1 Timothy 5:1-16 How to Treat Older Church Members and Widows

At less than 40 years of age, the young leader of the Ephesian church, Paul’s beloved fellow missionary Timothy would now find himself blessed to receive instruction how to respond and honor specific demographics within the church, notably elders and widows.

1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

Based on the theory “along with age comes wisdom,” Paul calls on Timothy to show respect to the physically older, though not necessarily equally spiritually mature members of the church.

3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.” (1 Timothy 5:3-4)

Based on Jerusalem custom, Paul considers “real widows” those widows over 60 years old, with no children or siblings to rely on, to be supported by the church’s funding.

Those widows who have relatives able to step in financially must first humble themselves, then press on forward with allowing a relative to help as both of them continue their walk on a path to glorify Yahweh, according to scripture.

“5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. (1 Timothy 5:5)

The apostle draws a clear picture of those to be considered widows by the churches in Ephesus, where Timothy was entrusted by Paul to rely on the gospel and their growing faith in Yeshua, the Christ to oversee leadership of the church throughout the prominent Roman city. Located on the western part of the Roman province of Asia, around A.D. 62 Ephesus has a population of over 250,000 people, mostly Gentiles.

Only widows with a clear relationship with God, based on faith in Christ, and Trust in Yahweh should be considered as “really widows,” in turn to be the beneficiaries of this anointed ministry.

6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. 7 And these things command, that they may be blameless. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:6-8)

Paul calls them dead, the widows who’s spirit has been overtaken by the enemy, and her passion is misdirected. The apostle groups those who ignore responsibility with unbelievers, a charge to which a guilty charge brings on eternal sentencing.

9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.” (1 Timothy 5:9-10)

Widows that meant Paul’s divinely appointed criteria included widows of at least 60 years of age, that had only one husband, at a time, that bore children or adopted, or cared for orphans. Real widows would have a history of well spirited hospitality, and Christ like works.

11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully15 For some have already turned aside after Satan.” (1 Timothy 5:11-15)

Paul sets aside the younger widows, those who have surrendered their mourning souls to the burning fire to remarry. These widows should not be counted as part of the church’s ministry, instead they should be encouraged to further their mission by continuing to expand their families.

16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.” (1 Timothy 5:16)

The church’s point of view, revealed onto Timothy by the apostle Paul called on relatives of widows to step in when possible, a clear offering to Yahweh to be counted as works in His name, according to scripture.

In turn, such obedience of God’s commands allows for His church to concentrate its outpouring of blessings on deserving widows. Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.