Who were Lois and Eunice in the Bible?Lois and Eunice are mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:5 as the grandmother and mother to Timothy, leader of the church in Ephesus. Eunice was a Jewish believer married to a Greek man (Acts 16:1). The role of Timothy's father is a bit unclear. He could have been a non-believing Greek and therefore is not mentioned as having contributed to Timothy's spiritual knowledge. Or he might have died when Timothy was young. Regardless of the situation, Eunice and her mother (or perhaps mother-in-law), Lois, ensured that Timothy knew the Jewish Scriptures. In 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul writes to Timothy that "from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." Paul credits Lois's and Eunice's godly influence in teaching the Scriptures to Timothy as the groundwork that enabled Timothy to have a "sincere faith" of his own (2 Timothy 1:5).
Despite this faithful upbringing from his mother and grandmother, because Timothy's father was a Greek, he did not get to participate in every Jewish ritual. Acts 16:3 records that Timothy had not been circumcised on the eighth day after birth like other Jewish boys. In order to gain the trust and respect of the Jews in that area, Paul circumcised Timothy as a young man. Paul took on the role of spiritual father to Timothy. Paul lovingly calls Timothy "my true child in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:2).
While Paul certainly taught, mentored, and encouraged Timothy in the faith, he is quick to call out Lois and Eunice by name as the ones who began Timothy's legacy of faith. He says, the "faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well" (2 Timothy 1:5). Lois's and Eunice's example of exercising a sincere faith of their own and then sharing their faith and teaching Scripture to Timothy should be an encouragement to every mother and grandmother. Their commitment to raising Timothy to know God's Word gave him the foundation he needed to become a godly influence in Ephesus.
These women's example shows that believing family members have a responsibility to raise their descendants to know God's Word. A grandmother has the opportunity to instill the groundwork for faith in her grandchildren. That responsibility does not rest solely with the parents. Furthermore, Eunice's example shows that a mother should not defer the spiritual health of her children to a non-believing father. Paul's example further encourages us to take on the responsibility of mentoring those who may not have godly family members to follow.
Ultimately, Timothy was not the only person to benefit from the godly influence of his mother, his grandmother, and his spiritual father, but the entire church in Ephesus reaped the benefits of their godly influence. Paul was right to recognize Lois and Eunice by name for their part in establishing Timothy in the faith. Perhaps one day, other mothers and grandmothers of other children will be recognized for their faithful influence as well.
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