Lois and Eunice
Passing Down a Godly Heritage
There is not a lot of information in Scripture regarding Lois and Eunice, but what we do know is an encouragement to all mothers who want to raise their children to love God. Lois and Eunice were a mother/daughter team that raised up a man of God, Timothy, who was the Apostle Paul’s most trusted companion and disciple. It is only in Acts 1:6 and 2 Timothy 1:5 that we find record of these women, but what a strong commendation the Apostle Paul gives to them. In 2 Timothy 1:5, the Paul writes: “ I have been 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.” These women were responsible for passing their faith on to the next generation.
First, lets look at Lois. The name Lois means “agreeable” or “desirable”. And she appears to have lived up to her name! The Apostle Paul praises her in his second letter to Timothy as one who passed on the mantle of faith to both her daughter and her grandson. While their are numerous grandmothers mentioned in the Bible, 2 Timothy is the only place where the term “grandmother” is actually used.
Lois was a devout Jewess who had obviously instructed her daughter and grandson in the Old Testament Scriptures. The Scripture is silent about Lois’ husband, yet we do know that she gave her daughter a Greek name, which might indicate that he himself was Greek. The family lived in Lystra, among a people who worshipped the gods of Greece, yet she faithfully raised a daughter who loved God and helped raised a grandson who shared that love.
As we can tell, Eunice was also a devout Jewess before coming to Christ. She has a Greek name that is derived from the name Nike, which was the Greek goddess of victory. Her name actually means “conquering well” and was a name expressive of a good or happy victory. Eunice, too, lived up to her name. She had victory over the immoral society in which she lived by raising a devout son. We learn from Scripture, in Acts 16:1 that Eunice had married a Greek man, a gentile, therefore an unbeliever. To them was born a son, whom they named Timothy. Nothing else is said about him, so many assume that he was dead by the time Eunice met the Apostle Paul.
The family lived at Lystra, and it is likely that during Paul’s first visit to that city that Lois, Eunice, and Timothy were all converted to the Christian faith. There is no doubt that their devout Jewish faith and knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures prepared their hearts to hear the words of Paul regarding eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Coming to Lystra on his second missionary tour, Paul found the young man highly spoken of by the little group of Christians in that city. He was of such evident ability and promise that Paul made him a missionary helper. When years later, Paul lay in the prison at Rome awaiting trial and likely execution, he writes his second letter to his beloved helper, calling to remembrance the faith Timothy had shown, and reminding him that this same faith was first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Again, he says, to Timothy, “From a child, you have know the holy Scriptures”.
The compelling feature of the Scriptural record of Eunice and Lois is their religious influence on Timothy. Since his father is not mentioned in connection with Timothy’s faith, it is apparent that these two godly women trained him up so that he both knew and loved God’s word. The name Timothy means “one who fears God”, a name obviously picked by his faithful mother. Grandmother and mother had no doubt been the teachers of his youth. His fitness to be the companion and co-worker of Paul’s finds its explanation largely in the home training and pious example given him by these two noble women. It was from them also that the young Timothy derived his first impressions of Christian truth; for Paul calls to remembrance the earnest faith which first dwelt in them.
The record of Timothy demonstrates the value of positive Christian training in the home. Lois and Eunice took the responsibility to pass on their faith very seriously and as a result they raised up a young man to become a servant of Christ. For this, they have gone down in history as outstanding mothers and great women of faith.