There are several books in the New Testament called the pastorals. They were all written by Paul, who served as a mentor to many people in the young days of Christianity. In addition to actually being a mentor to Timothy by writing the letters of 1 and 2 Timothy, Paul also spoke of mentorship, just by different names.
There are three places in 1 and 2 Timothy that discuss mentorship in one way or another.
People Can Teach Others
And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (The Open Bible) – 2 Timothy 2:2
Who makes the best mentor? Obviously, anyone who can be a good mentor if they set their mind to it, but the Bible makes it clear that certain people should always be entrusted with mentorship because they have the greatest abilities. This scripture from Paul directs Timothy to entrust his most faithful to be mentors for others in the church.
This is an important thing about mentorship in any day or age. The people who have been faithful the longest will have the most knowledge, experience, and wisdom to share with the younger people.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean older or younger in age either. Someone who has been in a situation for a long time could be a mentor to someone new to the situation but decades older than the more experienced.
We often associate mentorship with older and younger individuals and we don’t realize that age doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with it.
People have the ability to teach and guide others. This is the whole premise of mentorship. We people, who are all flawed, can help each other when we choose to do so.
Youth Doesn’t Mean Lack of Wisdom
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love in faith, in purity. (The Open Bible) – 1 Timothy 4:12
For some unfortunate reason, the youth of today have a reputation of being unwise and foolish. It would appear from this scripture that the same was true back in Biblical times as well.
Paul says “let no one despise you for your youth.” In other words, even though many people immediately assume a young person is unwise or unintelligent, each person has to transcend this reputation and show those people that age has nothing to do with wisdom. How can this be done? Paul explains it in the rest of the verse.
He says “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” For a young person to show that they have the capability to be a mentor, they must set an example for others to see. A young person will have to go above and beyond to show they are leaders through their thoughts, words, and actions.
People seem to forget that the youth can be mentors as well. In fact, their mentorship can have a massive impact since no one will expect them to be capable of wisdom and good examples.
Not Giving Enemies any Fodder
So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander (The Open Bible). – 1 Timothy 5:14
Whenever someone takes on the role of mentor in any form, they will automatically become a target for many other people. There are several reasons for this. Often, people are more comfortable pulling others down to their own level instead of building themselves up.
Additionally, many people become jealous that someone else has gained a leadership role and is respected in their field or community. As a result, when they see someone working as a mentor, they may do their best to find something wrong.
Consider the football player, Tim Tebow. Tebow never wavered in his Christian faith throughout his college career at the University of Florida and then in his NFL career with the Denver Broncos. Although Tebow didn’t allow his faith to keep him from playing a good game, he served as a mentor to many, many people, especially kids. That’s because he offered something others could look up to that was good, pure, and faithful, which is not the norm in the pro sports world. It seemed that almost immediately, Tim faced criticism from numerous different fronts. People looked for anything negative they could to try and tear him down.
This happens all too often in this world and it apparently happened in Biblical times as well. Paul explains to Timothy that even the younger people, like women who have lost their husbands, can lead a respectable life and set the kind of example that simply cannot be torn down by others.
A mentor does need to walk in a way to ensure nothing about their lives can be made into something bad because others will use those things against them. It is very important for mentors to lead a good life whether they are mentoring at the moment or not because any aspect of their personal life could be subject to scrutiny.
Know that I am sending you the best that God has to offer you and I will see you up, up, and over the top.