What My Mother Taught Me as a Child

Mother’s Day 2020 for many across the globe is unique. We are still living in the middle of California’s Safe at Home order implemented across the state intended to slow the spread of COVID19. Our situation is similar to how many across the globe are living. So this makes for an interesting Mother’s Day, but the holiday does have me thinking about much about biblical motherhood.

One of Scripture’s common examples of biblical motherhood are seen in Timothy’s mother and grandmother. Paul tells Timothy that his sincere faith was seen in both his grandmother (Lois) and his mother (Eunice) (2 Tim 1:5). Paul possessed a confidence in the faith of these two women. We know nothing of when these women became Christians. We do not know which one got saved first, but this passage does indicate certain things we can know.

Godly Mothers Believe in Christ. First, we know that their faith is “sincere.” Paul uses the sincerity of Timothy’s faith as a parallel for what was first seen in his mother and grandmother. We could say that their faith was authentic. Here, the idea of authentic faith refers to the constant and abiding belief in Christ. It does not point to the objective truths and doctrine of Christianity (e.g., the deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement, resurrection), but to the whole-hearted reliance upon Christ by the individual.

Godly Mothers Grow in Grace. Second, we also know that the faith “dwelt” in them. This wording is important because this term for “dwelt” is a favorite of Paul’s. He uses it to describe the dwelling of the Spirit in believers (Rom 8:11, 2 Tim 1:14); the dwelling of the word of Christ in believers (Col 3:16); the dwelling of God among people (2 Cor 6:16); and here the dwelling of faith (2 Tim 1:5).[1] This indicates the genuine nature of their saving faith, it was a faith that was internalized but was showing in their lives. One who possesses the Spirit, word of Christ, and lives among God’s people will show the fruits of saving faith.

Godly Mothers are Women of Conviction. Third, by looking at Acts 16 we know that Timothy’s mother was a woman of biblical conviction. We do not know anything about Timothy’s grandfather, but we do know his father was not a believer (Acts 16:1). Some have argued that Timothy’s father may have already passed away.[2] Regardless, whether Timothy’s father was deceased or an unbeliever, he was raised in the truths of the faith by his mother and grandmother, “You [Timothy], however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:14–15).

This means that Lois and Eunice were strong women of conviction. Eunice raised Timothy up in the Lord despite having an unbelieving husband; or despite living as a widow. That takes courage, strength, wisdom, intellect, humility—it takes godliness.

My Grandmothers and Mothers. While I never knew her as a child, I am grateful for for my mother-in-law. She raised my wife to be the woman that she is today! She still works as a nurse and cares for my twin brother-in-laws as they make their way through college. She is a wonderful picture of a mom who loves and cares for her children.

In many ways I am blessed to say I can resonate with Timothy’s childhood. I know there are many in the world who have not had this privilege, but I am grateful for my grandmothers and mom.

My paternal grandmother is still alive. She raised many kids and has a host of grandchildren. As a child, I can remember spending my Saturday’s at my grandmother’s house where I’d play with my cousins and the entire family would gather for singing a hymn, reading a passage, and a family devotional. I can remember my grandmother often cooking food for all of us to eat.

My maternal grandmother lived with us for several years. I can vividly remember her making me meals, watching me play, and forcing me to read her Tagalog Bible to her (even though I couldn’t understand much of it). She passed away in 2018 and I miss her dearly.

My mother lives a few miles away and is living the retired life. She is industrious (worked as a nurse for 20+ years), serious, and fun all at the same time. She also made it a point for my sister and I to be immersed in Christianity. She bought us Psalty tapes and kids Bibles, made sure we went to church in our Sunday best, and sent us to Christian school. I am grateful for the spiritual upbringing I had under her care. As an adult I see much more of its value than when I did when I was a kid.

Praise God for all the godly mothers and grandmothers. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

[1] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, WBC, 471.

[2] Some have pointed out that Luke writes, “but his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:1, emphasis added). Some have also argued that Paul’s omission of Timothy’s father in this passage indicates he had already passed away [I. Howard Marshall, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, ICC, 695; Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 472.].

 

 

 

 


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