“When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” (II Timothy 1:5, NKJV)
Do you ever want to know more about the story behind the story as you read the Bible? Sometimes my curiosity has me scrambling to find other passages that might tell me more. That’s the way I feel when I read about Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of Timothy. They are only mentioned by name in this one verse, but other passages give us hints of the character of these two women.
During Paul’s second missionary journey, he met Timothy, “the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek” (Acts 16:1, NKJV). The following verse describes Timothy as “well reported of by the brethren.” This was the beginning of Paul’s investment in the ministry of the younger man. Their relationship grew until Timothy became like a son to him. But Paul credited the young man’s genuine faith back to the teaching he received at home from his mother and grandmother. These two women showed him what genuine faith looked like and passed it on.
“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 3:14-15, NKJV)
The only thing we know about Timothy’s father is that he was a Greek. The implication is that he was not a believer. Some scholars think he may have been deceased. But what we do know is that mom instilled the Scriptures into her son from an early age. Since his father did not take spiritual leadership in the home, she took responsibility for teaching Timothy God’s Word. He became a man of genuine faith because she made sure he had a strong foundation to build upon.
What is this “genuine faith” that II Timothy 1:5 mentions? The King James Version calls it unfeigned faith. Other translations use sincere faith or unhypocritical faith. It’s a faith that is honest and authentic. There is no pretense, no hypocrisy. It’s a faith that lives by its convictions. Its words and actions match.
How does genuine faith look when it’s lived out at home? We could make a long list of dos and don’ts. Do keep a calm spirit. Don’t criticize others. Don’t gossip or backbite. Do fill your home with prayer. We could fill the page with various ways to live our faith, but the simplest way to define it is this: always be Christ-like. It simply means we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit wherever we go—at home, at church, in a restaurant, driving our car. We show love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) regardless of the circumstances we face. It means being completely real and transparent.
I really don’t know Eunice’s full story. Was her husband kind or cruel? Was she wealthy or poor? Was she bubbly and full of laughter or quiet and reserved? While I know nothing of her circumstances, I do know this godly woman lived her faith at home in such an amazing way that her son developed into a godly man and minister of the gospel.
I don’t know what you face each day either. I do know that whatever life brings your way, you can demonstrate genuine faith wherever you go. Let your life be a witness of God’s amazing grace to all you meet. Be real everywhere you go. You will touch lives in a profound way when you live your faith.