Yesterday I preached from 2 Timothy 3:10-17 as we focused on the importance of godly mothers. When we read the New Testament, one name continues to resurface in many different chapters in relation to many different churches in various different contexts. That name is Timothy. Review the record of Timothy’s name in the New Testament:
- In Romans 16:21, Paul refers to Timothy as his fellow worker.
- In 2 Corinthians 1:1, Paul refers to Timothy as his brother in the faith and almost as if he is the co-author of the letter.
- In Philippians 1:1, we see that the church at Philippi received the letter from Paul and Timothy.
- In Colossians 1:1, we see that the church at Colossae received their letter from Paul the apostle and Timothy—their brother in the faith.
- In 1 Thessalonians 1:1 and 2 Thessalonians 1:1, the church at Thessalonica received their letters from Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
- The letter to Philemon was sent from Paul and Timothy.
- Paul sent Timothy to serve the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 4:17).
- Paul sent Timothy to serve the church at Philippi (Phil. 2:19).
- Paul sent Timothy to serve the church at Thessalonica (1 Thess 3:2).
- Perhaps the most difficult of assignments was when Timothy served as the pastor of the church at Ephesus (Eph. 1:3).
So, how did this young man become the traveling companion and assistant to history’s most influential church planter and missionary? Was it that Paul merely chose one young man randomly from Lystra to accompany him or was it based on what he saw and heard regarding Timothy’s life? It seems clear that it was based on the latter rather than the former. How was Timothy raised and prepared for such a role? Be sure of this one thing—it was not by accident.
In Acts 14, we see Paul and Barnabas traveling through Galatia where they led Eunice and Lois to Christ. These women became faithful followers of Jesus who in turn began the process of discipling Timothy in the faith. They labored in the sacred writings of the Old Testament—building Timothy up in the faith. However, they lived out their faith in the presence of Timothy. Their faith was not merely a Sunday morning faith, it was consistent and had the aroma of genuineness in the presence of a young and impressionable boy.
Paul mentions Eunice and Lois and commends them for their faith in his final letter on record before his martyrdom. In 2 Timothy 1:5, writing to encourage Timothy in the faith, he reminds him of his mother and grandmother by writing, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” Timothy had a faithful example in Paul—who was like a father in the faith to him. Timothy’s own father was an unbelieving Greek, so Eunice raised him in the faith without the help of her husband, although she certainly had the assistance of Lois. Timothy’s faith was birthed on the firm foundation of the gospel in the presence of his mother and grandmother who were unwavering in the faith—persevering to the end just like Paul.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 – But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Not only did Eunice and Lois live out their faith in the presence of young Timothy—they also taught him the Word of God. Interestingly enough, Paul is often criticized in modern times regarding his firm complementarian position for leadership in the home and in the church, although it’s rooted in God’s creation and remains God’s plan for our present day. Paul was a bit of a radical for his day as he championed the idea that women need to be learners—able to learn and teach the Word of God to the younger generation (both boys and girls). We see this developed in Titus 2.
Consider the fact that Eunice and Lois discipled Timothy in the sacred writings (Old Testament). They would read a passage, if they had access to any scroll, or quote it by memory to him. They wouldn’t merely teach moralism or moralistic tales to the young boy—instead they would point to Abraham and then connect the dots through his covenant promise to Jesus Christ. They would teach about Noah, but they wouldn’t just talk about animals in the boat—they would deal with the pitch, the wrath of God, and the redemption that comes in Jesus Christ. They would tell Timothy about Moses leading the people out of Egypt, but they would point to a greater Moses who would come to save his people from their sins. They would teach about Joshua and the Promised Land while pointing to a greater rest in Jesus. They would teach about King David and then point to a greater King who would rule with righteousness and justice. They would teach about Isaiah’s prophecy while pointing to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away our sin as he was crushed by the Father.
Consider the fact that far too many young people hear moralisms from the Bible only to go off to the university and have their faith tried by fire. If our young people are unprepared—their superficial moralistic faith will be scorched. We must labor to teach the true gospel—just as Eunice and Lois did as they raised Timothy for the glory of God. Andreas Kostenberger once said, “Motherhood is not disparaged in biblical teaching; contrary to many in modern society, it is held up as the woman’s highest calling and privilege.” Be encouraged mother, God is using you.
God chose Timothy before the foundation of the world by his electing love and sovereign grace in Jesus. However, he also planned to give him Eunice and Lois to disciple him in the faith before he went out with the apostle Paul on mission. Praise God for faithful mothers.