Timothy's Faith

by John lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Tom Lowe

Timothy’s Faith

Scripture 2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

5. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Even though fathers were responsible for their son’s education, Judaism and Greco-Roman aristocrats wanted mothers to be knowledgeable so they could impart knowledge to their young children (This is true even though Judaism did not provide women with advanced education, in the law and even though Greco-Roman society generally reserved advanced, i.e., rhetorical and philosophical, training for men). Until the age of seven a Roman boy’s mother was his main formative influence. For those with access to it, Jewish Scripture education ideally began by the age of 5 or 6, although this education always emphasized memorization and recitation more than reading skills. The “faith” of Timothy’s mother and grandmother was Jewish (Jewish Christian); by the time Paul met them (Acts 16:1, 3). Those without a living, religious father also learned from grandmothers if they were still living.
Most education included corporal discipline, but some ancient education experts stressed instead encouraging the child, making him or her feel successful, provoking competition and making learning enjoyable. Ancient writers differed on whether public instruction or home schooling was better, provided the former held classes small enough to permit private instruction.
Timothy was a child of a mixed marriage. His mother was Jewish, and his father was a Greek (Acts 16:1) so Eunice, whose name means “Good Victory” had not practiced the orthodox Jewish faith. When Paul says that Timothy’s faith ‘first lived in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice,’ he may be referring to the Jewish faith, which gave Timothy a solid foundation for receiving the message about Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. Or it may mean that Lois and Eunice first believed Paul’s gospel, and then passed that faith on to Timothy (Acts 16:1 refers to Timothy‘s mother as a ‘Jewish woman who was a believer’, meaning she was a Jewish Christian.) In either case, Timothy had a solid religious up bringing that centered on God’s Word. These two women had seen to it that Timothy was taught the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15); and this was great preparation for the hearing of the Gospel. The prayers, witness and faith of this religious mother and grandmother were key factors in the spiritual development of Timothy (see 1 Tim. 2:15). When Paul came to Lystra on his first missionary journey, that was the occasion for Timothy’s conversion. When Paul returned on the second journey, he enlisted Timothy into Christian service. Paul calls Timothy’s faith sincere, in other words, not hypocritical (1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:5). This kind of sincere faith would have stood in great contrast to those who had not stood by Paul in his most difficult days (1:15, 4:10, 16). Paul watched Timothy’s life and service during those years they were together
Lois reminds me of my own grandmother, who lived to the grand old age of 95. I wish I had time to tell you of the many happy times I spent with her. I will not do that now, but I will tell you that I stayed with her many times. We always read the Bible and prayed together. She was the first to tell me about God and teach the gospel to me. The time we spent together would later lead me to accepting Jesus as my savior.

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