Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Timothy Principle

*Not the same edition as my book
Category: Discipleship
Author: Roy Robertson
Rating: 4 stars

While canvassing around the 2010 Book Expo at Mall of Asia, I came across the Navpress stall and decided to browse their shelves for discipleship material. I eventually left with two new books, including this one, The Timothy Principle by Roy Robertson. The book was old (copyright 1986), and looked old-school. The author's name was unfamiliar, but I took my best friend Koji's advice and bought it. Turns out it was a very good buy. Thanks to the Lord!

The complete title of the book is The Timothy Principle: How to Disciple One-On-One (With Training Aids). Down to earth? So is the book, which is divided into 14 short chapters covering about 100 pages, plus 70 pages of "training aids".

Unlike most books, the challenge in this one is not in finishing it, but in applying it. Robertson's points are brief and geared to get you ready for one thing: to glorify Christ by making disciples. Through Scripture references and stories from his own life, he discusses the fundamentals of Christian life and helps readers understand why and how they should pass each of these fundamentals onto younger Christians. At the same time, he provides many useful pedagogical (teaching) tools.

Some of the illustrations Robertson uses are:

  1. "Bridge to Life" - an evangelistic tool still commonly used today (but Robertson's is the best I've seen)
  2. "The Wheel" - covers the essential parts of the Christian life: the word, prayer, obedience, fellowship and evangelism
  3. "The Hand" of Bible disciplines - hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating
  4. "The Prayer Hand" - covers the five aspects of prayer: praise, petition, intercession, thanksgiving and confession

How I Benefitted From the Book

Some time has passed since I finished the book, and the reason I delayed reviewing it was that I wanted to put what I learned to good use, first. I've been experimenting with many of Robertson's practical suggestions, and I can say that they have really helped me develop better-rounded disciplines (incidentally, I'm also using the Navigators' Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan). I've used the Bridge to Life to share the gospel, integrating it with a technique I learned in church, and it turned out pretty well. My cell group also appreciated my use of "The Hand" to illustrate the importance of practicing all five Bible disciplines.

Admittedly, I've had a particularly practical bent to my reading, lately. But Robertson's own down-to-earth approach has helped me tremendously. Hopefully you get a chance to benefit from it, too.

How It Could Be Better

The book could use some updating to help today's readers relate more easily. Also, Robertson criticizes, if only briefly, Calvinistic theology, of which I am an ardent advocate. I think he could have made his point without the criticism, anyway.

Where to look for it: the Navigators Bookstore in Cubao, or Navpress stalls in book expos. If we're personal acquaintances, you're welcome to borrow my copy. The book is certainly available to those outside of the Philippines.

Also check out: the Philippine Navigators' website,
A seminarian's review of The Timothy Principle


  1. Sure, kuya. :D I'll bring it to church this Sunday.

  2. wow kito! praise God that you learned a lot from that book!

    i met him (Roy Robertson) a few years ago when he visited ISOT, 'coz one of his disciples was my classmate....[he passed away na last May 2008]...sobrang ganda ng testimony nya, amazed nga ako kasi...his life was shouting "THERE'S NO RETIREMENT AGE" sa ministry....he was funny and he's still memorizing Scripture even at the age of 80+....a man of God who started well and finished well only by the grace of God [friends sila ni Dawson Trotman-founder ng Navigators]

  3. @ bocobo: Wow, nakausap mo na pala si Robertson. Nice! Kaso, sumakabilang buhay na pala siya. I knew he was old, but I didn't know he was that old. Sabagay, fighter pilot na siya nung WW2. Well, good for him, especially after living such a fruitful life. :)