Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, ‘After I have been there, I must also see Rome.’ And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.”
In Romans 16:23 Erastus is described as a chamberlain or a steward, which means he was a member of the city council of Corinth. Erastus was a Corinthian believer and along with Timothy they came to Paul at Ephesus to report a disturbing situation in Corinth which resulted in the writing of I Corinthians. So, Paul remained in Ephesus after the departure of Timothy and Erastus for this purpose.
Timothy was the son of a Greek unbeliever and Jewish believer. (Acts 16:1-3) He was raised by his grandmother Lois, who was also a believer, and his mother Eunice. (II Timothy 1:5) Both were apparently spiritually mature believers and passed their knowledge to Timothy. Consequently Timothy had a fantastic spiritual heritage. This spiritual heritage came as a result of two faithful women and gives us a perfect illustration of the role of motherhood in a faithful Christian family. The first woman mentioned as a part of Timothy’s spiritual upbringing is his grandmother, Lois. And the second woman mentioned is his mother Eunice. Paul made a statement about these two women that gives us great insight into their Christian character. In II Timothy 1:5 Paul recognizes the “sincere faith” of these two women. The Greek word for sincere is “anupokritos,” which means without hypocrisy, used originally to describe an actor behind a mask playing a part (not the real person). The Greek word for faith is “pistis,” which refers to the body of doctrine that is believed.
These women had a genuine faith, they were not simply “going through the motions” of being believers. They had genuine doctrine in contrast to false doctrine, in contrast to evil. Paul’s pleasant memory was that Timothy had maximum doctrine in his soul like his mother and grandmother and that he had recovered from a couple of failures along his spiritual journey.
In II Timothy 1:5 we have a Greek idiom used for emphasis. The same doctrine which made Timothy a mature believer first resided in his grandmother Lois, which Paul recognized in Timothy. Here was a woman and mother who many years ago had believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only had she believed but she had persisted in learning and applying doctrine after her salvation. She reached spiritual maturity, which was the basis for the perpetuation of a great spiritual heritage. Her daughter Eunice was taught doctrine from early childhood and also became a spiritually mature believer. Paul is not ashamed of Timothy or his wonderful spiritual heritage. The best thing parents can leave their children is Bible doctrine, but to be effective this doctrine must be resident in the soul of the individual believer.
The grandmother, Lois, as a mature believer had the privilege of sharing what she knew about the Lord with her daughter Eunice who became a mature believer as a result. This is the perfect demonstration of the role of motherhood in a Christian family. Eunice did make a bad marriage decision to marry a Greek whose name is never recorded in the Bible. However, her bad marriage decision had two benefits: 1) God turned the cursing into blessing and 2) she had a son whom she called Timothy, which means “he who honors God” who made a huge impact for Christ. She named him Timothy because she knew the principle of Proverbs 22:6 — “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Therefore, she dedicated herself to properly training her child in spiritual matters.
Eunice trained Timothy in doctrine. Timothy became a believer of his own volition and advanced in a remarkable way. His mother, like her mother, claimed Proverbs 22:6. Here is one of the most beautiful patterns of grace that helps to explain a great concept of history. Three generations related physically — grandmother, mother and son. But a thousand times more important than the genes passed down was the spiritual heritage for three generations. We have three generations going from saving grace to living grace.
Timothy was one of the most faithful of Paul’s ministry teams. We have seen him several times in our study of the Book of Acts. His like-mindedness toward grace and doctrine made him an invaluable fellow-worker with Paul. Timothy is called the spiritual son of Paul because he was a faithful student of the doctrine taught by the apostle.. Timothy traveled with Paul, suffering often at the hands of the Jews for His faith. (Philippians 2:19-22) Eventually Timothy became the pastor of the church at Ephesus. The books of I and II Timothy were written by Paul to this young pastor as further instruction and warning of those who were attempting to pervert the Gospel of Christ and teach false doctrine.
He was ordained to the ministry. (I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 4:5) He went to Philippi with the apostle, along with Luke. (Acts 16:12) He remained to supervise the main Philippian church. Timothy did a great job in Philippi. Those who were there responded well to his teaching ministry. He was left behind a second time with Silas at Berea. (Acts 17:14) Since the Bereans were positive to doctrine, again for the second time he had a great ministry. Having joined Paul at Athens he next went to Thessalonica, according to I Thessalonians 3:2. From there he was sent to Corinth, and for the first time he came up against very negative believers in reversionism, which he apparently had a difficult time dealing with. Later he had a similar problem in Ephesus. Through all the trials and tribulations Timothy continued to advance in his spiritual life and became an important part of the early Church.
You cannot force doctrine on a child; they have to learn it for themselves. What you must do however is expose your children to the truth of God’s Word and live that truth before them every day. Obviously Lois and Eunice understood this principle. Eunice named her son Timothy because she was going to emphasize his spiritual heritage. She apparently understood the importance of doctrine in her own life and therefore decided to name her son Timothy because she concluded that only through doctrine resident in the soul and applied properly can there ever be happiness in this life. So grandmother Lois had the privilege of seeing the fulfillment of Proverbs 22:6, for when Eunice was old she did not depart from her spiritual heritage that she had received from her mother Lois and she passed it along to her son.
Fathers and mothers who have been faithful in teaching doctrine to their children, training them in the importance of learning and applying Bible doctrine, getting them under a doctrinal pastor when they are young, should never be discouraged when their children appear to go “astray” for a while. When their children begin to resist doctrine, the parents with doctrine in their souls will never let their children’s bad behavior ruin the parents’ spiritual lives. They will remain faithful as a testimony to their “wayward” children while continuing to claim the promise of Proverbs 22:6.
II Timothy 1:5 and II Timothy 3:14-15 are illustrations of Proverbs 22:6 — “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9 outlines the mechanics of how to train up a child – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.
And he will have no lack of gain.
All the days of her life.
And works with willing hands in delight.
She brings her [household’s] food from far away.
And gives food to her household
And assigns tasks to her maids.
With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
And makes her arms strong.
Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for what lies ahead].
And her hands hold the spindle [as she spins wool into thread for clothing].
And she reaches out her filled hands to the needy.
For all in her household are clothed in [expensive] scarlet [wool].
Her clothing is linen, pure and fine, and purple [wool].
When he sits among the elders of the land.
And supplies sashes to the merchants.
And she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared].
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction].
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying,
But you excel them all.
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.
And let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city].