Loading...

Pastoral Epistles - Lesson 12

1 Timothy 5:1–16

Paul goes back to addressing the needs of the Ephesian church. He deals in summary fashion with people of different ages, with a special note of concern for Timothy in how he deals with young women, which leads him into a discussion of young widows. His concern is that the church care for those who are "truly widows," i.e., who are old, truly alone, and have lived godly lives. Younger widows, however, should remarry and not burden the church. The church has limited resources, and it should initially care for those who are the most vulnerable.

Bill Mounce
Pastoral Epistles
Lesson 12
Watching Now
1 Timothy 5:1–16

People of various ages and genders (5:1-2)

Older man

Younger men

Older women

Younger women

The Enrollment of young widows (5:3–16)

1. 5:3-4

v 3 is the thesis of the passage

v 4 contrasts “true” widows with those church should not support

2. Godly and ungodly widows (5:5-6)

(1) “True” widow is defined by two characteristics

(2) Widow who should not be supported

3. Reproach (church’s reputation) and family responsibility (5:7-8)

Timothy is to insist that Paul’s instructions are carried out

Necessity of caring for your own family

1. Denied the faith

2. “Worse than an unbeliever”

4. Enrollment of widows (5:9-13)

Should enroll (5:9-10)

1. 60 or older

2. Godly character

Should not enroll “younger widows” (5:11-13)

Lacked christian character, visible in two ways

1. Remarriage

Contrast with older, godly widows

5. Summary of paul’s instructions — (5:14-16)

1. Younger widows should remarry

2. Christian woman should care for widows in her extended family

3. Church care for those who are “truly widows”


Lessons
About
Class Resources
Transcript
  • Dr. Mounce introduces himself and covers the traditional issues in introductions, including his historical reconstruction of the writing and history behind the Pastorals, basic misconceptions people have of the Pastorals, and the survey of the critical issues often raised.

  • Paul begins by reminding Timothy of an earlier visit, and encourages Timothy to stay on at Ephesus, dealing with the issues in the church. Paul's goal is love, which stands in stark contrast to the work of the false teachers. Throughout 1 Timothy 1, Dr. Mounce is enumerating the ways in which Timothy (and we) should deal with false teaching.

  • Paul gives the theological argument up front as to why the false teachers were wrong and Timothy needs to silence them. They are legalists, applying the Mosaic Law to all Chrsitians. Rather, salvation is by God's mercy and grace as seen in Paul's conversion. But things have gotten bad in Ephesus, and Paul had to take a firm stance on dealing with two of the leaders of the opposition.

  • Having looked at the core teaching on why the false teachers were wrong, the class now looks at the other main pasages in the Pastorals that deal theologically with the false teaching.

  • Paul begins a two chapter discussion on issues of leadership in the Ephesian church. He begins by critiquing their habit of praying only for some people, which shows their legalistic way of looking at salvation. Then he deals with issues of public worship, first men then women. These are issues that the leaderhip should have been dealing with but most likely were being caused by poor leadership.

  • While this paragraph is not a matter of orthodoxy, it is nevertheless important since there are so many women in the church. Paul lays out the basic principle that women should learn with a submissive attitude, and then restates that principle with an eye to application; they cannot teach certain people in certain situations. Paul looks to the pre-Fall creation and the relationship that Adam and Eve were created to fulfill, and then spells out a consequence of what happens when that relationship is not honored. Because Paul references Genesis 2 and not Genesis 3, this is not a cultural teaching but transcultural.

  • After dealing with some questions, the class resumes by finishing the last two verses in chapter 2.

  • Paul gives four basic requirements for the leaders of a church. He beghins by emphasizing that leadership is a good thing and insists that leaders must be a certain kind of person, a person's who character is above repreoach. To appoint unqualified people to leadership is a sin, and those appointing them share in the responsibiiltiy when they fail and damage the church. But elders must also have a proven managerial ability of people, be spiritually mature, and have a good reputation in the eyes of people outside the church.

  • We conclude our discussion of elders by looking at two other passages on the role, Titus 1:5–9 and 1 Timothy 5:17–25.

  • We now move into the discussion of deacons in 1 Tim 3:8–13. There is much overlap between elders and deacons, and yet deacons are more involved in the day-to-day service of the church and are not required to be able to teach. The major interpretive decision is in v 11 as to whether it refers to women (i.e., deaconnesses) or wives (of the deacons).

  • This paragraph is the heart of the letter, putting everything that Paul has been discussing into perspective and giving it context. The church is precious, and we should protect the gospel because of the truths it teaches.

  • Paul goes back to addressing the needs of the Ephesian church. He deals in summary fashion with people of different ages, with a special note of concern for Timothy in how he deals with young women, which leads him into a discussion of young widows. His concern is that the church care for those who are "truly widows," i.e., who are old, truly alone, and have lived godly lives. Younger widows, however, should remarry and not burden the church. The church has limited resources, and it should initially care for those who are the most vulnerable.

  • Paul concludes his letter with a series of different and not always related topics. He deals with slaves, and begins to lay the groundwork for abolition, gives Timothy two tests for correct theology and spells out the download spiral and eventual destruction of the false teacher especially related to their love of money, and then encourages Timothy three ways. And in proper biblical fashion, he concludes with a doxology. The final paragraph (skipped by Dr. Mounce, is a final word to the rich in the church and a final plea to Timothy to be careful.

  • Most of the content of Titus has been covered in the lectures over 1 Timothy. However, the letter does have something to add to the discussion of leadership, and its two salvific hymns raise the issue of the reationship between justification and sanctification.

  • Paul begins his letter to his best friend by encouraging him to continue in ministry. If ever there were a model for how you encourage someone, especially someone who looks up to you, this is the chapter. The best thing you can do is find how many ways Paul encourages Timothy, and then see how to apply those points in your own life and ministry.

  • Paul concludes his encouragement to Timothy, and points out examples of faithless friends, and of one faithful friend.

  • Paul continues to encourage the discouraged Timothy, reminding him of the glorious gospel that he proclaims. Even if Paul himself is bound, the gospel is not.

  • The false teachers come back into view with a strong emphasis on Timothy's need to remain faithful. But the encouragement is that God's foundation in Timothy's life, and others, is sealed with a promise, and yet Timothy must also pursue righteousness and flee evil. Paul uses his own life as an example of faithfulness, and concludes with a strong admonition to preach the gospel because it comes from the very mouth of God.

  • Paul concludes his discussion of the role of Scripture in Timothy's life, reminding Timothy of Paul's own life of faithfulness. Paul makes some personal remarks about a few people, and references his final trial. He knows he will die, but death is merely a loosening.

The Pastoral Epistles contain some of the most practical advice in the New Testament. Learn how to handle heresy, appoint qualified leaders, take care of those who may not be able to care for themselves, and especially how to encourage one another in ministry. Titus alone contains two of the most powerful salvific statements in all of Scripture. These 13 chapters are worth studying.

Pastoral Epistles

Dr. Bill Mounce

nt630-12

1 Timothy 5:1–16

Lesson Transcript

 

Paul ends in chapter three, talking about that the church is the house, it's the household of God, it's a temple, and that whole set of imagery. And he's gone, as you have before and talked about other issues in chapter five is going to move back and kind of, in a sense, pick up some of that imagery. This is very typical for him in terms of household codes and thinking of the church as a family. And he begins in chapter five, verse one, by saying, you know, don't rebuke, but encourage. Now, the minute he says, don't rebuke, but encourage, you know, he's not talking about the false teachers. The false teachers. The language is all very strong. This is much more gentle. And so this is just him talking about people in the church. This is not church discipline. This is just how he relates to people. And I think it's I mean, it's it's a. I think it's a good procedure to say, you know, as we deal with different people in the church, don't don't start with an adversarial role. It may become adversarial. And we have those issues, but always start by encouraging people to do this, do the right thing. And then if that doesn't work out, then you move on to something else. But that's what he's doing, he says. Let's talk about people in the church as a whole in terms of a family, and let's let's start by encouraging them. So he says, do not rebuke, but encourage an older man as a father. In other words, when you when you look at an older man in the church and again, you have a cultural emphasis here on respect of the elders, he says, think of those older men as your father and treat them as you would treat your own father.

 

So it's kind of like when I preach this passage I talked about when you when you look at a man, just envision your father's face and put put it over that other older man in the church and treat him with the respect that your father is due. Having said that. Remember that passage. It's in Mark three, where Jesus's mom and brothers and sisters come to take him away because they think he's nuts. And they say, you know, your mom and your brothers and sisters are outside waiting for you. And Jesus says, You know, who are my mother, my brothers and sisters? It is those who do the will of God, right? And I guess I was. I'm teaching Mark in Sunday school this year. And when I that verse hit me a lot harder than it had before. And if Jesus isn't saying, you know, as if he's saying, you are my mother and my brothers and my sisters. And it seemed to me is the more I thought about it, it's it's he's starting to redefine some pretty basic things. I wonder what it would be like to attend a church. Where the people in the church actually were mothers, brothers and sisters. And that's how we thought of them, and that's how we treated them, not as if they were, but as you are my true mom, you are my true sister. You are my true brother. I don't think Paul is necessarily doing away with the nuclear family, but Jesus is doing something pretty revolutionary and Paul is picking it up. Craig Blumberg wrote a book called Neither Poverty or Riches. It's in a Robyn Haldeman theological series. And this is a really a big deal for for Craig, just a real personal thing.

 

And as he goes through the books and his basic point is in the church there, neither should be. Total wealth or total poverty. The whole point is that we're a family and families find ways to function together in healthy ways. And he gets in power through it. He asks the question, why does your. Son or daughter born physically to you. Have any greater right to your money and you have a greater obligation to them rather than other little boys and girls in the church. He just raised the question. And it's really it was like, Come on, Greg, you can't possibly mean that. Like like I have the same kinds of obligations to the other kids of my church. I have two Tyler, Kirsten and Hayden, but as he talks about, you realize what is the theological basis for that? It's. I'm just going to throw it out there to all. That's all I'm doing. Jesus says, my true mother and brothers and sisters are those who do the will of God. He is defining the closest family unit as of the family of faith, not blood related families. And here's Paul picking it up. Older men as a father, younger men as a brother. And they kind of wonder. I wonder if we make this so metaphorical that we remove all meaning from this kind of passage. I think we certainly do with Mark three. Anyway, I'm just going to throw that out there. Encourage older men not only as if they were a father, but as a father because. They are your father. And we are family. And again, remember, it's the most of the opposition that Timothy is getting is opposition from entrenched management, probably older men. So don't rebuke an older man, but encourage an older man as your father.

 

Encourage younger men as your brothers. Encouraging older women as your mother. Not again. Not as if, but as your mother. And certainly encourage younger women as sisters. And then he adds, with all purity. And it is technically possible in Greek when you have a series of things in Greek and then have a modifier, the modifier technically can go over the whole list. Hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Could be hallowed be your name on Earth as it is in heaven. They came to come on earth as it is in heaven. I mean, you can do that in Greek and some people do that here. But my guess is because it's purity that Paul is thinking primarily of how Timothy relates to younger women and is, you know, you just treat him as you treat your sister. I really mean it, Timothy. Be pure. Watch it. Be careful. Paul knows the sexual dangers in ministry. He knows the fees in church is full of sexually active young widows later on in Chapter five. He knows that these widows have been attacked easy prey for the false teachers. And Timothy, he knows that these women are flaunting their sexuality in church. First, Timothy two. Yeah, I think probably Paul had every reason in the world to warn to remind Timothy to be very, very careful to treat these younger women as sisters. Be pure. So you have this this series of admonitions of different people treating them as family members. And then there's one specific kind of family member that he's going to center in on. From verse 3 to 416, and that is widows. And this is a. I think it's probably the longest discussion of wills in the Bible.

 

There are certainly many, many, many references to widows, especially in the Old Testament. God is the God of the fatherless and the widows, those at the bottom of the social structures, those who are the most vulnerable. God has shown himself to be their protector, and that's all the way through the Old Testament. But in terms of a concentrated focus discussion of widows, I think this is the primary passage in the New Testament. Basically, the Vision Church had accepted long term financial responsibility for caring for the widows. And the problem is that some of the widows were taking advantage of the church. They were living self-indulgent, sinful lives, and that was a problem. And the other problem was simply that the church didn't have enough money to care for all the widows. So the question is who, which of the widows are we responsible as the church to care for? And. The basic thesis of the passage is in verse three, where Paul says honor widows who are truly widows. Now. It's kind of a funny expression, isn't it? What does this mean? An honor whittles through who are husbands are truly dead and don't honor widows whose husbands faked it. I mean, that truly is just kind of an odd expression. So what's he getting at? Well, first of all, honor honors one of these words like we saw with elders that has a double meaning. The the Greek word inherently carries the idea of respect and financial support. So not only are we to respect the true widows among us, but Paul is telling us that we as a church have a financial obligation to the widows who are among us. Remember, there's no Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. There's no 401 KS. There's you know, there's none of this kinds of stuff.

 

And so when a widow was older and all alone. And she there was there was virtually nothing for her. So that means I probably should kind of. There's something we have to take into consideration when we talk about the church caring for the widows. But you're supposed to honor respect. And there needs to be some financial support. But you're you're you're to give financial support only to those who are truly widows. And as you read through the passage, we'll understand that the word truly means two different things. One, that means they are truly godly. And secondly, it means they are truly alone. Those are the two basic qualifications for whether a church should or should not support widows. They are truly godly women. And secondly, are they are truly alone or they have no other means of support. The church isn't the the first line of support, is it? Is it. Contextually, it's the last line of support. If there's any other options of support, Paul's going to say you should exercise those first. So that's what a true widow is. She's truly godly and truly alone. That's the widow that the church needs to honor both respect and financially care for. All right, then the verse for what he does is that he contrast that again, so much of the pastoral I mean, V is right. These are in one level, these are ad hoc arguments. They are need to be understood in context. So you have honor widows who are true widows. In contrast to them are widows that have children or grandchildren. So this is part of where you get the definition of True widow is truly alone. The distinction is between them and widows who have children and who have grandchildren.

 

And those children and grandchildren are to show godliness there to work out the fact that they're committed to God, to their own household. And that means they're to make some return to their parents or they're to care for their parents, specifically their moms, their widows. And the reason why they should do that is that it is pleasing in the sight of God. So true. Widows are truly godly, truly alone. In contrast to them are widows that have children or grandchildren. And those children or grandchildren are not as the scope. We're not just talking about our moms. We're talking about our grandmas. All right. And people who have moms or grandmas who are widows. It is the children's and the grandchildren's initial responsibility to care for the mom or grandma. This is the first of three times that Paul is going to say the same thing. And this is the point he's trying to draw, draw home. It's not the church's responsibility to care for a widow when she has children or grandchildren who should be learning godliness and taking care of their mom or grandma. And the reason is it's the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do to give back to your parents. And it's the right thing to do because it's pleasing to God. Okay. That's verses three and four. Okay. All right in versus five and six. Then we get this redefining of the godly and the ungodly widows, those who should be supported and those who should not be supported. And so he says she who is truly a widow. Well, let me define what that means. It's she's left all alone. In other words, there's no extended family to care for her and she has set her hope on God.

 

And the fact that she has set her hope on God is seen in the fact that she continues and supplications and prayers night and day. So the constant praying that evokes images of Anna in the temple, right? First chapters of Luke, it is this. The fact that she is godly, that she has set her hope on God and not on other things is shown by her constant prayers before God. So again, you have this defining of what a true widow is and then again, what he does. He contrast the true widow with the widow who should not be supported by the church, but she who is self-indulgent, is dead even while she lives. In other words, the widows that should not be supported are those who live for their own pleasure, who do not live for God. And apparently there was a group of widows in emphasis that were doing precisely that, that even though they were being supported financially by the church there, they were living self-indulgent lives and were spiritually dead. And the church has no obligation to care for those kinds of widows. I mean, I think I mean, there's lots of different ways to care for widows. One of the ways we did it was that we we put a good part of our budget towards the care for the elderly. You know, I mean, I don't think there was anyone in our church that was completely destitute. I don't think, in our social context. I don't think there was any with all that was that if we didn't support her, she was going to starve. We found some kids that fit that category that had come in through VBS and and simply their parents took all the welfare money and smoked it.

 

And you're kind of smoking. And, um, medicinal purposes. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and we accepted responsibility for those kids because they actually had. They had no support, but at least we could care for them by making sure we had a good seniors program and we provided transportation, those kinds of things. And that's why I preface by saying in my particular context, I didn't have to face that. I mean that just there wasn't that wasn't the issue, uh, in the church where I was. And there are certainly Christian ministries, like there is one in Spokane, uh, called a Cup of Cool Water that it just served people who lived under the bridges in Spokane, and it didn't care why they were there. The fact was they were there. And I think there's a real place for that. But what heat? We're getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but we're talking about the church making a long term financial commitment to care for someone we're not talking about, Hey, I ran out of food. My check doesn't come in for a week and a half. Can you can I get some bread? That that's not the situation. And so our church had a pantry and anyone was welcome to take from it. And people did we put it in a place where you couldn't see who was taking it because people were embarrassed to go take from it. Um, but that's one thing that's temporary relief, and I think that's a different issue. This is we commit ourselves to widows so-and-so for the rest of her life to care for her financially because she's a godly woman. She's been a godly woman and she has no other support. And because we've said no to so many other situations, because they do have other support, we can say yes to her.

 

That's that's the situation that's being envisioned here. So she who is truly a widow, a she's left all alone because she set our hope on God. The fact is she's godly. Is this is evident by, I would say, probably among other things, her her constant praying. Rather, there are widows in emphasis who are living self-indulgent lives, are spiritually dead. And where Paul is going to go is that you have no responsibility to care for them. Then in verse seven, he's just going to start all over again. Paul just repeats himself a lot and kind of adds tidbits as he goes. But he says, command these things as well. You know, this is this is the way it is. This is not a matter of opinion, okay? You're to command these things so that they presumably the church will be without reproach. Is that what I see? Yeah. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives now the focus is shifting to the children, to your to your scenario. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. A pretty strong language, isn't it? I'm I'm tempted to understand relatives in more like we're talking first cousins, you know, further out from the nuclear family and then especially for the members of his immediate family. I think that's what Paul is saying. I don't know if you can you can prove it, but it seems to me that's what makes sense, that there are obligations actually extends to relatives. So my aunt. Would be an example. So if someone doesn't provide for his relatives, but especially if he doesn't provide for his mom and his grandma. All right.

 

The closer nuclear group. He there's two things he has, first of all, denied the faith. No, I'm I don't think that he's saying they're apostates. I think it's it's denied the faith in the sense of you're living like a non-Christian. I mean, the obligation to care for the widows in your extended family is so central to who we are as Christians and members of God's family that to not care for those in our family is to live as if we are not believers, to live as if we are not Christians. I think that's what he means by denied the faith. I don't think it's talking about apostasy. This is what you have in Titus 116. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. Actually, in that case, probably is apostasy. Not a good illustration. I'm going to cross that one out. But second of all, they did not really deny the faith, but they are, quote, worse than a nonbeliever. Now, in what way would a child not caring for his mom or grandma make that person worse than an unbeliever? And I can think of a couple. One is you're knowingly breaking God's law. At least if you're not a follower of Christ, if you don't know the Bible, you may not understand you have this kind of obligation. But to know that you have this obligation and don't do it, it makes your sin worse. So in that sense, they're there because they're knowingly breaking God's laws the worst, an unbeliever. And sometimes I also wonder if worse than unbeliever means these people are damaging the cause of Christ in a way that a nonbeliever can't nonbeliever can attack the church, but it doesn't really, you know, didn't damage the church.

 

But when people who are inside the church don't do what they know they're supposed to do and God has called them to do, they damage the church in a unique way. And that may be what Paul means when he says it's worse than the nonbeliever. Even the unbelievers know that they are obligated to care for their moms and grandmas. And so when you as Christians don't do that, you're worse than the unbelievers. Makes sense. Pretty strong language, isn't it? Pretty strong language. The Navy. When we start with an indefinite, any one will almost always go to the to reference back to it. And it read for the most part I think it reads. Pretty easily. All right. Well, then we get to verses 9 to 13 and again, we're going to have the same contrast of the widows that you should take care of and the widows that you shouldn't take care of. But now Paul is going to give some real specifics to it. So he says, let a widow be enrolled. Now, what's enrollment? Again, we're not talking about the occasional care of someone who needs help periodically. Okay. Don't take this first to say, well, if you're not enrolled as a widow, I have no obligation to care for you. I mean, I hope all your churches have have food banks or you support a food bank and you can send people there to get food. That's this. That's something totally different. But apparently what the church did was it enrolled widows. In other words, it said, okay. Well, little McTavish, we commit to caring for you for the rest of your life. And so the enrollment is kind of a an official status that the widow would have, knowing that she would be cared for by the body of Christ.

 

So they're saying, let a widow be enrolled. In other words, the church should only make this kind of commitment to this kind of person, first of all. She she's to be not less than 60 years of age. Well, what if she's 59? As you read numbers, you'll find that 60 is generally viewed as the age when you are considered old. You made it all right not to work any longer at church. Take care of me. Oh, I'm not a widow. Um, yeah. I mean, you know, I'd say, Well, what about a 59 year old just kind of asking the wrong question. It's. I think when by 60, it means you're. You're old. There's nothing else that you can do. I mean, you can't go out and get a job and all these kinds of stuff when the person is truly old. You know, I would have a. I mean, what's old now in our culture? 75. We live so much longer. And but anyway, the whole point was she's not supposed to be young. She's supposed to be old, not less than six years of age, having been the wife of one husband. There's that phrase. A one woman, one man woman or a one husband wife. And, um. You know, like I said, you've got to treat this the same way we do in first Timothy three. So my understanding is that she is she is known to have been faithful, a faithful kind of woman. It can't be not remarried because he's going to tell the younger women, younger widows to get remarried. I just don't think that could be it. She needs to have had a reputation for good works if she is brought up children, because that mean, can the church support a widow that was never married or childless? I'm sorry.

 

I know you're destitute. I know you're totally alone, but, you know, you never had any kids. The church has no obligation. I don't make any sense. And we get back to that whole issue of are these lists in the past rules, checklists, or are they describing the kind of person? And I'm very comfortable saying that what what Paul's saying, if he were to spell it out, he said, is this the kind of person that. I won't be the option. Just fooled around our whole life and just ran around, did absolutely nothing or. Or what? She the kind of person that cared for those under her care that she raised children. In other words, children is an example of the kind of person she is or was. You know, very few people that would know that probably. Yeah. That this whole business of, um, you know, wanting to stay single. To have a career or not wanting to have children so you can have a double income, double career. This is just this is a modern invention. It just it just didn't exist back then. So you you were married and you had children. And it was not only a natural thing, but you know who's going to care for you when you get old. It's really interesting. One of the problems the church is having in China is that when these. I mean, we heard the story and over and over again of people when I was I was teaching pastors. So that was my cross section. But it was they had never even heard of the name of Christ growing up, ever. And they went to college or university. And there's a lot of university ministries going on. They learned about Christ. They became Christians, which really makes their parents unhappy because, first of all, they only have one child.

 

Unless you're rich, then you can have more than one. You understand that in China, if you have money, you can do anything you want, right? In any culture. And in China, if you have a second child, everything is more expensive. The education is more expensive. They just I don't know if it's double, but they double up the cost. So but most of them have one child. The child becomes a Christian. The child's off to school, is going to university. He's going to get a good job. Good education, is going to take care of me when I get old. And then they become Christians and then they want to become pastors, which means they'll be poor. And there's no one to take care of me in my old age. Plus, it's interesting in Chinese folk religion. You have to burn money. That's how you send money to your ancestors so they can have money to spend in heaven or whatever they call it. And so if your kid becomes a Christian, you know, he's not going to be burning any money and you think you're going to go to the afterlife and have nothing to deal with. I mean, it's a very interesting social dynamic that's going on in the Chinese church right now. Um, relationship. Anyway, I don't know why I talked about that, but anyway, um, he has a reputation for good works. Uh, she's the kind of woman that would have brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. I know there's a connection between China and this. I just forgot what it was anyway. That's the kind of person that the church should be caring for.

 

This is the description of what the other problems of the age thing, what it means to be godly, makes sense. Okay. Now, in contrast to the godly, truly alone widow, there's a whole nother batch of widows, a whole nother group of widows. And here's where you start really finding out part of the problem. Remember I said that there's no evidence that the false teachers were women, but it's very clear that that the false teachers had had a lot of success among the women, and they were certainly promulgating the false teaching. This is where you start to see it. All right. But he says. But refused to enroll younger widows. For several reasons. One for when their passions draw them away from Christ, their desire to marry, and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith, which is why all second marriages are evil. I mean, it's almost it's what it sounds like, isn't it? And, well, obviously, second marriages aren't evil. And so the question is, what on earth is going on? And everyone's agreed that the problem is not that these widows were remarrying, especially because he's going to recommend. That was sarcasm. You did pick up my. Okay, I'll make sure that he's going to pick up in three verses that you're supposed to get remarried if you're a young widow. So it's not just remarriage in in general. That's the issue. What appears to be happening is that their passions, their sexual passage, most likely are drawing them away from Christ. And the only interpretation that explains the strength of the language that I know is that they were marrying non-Christians. And in the process of marrying non-Christians, they were abandoning their own Christian faith. Now, again, that's interpretive, but I can't explain how strong the language is without doing that.

 

It's not just a desire to get remarried, but it was a certain kind of remarriage that could be characterized as incurring condemnation and as an abandonment of their Christian faith. Now, some people talk about faith as the pledge, the vow with the first marriage. But if you believe that second marriages are okay, especially under certain circumstances, you can't describe a second marriage as abandoning your pledge, your vows of your first marriage, because, for example, death severs those vows. So that's quite a picture is in that is that these young widows because of their sexual passions were were leaving the church were leaving fellowship or abandoning their faith were saying they were abandoning their faith. I'm assuming and in the process were marrying people in con in contrary to Paul's instructions outside of the faith. And yet they were still being supported by the Fijian church. And Paul says, Don't do that. Don't support that kind of person. But there's a second reason, a second characteristic he gives for these younger widows that are not to be enrolled. He says in addition to that kind of, well, if that isn't bad enough, just just look at the kind of lives these gals are living. They they learn to be. Idlers is really sarcastic. They work hard in their educational program to learn how to be idle. It's just pure sarcasm on Paul's part. They work hard to be idlers, and all they're doing is going about from house to house. And that, of course, is how the false teaching was spread. Right? They are appalled. Paul says they are the false teachers are upsetting entire households. Well, part of that is that these young widows were just going from house to house and they were not only just idle, but they were gossips and they were busybodies and they were talking about things that you shouldn't talk about.

 

In other words, when you compare that kind of activity with the description of the widow who should be enrolled, you really get a distinction, don't you? The widow that should be enrolled is one who's who's known for being a good person. You know, children. Hospitality. Washing the feet of the saints. Caring for the afflicted. Devoting theirselves herself to every good work. That's the kind of widow that should be enrolled. But this other group of widows, they're idle. They're busybodies. They're gossips. They're just my. My wife would just call them pot sitters. They're just stirring the pot. And those women, those widows are not to be supported now. I need to emphasize this is an ad hoc statement that there are principles that come out of it. But this he is not saying that all young widows are like this. Okay. Again, this this is a great passage to emphasize. You've got to read the past rules in historical context. He's describing a situation in emphasis. All right. And so we pull our eternal principles out of the cultural expression. But we still we have to be careful not saying this. This is true of all young widows. Of course it's not. My mom was a young widow and this did not describe my mother was a little for a while. But I think that's what you have to do is the initial and the, you know, the observation stage of Bible study. You're kind of, you know, we in there about now. Yeah. And it's really important not to stereotype, but again, you don't want to leave it in first century emphasis that there are I mean there are the principles come through. There are certain widows that you do care for. There are certain widows that you shouldn't or not obligated to care for.

 

And so, yeah, I just got to really make sure you don't stereotype all widows this way. My mom's first husband died of cancer during World War Two, and so she was a widow with with two young kids for four, four years. And she was definitely not, uh, this younger. A widow. All right. Okay. So then Paul says, You know, I'm going to say all this again. So he gets to repeating himself in 14 to 16. He goes solo or therefore. No. In light of the mess in emphasis and in light of what I've just said. So here's what I want to happen. If you have if I would have younger widows marry their children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. Now again, it's yeah, you got to read this. And contextually, this verse has been used to say that women should not work outside the home. Because they should be managing their households. So it's wrong for women to be in business. For example, you'll hear some people say, and again, that's not what's going on at all. You got to put yourself in the fusion situation. You got one group of good widows and one group of young. A bad lack of a better word. Bad widows that happen to be young. And he just says, you need to go. Just get married and do the right things. And in his culture, the right things or or having children and managing your household. Not not letting suck our adversary probably secular society. Have anything evil to say about us. And then he adds this note of urgency. Some have already straight after Satan. And what you really need to do this now, Timothy, You need to do this now if you can.

 

Just because some of these younger weirdos are already going after Satan, whether it be demonic worship or believing the teachings of the false teachers that had their origin in the demons first. Timothy four. So it's really important. Does this mean that the widows have to have children, that they can only work in their home? No, I don't. I don't think so. I think he's describing in a cultural context of the kind of thing that that you would expect a woman to do as opposed to doing what the false teachers wanted them to do. That's the inherent contrast. My my daughter has informed us that she has no intention of having children. And that doesn't make her a bad person. That bearing the children is not, I don't think, an eternal truth. We'll see what happens when Kirsten gets married. But for right now, that's where she's headed. Makes sense. That's what he wants the younger women to do. Secondly, if any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. And it's it's an interesting question of who's this believing woman? You know, in the past, it was the obligation of the family, right? I mean, it was it was left kind of generic. Any children or any grandchildren, they're responsible to care for their mom or their grandma. Now it is a believing woman who is responsible to care for the mom or the grandma. So the question is, who is this believing woman? And the conclusion I came to was that Paul is just being, um, just practical. And he understands in that culture that is probably going to end up being the wife that cares for the mom and the grandma, whether it's her mom and grandma or whether her mother in law or grandma in law.

 

What do we say? Is there an expression for that? I've never heard of it either. Anyway. Her husband's mom or her husband's grandma. I just think Paul's being practical and he understands that the bulk of this responsibility is going to fall on the wife. And he says, the believing woman. Uh. Needs to care for her relatives who are widows. I'm trying to say it was to tell a story or not. My Grandma Mac, they're both in heaven, so I guess I can tell the story. My. My grandma McTavish was just a sweet old lady, and she just got sweeter and sweeter. And she was the biggest trouble of caring for Grandma McTavish was that she would want to cook something and turn the stove on and then come back 2 hours later and wonder why the pots melted. And so we always had to watch the stove. And Grandma, when Grandma Mac was around, Grandma Mounts was much more independent and there was a little mother in law, daughter in law kind of friction. It was just it was just a more difficult situation. And I was mowing the lawn one day and I was in high school and I had a series of bushes in the back. This in Kentucky. Not that that matters. And I, I mowed around the bush and I almost mowed my mother. And she was sitting cross-legged behind the bush. And when mom, she goes, Don't tell your grandmother I'm here. I just I need just a little break. Just don't tell her I'm here. And just then grandma walked out on the back porch and her expression was, say, Jean, say Jean, please. I looked at my mom and I looked at my grandma, said, Have you seen her grandma? My mom goes, Plus you, plus you and I mowed around her and kept going.

 

You know, the the weight of caring for the grandmas fell on my mom. Dad was the dean at the university and and was gone from the home. Mom was a traditional mom and stayed home. And this is what Paul's talking about it He knows he understands the weight of caring for the widows on a day to day practical level was probably going to fall on the wife. And so he says, the believing woman. All right. I may have to answer for that illustration when I get to heaven, but that's okay. So the first situation is young. These younger widows should remarry. Number two, if if the widow is not truly alone, if she has the means to support the family should care for her. And then thirdly, it says let the church not be burdened so that it may care for those who are really widows. Is that any use that the ESV? Is that why we said, Really? That's just kind of straight. It's the same word for truly in verse three that the ESV said, Really little sir. That's that's that's very unusual. I'm surprised we didn't keep this. We try to keep concordance, if we could. And you think you should be truly widows. Okay. So that it may care for those who are truly widows. In other words, the whole purpose of going through these steps is that the church has limited resources and you shouldn't burden the church. If there's other ways of taking care of this segment of society. But then it does have a responsibility to care for those who are truly widows, those who are truly alone and those who are truly godly. All right. So that's the that's the teaching on widows. Application is much harder, isn't it? Application is much harder.

 

So you take the scenario, What do you do if the kids absolutely refuse? To take care of the widow, their mom? Or do they just say, you're on your own? We're going we're going to go pursue our own career. You can languish in poverty. We don't care. Would that ever happen? Yeah, it happens a lot. My my guess my, my take on that would be. Just because they are sitting, the kids are sitting there refusing to do what Scripture clearly tells them to do. Um. Shouldn't penalize her. And I would say if the kids absolutely refuse to care for their mom. Then she is truly alone. And so in terms of the application, I would be comfortable accepting responsibility to help an elderly widow whose kids are jerks if they're around the church. Yeah, well, but, you know, if if, if there were if there were a family in a church where, you know, they claim to be walking with Christ and and their their mom was, you know, just living in poverty and, you know, no one to clean the house or mow the lawn or to care for her to bring food to her. And she was living in this kind of abject poverty that so often happens. Yeah, I think that's a real church discipline issue. I mean, that'll be the final stage. Um, you talk to them and encourage them and teach them to start a church. Yeah. Yeah. But that be an issue. And you got issues. What if. What if the kids aren't Christians? What if they they don't they don't have any religious leanings or spiritual leanings and they're jerks and they won't care for their mother. You know, I just. I just don't think you would penalize the widow.

 

Now, in this day and age. How do you care for widows? I mean, again, in in a lot of social context, it's you don't have to. I mean, they're going to have food. They're going to have a place to stay. They're not going to be living in filthy squalor. But I still think that doesn't mean you as a church, you still have to accept responsibilities. For example, um, we we got a a pastor for seniors a little ahead of where I really wanted one because we had other needs. But I, we had no way to care for the elderly people in our church. The church was growing too fast, and we just. There was I said, okay, we have people have an obligation to care for their elders. And and when those elders don't have any kids in this church, it's our responsibility. And so for us, it meant things like hiring a seniors pastor and really freeing them up to really spend time to get to know the people and to and to subsidize outings for them so that they would. That's really an American thing, isn't it? Most people are worried about starving to death, and we're worried about giving them outings anyway, you know, doing basically caring for them. And we said we would do that. But we also in Spokane, there was an area, Spokane, that was just abject poverty. And every once in a while, we would we would find usually we would find the families through the children, that the children would be reached through VBS or something. And then all of a sudden you realize they hadn't eaten in three days. And then you take food to them and then you see why they're not being fed. Their mom's on meth and their dad's long gone kind of stuff.

 

And or sometimes you find, uh, a mom that simply can't care. And she's working three jobs at minimum wage. And, um, you know, I mean, there's, there's, there are scenarios, and I can see from your faces that you all have some of those in your churches. And I just think this passage means these things need to be higher in our priorities than they traditionally are.