Scripture has much to say regarding the role of parents and grandparents in the training of their children in the Word of God. It is a privilege and joy to see parents fulfilling the Biblical admonition to … “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov 22:6 NIV). This passage frequently quoted is at times used to imply that there might be an intermediate time that the child, perhaps in adolescence or in mid years, will turn from the Word of God but then finally spiritually recover to once again live a life in the will of God. While that surely could be read into the verse, it does not specifically say that. Even when there is departure from the faith, God the Holy Spirit is faithful to keep in the thinking of the believer the principles and promises learned early in life.
Such a deviation from the spiritual life occurred in the life of King Solomon. He often refers to the instruction given him in God’s Word by his parents. At the beginning of his proverbs the king states … “listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live” (Prov 4:1-4 NIV). His warning comes from having forsaken the spiritual precepts taught him and living a portion of his life out of the will of God.
Reflecting on that state of waywardness, Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, his confessions to the Lord, for our instruction and benefit. He described his years of living out of the will of God as … “vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "all is vanity (meaningless)” (Eccl 12:8 NASB)! “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Eccl 12:13 NASB). Solomon spiritually recovered and ended well. That which his parents had taught him concerning the Lord remained and paved the way for his spiritual recovery.
Scripture also mentions a parent and grandmother who taught their child of the Lord. The Apostle Paul records for us his warm and encouraging commendation of Lois and Eunice and their spiritual impact on the life of Timothy. “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Tim 1:5 NIV). How comforting for the apostle, languishing on death row to be able to reflect on a faithful grandmother and mother who trained their child in the things of the Lord. There is no indication in Scripture that Timothy ever deviated from God’s way as did Solomon. However, God’s Word produced in both men that which would ultimately glorify Christ.
To Timothy, the somewhat timid young man, Paul wrote these words of encouragement … “so do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Tim 1:8-9 NIV).
Lois and Eunice are never mentioned again in Scripture, but their spiritual influence and training of Timothy resulted in a life of ministry teaching the Word and proclaiming the necessity of faith in the One who died, was buried and rose again. “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us (2 Tim 1:13-14 NIV).