While most Christians might accurately identify Timothy as an associate of the apostle Paul, they probably conjure up images of Timothy and his relationship with Paul in twenty-first-century terms. In Timothy: Paul's Closest Associate, Bruce J. Malina ventures off the path of modern biography, with its interest in psychological development and introspection, toward a more likely description of Timothy. Malina draws us out of our individualistic worldview and into the first-century Mediterranean world, where introspection was unheard of and collectivism prevailed. Here alone, within a network of friends and associates, can we discover the real Timothy. Moreover, Malina's fascinating explanation of social-scientific group development over generations, while perhaps challenging readers to rethink traditional biblical interpretation, provides readers with fresh and plausible insights about Timothy. These insights lead to a greater appreciation not only for Timothy but, more important, for the gospel of God that Paul enjoined on him to proclaim: the God of Israel raised Jesus from the dead, making him Lord and Messiah.
Bruce J. Malina, STD, is professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Creighton University in Omaha. He is the author of numerous works, including The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology (Atlanta: John Knox, 1981; rev. ed., 1993; Louisville: Westminster/Knox, 3rd rev. ed., 2001); with John J. Pilch, Social Science Commentary on the Letters of Paul (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006); and with John J. Pilch, Social Science Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2008).