Posted in theology

Lois and Eunice, Euodia and Syntyche 

By Elizabeth Prata

Depiction of Eunice and Timothy by Henry Lejeune.

Mamas. They are beloved in the south. I’m sure they are beloved elsewhere of course, but daughters here in the south call their mothers ‘mama’ and they set a great store by them.

Mamas here also seem to live a long time. 90, 100 years lifespan is common. These women are active into their 80s and 90s too. They can shoot a deer, process a pig, bake a pie, clean the house, and host the family reunion all in one day.

OK slight exaggeration but not much.

They also raise daughters. Since their younger motherhood was back in the 1950s, 60s 70s when here in the Bible belt there was more Bible than belt, they raised Godly daughters. It’s touching to see the love and honor and respect extended to mothers by their grown daughters. It’s reassuring to see grown daughters who have turned around and are now extending the hand of love in Jesus’ name to their own children. The wand of motherly care in Jesus’ name is passed down to the next generation.

There’s a germ of truth in this. That’s why it’s so funny. Steel Magnolia is an apt moniker

I can’t recall how many religious biographies I’ve read where the author lauds his mother for having a prayerful influence on them. Augustine’s mother Monica who prayed for years for her wayward son. Spurgeon praising his mom. The Wesley brothers praising their mother’s influence.

Mothers are the first disciplers in the family. (Dads too of course). Their example is seen by the growing children and later modeled in adult life.

I think of mothers from the Bible. Of course, the noted Lois and Eunice come to mind. Young Timothy was blessed to have a mom and a grandma who discipled him well. Paul wrote,

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelled in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. (2 Timothy 1:5).

Timothy’s mother was Jewish but a believer, his dad was Greek (AKA unbeliever). Acts 16:1. Timothy was spoken well of, not by the world that we know of, but by the church. (Acts 16:2).

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. (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:5).

Why was he spoken well of? His mother Eunice raised him in God’s name. Timothy grew, watching his mother and grandmother. Kids soak up their parents’ words and deeds and copy them.

Photo by Obie Fernandez on Unsplash, post processed by EPrata

Then we have Euodia and Syntyche. They were believers who had labored with Paul for the sake of the name of Christ. In Philippians 4:2 Paul urged those two ladies to agree. Apparently they were having a very public and very lengthy disagreement. We do not know what kind of disagreement they were having, whether it was doctrinal or personal. Either way, it was disrupting the church enough so that someone had apparently written to Paul and asked Paul to say a word. A dispute like this could well hinder the work and present a reason for satan to blaspheme. Paul asked the ladies to stop and for the Philippian church to help them reconcile.

Now think about the fact that if either of these women had children or grandchildren. We often think about those two ladies, memorialized in their dispute forever and ever, lol, being a poor witness for the church. But what about inside their homes? What about when Euodia spouts off at home about Syntyche, and vice versa? Because you KNOW that happens. What are the children hearing? Seeing? What kind of example is it for impressionable children to see their mom so involved in a dispute that the regional elder has to publicly correct them?

We have Lois and Eunice walking in agreement in the Lord, raising a boy by modeling good discipleship, doing what the Lord wants them to model. And we have Euodia and Syntyche… disagreeing publicly and disrupting the smooth harmony of the church.

Ladies, the children are watching.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.