It was Howard Hendricks, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, who said, “Every man should have three individuals in his life: a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.” Naturally, this is applicable to both men and women, but for reasons of maintaining moral purity and to avoid temptation, such should be of the same sex. Hendricks continues:
A Paul is an older man who is willing to mentor you, to build into your life. Not someone who’s smarter or more gifted than you, but somebody who’s been down the road. Somebody willing to share his strengths and weaknesses—everything he’s learned in the laboratory of life. Somebody whose faith you’ll want to imitate.
A Barnabas is a soul brother, somebody who loves you but is not impressed by you. Somebody to whom you can be accountable. Somebody who’s willing to keep you honest, who’s willing to say, “Hey, man, you’re neglecting your wife, and don’t give me any guff!”
A Timothy is a younger man into whose life you are building. For a model, read 1 and 2 Timothy. Here was Paul, the quintessential mentor, building into the life of his protg—affirming, encouraging, teaching, correcting, directing, praying.
Do you have these three guys in your life?
*Howard Hendricks, Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, No 1.