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The Bible is full of many wonderful and powerful women who we can look up to for encouragement and inspiration in our Christian walk. Some of them, like Ruth and Esther, had entire books dedicated to their lives, and some, like Sarah, had chapters written about them that help us know their history. Then there are women we know very little about, yet they made an impact in God’s kingdom. Two of these women are Lois and Eunice, and they inspire us with their stories of legacy and passing on of strong faith to the next generation.
We may not have a lot of information about these women, but what we are sure of is their sincere faith in God which Paul mentions in the New Testament.
Lois was the grandmother of Timothy and Eunice’s mother. Eunice was Timothy’s mother. Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son who served with him in preaching the Gospel (Philippians 2:22).
These women are such a great example of the power of godly influence that has an eternal impact on the lives and futures of their children and grandchildren.
Lois and Eunice’s background
Timothy’s grandmother was Lois. The name Lois means “agreeable” or “desirable,” and it seems she lived up to her name.
She was a devout Jewish woman who had also taught her daughter Eunice and grandson in the Old Testament scriptures. While there isn’t any information about Lois’s husband, considering that her daughter Eunice had a Greek name, she may have been married to a Greek herself.
Eunice in the Bible was Timothy’s mother, a devout Jewish woman like her mother Lois. Eunice is a Greek name that means “conquering well” or “good victory.” Like her mother, Lois, she also lived up to her name, as we see with the good work, she accomplished with her son Timothy.
She had a Greek husband who didn’t believe in God. Being in a mixed marriage means that Eunice’s life was probably not easy in the Jewish community. The Bible discourages us as Christians from marrying non-believers.
Despite the challenges she may have faced, she was intentional about making sure her son Timothy grew up knowing the holy scriptures of the Old Testament.
God had instructed the Jews to pass on his laws to the next generation, and these women sure did that.
Timothy accepted his mother’s and grandmother’s Jewish faith. This was despite Timothy’s father likely not having had many contributions to his spiritual knowledge because he was almost certainly not a Christian.
Timothy’s father may have died, divorced, or separated from, his mother. Regardless of what had happened, the father was not playing a major part in Timothy’s life and left a gap that Apostle Paul later filled. The life of Eunice as a single mother was probably not easy too. She was fortunate to have the grandmother of Timothy actively helping her to raise him and likely living with her too.
Lois and Eunice and their genuine faith in God
The AMP version of 2 Timothy 1:5 refers to it as the sincere faith and unqualified faith in God that these two women had. Unqualified faith is surrendering your entire self to God and his will and purpose in your life. These women also had confident trust in God’s power, wisdom, and goodness.
It’s clear that Apostle Paul had a huge impact on young Timothy’s life, yet he took time to recognize the women in Timothy’s life who had laid a solid foundation of strong faith in God- his mother and grandmother.
Lois and Eunice had both been Timothy’s first teachers of the Holy Scriptures from the Old Testament. This made it possible for Timothy to believe the Good News about Jesus Christ and receive him as Lord in his life.
Young Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek father. The name Timothy is a Greek name that means “honoring God,” “in God’s honor,” or “one who fears God,” and again, we see him living up to that name.
Paul enters Timothy’s life
The family lived in the city of Lystra, which was dominated by Greeks who worshipped the gods of Greece. Apostle Paul and Barnabus’s first missionary journey to this city is mentioned in Acts 14:8-20. When the people in this city heard Paul preaching the Gospel and healing the sick, they thought they were gods, and so they wanted to sacrifice to them. To which Paul refused their sacrifices, but the people still insisted on calling them gods. The Jews came and convinced the people to stone Paul and Barnabus and drag them out of the city, leaving them for dead.
The time Paul spent in Lystra came with challenges indeed, as he writes in his second letter to Timothy.
Since Timothy’s family lived in the city of Lystra, it’s likely that they heard the Gospel during Paul’s first visit and were all converted to the Christian faith. Because of their background and knowledge of the Old Testament holy Scriptures, their hearts were open and prepared to receive Jesus Christ.
The young man Timothy became Paul’s choice for a ministry partner when he returned to the city of Lystra for a second time. Paul may have recognized that Timothy had a special gift of ministry and took him under his wing as a disciple. Paul’s choice in selecting Timothy as a co-worker in the Gospel to travel with him as they established churches and planted new churches shows that he valued his presence.
It was the responsibility of Jewish fathers to oversee the circumcision of their sons, and, since Timothy’s father was Greek, circumcision would not have been his custom. Not being circumcised as all Jewish boys were meant Timothy could not be a full member of the Jewish community.
When Paul came into Timothy’s life, he regarded Timothy as a true son, and the first thing he did was to circumcise him before they began their missionary journey together so that Timothy would not offend the Jews. This would help him become a full member of the Jewish community and gain their trust and respect as he would preach to them.
In Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, he referred to Paul as his beloved son.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
In the first book of Timothy, he referred to him as his own son. While he may not have been his biological child, he was certainly his spiritual son. Timothy and Paul worked together to build and strengthen churches, and later Timothy led the church of Ephesus.
Being half Greek and half Jew and young as well may have brought its own insecurities for Timothy as he started to work in God’s Kingdom. So, we see Paul encouraging him with some of these most well-known passages from the Bible.
Paul recognized that Timothy had a special gift of ministry and encouraged him to trust in God’s power and not let fear stop him from exercising his gift.
Lessons we learn from the lives of Lois and Eunice
So what can we learn from these two noble women?
These women took seriously the Great Commission Christ Jesus gave us.
They obeyed God’s word and understood that he put people in our lives sometimes to disciple us, and some for us to disciple. There is power in training kids at home and being a great example to them. Children’s ministry in the church is very powerful, but our kids should learn about God at home too.
As the Bible says, young children need to be taught God’s word so this can guide them for life.
These women teach us that with God’s help and strong faith, we can raise godly children in an ungodly world. They were devout Jewish women living in a Greek society surrounded by unbelievers, yet they were committed and intentional about instilling the word of God from the holy scriptures inside Timothy’s heart, soul, and mind. And they certainly bore the fruit of their labor.
Lois and Eunice are examples of how godly women can influence a young person’s life by practicing genuine faith in God and bearing the fruit of the spirit. The early church, including the entire church in Ephesus, reaped the benefits of their godly influence. Timothy went on to become a great man and one of the most notable and recognizable workers in the Church, and we know him today because of these women.
Through being faithful in our Christian walk, connecting with God in his word, prayer, and living an obedient, God-fearing life, we too can develop sincere faith in God. As we do this, we will raise kids that will do great things in God’s kingdom.
Strong faith leaves a legacy for the next generation, and we learn that from these women. Having a confident trust in God’s power, goodness, and wisdom is something that you live out in your everyday life. As others around you notice this kind of faith, they are inspired by it, and they also emulate it in their own lives.
The next generation we are to disciples goes beyond our children but other younger family members, and those in the church, community, and workplace we find ourselves in. God wants us to display his mercy and goodness in our everyday lives.
God’s purpose for us is to use our calling and gifts for the generation we live in and the one coming up behind us. That is a big responsibility on our shoulders, yet the Holy Spirit helps us along the way.
As women, we can look down on ourselves and our role and value in God’s eyes. These powerful women show that we are the first teachers of faith in our children’s lives. And even if we are unequally yoked to a husband who is not a believer, just like Eunice, you can still have a godly influence in your child’s life.
In a time when women were rarely mentioned by name, these two made it in because of their impact on God’s kingdom.
Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.” Andy Stanley
You may enjoy this sermon on Lois and Eunice by Aaron Burke
Or one of these recommended resources:
NKJV – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
SV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
NASB – “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation”