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1 Timothy 5:1-16

Timothy continues his education about God’s will for pastors dealing with interpersonal competence, widows, and subtopics for each.

My translation and notes of 1 Timothy 5:1-16

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​1 Timothy Chapter 5

Respect the Brethren

1 Don’t scold an older man, instead appeal to him like a father, [and] the younger men like brothers,

[Elders here are old men, not a church official. The idea is to respect the person when warning them of sin or errors. The Greek word for ‘scold’ is (G1969) ἐπιπλήσσω epiplesso, which means harshly criticizing them. The Greek word for ‘appeal’ is (G3870) παρακαλέω parakaléō, which means to make an appeal, urge, and plead with them rather than speaking harshly to them. We can appeal with a harsh tone of voice and condescending facial expression, or we can appeal with a tone of concern and compassion. Listening to those we talk with is very important (James 1:19). We must know their thoughts and actions, for maybe we misinterpret what we see and hear from them].

2 The older women like mothers, [and] the younger women like sisters with all purity.

[A pastor/teacher is to likewise appeal to older women and the young women. When talking to the younger women, the appeal must be in purity (Matthew 15:18-19). A pastor must develop good interpersonal competence. We must be able to speak clearly, listen closely without cutting them off, understand what they are saying, listen to the motives, and apply wisdom. We must speak to them and not be passive, yet we must speak to them wisely. The Scriptures teach us how to communicate in a godly way. We are to listen well (Proverbs 18:2 and Proverbs 18:13), be slow to speak and get angry (James 1:19), not deride them but desire to increase their spiritual growth (Ephesians 4:29), Proverbs 15:1 CSB A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath, pray before speaking (Psalm 141:3), with grace (Colossians 4:6), not cutting and soul destroying but healing (Proverbs 12:18), the fewer words we speak, the better (Proverbs 10:19), quoting Scriptures are better than expressing our own words (Hebrews 4:12), with wisdom (Proverbs 16:23), a few types of speech that we must never use (Colossians 3:8), say the truth (Ephesians 4:25), and many others].


3 Honor widows who are really widows.

[A widow is a widow. The Law of Christ has some qualifications before giving financial and material assistance. We must all be aware of other’s needs and meet them if we are able to, but this refers to the class of widows. Joseph Benson comments (COMMENTARY ON THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS): And endeavour honourably to support from the public stock; widows—Whose destitute circumstances recommend them as the certain objects of charity. According to the Greek commentators, the widows of whom the apostle speaks in this passage were aged women appointed by the church to instruct the young of their own sex in the principles of the Christian faith, and who, for that service, were maintained out of the funds of the church. This opinion is rendered probable by the apostle’s order to Timothy, (1 Timothy 5:9,) to admit none into the number of widows without inquiring into their age, circumstances, character, and qualifications, even as in ordaining bishops and deacons; who are widows indeed—Really such; that is, who are desolate, and neither able to maintain themselves, nor have any near relations to provide for them, and who are wholly devoted to God. The real widow is defined in verse 5, and the qualifications are in verses 9-10].

4 But if any widow has children or descendants, then let them learn to show their religious responsibility to their own family and to repay their parents, for that is right and acceptable in God’s sight.

5 Now she, who is really a widow and left alone, trusts in God, and continues with requests and prayers day and night,

[‘Really a widow’ refers to one who has no husband and no family support, thus, left alone. Two good character traits for all believers are to trust God for our needs and pray for God’s provision].

6 But she, who lives for pleasure, is dead even while she lives.

[These two groups of widows are distinguished by their worldview and lifestyle. This type of widow is spiritually dead but physically alive. For pleasures, compare Moses in Hebrews 11:25].

7 Communicate these instructions, so they may be blameless.

[We cannot be sinless in this life, but we are to be blameless, which is to acknowledge that we still sin every day. We can’t list our sins, but we can pray, “Father, please forgive our sins.” The Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which are the rules for the church from Pentecost to the Rapture, proclaims these rules about widows to be important and to be followed. Then, we will be blameless regarding widows. Compare 1 Peter 1:15, 1 Peter 2:12, and Philippians 2:14-14].

8 Now if any does not provide for his own and especially those of his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.

[Not only does this person NOT provide for his own family, he does not help any family member either. Such a person, by their actions, has denied the faith and worse than an infidel. William MacDonald writes (Believer’s BIBLE COMMENTARY): The seriousness of failing to provide for one’s own relatives, and especially for those of one’s own immediate household, is emphasized here. It constitutes a denial of the faith. The Christian faith consistently maintains that those who are true believers should care for one another. When a Christian fails to do this, he denies by his actions the very truths which Christianity teaches. Such a person is worse than an unbeliever for the simple reason that many unbelievers show loving care for their own relatives. Also, a Christian can thus bring reproach on the name of the Lord in a way that an unbeliever cannot do].

9 Do not let a widow be enrolled less than 60 years old having been the wife of one man,

10 Having a good reputation for good deeds—if she has raised children, if she has been hospitable to strangers, if she has washed the feet of God’s people, if she has helped the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good deed.

[An example is Dorcas in Acts 9:36].

11 Refuse the younger widows, for when their desires go against Christ, they want to marry

[The Greek word for ‘go against’ is (G2691) καταστρηνιάω katastreniao, which means be governed by strong physical desire (BDAG). Schaff writes (POPULAR COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT): Another of the vigorous colloquial phrases of the Epistle, implying partly willful resistance, partly lascivious desire. Pulpit commentary (PULPIT COMMENTARY, 1880—1919) has this note: The sense, therefore, is that these young widows, in the wantonness and unsubdued worldliness of their hearts, reject the yoke of Christ, and kick against the widow’s life of prayer and supplication day and night. And so they return to the world and its pleasures, which they had renounced].

12 Having condemnation, because they have rejected their first pledge.

[The Greek word ‘rejected’ is ἀθετέω athetéō (G114). It means to do away with something. So, here, they throw off, do away with, reject, repudiate their first pledge (commitment). Compare Luke 7:30 and Hebrews 10:28. Ray Stedman writes (RAY STEDMAN EXPOSITIONAL STUDIES): In the biblical order only those who had already been married, who had already fulfilled their obligations and their desires along those lines, were to be enrolled in this special order of celibate persons, not younger women. This was quite contrary to younger women’s urges and desires. Even though, in a moment of grief at the loss of a husband a young woman might desire to remain celibate the rest of her life, after a while that might change. That is what the apostle is facing here. He says that if she does, then she has to break her promise and he does not want her to do that. So the two reasons he gives here are, first, “they would prove unfaithful to their first pledge,” which they made in a moment of deep commitment but were unable to live up to—easily at least; and then, the second reason, given in Verse 13: They would tend to become “freeloaders,” as we would call them today].

13 Along with this, they learn to be lazy wandering from house to house, and not only lazy but gossips and busybodies talking about things they shouldn’t.

14 Therefore, I want the younger women to marry, bear children, manage the household, and give no opportunity to the adversary to bitterly denounce us.

[The Greek word for ‘manage the household’ is (G3616) οἰκοδεσποτέω oikodespoteo, which means manage the household, family matters. This Greek word is based on (G3617) οἰκοδεσπότης oikodespotes, which means master of a house, householder (BDAG). Vine (Vine’s COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT WORDS) writes: oikodespoteo (G3616), corresponding to A, “to rule a house,” is used in 1 Timothy 5:14, RV, “rule the household” (KJV, “guide the house”). Compare Matthew 10:25, Matthew 24:43, Mark 14:14, and Luke 22:11. The ‘adversary’ is not referring to satan. It refers to those who oppose Jesus Christ and Christianity. Schaff writes (POPULAR COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT): Standing by itself, the word might suggest the thought of a reference to the great spiritual adversary; but St. Paul’s use of the word elsewhere (1 Corinthians 16:9; Philippians 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 2:4), turns the scale in favour of the more general meaning—the Jewish or heathen enemy of the Gospel].

15 Some have already turned away to follow Satan.

[Note the serious warning of ‘turned away to follow satan.’ Instead of following the Lord Jesus’s command to live by the Law of Christ, His kingdom worldview and lifestyle, these women turn from Christ’s law to follow the worldview and lifestyle of satan. Others understand the words to mean they have followed satan’s example of turning away from God’s kingdom and laws].

16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them help them and don’t let the church be burdened, so that it may help those who are really widows.

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