What do we know about Timothy’s background and his family, more specifically, his mother and grandmother?
- Then came he [Paul] to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek (Acts 16:1-3).
- For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church (1 Cor. 4:17).
- But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. 22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel ( 2:19-22).
- Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto (1 Thess. 3:1-3).
Lois is the only woman mentioned in the Bible specifically as a grandmother. She was Eunice’s mother and Timothy’s grandmother. Lois and Eunice are mentioned in only one scripture. It’s a quick compliment and oh so important. “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” (2 Tim. 1:5). This verse can be read as a waterfall, “dwelt first in your grandmother Lois”, then “your mother Eunice”, then “persuaded is in you also”. Lois’s faith must have been an encouragement to Eunice since she was married to an unbelieving Greek.
Paul is the inspired writer of this second letter to Timothy and he has shown us that even one parent, mother or grandmother, can have a profound effect on a child’s faith. Lois and her daughter and grandson lived in a Gentile nation. Timothy’s father was not a Jew nor was he a Christian, and yet Lois and Eunice taught young Timothy well so that he was brought up in the faith. When Christianity was presented to them, they were well grounded and ready to receive it. It must have been a difficult task being surrounded by a nation of unbelievers and in a house where the father was of a different religious heritage. These women made it work and raised Timothy to be a faithful companion to Paul and became one of the early ministers of the Church.
This mother and daughter pair definitely made a difference. Even though the influence of Lois upon Eunice isn’t specifically mentioned, we know that it was there for them to have such a strong sway over Timothy. The power of such influence in a child’s life is greater than any person can imagine. It seems obvious that Lois must have influenced Eunice or she would not have been able to influence Timothy.
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