|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-5 The promise of eternal life to believers in Christ Jesus, is the leading subject of ministers who are employed according to the will of God. The blessings here named, are the best we can ask for our beloved friends, that they may have peace with God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Whatever good we do, God must have the glory. True believers have in every age the same religion as to substance. Their faith is unfeigned; it will stand the trial, and it dwells in them as a living principle. Thus pious women may take encouragement from the success of Lois and Eunice with Timothy, who proved so excellent and useful a minister. Some of the most worthy and valuable ministers the church of Christ has been favoured with, have had to bless God for early religious impressions made upon their minds by the teaching of their mothers or other female relatives.
Verse 5. - Having been reminded of for when I call to remembrance, A.V.; in thee for that in thee, A.V. Unfeigned (ἀνυποκρίτου); as 1 Timothy 1:5 (see also Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Peter 1:22; James 3:17). Having been reminded, etc. (see preceding note). Thy grandmother Lois. Μάμμη properly corresponds exactly to our word "mamma." In 4 Macc. 16:9, Οὐ μάμμη κληθεῖσα μακαρισθήσομαι, "I shall never be called a happy grandmother," and here (the only place where it is found in the New Testament) it has the sense of "grandmother." It is hardly a real word, and has no place in Stephens' 'Thes.,' except incidentally by comparison with πάππα. It has, however, a classical usage. The proper word for a "grandmother" is τήθη. Lois; a name not found elsewhere, possibly meaning "good," or "excellent," from the same root as λωί'τερος and λώι'στος. This and the following Eunice are examples of the frequent use of Greek or Latin names by Jews. Eunice, we know from Acts 16:1, was a Jewess and a Christian, as it would seem her mother Lois was before her.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee,.... This caused him to give thanks to God for it, whose gift it is and made him the more desirous of seeing one, who was a true believer, and an Israelite indeed. This is to be understood of the grace of faith, which was implanted in the heart of Timothy by the Spirit of God, and was genuine and sincere; he believed with the heart unto righteousness; his faith worked by love to God, and Christ, and to his people, and was attended with good works;
which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois: who was his grandmother, not by his father's side, who was a Greek, but by his mother's side; and so the Syriac version renders it, "thy mother's mother"; who, though she might not know that the Messiah was come in the flesh, and that Jesus of Nazareth was he, yet believed in the Messiah to come, and died in the faith of it, and in a dependence upon righteousness and salvation by him; and so her faith was of the same kind with Timothy's; and which dwelt in her, and continued with her to the last:
and thy mother Eunice: who was a Jewess, and a believer in Christ, Acts 16:1 though her name is a Greek one, and so is her mother's name; hers signifies "good victory", and is the name of one of the Nereides, the daughters of Oceanus (a); and her mother's signifies "better", or "more excellent". She lived, it seems, if her mother did not, to know that Christ was come, and that Jesus, the son of Mary, was he; and she believed in him for righteousness, life, and salvation; and in her this faith dwelt and abode to the end.
And I am persuaded that in thee also; not only that faith was in him, and that that was unfeigned, but that it also dwelt, remained, and would continue with him to the end of life; for true faith is an abiding grace, it is a gift of God, that is irrevocable, and without repentance; Christ is the author and finisher of it, and prays that it fail not, whose prayers are always heard; it is begun, carried on, and performed by the power of God, and has salvation inseparably connected with it. Now when the same faith is said to dwell, first in his grandmother, and in his mother, and in him, this is not to be understood as if this grace was conveyed from one to another by natural generation; for grace comes not that way, only sin; men are not born of blood, but of God; but the sense is, that the same like precious faith was obtained by one, as by another. This was a rich family mercy, and deserved special notice, as being a thing uncommon, and required a particular thanksgiving; and is designed as a motive and encouragement to stir up Timothy to the exercise of that grace, and every other gift God had bestowed upon him, as in the following verse.
(a) Hesiod. Theogonia, Apollodorus de Deor. Orig. l. 1. p. 5. Vid. Theocrit. Idyll. 13.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. When I call to remembrance—This increased his "desire to see" Timothy. The oldest manuscripts read, "When I called to remembrance"; implying that some recent incident (perhaps the contrasted cowardice of the hypocrite Demas, who forsook him) had reminded him of the sincerity of Timothy's faith.
faith that is in thee—Alford translates, "that was in thee." He remembers Timothy's faith in the past as a fact; its present existence in him is only matter of his confident persuasion or hope.
which—Greek, "such as."
dwelt—"made its dwelling" or abode (Joh 14:23). The past tense implies they were now dead.
first—before it dwelt in thee. She was the furthest back of the progenitors of Timothy whom Paul knew.
mother Eunice—a believing Jewess; but his father was a Greek, that is, a heathen (Ac 16:1). The faith of the one parent sanctified the child (2Ti 3:15; 1Co 7:14). She was probably converted at Paul's first visit to Lystra (Ac 14:6). It is an undesigned coincidence, and so a mark of truth, that in Ac 16:1 the belief of the mother alone is mentioned, just as here praise is bestowed on the faith of the mother, while no notice is taken of the father [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ].
and—Greek, "but," that is, notwithstanding appearances [Alford].
persuaded that—it dwells, or it shall dwell "in thee also." The mention of the faith of his mother and grandmother is designed as an incentive to stir up his faith.
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