn’t have to be a pastor, bishop, or anyone of official capacity. One wonderful thing about the body of Christ, is that we are able to minister to one another as the Lord leads. We should thank the Lord for our mentors or ‘spiritual fathers’. I have had several mentors in my life and am so thankful for their time, teaching, and example.

Hebrews 13:7 instructs us, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” (NASB). If you have had a loving, patient, knowledgeable spiritual father(s)…thank the Lord for that precious gift. As you grow and mature in the Lord and are able to become a spiritual father to others, remember those who mentored you. Consider how they lived as they walked by faith. Imitate their lives of faith. Be the example to others that your spiritual fathers were to you. (308.3)