Finding a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy {Biblical Mentorship in Marriage}

By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer

Biblical Mentorship in Marriage

Photo by DrGBB

Years ago, my pastor challenged me to always have a Paul, Barnabas and Timothy in my life.

  • I needed an older Christian to act as a Paul to teach me spiritual truths and help train me in godliness.
  • I needed a Barnabas – a Christian with a similar level of spiritual maturity – to encourage me.
  • And I needed a younger Christian to act as a Timothy so I could pour my life into the individual as a teacher, trainer, and friend.

Over the years, many women have stepped in as Pauls, Barnabases, and Timothys. I’m thankful for each of them and how God has used them so uniquely and powerfully to mold me.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut/

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut/

What about marriage?

Throughout my marriage, I’ve recognized the need for couples that can fill the same Paul, Barnabas and Timothy roles.

  • My husband and I need to be mentored by older Christian couples who have walked the road of faithful, biblical marriages. Even if we just meet informally, we can still glean practical marriage advice from a godly Paul couple who has decades of marriage experience.
  • We love having Barnabas couples. Life can be so much more enjoyable when you’re sharing it with good friends. And we’ve found that believers who are experiencing a similar life stage can really spur us on toward a life – and marriage – of godliness.
  • We actively need to seek a Timothy couple. All sorts of young, married couples could use a little help from a husband and wife who have been in their shoes before.

All three kinds of couples can serve as an encouragement for the life found in 1 Timothy 4:12: “Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”

Your turn

Do you have a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy in your own life? What have your experiences been like? Do you have an older couple, younger couple, and a couple of a similar stage helping you with marriage? If not, start praying that the Lord would bring the right people into your life – and be bold to take the initiative and start to get to know people who might make a good fit.


  1. Great post! We’re in a small group with a few Barnabas couples. It’s awesome to have people to “do life” with! At different times in our marriage, we’ve had Paul and Timothy couples, but nothing consistent due to schedules, moves, etc… Thanks for the reminder that ALL are needed!

  2. Well written post. Highly recommended.


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