2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Timothy was Paul’s young preacher boy. He was not the first member of his family to believe in Christ, but neither did he grow up in what we would call a “traditional Christian home.” You see, Timothy’s father did not know the Lord as his Savior, but his mother and grandmother did.
Judging by Paul’s statement in the verse above, we can assume that Lois, Timothy’s grandmother, was the first member of the family to put her faith in Christ for salvation. Her daughter Eunice trusted Christ next. Paul does not mention Timothy’s father at all, but Luke does, briefly.
Acts 16:1 Then he came to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain woman, who was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek.
Luke does not appear to have known the family as well as Paul did, but we do see a little more of the picture. It could be that Timothy’s father had died at the time of Paul’s letter to Timothy, but it is also probable that he was never a believer. Lois and Eunice are both Greek names, so though Eunice is called a Jewess here, she was born a Greek and became a Jewish proselyte at some point at or before she converted to Christianity.
How did Lois and Eunice hear of the Good News? Was it through Paul? After all, he did say, “When I call to remembrance…” not, “When I heard….” How old were they? At what point in her life did Lois turn to Christ, and subsequently her daughter Eunice? Was Eunice already married? I believe she was, since it does not seem likely that she would have married an unbeliever after trusting Christ herself. But perhaps she was a young married woman. Evidently Timothy was very young, or perhaps not yet born, because he seems to have been brought up under the influence of the godly teaching of his mother and grandmother.
Unfeigned means “sincere; without hypocrisy.” Faith means “persuasion; reliance upon Christ for salvation.” These women had ceased to trust in their own works to save them, putting all of their faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, and they were not ashamed to say so. This reminds me of the simple faith of a child who believes that no matter how high she is standing, if she jumps, her daddy will catch her. God wants us all to have unfeigned, child-like faith. That is exactly what Jesus meant when the following scene took place:
Mark 10:13-16 And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.
In other words, don’t try to complicate faith by thinking that you have to clean yourself up first, or do a certain number of good works, or say a certain prayer. No! Just come as you are, and Jesus will receive you. There is nothing you can do to make yourself acceptable before God. Christ has already done it. Just accept what He has done, and you will be saved.
Be An Example
Mothers and grandmothers, what are you doing to influence your children and grandchildren for Christ? Is your husband an unbeliever? That does not matter. Pray for him, certainly, but don’t let him hinder you from bringing your children up in the truth.
You’ve heard of the Proverbs 31 Woman, right? What a great example to live up to! Do you know where Solomon got that from? Not from his father David. He got it from his mother! (Lemuel was her nickname for him.)
Proverbs 31:1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
Teach your children overtly, but when it comes to your unbelieving husband, use a totally different approach. And whatever you do, don’t preach. Let your changed life be your light to him. Show—don’t tell. You’ve heard the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The same is true in marriage. Husbands don’t want to hear the truth; they want to see it in action. Love your husband to Jesus. Respect your husband to Jesus. This is not easy. No one ever said it would be. And not every husband will come to Jesus. But you can guarantee that the husband who is hounded will not come.
1 Peter 3:1-4 Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
The word conversation here does not mean “discourse,” but “manner of living; behavior.” And let me also say that this passage does not teach us to be plain, or that dressing up is sinful. The point is that what’s on the inside is far more important than what’s on the outside. Ladies, you can spend all day primping, but if your attitude is rotten to the core, then your man is not going to see your beauty. Spend time each day with Jesus, and your inner beauty will shine through and cover any blemishes that may appear on the surface. Then take care of your body as well.
Lois and Eunice—two women of whom very little is said, and yet very much can be learned.
Paul admonished Timothy to “Let no man despise your youth, but be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). I believe Timothy did just that because he first saw it in his grandmother and in his mother. He was watching them.
Who is watching you?
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Next week: The Shunnamite Woman
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