Main point summary
Evidence of living in a way pleasing to God and showing real faith is to take care of true widows, first by family or remarriage, but if those aren't available, by the church.
1 Timothy 5:3-16
Honor widows d who are truly widows.
Have the church take care of widows who really need it.
But if a widow has children or grandchildren,
But not if they have family,
let them first learn e to show godliness to their own household
then let the family learn to show godliness
and to make some return to their parents,
by taking care of their widow mother,
for f this is pleasing in the sight of God.
because this makes God happy.
She g who is truly a widow,
Here's what a true widow looks like:
left all alone, has set her hope on God
left all alone, she sets her hope on God
and h continues in supplications and prayers night and day,
and prays all the time.
but i she who is self-indulgent is j dead
But she's not a true widow if instead she is self-absorbed, not hoping in God or prayerful, showing herself to be spiritually dead,
even while she lives.
even though she is still physically alive.
k Command these things as well,
So, command these things,
so that they may be without reproach.
so all will be pleasing to God.
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for l members of his household,
But if a family member can, and doesn't take care of his own widow,
he has m denied the faith
then he doesn't have real faith
and is worse than an unbeliever.
in fact is worse than an unbeliever.
Let a widow be enrolled
So, then enroll a widow for church care if the following apply:
if she is not less than sixty years of age,
if she's older than 60,
having been n the wife of one husband, 1
has only had one husband,
and having a reputation for good works:
having a reputation for good works:
if she has brought up children, has n shown hospitality, o has washed the feet of the saints, has p cared for the afflicted, and has q devoted herself to every good work.
she's raised kids, shown hospitality, been a servant to those in the church, cared for the afllicted, and devoted herself to every good work.
But refuse to enroll younger widows,
But don't put her on church benevolence if she's young,
for when r their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry
because then she won't marry but will still have passions that may draw her into sin and away from Christ,
and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.
and she may even abandon her faith, and become condemned.
Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers,
In addition, getting taken care of without having to work, these younger widows are idle
but also s gossips and t busybodies, saying what they should not.
and become gossips and busybodies.
So I would have u younger widows marry,
Therefore, have younger widows marry again,
v manage their households,
manage their households,
and w give the adversary no occasion for slander.
and thereby give the enemy no opportunity to slander.
x For some have already strayed after Satan.
Because some of the younger widows enrolled and not remarried, have already strayed after Satan.
If any believing woman has relatives who are widows,
Again about families, if any woman in a family of the church has relatives who are widows,
let her care for them.
then she should care for them
Let the church not be burdened,
that way the church won't be burdened even more
so that it may care for those y who are truly widows.
so that the church can care for those who are truly widows.
these feel like high criteria for enrolling a widow. Does the church not take care of her if she hasn't lived this exemplary life, but otherwise is alone without anyone to help??
Seems that we have this all backwards today largely in our culture and churches. Instead of family first or remarriage, then the church, it is government first, with the family involved in helping place in a home, and church maybe involved with occaisonally sending someone to visit in the home. Our church falls way short in this.
it is hard to know how to apply this exactly to today- families are so fragmented, as church members we don't live in close proximity to each other so really taking care of these needs is a real challenge, and there are a number of ways that the government has provisions to help care for these widows, so should we not avail of those. Also, finding a true widow by the criteria set forth above today is less likely to find, but does that mean the church not step in and care for them?
true faith causes self-sacrifice that makes sure to care for one's own family members