"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"
The Care Of Widows (5:3-16) INTRODUCTION 1. In the New Testament church, the care of widows was
an important concern... a. The church at Jerusalem made sure none were neglected
- cf. Ac 6: 1-7 b. James described caring for widows as "pure and undefiled religion"
- Jm 1:27 c. Paul charged Timothy to "Honor widows who are really widows"
- 1Ti 5:3 2. Yet it was not a responsibility simply to be thrust upon the church... a. The local church has its limitations b. Family members have their obligations c. Even widows themselves bear some responsibility [In the text for this study, 1Ti 5:3-16, the apostle Paul instructs Timothy regarding "The Care Of Widows." We first note the
care to be given widows...] I. BY THEIR FAMILIES A. TO SHOW PIETY AT HOME... 1. "...let them first learn to show piety at home" - 1Ti 5:4 2. "The word is commonly used to denote piety toward God, but it is also used to denote proper reverence and respect for a parent." - Robinson 3. This is one way that children "honor" their parents
- cf. Ep 6: 1-2 B. TO REPAY THEIR PARENTS... 1. "and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God" - 1Ti 5:4 2. Think of the care and sacrifice parents make for their children 3. "This debt can never be wholly repaid, but still a child should feel it a matter of sacred obligation to do as much toward it as possible." - Barnes C. TO PROFESS TRUE FAITH... 1. Refusal to provide for one's own family is a denial of true religion - 1Ti 5:8; cf. Jm 1:27 2. Even unbelievers care for their own: "Every man should take care of his own family" - Cicero 3. Dare we do any less? [Families should care for their widows, for "widows indeed" are those who are left alone and trust in God through prayers night and day
(1 Ti 5:5). They are certainly not ones who "live in pleasure" (1Ti 5:6-7), of which Paul will say more later. Next Paul writes of the care given to "widows indeed"...] II. BY THE CHURCH A. THEY MAY BE TAKEN "INTO THE NUMBER"... 1. I.e., included on a list of those cared for by the church - 1Ti 5:9; cf. Ac 6:1-7 2. From the qualifications (see below), some conclude these
widows would be given special duties to fulfill for the church 3. Since it was not uncommon for the church to provide for
its own on special occasions (cf. Ac 4:34-35), this appears
to be list for those given long-term care by the church B. PROVIDED QUALIFICATIONS WERE MET... 1. Over sixty years old, the reasons for which given later - 1 Ti 5:9 2. The wife of one man - 1Ti 5:9 a. Assumed by many to mean one husband at a time b. Otherwise Paul would later tell younger widows to do that which disqualify them for any help in the future - cf. 1 Ti 5:14 3. Well reported for good works - 1Ti 5:10; cf. Dorcas,
Ac 9: 36-39 a. Brought up children b. Lodged strangers c. Washed the saints' feet d. Relieved the afflicted e. Diligently followed every good work [Such qualifications were required because the church does not
have the ability to help everyone (cf. 1Ti 5:16). For younger widows especially, Paul writes of the care given to widows...] III. BY THEMSELVES A. YOUNGER WIDOWS ARE TO BE REFUSED... 1. The church is not take younger widows "into the number"
- 1 Ti 5:11; cf. 5:9 a. That is, into long term care by the church b. Though short term care might be provided along with others 2. Reasons to refuse younger widow a. They will want to remarry, forsaking the commitment
expected of those taken into the number - 1Ti 5:11-12 b. They will become idle gossips and busybodies, saying and doing things they should not - 1Ti 5:13; cf. 2Th 3:11; 1Pe 4:15 B. YOUNGER WIDOWS ARE ENCOURAGED TO REMARRY... 1. This is what Paul "desires", it is his opinion or counsel
- 1Ti 5:14 2. For younger widows to marry, bear children, manage the household - cf. Tit 2:4-5 3. To give no opportunity to the adversary to speak
cf. Ph 3:18-19 CONCLUSION 1. "The Care Of Widows" should be an important concern for
us today... a. Such care is a mark of pure religion b. Such care is an expression of due respect toward those
who have done so much 2. Yet the church has many obligations, it cannot afford to
become burdened by this one - 1Ti 5:16 a. For this reason families must accept their responsibilities b. Younger widows must accept their own responsibility c. Today, even governmental assistance is often available For those who are "really widows", left alone, trusting in God,
and who meet the qualifications listed in our text, then
"The Care Of Widows" is a duty not to be neglected
by the Lord's church...