When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is
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 F1; 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.
F1 Hesiod. Theogonia, Apollodorus de Deor. Orig. l. 1. p. 5. Vid. Theocrit. Idyll. 13.