In this chapter, Paul tells Timothy how to treat the elderly and widows. He says not to harshly rebuke an elder, but instead, exhort him like he was your own father. Timothy was instructed to treat younger men like they were his brothers, older women like they were his mother, and to treat with purity younger women as if they were his sisters.
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How to Treat Widows
Paul instructed Timothy to give widows the proper recognition if they were in need. He said that when widows had grandchildren or children, they should be taught first so they could practice their religion by taking care of their families because this is very pleasing to God.
He said that widows that are in need and all alone will put their hope in God. But widows that live life for only pleasure are dead even though they live. Paul goes on to say that anyone that does not take care of their relatives, especially their own immediate families, is worse than those who do not believe and that they have denied the faith.
Qualifications for Widows
Paul tells Timothy that only widows over the age of 60 are to be put on the widow list. He also lists other qualifications for widows, including them having been faithful wives to their husbands, known for their good deeds like showing hospitality, bringing up her children, washing feet of God’s people, assisting those in need and also dedicating herself to any or all types of good deeds.
Younger widows are not to be put on the list. Because their sexual desires triumph over their dedication to Jesus as they often wish to marry. They bring judgment upon themselves since they have not kept their first pledge. Younger widows were to be counseled to marry so they could have children, manage their households and not to give the enemy any opportunity for slander.
How to Treat the Elderly
Paul says the elders that direct the church affairs ought to have double honor, particularly those that preach and teach. He said to carefully consider accusations against any elder and only if there are a couple of witnesses. Elders that sin should be reproved before others to ensure the others take heed.
Paul ends the chapter by saying to be careful on whom he lays hands on and not to sin and keep himself pure. He also tells Timothy to start drinking some wine instead of only water because it might help his stomach problems and other illnesses.
1 Timothy 5 (King James Version)
1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.
23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.
24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.